- Fish Oil: I take Omega-3 fish oil every single morning with my breakfast. Simply put, your blood contains things called ‘Triglycerides’ which are essentially fat. Anything you eat that is not used immediately for energy, is then broken down into fat, which is stored in your body in the form of triglycerides. If these build up, you will increase your risk of heart disease and other health-related problems. Omega-3 fish oil reduce the amount of triglycerides in your body, keeping your heart nice and healthy, and other evidence indicates that it contributes to weight loss as part of the process. There are numerous other benefits found in omega-3 fatty acid, which I would definitely encourage you to read up on!
- Green Tea Extract– I swear by green tea. I stopped drinking coffee and black tea back in November 2014 and have felt a million times better since. Green tea is my pre-workout fuel but also my daily energy source as I drink 1-2 cups with breakfast, 1 cup with lunch, and sometimes a cup in the afternoon if I feel like I need it. It is lower in caffeine so it tops up my energy but doesn’t speed me up like a rocket the way that coffee used to. If you hate the taste of green tea, you can purchase green tea extract as a supplement at most health food stores. It speeds up your metabolism and is full of antioxidants, and aids with digestion as well.
- Less Fruit, More Vegetables– Apples, bananas, and grapes may be delicious but they are also very high in fructose, which is sugar. The sugars from fruit may be naturally occurring but don’t be fooled by the myth that they are good for you. No sugar is good for you! Eat blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries instead. They may taste sweet but they have a fraction of the carbohydrates (sugars) that many other fruits have. Grapefruit is good too; it’s high in vitamin C and there are speculations amongst nutritionists that they can have fat-burning properties. Lemons are a must! They are a great source of vitamin C, being a citrus fruit, so pop a couple of wedges into your water daily for a vitamin C boost. It is important to get vitamin C as it helps maintain a healthy, strong immune system.
- Green Smoothies– Green smoothies aren’t for everyone but if you struggle to eat enough vegetables, or don’t like eating in the morning then you should definitely try them. Kale, spinach, broccoli, celery, cucumber, beetroot, lemon juice, lime juice, flaxseed, are all some of the ingredients I use in mine. I like to keep it simple and nutrient-dense. No, my smoothies are not sweet like some of the fruit smoothies you may be used to, but they leave me feeling energised, satisfied and clean afterwards. Check out my Instagram for photos, videos and recipes of my smoothie creations.
- Less fat, less carbs, more protein– Some of you are going to be confused because I was an advocate of the Paleo lifestyle for almost a year. However, I realised that I was eating way too much fat! Nuts, oils, eggs, bacon, seeds, dark chocolate, coconut milk… my diet was fat-packed and I was maintaining my weight, but I was not losing anything, despite the time I spent at the gym and out running. Paleo is a great lifestyle as it emphasises unprocessed foods and healthy fats, but if you are trying to “shred” and reduce your body fat percentage, you may struggle on this eating regime. The best diet to follow, in my opinion, is one composed of lean meats such as turkey, chicken and white fish, as well as plenty of eggs (whites only if you are really cutting), Total 0% fat Greek Yoghurt, natural peanut butter, and other high-protein ‘lean’ foods. Carbohydrate sources should come from rice, quinoa, sweet potato, carrots, beetroot, and other non-grain carbs.
- Supplements– My daily supplements are pretty simple- omega 3 fish oil, a multivitamin, and phD diet whey protein powder. After every strength training session, I have a shake. If I am having porridge for my pre-workout breakfast, I only eat 20-25g and mix in a tablespoon of protein powder. This may be the reason I have gained muscle so fast, and it means I stay fuller for longer. Protein powder can be stirred into yoghurt, added to smoothies, and you can also make protein pancakes and muffins with it as well. If you are crafty in the kitchen, you can even try making your own protein bars. Get creative! The diet whey protein powder contains green tea extract and amino acids that help your muscles recover, so you can get straight back to the gym the next day. If you are training extremely vigorously, you might want to consider drinking BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) during your workout so your muscles recover as you go, to help you train longer and harder. However, I am definitely not at that stage yet! Aloe Vera is a great natural diuretic if you are feeling bloated, water-loaded or a little clogged up. Always try adding fibre to your diet first, but if you need a little help, aloe vera works wonders. There are other supplements such as L-Glutamine, L-Cartinine and Creatine that can be added to your diet, but I am still learning about these so I will save my thoughts on those for a future post.
- Herbals teas– Every single evening, I sip on herbal teas. Some of my favourites are: liquorice and mint, peppermint, fennel, nettle, and lemon and ginger. Liquorice tea is somewhat sweet, which I like, as it feels like you are having a dessert. Peppermint tea is good for headaches and great for digesting after a meal. Fennel tea also aids digestion and it is so flavourful. Lemon and ginger tea has a little spice to it and is quite calming. Lemon balm tea is a good one for anti-stress and relaxation. Nettle tea is really good for water retention; you will pee everything out after drinking a cup or two of this! Sipping on tea helps me resist the urge to snack in the evenings but it is also really soothing. A must-try.
There is no miracle fat loss cure. Fat loss comes with hard work, dedication to your diet, and time. These are just a few tips to help speed up the process and help maximise your results. To anyone who thinks that lifting weights and taking protein will bulk you, this is not the case. If you balance the amount of cardio training with the amount of strength training you are doing, and monitor your ‘macros’ then you will be able to achieve your fitness goals. It may not happen straight away, but give it time, and you will see results. I have had to change my dietary plan several times and have had to change up my workouts too, in order to see the results I want. But finally, I am seeing my body change right in front of my eyes and I am loving every minute of it. So, do your push-ups without touching your knees to the floor, crank that incline up on your treadmill, and swap that salad for a protein bar. You will thank yourself for it when you start to feel better, faster, stronger, and fitter.