"It seems not a day goes by where fat loss isn't in the headlines and the messages just seem to become increasingly confusing," say fitness experts Keris Marsden and Matt Whitmore. "But rest assured there are some key lifestyle and nutrition steps that have stood the test of time and proven effective time and time again." Here are their top five tips that are a sure fire way to jump start your fat loss journey:
1. Hormone Healthy Eating Patterns
"With trends for fasting and calorie restricted diets it’s easy to believe the key to fat loss journey is to reduce calorie intake and skip the odd meal, however, this will actually cause your blood sugar levels to drop which is a disaster for your waistline, spikes and dips in our blood glucose increases fat storage. This can easily be avoided by eating every 3-4 hours and including a serving of protein and healthy fats in each meal. These will help keep your blood sugar levels and appetite stable which is essential to encourage the body to burn fat to keep you fuelled and energised. Eating fat and protein with your meal will also increase the secretion of two hormones known as CCK and Peptide YY that feed back to the brain that you are full, lower your appetite hormones and prevent overeating at meal times."
2. Fill Your Plate With Fish
"Jump starting fat loss is largely about optimising hormonal signaling and cellular function within the body, this helps to remind our body we have fat stores to burn! Many nutrients can improve hormonal communication including omega 3 fatty acids, protein, iodine, vitamin D and selenium. Fish and seafood are a one stop shop for all these nutrients. The omega 3 fatty acids support insulin health, a key player in the stabilising blood sugar and burning fat, the iodine, zinc and selenium are all integral to optimal thyroid function, this is the hormone gland that controls metabolism (the rate your body burns calories). Fish and seafood are also an excellent source of B vitamins and these play an important role in boosting your metabolism and energy levels. B12 in particular is essential to help transform fats and protein into energy; sardines, salmon, tuna and cod are the richest sources is B12."
3. Move More Daily
"Many people make the mistake of prioritising exercise over movement. Whilst it’s great to plan your week and book in that regular spin class, yoga or bootcamp session it often means people tick off their exercise quote for the week and neglect to move more regularly on a daily basis. The key to sustainable fat loss is to keep our blood sugar levels healthy, this can be achieved by being more physically active throughout the day as we burn off glucose for energy. Studies have shown that even if you’re dedicated about hitting the gym 3-4 times a week but spend the majority of your day sitting you are still predisposed to insulin resistance and the muffin top that comes with it. Use a pedometer to track your activity levels and aim to walk 10,000 daily alongside your regular exercise sessions. Also forego some labour saving devices and hired help as a bit of gardening, cooking and housework is a great way of staying active across the week."
4. Love Your Gut
"The latest scientific research has unveiled a hugely important role for digestive health in fat loss. A correlation between healthy gut flora and a healthy body composition suggests that gut friendly nutrition should be a priority in reaching your fat loss goals. Many modern day processed foods can damage the digestive tract and lead to a condition commonly known as ‘leaky gut.’ Many people also do not consume enough fresh vegetable sand fruits that feed our protective, friendly gut bacteria and these protect us against infection and inflammation which are associated with weight gain and other chronic diseases. Limiting man made, processed foods and favouring natural ingredients in your home cooking is much more gut friendly, ancestral diets like the paleo diet recommend eat foods that our digestive systems are well adapted to breaking down and absorbing. Avoiding gluten grains like wheat, rye and barley is also helpful as gluten has been shown to exacerbate leaky gut. Gut bacteria love ‘prebiotic’ foods that provide them the nutrients they need to thrive and grow including leeks, garlic, apples, onions, artichokes and fresh berries."
5. Manage Stress
"Studies have shown that chronically elevated stress hormones increase body fat. Stress and anxiety up-regulate an enzyme in the body known as lipoprotein lipase (LPL) which increases fat deposition around the middle. Our modern day lifestyles are incredibly stressful as phones, laptops and tablets keep us connected 24/7. Try having a digital detox 2-3 times a week by leaving your phone at home when heading out for a social occasion. Consider deleting emails and social media apps from your phone and get offline at least an hour before going to bed, online interaction is stimulating to the mind and we need time to switch off before bed. Yoga, walking outdoors and deep breathing have all been shown to help manage stress and lower levels of stress hormones circulating in the body."
The Paleo Primer: A jump-start guide to losing body fat and living primally by Keris Marsden and Matt Whitmore is published by Vermilion, £14.99