Losing weight can be easy – but only if you follow the smart and simple way to burn fat without turning your life upside down, says New Body Plan creator Jon Lipsey
I’ll let you into a little secret. Sometimes I look better than others. Sometimes I have abs and sometimes I don’t.
There are a few reasons for this fluctuation. The main one is that I’m human. The other ones are that even though I love training, I also like having a beer or two with my friends. Working from home has also taught me that I love my local cafe’s almond croissants.
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Sometimes life makes six-pack ownership a bit tougher too. For example, I don’t always get as much sleep as I’d like because my toddler has a habit of vaulting out of his cot at 3.45am, ready to start his day. And I wouldn’t exactly say that the whole global Covid pandemic has done much to ease my stress levels.
So like a lot (the majority, in fact) of people, I’ve gained a bit of weight over the past few months. Nothing drastic – it always creeps up on you, right? But enough to make me unhappy with how I look.
Moment of truth
The moment of weight-gain realisation came about three weeks ago when my other half made me try on some new board shorts ahead of a quick break we’re taking at the end of the month.
When I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t a fan of how they sat on my waist. Muffin-top is probably a bit strong but you know the look I mean.
I didn’t feel great about it, if I’m honest. But rather than feel sorry for myself, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
It was also the perfect opportunity to use a Push/Pull technique for getting in shape.
Put simply, the technique involves identifying a ‘Push’ (something that is pushing you to make a positive change) and a ‘Pull’ (the goal you’re aiming for by making the change).
In my case, the push was feeling self-conscious in my swimwear and the pull was the knowledge that I’d be walking around in the same article of clothing in a few weeks time.
Once I had my Push/Pull system sorted, it was time to get into the detail. Here’s what I did, keeping things as simple as possible:
I had a few weeks to get in shape ahead of my holiday so I decided to do our new 28-Day Gym Blast Plan. I wanted to get back into the gym but if you’re looking for a home workout version you could try our Bodyweight Blast or Dumbbell Blast plans. It’s an accessible, 3-times-a-week plan so it’ll fit into your schedule regardless of how busy you are.
My approach is always to get the biggest benefit from the smallest sacrifices. Here are the tweaks I made:
I ate a high-protein, high-fat, low-carb breakfast
I did this to help regulate my blood sugar levels, promote a feeling of fullness and control my calorie intake. It’s not the only way to approach breakfast but it works for me. If I eat like this, I tend to feel full for a while. If I have toast for breakfast, I feel hungry an hour later.
I stopped eating my son’s leftovers
This is one of the main reasons parents gain weight. We clear our kids’ plates and in the process add a few hundred calories to our intake each day. So I wasn’t shrinking my own meals, I just wasn’t eating anyone else’s.
I reduced my alcohol consumption
Before this particular fitness push I was probably drinking every other night. Not loads but I was probably looking at up to 1,500 calories a week from alcohol. By limiting my consumption to once or twice a week and switching to slimline G&T I saved myself at least 1,000 calories a week. During a five-week holiday push, that works out to the best part of 1kg of weight loss. It wasn’t a massive sacrifice and it also improved my sleep, mood and energy levels.
I cut back on puddings
I quite like eating something sweet after dinner, and during the hot summer weather I’d got into a habit of eating ice-cream in the evening. All I needed to do was swap this for natural yogurt and frozen banana slices (which, when they start to melt, taste like ice cream). Again, no big deal and I also instantly felt better for it.
I can’t do much about the global Covid crisis but I can control my exposure to stress-inducing news. That’s why I stopped taking my phone into the bedroom at night (after all, who needs an alarm when you get a 3.45am tiny human visitor). That also meant I couldn’t reach for it in the morning, check the news and begin my day with a digest of the general sh*t-show we find ourselves in. I also went to bed a bit earlier. I might not be in charge of when my day starts, but I am at least in control of when it ends.
So that’s what I did. Mind-blowing, huh? And as a result I’ve lost about 1lb a week without feeling like I’ve made any effort.
And that’s the key. You see, making a difference to how you look and feel doesn’t have to be a battle. It doesn’t have to involve suffering and sacrifice. But it does need a push and it does need a pull. Work out what they are for you and you’re halfway there!
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