Weight loss wasn’t exactly a niche topic before lockdown but losing weight – or avoiding weight gain in the first place – sure as hell are popular now. But come on, whether we’re in or out of lockdown, it’s important to eat well and exercise if you want to manage your weight at home. The good news is that losing weight at home needn’t be difficult. You don’t need to go full keto for weight loss… although, okay, that might help.
We spoke to Simon Jurwik, performance nutritionist and commercial director at Bulk Powders. In his humble opinion, some quite simple changes to lifestyle and diet can lead to great results. You don’t have to do bodyweight workouts at home or use a running workout… although that also might help.
Here are Simon’s best tips on lockdown weight loss – keeping in shape effectively and safely, with no dramas.
What’s the best way to avoid weight gain/lose weight in isolation?
As Simon explains, “to avoid weight gain or to lose weight, you need to maintain calories – compared to your energy expenditure – to avoid weight gain or in a deficit for weight loss.”
If this sounds a bit too complicated, here is what it means: you need to eat less than your maintenance calories in order to lose weight. Maintenance calories are what your body needs to function: on average, it is around 2000 kcal for women and 2500 kcal for men.
“A good way to do this is tracking your calories so you have a better understanding of how much you’re eating.” Simon adds “If you don’t like specifically calorie tracking, then start monitoring your portion sizes. If you need to lose weight, simply reduce the portion sizes.”
Calorie tracking can be made easy with apps like MyFitnessPal which can scan barcodes and do the addition for you, no need to calculate carbs/fat/protein manually.
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Top five food items to avoid if you don’t want to gain weight
Simon doesn’t believe in bad foods although even he wouldn’t recommend chowing down on takeaway every morning. His motto is “everything in moderation”. “Nonetheless, I would say to limit your consumption of the below whilst in lockdown as they are more calorie dense” he adds.
- Processed foods: processed foods has loads of additives and artificial ingredients to make them last longer and give them a more articulated taste.
- Alcohol: as we mentioned here on T3, cutting alcohol can help weight loss significantly, without changing anything else.
- Refined sugar: refines sugar is unhealthy for many reasons. It spikes insulin levels and doesn’t have any nutritional value. It can cause addiction, damage your teeth and hurt your organs too.
- Chocolate bars: not only these contain a very high amount of sugar most usually, they also have quite few additives too. Try snacking on protein bars or beef and vegan jerky instead.
- Takeaways: just like processed food, takeaway is high in calories and has a bad combination of bad fats, unhealthy carbs and high sugar content.
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Top five food items to include in your diet to lose weight
When it comes to weight loss, Simon vouches for calorie deficit: “You should try and eat a well balanced diet so you get the right amount of nutrients and minerals.” Ideally, you would like to eat your five a day, a mix of fruits and vegetables, to make sure your vitamin levels are topped up.
It’s easier than you think to add more greens to your meals: have some tomatoes with your breakfast bacon and eggs, have an apple mid-morning, some asparagus and kale with your lunch, a banana in the afternoon and half an avocado with your tea.
Simon recommends the following food groups to be included in your diet for effective weight loss:
- High protein foods such as chicken, nuts and eggs: protein is great for muscle recovery and weight loss too.
- Low GI foods such as oatmeal, sweet potato and legumes: these will fill you up for longer and have a range of health benefits as well.
- Fruits: pick more fibrous ones like pears, raspberry and avocado.
- Vegetables: especially green veg tend to be high in protein and fibre, such as kale, spinach and the likes.
- Water: “I know this isn’t a food item but I think water is something that people often forget about and it’s important to keep hydrated!” Simon explains.
Is there a special diet that can help you lose weight faster?
“Ultimately, it comes down to adherence. If you find going lower carb keto diet is easier for you to stick with, then that’s a good option. If you prefer intermittent fasting and you find you can stick to it, then that’s one to explore” – Simon adds.
The key here is sticking to the diet and not jumping from one fad to the other. Once you found the diet you can keep to – it doesn’t have to be an extreme one either – just let your body adjust and eventually, you’ll see the results.
The most important thing to remember is that once you get healthy, weight loss will come naturally. It’s not about chasing after pounds lost; what’s more important is to ease yourself into a healthy lifestyle and a sustainable diet. That will make you lose weight and keep it off, too.
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Is exercising necessary for weight loss/maintenance?
In Simon’s opinion, it’s important to make a distinction between people who already have a certain muscle mass and people who ‘just’ want to lose weight: “It depends, if you’re aiming to maintain a certain amount of muscle mass, you would need to continue exercising and in particular, resistance training, to hold onto the muscle mass you have.”
Cardio has long been used for weight loss, let it be running on treadmills, indoor cycling or indoor rowing. But resistance training is also a great way to burn calories as well as doing HIIT workouts. The best resistance training for weight loss are the ones that use compound exercises, like this full body workout or this two-day push-pull workout.
“Similarly, if you’ve just completed a diet, which incorporated exercising and calorie restriction, you’ll need to continue completing the same level of exercise to maintain your weight. If you were to just stop, your calorie expenditure would go down and you will likely gain weight” – Simon concludes.
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Can supplements help maintain/lose weight and if so, which ones?
Understandably, Simon knows a lot about supplements: “supplements can contribute to maintaining/losing weight when incorporated into a balanced diet. For example, if you follow a ketogenic diet, Bulk Powders has several products that are low in carbohydrates such as our Complete Keto Protein Shake, Complete Greens and Electrolyte tablets.”
Supplements can come in many shapes and sizes and supplementing your diet doesn’t necessarily mean chugging down gallons of protein shakes or weight gainers. Especially if you are following a strict diet, like the vegan diet or the aforementioned keto diet, taking some supplements will be inevitable to support your metabolism.
When using supplements to lose weight, our product Cutting Edge, contains Glucomannan which contributes to weight loss in the context of a calorie restricted diet.