Do you know anyone who would not like to drop 5kg?! Unlike larger amounts of weight, losing just a few kilos can actually be quite tough, and you often have to get quite specific with your macro-nutrients, calorie load, meal timing and exercise. The other important aspect is to allocate the time and focus to doing so – you will need at least 4 weeks of pretty focused eating to get some initial weight loss and then successive 1/2 – 1kg losses each week. So taking tips from the new edition of my book, Losing the Last 5kg, here are my best tips on how to get there!
It may come as a surprise to hear that it can actually be harder to lose a couple of kilos than it is to lose 20 or 30. Indeed this can explain why some people seem able to be able to lose multiple kilos quickly when they decide to lose weight, compared to those of us who always seem to struggle that that extra one or two. There are a number of reasons why weight loss becomes more difficult the smaller the amount of weight you want to lose. Firstly and most importantly if you only need to lose 3-5kg, it is likely that you are already eating well and exercising. To then lean up further, it will then require additional diet and exercise changes that help to increase metabolic rate and promote further fat loss. The second issue that is of particular relevance when you are looking to drop a couple of kg is that the body simply does not like to be lean, which means that sometimes we need to resort to various diet and exercise tricks that will help to boost fat burning in the quest to achieve the specific weight loss and body shape we are looking for.
Commit and follow through
To set yourself up for sustainable fat loss, particularly when the desired weight loss is relatively small, you need to aim for a number of days each week of tightly controlled eating. Many people fail with their fat loss attempts as they let the little extras slip in on a daily basis; the couple of hundred calories from wine at dinner or from an extra row of chocolate are all it can take to complete derail your weight loss attempts. To commit to fat loss you need a period of at least of 5-6 days of tightly controlled eating to adequately deplete your fuel stores, effectively burn body fat and see that 1-2kg drop on the scales over a course of a week.
In order to eat well you need to have the food you need readily available – planning is the key to dietary success. Each week set aside some time to plan all of your weekday meals and snacks and then make time to visit the supermarket to stock up on all the foods that you need to ensure that you eat well. People who eat well are organised and keep the foods on hand that they need to keep on track with their diet, no matter what situation they find themselves in. If you are serious about losing body fat, your nutrition needs to become a priority for at least a month, which is also a perfect amount of time to lose 5kg.
Bump up the protein at breakfast
Protein is a super nutrient when it comes to weight loss as it is digested more slowly than carbs and hence helps to keep the hormonal systems that control our appetite and fat burning hormones well regulated. Aiming to consume 15-20g of protein at breakfast via a couple of eggs, a protein shake, some baked beans or some thick natural yogurt will help to kick start metabolic rate for the day, and keep us full and satisfied for at least 3-4 hours so that we are less tempted by high fat treats and snacks throughout the morning.
Eat more vegetables
Once you aim to include vegetables and salad at every meal and snack, whether this is via some mushrooms and tomatoes in your morning omelette, a large salad at lunch and some vegetable soup for dinner, you are kept so nicely full that you eat far less of the other calorie containing foods. Aim for at least 2-3 cups of vegetables or salad at lunch and dinner as well as snacking on some vegetables throughout the day.
Watch the liquid calories
It does not matter whether the calories come from wine, juice, coffee or a smoothie, the body does not compensate well when we consume liquid calories. This means that we do not adjust our food intake to eat less when we drink fluids other than water or clear tea. For many of us, our daily coffee habit, or a couple of wines with dinner are habits that have gradually crept into our lives, along with an extra couple of kg. Take a break from your milk coffee, alcohol and extra juices and swap to water or herbal tea and you are likely to see a drop in weight as well.
Change things around
If you only have 5kg to lose, chances are you are already exercising regularly, but it may also be time to change your workout around a little. The body gets used to exercising in a certain way, just as it gets used to eating a certain way very quickly. For this reason, altering your workout type, timing and intensity is often all you need to do to kick-start fat burning again when things have been stable. Choose a different type of gym class, start training intervals rather than sitting on the treadmill or bike at the same speed or go to the gym at a different time of the day to mix things up a little and challenge the metabolism.
Top 10 tips for losing 5kgs
1. Make breakfast your largest meal of the day.
2. Drink a green tea after each meal.
3. Make sure that your dinner and lunch include half a plate of salad or vegetables.
4. Go alcohol free for at least 5 days each week.
5. Drink tea and coffee with meals only.
6. Take the edge of your hunger on the way home from work with a filling snack such as apple, carrot or nuts.
7. Move your body for an hour each day.
8. Keep your dinner small, with salad, soup, vegetables and a small piece of meat.
9. Have a meal off your diet each week.
10. Get lots of sleep, at least 9 hours each night.