Successful weight loss is all to do with how you manage your food intake.
As you may know, making drastic changes to eating habits like following a fad diet, cause you to lose weight quickly.
However, your body can’t cope with sudden weight loss and will always tend to react negatively in the short term, or even damage your body in the long term!
Know that fad diets can cause you to become exhausted, weak and undernourished – and frustratingly, you’re likely to put back on more weight than you started with!
Take the gradual, long-term approach to weight loss and you’ll be rewarded with the long-term results you so desperately want.
Let’s take a closer look as to how we can achieve this:
Three steps to weight loss success:
Remember: calories eaten, minus calories burned = weight loss!
A calorie can be in the form of fat, carbohydrate and protein, – but eat too many calories and you put on weight no matter the food source.
You may struggle to lose weight even though you think you’re producing a calorie deficit. On closer inspection it’s usually the hidden calories, i.e. the calories ‘you didn’t realise you ate’, that can lead you away from a calorie deficit – it doesn’t take much!
To solve this, we shouldn’t need to ‘count’ calories obsessively. We simply need to manage our calories better.
If you can follow these three steps (below) and ride your bike, you should see a difference on the scales. If not, then book in with a specialist dietician to find out where your problem really lies.
Note I mention ride your bike too? Riding a bike is important not only to help bring about a calorie deficit, but to help preserve lean muscle and burn body fat – so you get leaner, NOT thinner.
[To read more about how to become leaner and burn body fat by riding a bike, read: Fat Loss For Cyclists: Get Lean On Autopilot]
So as well as riding your bike, I have three steps to manage your food intake to bring about and maintain a calorie deficit:
- How much you eat and drink
- When you eat and drink
- What you eat and drink
1. How much you eat and drink
You may think you’re eating well, but how big is your plate of food or snack? Do you drink alcohol often, how much – really? Do you tend to eat ‘breakfast’ all over again after a bike ride?
Reducing portion sizes and especially reducing alcohol intake will have the greatest effect on your calorie intake. Try to:
- Eat off a smaller plate if you can for every meal.
- Eat three quality meals: breakfast (largest), lunch (less), dinner (much less). Take healthy snacks in between meals to keep your energies balanced, to cover a total of 6 meals a day so you’re not ‘starving’ your body.
- Opt for smaller helpings and lessen ‘second’ helpings at every meal.
- Reduce kitchen pickings and unhealthy snacks when at home!
- Eat less after your bike rides – cereal, milk with banana, or protein shake should suffice.
- Opt for ‘small’ or ‘half’ portions when at a restaurant.
- Cut down alcohol intake by glass sizes – opt for a small glass or half pint.
2. When you eat and drink
Choosing when you eat can have a dramatic effect on your calorie balance:
- Eat a great breakfast (e.g: porridge+egg+fruit juice). Breakfast sets you up for eating fewer calories during the day – especially if you include quality protein, like a boiled egg.
- Eat dinner between 6-7p.m. Eating later causes calories to be stored as fat as your body’s metabolism slows overnight.
- Drink a fruit tea instead of grabbing the cereal packet late at night! Big calorie savings can be made here!
- Eat your last meal or snack about 2 hours before riding, to digest your food. This way you enable the body to use those digested calories for energy.
3. What you eat and drink
By looking at what you eat, you’ll ‘tone up’ steps 1 and 2 by making the food you eat lighter in calories and healthier:
- Remember, you never have to cut out food – always reduce or substitute for healthier options. Here are some examples:
- Substitute chocolate/sweets for fruit, cereal bars, nuts, dried fruit.
- Substitute alcohol/fizzy drinks for water and fruit juices.
- Reduce your amount of white starches a day: bread, pasta, rice and potatoes especially towards the evening time.
- Substitute extra helpings for vegetables/fruit.
- Reduce your intake of salt in every meal.
- Substitute ‘take-a-ways’ and instead, learn to cook!
Take your time learning to manage your food intake. Expect it to take a few months to settle into a new regime. Realise that it’s more about how you manage your eating habits that will probably make the biggest difference to your waistline!
Remember that small changes are more important than trying to change steps 1-3 all in one go.
If you’re enjoying getting into cycling and gradually make these changes, it won’t be long before you see results in weight loss - and permanent weight loss results at that!
So, have you successfully lost some weight by riding a bike and managing your food intake? I would love to hear your story, and look forward as always to your views and comments.
Also please share with anyone you think might benefit from this post…