How to lose weight – The 9 rules.
Cut out alcohol for two weeks to kick-start weight loss
Stopping alcohol completely is a hard sell after the year we have had, but if you can commit to at least two weeks without a drink it will dramatically enhance weight loss. “I find that when clients drink alcohol they lose weight more slowly, so it is initially off limits when they want to shed pounds,” says Dominique Ludwig, a nutritionist whose clients include Hollywood actresses and elite athletes. “Alcohol calories can quickly add up and one glass can so easily become two.” After two weeks allow yourself a maximum of two to three units on two to three days while you are trying to lose weight, aiming for at least four days free of alcohol each week and never consuming more than the recommended 14 units.
“White bread, rice, processed breakfast cereals, white pasta and flour are the type of carbs that quickly enter our bloodstream and are more likely to be stored as body fat,” Ludwig says. “If you are trying to lose weight, my advice is to only have carbs at one main meal of the day, to make sure they take up no more than one quarter of your plate.” Switch to brown, black, red or wild rice, oat cakes and root vegetables for your carb sources, she adds. “Even sweet or white boiled potatoes are OK.”
Protein has been proven to help people feel fuller and to curb cravings, both of which will speed up weight loss. “In each of your two to three daily meals aim to eat a balance between plant, vegetarian and animal protein meals,” says Ludwig. “The more varied your protein, the easier it is to curb carb intake and that supports faster fat loss because your insulin and blood-sugar levels are better managed.” One or two portions of good quality protein a week “will work well for weight loss because it is filling and releases its energy slowly,” says Ludwig. “Fish is fantastic, particularly sardines, mackerel, salmon and herrings, which are high in nutritionally beneficial omega-3 fats. Pulses and legumes are an important source of protein and also contain carbohydrates and fibre so are a great addition.” Aim for two cupped hands’ worth of cooked beans or lentils per meal. If you struggle to digest legumes and find they cause bloating it’s because they contain high levels of galactooligosaccharides, which are fermented by bacteria in the gut, resulting in excess gas. “Canned lentils and chickpeas may be the better tolerated but build up a tolerance gradually,” Ludwig says. “Start with smaller portions of pulses combined with another protein source such as chicken, tofu or even halloumi cheese so that you feel full without the bloat.”