I’m a fat loss specialist – here’s my straightforward guide to finally get slim in 2023

EVERY year, millions of us vow to lose weight and get in shape.

However, research has found that nearly two thirds of those who make New Year’s resolutions, actually abandon them within the first month.

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Finding exercise you love can be a game changer when it comes to hitting your weight loss goalsCredit: Getty

Emily Servante, a personal trainer and fat loss specialist at Ultimate Performancesays fat loss really doesn’t need to be complicated: “In actual fact, the fundamental science of fat loss is pretty straightforward.

“Eat less, exercise more, and create a consistent calorie deficit and you will lose fat. Simple.

“Unfortunately, whilst the science may be simple, actually putting it into practice is hard work.”

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With Emily’s tips, you can rev up your metabolismenjoy plenty of delicious food and lose weight for good…

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

Good things take time, and unless you’re already pretty lean, don’t expect to get them Jennifer Aniston‘s physique in a fortnight.

“In fact, that’s one of the biggest pitfalls people fall into.

“They strip away so many calories (mostly carbs and sugar) from their diet, hit the gym seven days a week, and when they don’t get the look they want after two weeks, they give up and claim they either have a ‘ slow metabolism’ or that the ‘gym doesn’t work’ for them.

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“I’m afraid that’s nonsense,” says Emily.

If your diet is currently loaded with calorie-dense junk food, and your ‘exercise’ consists of walking to the fridge and back, then a “couple of weeks in a very serious calorie deficit and regular exercise is going to translate into some serious fat loss”, however in the long run, you’re going to struggle to keep this up and you I’ll end up seriously tired and miserable.

DON’T STARVE YOURSELF

This will only slow down your metabolism, causing fat loss to grind to a halt.

“Our metabolisms shut down during periods of starvation in order to protect us from food deprivation,” warns Emily, who adds that continued restriction of the wrong calories, poor exercise choice and the ravages of the 21st century lifestyle all contribute to our metabolism slowing and all of our “fuel” being hoarded as body fat.

Therefore, a modest calorie deficit that is sustainable over the long term is the best way to lose weight.

Spend a few days tallying up the calories you already consume, then look to take 250 to 500 calories off this per day.

HIT THE WEIGHTS ROOM

“In order to reset the metabolic rate, we need to hit the weights room,” says Emily, who adds that too much aerobic exercise – such as running – can cause muscle loss.

This can then lead to a slow and sluggish metabolism, making your fat loss goals even harder.

Plus, we lose muscle as we age, again impacting our metabolism.

After the age of 30, we lose an average of 5 to 10lbs of lean body mass (muscle) for every decade that follows.

“Muscle is metabolically active tissue, so as well as carrying your skeleton through space, it also burns calories just to maintain itself.

“Therefore, a loss of muscle tissue is absolutely crippling to the metabolism,” says Emily.

“The average person who does nothing about this loses 25 percent of their lean body mass by the age of 65.

“This equates to a daily drop in metabolic rate of 500 calorieswhich puts a severe dent into the ability to stay in shape.”

Avoid this metabolism disaster by following a modest two to three times-a-week resistance training program, where your major muscles are worked for a 45-minute period.

“Work with weights that present a minor, but not insurmountable, challenge for sets of ten to 15 repetitions,” adds Emily.

PROTEIN IS ESSENTIAL AT EVERY MEAL

Every meal should be built around a quality source of protein.

“Protein helps to repair, rebuild and maintain muscle tissue, which not only improves body composition (the way your body looks) but also increases metabolic rate.

“It also helps keep you fuller for longer, and the better you can control hunger, the more sustainable your diet will be,” says Emily.

Look to consume lean protein sources such as chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, Greek yoghurt, tofu and beans.

EAT FROM THE LAND

Emily explains that every single person would look, feel and perform better if the majority of their meals came from ‘whole’, nutrient-dense, minimally-processed ingredients that came from the land rather than processed in a factory.

In short, if it comes from a packet, try to avoid it, and aim to cook meals from scratch where you can.

It includes a variety of vegetables to help meet your vitamin and mineral needs, while also helping the detoxification process, and supporting a healthy digestion.

Vegetables also offer a lot of volume while being low in calories too.

MONITOR YOUR FATS

Healthy fats are important for good health; think nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil. However, ‘healthy’ can still mean calorific.

“Fat intake should be carefully monitored, as each gram of fat contains more than double the calories than protein or carbs so it can be easy to overeat,” reveals Emily.

For guidance, aim for a small handful of mixed nuts, one third of an avocado and no more than a tablespoon of oil.

DON’T SKIP CARBS

“Like fats, carbs should not be feared,” says Emily.

Enjoy healthy, non-refined carb sources such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, beans, lentils and other whole grains.

“They can boost performance and strength, aid recovery from your workouts, improve thyroid function, as well as help you sleep better.”

Carbs are best eaten post-workout and in the last meal of the day to help improve sleep.

FIND WHAT YOU LOVE

“In my experience, the people who are most successful in their fat loss efforts are those who find something they love doing.

“They become addicted to it endorphin high of whatever exercise they enjoy the most, and that’s what keeps them coming back, time after time, session after session,” reveals Emily.

It sounds obvious, but if you find what you enjoy, you will most definitely remain motivated.

Need guidance? Try asking a PT at your gym for some advice or find a local sports center nearby and see what’s available.

COMPETE WITH YOU AND YOU ONLY

Forget others, this journey is about you!

“Compete with yourself. Whether that’s putting a little bit more weight on a lift each time you perform it, or trying to run a 10km slightly quicker each time,” says Emily.

“Constantly striving to beat your own personal bests is a great way to continue to motivate yourself and, just as importantly, prove to yourself that you’re making progress.”

Plus, it can help take some of the pressure off losing weight and instead redirect your energy into getting stronger/fitter/quicker.

TAKE PROGRESS PICTURES

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a good way to see how you’re getting on, to help maintain motivation and remind yourself how well you’re doing.

“Get a friend to take a picture from front on, side on, and of your back when you start your new healthy eating and/or fitness regimen,” says Emily.

“Every week, at the same time, take all three pictures again. Compare the two.

“You would be absolutely amazed at how motivational it can be when you can physically see the progress you’re making.”

Emily also recommends weighing yourself at weekly intervals, at the same time and under the same conditions to see changes week to week.

GET TO GRIPS WITH FOOD PREP

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail; a phrase that rings true when it comes to weight loss.

“You are far more likely to veer off your diet if you buy your lunch every day, as we are all prone to make decisions based on what we fancy, as opposed to what we should be eating.

“But once you embrace food prep, there are so many benefits that will help you progress with your fat loss goals,” says Emily.

Not only do you save time by bulk cooking meals in one go, but you also have a much tighter control about the quality and quantity of ingredients going into your meals and food you’re eating.

“It means you can control your portion sizes and more effectively monitor your caloric intake from your meals. This is vital if you’re trying to shed body fat,” says Emily.

NEVER RELY ON ‘FAT BURNING’ PILLS

“If something smells too good to be true, it usually is,” warns Emily.

“There is no magic bullet when it comes to fat burners.

“We all want the fastest route to where we want to get to. But fat burning pills don’t work.

“If a fat burning pill worked to the point where it elevated your metabolism high enough to have a statistically significant difference in your fat loss, then it would be a drug,” says Emily.

Plus, if they really worked, wouldn’t we all be slim?

REMEMBER YOUR ‘WHY’

“Write your motivation down on a piece of paper and pin it up somewhere in your house,” recommends Emily.

Everyone has a reason why they want to lose body fat, a light bulb moment.

When the going gets tough, and you feel like skipping a workout or tucking in to an entire cake, go back to that piece of paper and remember why you started on this journey in the first place.

KEEP MOVING

“Another giant piece of the fat loss puzzle is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).

“That is the energy expended for everything we do when we’re not sleeping or exercising,” explains Emily.

For example, mowing the lawn, walking up a flight of stairs to get to the office, even the hour of fidgeting after a strong cup of black coffee in the morning. These all burn calories.

By constantly moving around and being on your feet – like we humans were designed to be – you could burn an additional 2,000 calories without even trying.

Emily recommends building movement into your everyday life.

“Do something enjoyable like getting out for a walk with friends in the fresh air, take the kids to the park, get out into the garden if you enjoy gardening or even walk around the house when taking a phone call.”

YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE SACRIFICES

Unless you’re a genetic marvel, you’re not going to lose fat if your diet consists of lashings of lasagne and tiramisu,” says Emily.

“If you really want to lose unwanted fat and change your body composition, you’re going to have to put in some hard yards.

“You’re going to have to clean up your diet, and not give in to temptations or binge at weekends.

“You’re going to have to exercise. You’re going to have to find the willpower and the mental strength to keep going when you’re desperate for some sugary treats or you can’t face going to the gym.”

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But, despite what it may seem like, Emily adds that losing fat doesn’t have to be boring and you don’t have to feel hangry 24/7.

“There are all sorts of things you can do to keep your diet healthy yet interesting, and ensure that going to the gym doesn’t become an unwanted chore.”

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