Losing weight can be a long and frustrating process at the best of times, but add a time constraint to it and you’re liable to end up giving yourself such a big mountain to climb that you find yourself rolling back down to the bottom in no time. With this in mind we got USN Nutrition Advisor Karl Bickley and Organic Burst Nutritionist Claire Harper together to discuss 20 of the best ways to start losing weight in just two weeks.
- 1. Say no to allergens
‘Sensitivities to certain foods cause inflammation in the gut, water retention and bloating,’ says Harper. ‘Taking common allergens such as wheat or dairy out of your diet for two weeks could really help lose inches around your waist.’
- 2. Stick to your list
‘Plan your week’s food shopping. Think ahead to what meals you are going to have for the week and write out a planner,’ says Bickley. ‘Avoid buying anything not on your list and keep away from any special offers tempting you away from your plan.’
- 3. Never be hungry
‘Don’t shop hungry – we are all human and controlled by our hormones, shopping hungry will often lead to emotional choices and therefore poor choices,’ says Bickley. ‘Try eating before you go shopping or taking a healthy snack with you. Don’t leave work hungry. This often leads to poor food choices or snacking as soon as you get in. The longer you are in need of food, the more likely your choice will become more hormonal and emotional. Constant picking at sweet and quick fix foods is likely to follow whilst you prepare your evening meal.’
- 4. Boost that metabolism
‘Not so much food related, but take the stairs, walk the dog, do some fasted cardio or training in the morning and make the effort to be more active at work,’ says Bickley. ‘This will not only boost your metabolism, but will help with digestion and vitality.’
- 5. Get the eggs in
Research has shown that people who like their eggs in the morning lose 65% more weight than those who scoff a bread-based breakfast with the same number of calories. An omelette with two eggs and cheese ‘utilises the protein and calcium to increase satiety for the day,’ says nutrition consultant Drew Price.
- 6. Start with an apple
Apples have been found to produce a hormone called GLP-1 in the body, which turns off hunger alerts in your brain. Researchers from the University of Iowa discovered that participants in a study ate 15% fewer calories after chomping on the fruit before they consumed their biggest meal of the day.
- 7. Get raw
‘Eat one raw meal every day for 2 weeks. This ensures that you eat more nutrient-rich fresh vegetables and fruits, and less of the starchy foods that cause us to put on weight,’ says Harper. ‘Raw food is full of natural enzymes that help you digest efficiently.’
- 8. Eat slower
‘This means chewing properly – at least 20 chews per mouthful. Put down your fork and make sure you’ve swallowed and taken a breath before loading up your next bite,’ says Harper. ‘This way you will recognise the feeling of fullness and stop eating before you’ve stuffed yourself.’
- 9. Embrace coconut oil
‘Coconut oil contains healthy fats called medium chain triglycerides that your body uses quickly for energy, but doesn’t raise the level of sugar in your blood stream.’ says Harper.
- 10. Change your wine drinking habits
Yes, we know that red wine needs to “breathe” in a goblet-style glass, but it also means that you pour 12% more into that glass, according to an Iowa State University study. To save 150kcal on every dinner party, let your barolo breathe in a jug or decanter before necking it from a narrow, not fishbowl-sized, glass. 20 tips not enough? Check out our 10 simple ways to reduce your belly fat.
- 11. Starchy carbs are not your friend
‘Basically be cautious of any white food aside of cauliflower,’ says Bickley. ‘Keep away from the bread and patisseries and forget the pasta for a few weeks, instead use fibrous vegetables, sweet potato and quinoa.’
- 12. Stay well hydrated
‘Keeping your fluid levels up will help negate any excessive water retention and will help your body repair, rebuild and detox while giving you added health and vitality,’ says Bickley. ‘Don’t fall for ‘diet’ or ‘sugar free drinks’ as they are not always as good as they seem!’
- 13. Spice up your life
‘It’s difficult to over-eat hot, spicy foods as your taste buds will scream at you. They also increase your metabolic rate, temporarily burning more calories for a few hours,’ says Harper.
- 14. Dairy everyday
Keep the flab at bay by eating a low-calorie dairy product such as Greek yoghurt and leave the fruit versions (which are packed with sugar) on the supermarket shelves. As well as packing enough protein to keep hunger controlled, Greek yoghurt will limit the release of calcitrol, a hormone that has been linked with your love handles.
- 15. Make snacking sugar free
‘Increase your sugar-free snack repertoire, here are a few suggestions: Greek yoghurt with homemade granola, kale chips, a hardboiled egg, a handful of nuts or coconut chips, half an avocado, celery sticks with nut butter,’ says Harper.
- 16. Switch-up your hot drink habits
‘Fancy a cuppa? Reduce your tea/ coffee intake. The tea and coffee on its own is not a problem, but avoid the added milk and temptations for spoonfuls of sugar,’ says USN Nutrition advisor Karl Bickley. ‘Try herbal, fruit teas, rooibos or black tea and eradicate your cravings by using water as the hydration fuel of choice. If you are a fan of a takeaway cappuccino or latte then always make it skinny and ask for sugar free flavourings – this will save you a heap of calories.’
- 17. Keep breakfast regular
‘If you eat breakfast regularly and then start cutting it out occasionally, you may feel hungry but it will also stop you from overeating at subsequent meals,’ says Dr David Levitsky, a nutrition scientist at Cornell University. He found that occasional breakfast dodgers ate 408 daily calories less than usual.
- 18. Go cold turkey
‘Have a food amnesty and get rid of unhealthy foods and snacks from your home that would be too tempting to resist,’ says Harper.
- 19. Be strict with portion sizes
‘Reduce and control your portion sizes, especially on evening meals. Try swapping to leafy greens, spinach and salad leaves such as lambs lettuce, rocket and pea shoots for added flavour and to fill out your meals,’ says Bickley.
- 20. Plan your exercise in advance
Make a commitment by booking classes, or arranging to workout with a friend with a set time and place. No excuses!