6 Ways to Lose Weight Without Supplements
Considering you looked this article up, I am assuming that you have tried some version of slimming strategy, meaning:
- Slimming shakes
- Slimming pills
And probably none of them worked, right?
These days, there is an awful lot of businesses that prey on desperate people, unfortunately mainly women.
I am sure you have come across a few people, even friends, promoting stuff on their social media. Don’t get me wrong, I promote stuff too. But I am not telling you to start your day with a fizzy stick (£30 for a packet), then take a miracle pill with two glasses of water (£30 a packet), then have a shake instead of your lunch (£50 a pouch) etc. These “supplements” are often way overpriced and we don’t need them. Just have fruit with your breakfast or a portion of vegetables with your lunch. The nutrients are around us. Unfortunately current society forgot all about natural resources this planet offers and children are even more affected. We now live in a society where foods like pizza, chips, sausage rolls, frozen chicken nuggets etc. are considered “food for children”. Just go to a restaurant and have look at a “children menu” 🙁 If we don’t address this we will be in serious trouble and we will eventually become sick and vulnerable to these overpriced products that are supposed to “make us better”.
I know a few people who do promote these products from infamously known “pyramid scheme” companies. I have even seen amazing results on them. I know girls who lost 1 stone+ allegedly because of these products.
I do use supplements and I do promote some of them but I only use them as SUPPLEMENTS. They don’t take over my nutrition.
Let me save you a lot of money guys.
There is no doubt that these products don’t hurt you. They probably have a lot of beneficial nutrients that help people who have atrocious diets. And unfortunately that means most of us. So many of us all of a sudden woke up after years of eating takeaways every weekend and drinking every day after hard day at work realising that we cannot carry on like this.
- Maybe you can’t fit in your favourite clothes anymore?
- Perhaps you don’t like what’s looking back at you from the mirror?
- Are you ashamed to put the bikini on?
- You don’t want to wear shorts or crop tops anymore?
- You chose loose clothes when shopping?
- You have back or joint pain?
- You experience pains and aches?
- You feel tired and unfit?
There are hundreds of reasons and I would be writing this article for weeks if I had to mention every single one of them. The most important thing is that we all know what our own particular problem is. My wake up call happened when I came back from my winter holiday in Cuba and saw pictures. I was all out of shape and flabby, and I was only in my 20s. I am not going to try to tell you a miracle story where I lost a stone in one month or anything like that. I didn’t particularly need to lose a lot of weight and I think most of us are in the same position. I needed to work on the shape and tone up a little.
The Best Advice Ever
Best advice I can give you is to stop obsessing about losing weight. You are just going to stress yourself out. I know you finally woke up and that’s amazing!!! But obsession with weight loss is just going to put you in a very vulnerable position and it will expose your vulnerability to the companies that sell overpriced products to people who want results FAST.
You cannot achieve your goal overnight. You have to be patient and it requires dedication. If it was easy, we would all be ripped.
#1 Write your goals down!
Get a pen and paper and get your goals down.
Divide them into three categories.
- Short-term – these are goals that will ideally be accomplished within a month. They can be for example:
- Go to the gym 3x a week
- Go for a long walk every weekend
- Go swimming 2x a week
- Walk instead of taking a bus or a car (if you can walk the distance)
- Eat more vegetables
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Reduce snacking on comfort food
- Reduce takeaway meals from every weekend to 2x a month
- Reduce processed food consumption
- Sign up for a new class
- Medium-term – these should be between one and six months
- Reduce and eventually avoid something that you know is impacting badly on your diet (crisps, chocolate)
- To be able to run 5k
- To be able to Squat 100kg
- Further enforce your short-term goals that you were able to accomplish
- Go to the gym 5x a week
- Lose 10% of body fat in 3 months
- Long-term – These goals are usually more than six months into the future
- Avoid processed food
- Give up takeaways (or reduce them to an occasion – i.e. once a month)
- Master a new skill – perhaps you signed up for martial arts and are hoping to learn a certain move
- Reduce drinking alcohol after work to 2x a month
- Squat 150kg
- Row 1500m in 5 mins
These goals can be literally anything you can think of. They don’t even have to be specifically fitness orientated. It could be anything that you think will improve your lifestyle. Make sure you make your goals specific:
- Instead of “eat more fruit and veg” -> “Eat a portion of vegetables with lunch and dinner”
- “Lose weight” -> “Lose 4kg in a month”
- “Eat less takeaway” -> “Eat takeaway 2x a month max”
If you keep your goals specific it will be a lot easier to keep an eye on them. It is a lot easier to catch yourself having that third takeaway a month when you set yourself a goal on two.
I, for example, bought myself a fridge magnetic monthly planner for my gym workouts – you can get really cheap and good quality ones on Amazon – I chose a colour that would represent just gym workouts and nothing else and made sure that colour shows up 6x every week (my goal). At the end of the month I review the whole board and check if there is some improvement needed anywhere. I log everything. Even if I don’t feel like going to the gym, I at least do 45min yoga at home or a quick Ab workout. Everything counts!!!
#2 Don’t Diet!
Instead of researching all the different diets out there, focus on NUTRITION!
Diet is a short term fix, not a sustainable solution.
As we all know, whenever the diet stops, weight comes back. And that’s because our body works on a simple equation:
- Calories IN < Calories OUT = Weight Loss
Every single diet out there restricts you in something. Keto diet tells you to just eat fat. Fasting diets tell you not to eat at all. They might be of use for people with medical condition, for example Keto diet was originally developed in 1924 for people with epilepsy and there was evidence that it helps with seizures, however the diet became unnecessary after anti-seizure meds became available and the diet was put in the drawer only to be discovered decades later as a “miracle weight loss programme”. Our body’s primary source of energy are Carbohydrates. You cannot function properly and with good levels of energy if you avoid them.
And don’t even let me start on intermittent fasting! Yes, it probably works at the beginning because you don’t eat anything. Of course, you are going to lose weight if you don’t eat for 16h a day! But how long can you sustain it? Month? Two? At some point you will crash and the weight will come back, making you even more depressed.
Forget the word diet and start using the word Nutrition. Focus on what you put in your body.
#3 Look What’s on Your Plate!
What do you buy? What does your dinner/lunch plate look like?
Does it look like this?
Or does it look more like this?
Don’t get me wrong. I love good fish and chips, breaded Italian chicken breast or German schnitzel. I love burgers and pizza, too. But unfortunately we make too many bad choices. It’s possible to enjoy all these but there is a massive difference between this burger picked up in one of the infamous chains:
And this burger, which even contains some vegetables. Also, the bun looks like it is an actual bun not just a cardboard box.
I love a good burger. But we need other things in our diet than processed meat and cardboard bun.
I love making burgers at home! I don’t eat beef or pork so I have to be a little more creative. The typical beef or pulled pork burger is out of the question but how about a nice chicken breast burger or pulled jack fruit burger? They have considerably less amount of calories, especially the vegetarian jack fruit option. Or how about not eating a ton of chips with the main meal but a nice salad? Simple rocket salad with good quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmigiano cheese is a lot better for your body than a huge portion of chips which are basically just starch that will break down into sugar when it enters your body.
It’s not about avoiding food altogether (however I can think of a few that could disappear forever and no damage would be done…) but it’s about making them as fresh as possible. Forget about frozen burger or pizza. Make your own!!! Internet is full of ideas and recipes.
#4 Do You Really Need to Snack?
Do you feel like you need a snack before you go to bed?
Do you have a biscuit immediately after lunch?
Do you often go to the fridge or a cupboard and look for things to snack on?
Right, this, unless you are snacking on apples, needs to be reduced. Massively.
I am not saying you shouldn’t snack during the day. If you eat your lunch at 1PM and dinner at 7PM it’s perfectly fine to have a snack in the afternoon. Pack yourself a box of fruit, cheese and grapes, make yourself a chicken wrap, anything you like. But don’t just go to the machine and pick up a chocolate bar. This will give you an immediate spike in energy but will not give you any important nutrients. Also, cravings are just a temporary state of mind. Studies show that they disappear within 30 mins if they are not addressed. Try to keep yourself busy, you will soon forget that you had an urge to snack on a chocolate bar.
- If you are at work, work.
- If you are at home, go and tidy up a drawer (I am sure you can find one that needs it 🙂
- Start reading a new book
- Go for a walk or walk the dog if you have one
- Go to the gym or exercise at home for 20 mins
- Have a glass of water or a cup of tea (cravings often disappear when you top up your water levels)
Remember what we were told as children? “If you don’t finish your dinner, there is no treat.” And rightly so! If you are so full that you cannot finish your dinner plate you are very unlikely to be starving, aren’t you?
What is it that most of us do after dinner? Go sit on the sofa and watch some evening telly with a bag of crisps. Well, that’s hardly a hard work so we don’t really have to replenish the energy levels, however I do understand that watching the news could be a bit upsetting sometimes 🙂
You have to remember that we eat to stay alive and function properly. We cannot justify having a big breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and another snack if we don’t match it with energy expenditure. What do most of us do during the week? Get up, go to work, have lunch, back to work (where most of us sit 90% of the time), go for a quick pint or a glass of wine with a colleague and head home. This is hardly a high energy expenditure. You would be surprised how many calories we actually burn during certain activities. It is not a lot compared to how many we put in. And the reason is, again, eating processed or frozen pre-prepared food. And eating a lot of other unnecessary crap on top of that!
I have recently bought a little 100g chocolate bar, 90% of us would easily demolish that in one sitting. When I looked at the back there was around 500 kcal in it! I barely burn 400 kcal in 45 mins bad ass workout during a spinning class. My average gym session burns around 300 kcal. It depends if you are a man or a woman or how fit you are but with the amount of calories we eat daily, we would have to be burning at least 5 000 a day not to gain weight. Most barely hit 3 000. My average is 2 000 kcal and I workout every day!
#5 Start Reading Labels!
Yes. Start reading labels and start understanding what they mean.
We have quite a nice system in the UK that shows three main values and it looks something like this:
You just have to be careful to pay attention to the amount of the product that is described in these values. It can be a piece, 100g or in this case, it’s three pieces.
If you don’t understand ingredients very much or if you don’t really know what to look for, this is a good start.
It tells you:
- The amount of calories contained in the particular amount of that product
- The amount of fat – those of us trying to reduce fat intake should pick products with this label ideally being green
- The amount of sugars – I think quite a few of us could do with some added sugar intake reduced (by added I mean sugar not occurring naturally in these products). This is a Christmas gingerbread soft biscuit covered in chocolate so obviously this value is in red and you can see that almost 1/4 of the product is sugar! Btw, 19.3g is already way over the maximum daily intake of added sugars which is:
- 9 teaspoons for men (37.5g)
- 6 teaspoons for women (25g)
- The amount of salt – the reason why this information is included is that we have been eating a lot of salt in our diet recently due to the popularity of processed meat – sausages, cured meats, deli products,…According to the leading organizations (WHO and in this case Public Health England which is my main source because I am based in London), the maximum recommended daily intake of salt is 6g. This particular product is very low in salt because it is a confectionery. But you will find out that a lot of ready meals are very high in salt and it is good to keep an eye on.
- The amount of saturated fat – I left it till the end because this is the one that is probably the most dangerous component in our diet (alongside with Trans fats) and a component we eat an awful lot of, too. I have covered types of fat in my article about CLA Supplement if you want to check it out later. I don’t want to cover it all again so let me just mention that Saturated fats and Trans fats increase LDL cholesterol (the bad one that builds up in your arteries and eventually can cause a heart or circulatory disease). Have a look at this label when you go out shopping and you will find out that most products have this label in red.
- LDL cholesterol is also connected to so called Central Obesity which is a proper term for “belly fat” – men are unfortunately more prone to central deposits of adipose tissue and that’s why men are more affected by heart attacks, strokes, fatty liver and diabetes. I will definitely cover this issue in the future because I think it is very important for us to know that carrying extra belly fat is not just an issue regarding the extra weight but it also impairs our body’s responsiveness to insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
So, start reading labels guys, it’s not that difficult, especially with this traffic light system. If you live in a country that doesn’t use this system, just have a look at the nutritional values at the back. It’s all there because it is required by law but it might not be as colour coded as in the UK.
#6 Rethink Alcohol
I know, you were probably hoping I wouldn’t say this 🙂
I didn’t leave this till the end for a reason, nor do I think that this issue is the least important. But I think there are other ways to change and cutting out alcohol while still eating crap won’t help anyone. You liver might thank you but you might not necessarily become more healthy.
Everyone is different and we all get affected by alcohol differently. What is the same for all of us though? 1g (or ml) of pure alcohol contains 7kcal. It’s relatively easy to do the math when you just drink spirits. 50ml shot of 40% strong alcohol would be between 100 and 150 kcal. The reason why they vary is that some spirits contain added spices, flavourings and sugars. Very few of us go to a pub and order a neat whiskey or vodka though. It’s usually something like this (spirits are in doubles):
- Vodka + Soda (this one is pretty much perfect if you are restricting calories and still fancy a drink, but I cannot speak for the taste. Not my favourite)
- Vodka + Coke (175 kcal, if you really insist on drinking Coke, pick the Diet one. I personally think it’s as bad for you as a normal one due to questionable aspartame but that is only my opinion and if we are only talking cutting down unnecessary calories, this will do the trick)
- Rum + Coke (195 kcal)
- Gin + Tonic (175 kcal)
- Red, White, Rose Wine (250 ml glass – 170 kcal, 165kcal, 180 kcal) – they are all pretty much the same so if you heard that switching to dry white wine from red is better, not really.
- Sparkling Wine/Champagne (175 ml glass – 130 kcal)
- Pint of lager (there is a lot of different brands so I suggest checking your favourite one yourself but lager usually contains around 200 a pint, some going way beyond this)
- Bottle of lager (again they vary a lot but my research showed around 130 kcal)
- Pint of stout (same as lager, around 200 a pop)
So, looking at this, they are basically all the same and reach around 170 – 180 kcal. How many drinks you usually have? If you go once or twice for a couple of drinks (and by couple I do mean couple) you should be OK, considering you have an active lifestyle and workout on a regular basis (at least 3x a week).
If you, however, have a sedentary job and the first thing you do when you get home is head to your sofa instead of a gym, you might want to think about your alcohol intake. You can do your own math, 4 pints take you to at least 800 kcal!!! Can you imagine what a whole night of drinking does to you? And I haven’t even mentioned the impaired sleep consequences for your metabolism, immunity and ability to recover.
I am not telling you to stop drinking altogether, most of us have hard and demanding life and going for a couple of drinks after work is sometimes the only thing we look forward to. Just be a little bit more conscious about it. Maybe you don’t have to go clubbing every week or perhaps we don’t have to have a drink at home every night.
What worked for me personally? Say goodbye to beer. I always struggled with fatty tissue around my belly and when I finished with beer, this literally disappeared over few months. Everybody is different! It might not work for you but remember, “beer belly” is a term for a reason 🙂 Beer seems to have the ability to inhibit our ability to get rid of central adipose tissue (belly fat). And men are even more prone to this because women are naturally programmed to store fat so we have different places where it naturally goes – belly, waist, hips, thighs, arms, breasts, …
Men, however, are not programmed to store so much fat due to higher levels of testosterone so they don’t have these “problematic areas” – it just goes straight in their abdomen.
Sorry for over 3 000 words and thanks for getting this far!!!
I hope I helped some of you guys.
If it means that you will start doing just ONE thing out of these six, you are already one step ahead.
Don’t eat less, eat right and move more! That’s it. This is to sum up over 3 000 words I have just written.
Thank you for reading this article and good luck with your goals.
Let me know in the comments if you have anything you want to share.
Check out my IG for some motivational pictures 🙂 @silviemfit