Stack the diet odds in your favour

Shift­ing fat is about more than just eat­ing a load of broc­coli. If you’re strug­gling to see re­sults, th­ese sim­ple tips will help you lose it – fast

Men's Fitness - - Fuel | Diet Success Tips -

1 Un­der­stand the nu­tri­tion ba­sics

“Rather than stick to a diet that just tells you ex­actly what to eat and when, you should un­der­stand why you’re eat­ing what you’re eat­ing,” says nu­tri­tion­ist Shona Wilkin­son. “That means learn­ing at least a few ba­sics about which foods are high in pro­tein or healthy fats, and which are bad for you.” Spend a few days track­ing your cur­rent food in­take with the MyFit­nessPal app, and you’ll be able to see where you’re go­ing wrong – and where it’s eas­i­est to make big changes.

2 Tailor your diet to your life, not vice versa

“Any diet you de­cide to fol­low needs to fit your life­style,” says nu­tri­tion­ist Vicki Edg­son. “Try­ing to make too many changes at once makes it less likely that you’ll stick to any of them.” If you’re plan­ning to train first thing in the morn­ing, for in­stance, a 16/8 fast­ing plan (fast­ing for 16 hours and eat­ing only in an eight-hour win­dow) where you don’t eat un­til lunch might not be best for you – but if you nor­mally eat on the go any­way, it could be just what you need. Do your re­search, and choose your eat­ing plan ac­cord­ingly.

3 Up­grade your cook­ing abil­ity

No need to leap straight in with a sous vide ma­chine or even a spi­raliser: a few ba­sics that let you whip up easy meals in min­utes are key. “Fo­cus on the sta­ples that will feed you and your loved ones ev­ery day,” says J Kenji López-Alt, culi­nary di­rec­tor of the Se­ri­ous Eats site. “That could be learn­ing how to prop­erly boil or scram­ble eggs, or how to make a vinai­grette, so salads be­come a meal.” For en­try-level vinai­grette, mix to­gether a ta­ble­spoon each of white wine vine­gar and olive oil, with a dash of di­jon mus­tard. Ap­ply straight away.

4 Re­think your eat­ing space

Don’t rely on willpower. In a 2015 study, Amer­i­cans who had ce­real boxes sit­ting out on their kitchen coun­ters weighed an av­er­age of 9kg more than those who didn’t, while those who kept a fruit bowl on the side­board av­er­aged 9kg less. There’s also ev­i­dence – from Cor­nell Univer­sity’s Food and Brand Lab – that clut­tered kitchens tend to cause overeat­ing. Take an hour to re­struc­ture your eat­ing en­vi­ron­ment, and avoid mind­less snack­ing.

5 In­vest in some good-qual­ity kit

You don’t need much to im­prove your kitchen. If you’ve never done more than heat up a take­away, start with the ba­sics. “I would spend £50 on a To­jiro-Pro knife, £15 on a large cut­ting board, and £20 on a de­cent stain­less steel pot big enough to cook soups, boil beans and blanch veg­eta­bles,” says López-Alt. “Don’t worry about mak­ing restau­rant-grade meals.” You can add more as you im­prove your reper­toire.

6 Make a solid back-up plan

There will al­ways be a time when things go wrong: your care­fully packed lunch falls apart in your bag, your usual salad spot’s shut, your boss in­sists on a brain­storm­ing ses­sion at the lo­cal wings ’n’ brews shed – and how you re­act at th­ese mo­ments is key to suc­cess. Make your plans ahead of time: “If I go to the pub, I will or­der soda and lime”, or “If I’m caught with­out a snack, I’ll grab a packet of al­monds”. Don’t make de­ci­sions when you’re hun­gry.

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