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Changing how you think and feel is hard.  Changing your environment isn’t.  And by shaping your environment, your body will follow.
 
Here I share 15 tips for doing just that.  Use these tips to get that first couple of kg moving. If i took 50 random strangers to a supermarket and asked them to fill their basket with only nutritious, health promoting foods, I bet they could do it.  Most people generally know what is “healthy”. Or good for them.
 
If that is true then, why are so many people still struggling.   Why are we sedentary and carrying excess body fat?  Why do we buy poor quality food?
Knowledge isn’t the problem, acting on it is.
Obviously knowing stuff isn’t enough to actually do stuff.
 
Being able to memorise the carbs in grams, or calorie of the names of the exotic superfood that influencers promote doesn’t often  change what we eat when its time for a hurried breakfast or get-home-late-from-work dinner.
 
Those particular eating decisions have more to do with what and who is around us – our environment.
Generally we all focus too much on the minutiae of every day life whilst the foundations are ignored.
 
Your social environment and culture
Your kitchen
Your supermarket habits
Your day-to-day routine and lifestyle
Your family
 
In general when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle we can make bigger gains by following these golden rules:-
 
Make Healthy Behaviours convenient
Make other behaviours less convenient.
 
These are core principles of our coaching programs.
 
Do more good stuff first. If you can get this right, everything else falls into place in time.
 
Here are 15 quick wins you can make that MIGHT have a bigger benefit on your life than pondering over
whether to choose the  avocado and egg or full english breakfast at the cafe next week!!
 
As always, hope this helps, reach out if you have questions, or would like some personalised support to make these changes.
Quick Wins for Weight loss Pt1
 

1. Use a meal-delivery service.

Thats right, making changes can be tough, especially if you don’t really like cooking.  Take the fatigue of meal decisions out of the equation and let someone else cook you a meal that you know is healthy and bring it right to you.  Most of the major brands in the Uk, now have low calorie and or low carb versions, so there will be something in it for most of you. These meal choices might inspire your favourite recipes and usually come with cards so that you can re-create them.  What could be easier than that? Pro Tip:= :Look for a service that offers meals for body builders or athletes,, as these will offer double the protein (30-40g) along with fibrous veggies like salad, steamed beans of brocolli.  

2. Keep the biscuits, cakes and chocolate out of the house.

Make laziness work for you by making it harder and more inconvenient to reach for high calorie, low-nutrition, easy-to-over-eat foods.  If you want sweets, you have to go get them.  At 10pm, when you are snuggled up on the sofa binge-watching Netflix, its going to be a lot harder to motivate yourself to get up and go to the all corner shop or petrol station. Pro Tip:- Keep a colourful assortment of fresh fruits around for desert instead.  Keep bread in the freezer.  You are less likely to make toast than you are a quick peanut butter sandwich when bored at night.

3. Use a Meal-plan

Don’t try and make fresh decisions every day or keep meal choices totally open-ended all the time.  Successful dieter and “healthy people” tend to make decisions in advance and work from a template.  Pro Tip:- Every few days sketch our the meals you’ll eat for the next few days. 

Check the list daily so you know:-

What to buy at the supermarket

What to pre-prep

What meal you will eat at what time (or when you are really hungry)

Quick Wins for Weight Loss

4. Don’t be hungry and in the supermarket at the same time.

Treat food shopping like a surgical operation: Have a plan (like your meal plan for Tip 3).  Get in and get our efficiently as you can.  Your survival depends on it!! Pro Tip:- Focus on the perimeter of the shop – The vegetables, meat and dairy sections.  If you can limit trips down the processed aisles you will be less likely to buy the foods that are specially marketed for your attention – the high calorie, low nutrient density foods.

5. Keep chopped, ready-to-eat vegetables in the fridge.

Put them front and centre so you will see them and can get to them easily.  Hiding vegetables away generally means you want them to go off Pro Tip:- To make your favourite salads easy access, sterilise one of your crispers and dump chopped vegetables into it.  Cover with a damp paper towel and a couple of ice cubes and away you go!!
 

6. Keep a batch of cooked grains handy.

Whole grains take time to cook, and some health gurus will tell you to batch cook them each weekend.  Pro Tip:- We now have easy access pouches available in the supermarkets.  They are a godsend.  You can have easy access grains any time of the day.

best breakfasts for diabetes
Quick Wins for Weight Loss

7. Help your kitchen coach you.

Keep your kitchen as clean, pleasant and clutter-free as possible so you feel relaxed when you enter.  We know that people with poor eating habits have enough stress to deal with, adding making meals into that equation doesn’t end well.  Pro-tip Make the fridge door a “vision-board” with post-it notes reminding you of your goals, inspiring (non-weight based) pictures and cool looking magnets.  Ask for better cooking equipment for birthdays and christmas. 
 

8. Keep your trainers/walking boots handy.

Having them on your feet often just makes you feel like getting active. Pro Tip: For that matter, consider just wearing comfortable shoes all the time, so you are up for anything.  These things matter!!

9 . Keep your workout gear in your face.

Have a kettlebell, resistance bands and maybe a dumb-bell, suspension trainer and pull-up bar in your home or office so that you are more tempted (and likely) to use them. Pro Tip:- Leave the gear in various places throughout your house, and whenever you pass one of the them do a few reps.  You may think this is not going to make a difference, but if you add them up over the course of a year then the numbers add up to big progress.

Quick wins for weight loss pt4

10. Turn your car into a mobile gym locker.

If you drive a lot be prepared with gym clothes and a healthy snack so you don’t make counter-productive decisions in desperate moments.  Keep a protein shaker bottle under the seat.  Think like a healthy person does.  Some even have cool-boxes in the boot with zero calorie drinks.  Set yourself up for success.   
Pro Tip:- I keep walking boots, drinks and snacks handy so that i am less likely to drive into a petrol station and swap cash for goodies. 
 

11. Schedule cooking, walking and workouts like you schedule meetings.

1Put them on your calendar and treat them like any other appointment. Pro Tip:- Put everything from workouts to laundry to work meetings and even rest and recover on your calendar so that few things are expected.  Most of our routines are pretty predictable.

12. Move social gatherings to parks and gyms.

It doesn’t have to always be in the bar or restaurant.  Move your socials to the park. Grab a frisbee.  Pro Tip:- This goes for professional networking too.  Instead of the coffee shop get coffee to go and have a walking meeting.

Quick wins for weight loss pt5
 

13. Reduce the reliance on your car.

Sharing a car with your partner or a friend, might mean you have to walk or bike more.  Something we all need to do coming out of lockdown. Pro Tip:- Walk on errands, even if your destination is outside edge of reasonable.  For example, instead of driving seven minutes to the post office take 25 minutes to walk there.  Prioritise health over convenience.
 

14. Combine movement with work.

Moving whilst you brainstorm or take a work call helps you to focus and avoid the I-sat-at-my-desk-all-day soreness. Pro Tip.  Get a standing desk.  Whislt standing at a desk is not the miracle solution some manufacturers suggest, it’s certainly getting you moving more than sitting.  

15. Turn friends and family into coaches.

To create a supportive environment, be explicit with loved one that you are trying to eat better and get fit – and why.  They don’t have to participate, but ask them for help.  That takes the pressure off them to do what you are doing and most people (especially kids) like “helping” in some way.  (Kids love to nag, so hire them as your alarm clock and workout reminder. Pro Tip:- Involve your family in goal-related activities such as menu planning, meal prep and rep counting.  This reduces resistance by giving them ownership, meaning you won’t feel you are the “odd one out”

 

This post was inspired and adapted from an old blog post from Precision Nutrition – Global leaders in nutrition coaching. I have been a Precision Nutrition coach since 2013 and completed their advanced certification PN Level 2 in 2016.  I am a huge fan of their approach to nutrition and use their techniques in all my coaching programs.  Go check them out!!

About the Author

James Belbin is the one of the UKs leading nutritionists and habit changes coaches. Specialising in Type 2 Diabetes,  I provide straightforward, personalised no-nonsense guides that help people make significant changes to their nutrition and lifestyle. As an evidence-based nutritionist and habit change coach I can identify the aspects of your diet and lifestyle that are working well for you and build on them. 

I’m a Type 2 Diabetic in remission and lifelong yo-yo dieter so I understand what you’re going through. 

If you’re trying to understand your diabetes diagnosis and how it affects your lifestyle I can help.  

James Belbin - Nutritionist

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