All weight loss is not equal. Haemorrhage pounds before the beach and they have a way of finding their way back to your belly by the next time you’re picking out trunks.
As well as your waistline, crash diets also slash your metabolism. No man can miss Friday night fish and chips forever – slip back into old habits and you’ll soon struggle to slip into those new, slimmer jeans.
To banish blubber permanently requires long-term moves that reinforce the body’s defences in the fight against fat. Make these rules part of your everyday approach and you can say ‘goodbye’ to your loves handles. Not ‘see you later’.
Embrace The Rainbow
Most men think the more complicated a diet plan, the more effective it will be. But it’s hard to keep that neo-paleo-raw-freeganism going when facing an all-nighter and only corner shops are open. So simplify.
“Make lean protein and colourful vegetables the foundation of every meal,” says Rob Aitken, a senior trainer at Matt Roberts gyms. “As long as these two things are making up most of the food you eat, you will tend to feel fuller for longer and eat fewer total calories as a result.”
It is, if not easy, then at least realistic that you can eat perfectly clean for one month a year. Less so the other 11. So cut yourself some slack. “Keep your diet clean for 80 per cent of the week – generally Monday to Friday,” says Dylan Jones, founder of P4 Body.
“You will still be able to stay in shape and still enjoy delicious treats at the weekend.” Just make sure to keep it to a tight 20 per cent. “Don’t get too carried away as the scales can be tipped very easily. Be sensible with this one.”
Don’t Drink, Have Drive
Even the most ardent calorie tracker can forget that liquids also count. You did well with that 400-calorie, high protein salad. But not the 200-calorie pint that washed it down. “Drink mostly calorie-free beverages,” says Aitken. “Drinking calories is always a hidden danger when it comes to weight management.
“Stick to water and herbal teas for most of the week and aim to reduce any excess alcohol consumption.” It will help you avoid carb-obsessed hangovers, too.
Do It For You
There are many reasons to lose weight; the key is in understanding why it matters to you. “There’s nothing wrong with being motivated to exercise because you want to look good on holiday,” says Aitken, “but keeping fit and lean for the long term requires a little more self-enquiry.”
Once back in the office, having a six-pack might not seem worth the 6am gym sessions. But knowing that strength work now will keep you in shape to play with your kids might help you avoid the snooze button.
Make a list of priorities and then work out how exercise achieves them. “Making long-term change means spending some time asking yourself why you want to be a fitter, healthier version of yourself,” says Aitken. “What things will be different, what will be better and why are those things important to you?”
Reset And Restart
Goals are motivating. But once you reach one, you need another. “Two of the biggest goals I get from clients are going on holiday or getting married,” says Jones. “Once it’s over, the fire goes out.”
Instead, take the foundation built and set your sights higher: having dropped a suit size, make the next goal visible abs; if you’ve lost a beer belly, make moobs the next target. “Always have something to work towards to keep you motivated. Aim high and if it doesn’t excite you or challenge you, then choose another goal.”