Well, it’s that time again. We’re mid-winter, we’re still struggling to lose the weight we gained over the festive period, and we have our sights set on getting in the best possible shape for the upcoming summer months. Though summer may feel like an eternity away, it soon sneaks up on us and it can be a potentially embarrassing time of the year for people that are out of shape. If we had the choice, a large majority of us would opt to lose weight if possible. If you’re one of those people and are looking to shape up and slim down for 2015, here are 4 simple tips for effective weight loss.

Track your calories

You can throw all of the scientific references and technical jargon into the mix that you like, but when you break down losing weight, it’s really just a matter of calories in versus calories out. We require a set amount of calories for our weight just to maintain our current body weight. You can easily find out your daily allowance online with a simple search. If we consume this amount of calories, our weight will stay the same, if we consume more than we require, any excess will be stored as body fat and we gain weight. If we create a calorie deficit however, and consume less than we require, the body panics as it thinks it is starved of energy and so eats away at our body fat. A great way of ensuring we meet our calorie deficit goals is to use a calorie tracker, either an app for your smart device, or simple software online. You can even do things the old fashioned way and simply write down everything you’ve eaten.

Exercise regularly

Exercise Regularly

Exercise burns calories, and when we burn calories, we burn fat and that’s exactly what we’re looking for. If you’re serious about losing weight, look at exercising for at least 3 – 5 hours every single week. As far as which exercises you do, well, that’s really just down to you. Some people go to the gym, some lift weights, some do cardio, some go swimming, some run, the list is endless. If it gets your heart rate up, it’s going to benefit you.

Eat plenty of nutrient dense foods

As well as creating a calorie deficit and consuming less calories than required, we must also ensure that the foods we’re eating are coming from fresh, healthy, and nutritious foods. Opt for lean meats, oily fish, starchy complex carb sources, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. These foods are all packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that the body thrives upon. They increase health and help boost metabolism as well.

Eat more protein

Protein promotes lean muscle mass as it is essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. The more lean muscle tissue we have, the faster our metabolisms become, and the more calories we burn as a result. As well as this, protein is also a thermogenic macronutrient, which means that once consumed, the body struggles to digest it and break it down to absorb the nutrients. The body has to work harder to digest and break down the protein molecules, and so it requires more energy, which it gets via the metabolism burning calories and converting them into energy. That means that we’re burning fat simply by digesting our food. Aim for at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight that you weigh.

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