Weight loss

Ways to Lose Weight Quicker

Summer is always around the corner, so the big question arises of what is the secret for leaning down and shifting some body fat!

Firstly, my biggest piece of advice is to ignore and avoid any product or plan that promises overnight results! If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is!! There are some key principles to know and understand when it comes to fat loss. I can tell you know that none of those include a fat burner pill or detox tea!

Step one, you need to be in a calorie deficit, ie, you are expending more energy than consuming. This can be done through reducing food intake or by increasing your daily movement. Ideally you want to be looking at both factors. It is much easier to reduce ~500 calories from your diet than burn the same through exercise so I tend to encourage starting with your diet and then incorporating more movement from there. Either way, a deficit is vital in order to create a demand for your body to use its own energy stores (stored fat) for fuel.

Be sure to make the deficit large enough to see results, but not so large that it is not sustainable long term. As I mentioned above, this isn’t about an overnight quick fix diet, this is a sustainable process. Ultimately you want to lean down and then keep the weight off, we don’t want to be in a continuous yo-yo dieting cycle.  

Consistency is key for any fat loss journey. Your goals need to be achievable and the process needs to be sustainable. You are much more likely to see the results you are after by being consistent across the week / month as a whole, rather than being consistent for 5 days and then bingeing on alcohol and take-aways at the weekend. Accountability is going to help consistency. Having someone to check in with can be really helpful. Setting yourself mini goals each week or different focus points can be a great way to keep the motivation up and keep you on track to where you want to get to.

One thing you want to avoid, which is sometimes thought of as the right thing to do, is skipping meals. It’s a very common mistake that is made. However, when going long periods of time without eating, particularly when training hard, will lead to low energy levels, low mood, being under-fuelled in workouts, and then an increased risk for overindulging later on and making poor food choices later on in the day.

I encourage you to map out your days, and structuring in your meals and snacks around your other commitments. We don’t want to see the majority of your calories being pushed back to the evening, so this can help to encourage spreading out calories across the day.

When creating your calorie deficit and making food choices, you still need to prioritise food quality. Base your meals and snacks on whole foods, to ensure you are getting adequate micronutrients in your diet. Poor quality foods, which tend to be high in saturated fats, and sugars lead to increased inflammation in the body which can halt your fat loss progress.

Protein intake is going to be key! When in a calorie deficit, you want to ensure you are optimizing muscle maintenance and preventing the risk of muscle loss. Therefore, aim to have a source of protein in each meal and base your snacks on a protein source to ensure you are getting adequate protein throughout the day.

Protein is also the most satiating macronutrient, when compared with carbohydrates and fats. This means that you will stay fuller for a longer period of time following a protein rich meal compared to a meal predominantly made up of carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, reducing the temptation for unnecessary grazing throughout the day, reducing your overall food intake.

Protein also has a much higher thermic effect (20-30%) compared to carbohydrates (5-10%) and fats (0-3%). This means that you will use more energy to digest and metabolise protein, leading to a higher calorie output. This is why a consistent protein intake throughout the day can help to increase calories burned across the day.

Healthy food

A factor that is very commonly forgotten and overlooked is water intake! Adequate water intake can help to burn more calories, as well as control hunger hormones. Sometimes you might think you are hungry but actually you are just thirsty. Keep on top of this and keep your intake consistent across the day. By focussing more on your water intake will also help to remove sugar sweetened beverages which are high in sugar and calories and offer very little nutritional value.

On the topic of beverages, alcohol can be a huge contributor to overall calorie intake so if you are an alcohol drinker, be aware of the calorie content of your drink of choice. Aim to reduce as much as possible and if you are going for a drink, something like a vodka, fresh lime and soda or a gin and tonic would be a better choice.

A burning question a lot of you will have… what do I do about carbs? Let’s debunk this myth promptly… you do not need to remove carbs from your diet for the summer! Remember what I said about being in a calorie deficit.. Regardless of your macronutrient percentage split, fat loss will come down to being in a negative energy balance. Prioritise protein first, ensuring you have adequate amounts and then carbs and fats will make up the rest of your calories.

The more active you are and the more exercise you are doing, the more carbohydrates your body will require so do keep this in mind. The body can only store a certain amount of carbohydrates so if you are consuming too many carbohydrates at times when you are less active then you will begin to store the excess as fat. So you can see that you definitely don’t want to remove carbohydrates completely, as they are our preferred fuel source, but just ensure your intake matches your activity levels.

On the topic of activity levels, to look ‘more defined’, you want to be focussing on building lean muscle tissue. You can read all about gaining muscle in our article here.

Bottom Line

If you really want to shift some body fat and lean down then you need to be looking at your lifestyle choices. You need to be in a calorie deficit, as well as incorporating exercises to build lean muscle. Water intake, adequate protein intake, adequate sleep and reduced stress are all going to be key factors to consider.

Written by Becs Sandwith, Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr), Personal Trainer and CrossFit Coach. Becs is based at CrossFit Putney but also works with clients 1-2-1 online, as well as with a variety of brands. Becs has a BSc in Nutrition, an MSc in Clinical Nutrition & Eating Disorders, as well as having a level 3 personal training and level 1 CrossFit qualification. Becs has a huge passion for helping people live a healthy lifestyle, whilst finding exactly what works best for each individual.

To reach out to Becs for personalised coaching and/or nutrition advice please drop her an email at info@becssandwith.co.uk. You can also find Becs on Instagram, @bitesbybecs, where she shares heaps of fitness and nutrition content, as well as delicious recipes!

Becs Sandwith

Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr), Personal Trainer and CrossFit Coach

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