Dietitian Leanne Ward has revealed the six tricks she swears by for fat loss – and how to fill your plate to ensure you get a lean and toned figure.
The Queensland-based clinical expert has been working as a dietitian for more than a decade, and said during this time she has learned that it’s all about ‘slow and sustainable change’.
Dietitian Leanne Ward (pictured) has revealed the six tips she swears by for fat loss – and how to fill your plate to ensure you get a lean and toned figure
Leanne (pictured) said you need to identify the difference between fat loss and weight loss, as often weight loss is just losing muscle and water
‘Many people lose a large amount of weight, say 3-5 kilos, in the first week and think that’s really good – but this is often water or muscle weight and not true fat loss.’
Instead, she said you need to make it your goal to maintain your muscle mass while only losing weight from your fat stores.
‘Healthy eating is a long-term gain, and the slower you lose fat stores, the more likely they are to stay lost,’ she said.
So what should you be doing if you want to lose fat?
Leanne (pictured) said many of us do not get enough vegetables, and potatoes, corn and sweet potatoes do not count here
1. Eat five serves of vegetables or salad each day and two pieces of fruit
It sounds simple, but Leanne explained that far too many of us do not get enough fruit and vegetables in our daily diet.
‘A serve of vegetables is 75 grams, which is about a cup of salad leaves or half a cup of cooked, non-starchy vegetables,’ she said.
Starchy veg including corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes do not count here, as these are counted as carbohydrates.
Instead, Leanne said you should load up at least half a plate at meal-times with foods like broccoli, spinach, cabbage and zucchini.
You should also not fear the sugar or fructose in fruit – as Leanne said ‘you are never going to get fat from eating fruit’.
2. Add protein evenly throughout the day
You’ll have heard trainers speak about the importance of protein, but what you might not know is how vital it is to split your intake throughout the day.
‘Many of us tend to get enough protein at lunch and dinner, but we fail to get enough of it at breakfast and in our snacks,’ Leanne said.
‘Protein is especially important at breakfast, as if you don’t get enough, you’re likely to overeat carbs and cr**py foods later on because you won’t feel satisfied.’
Leanne highlighted that research has shown that an ‘even spread’ of protein throughout the day is best for fat loss, while eating too much at one meal isn’t actually helpful.
‘Aim for 25-30g of protein at every meal and snack,’ she said.
This roughly equates to around a quarter of a plate of protein, which should never be ‘back-ended’ on the end of a day.
When it comes to ideal portion sizes, Leanne (pictured) said protein should fill a quarter of a plate, carbs should fill a quarter, veg should be half and unsaturated fat should be a thumb size
What are the ideal portion sizes for fat loss?
* PROTEIN: A quarter of a plate at every meal and in snacks
* CARBOHYDRATES: A quarter of a plate at every meal and as a snack before training.
* VEGETABLES AND SALAD: Half a plate at every meal and in snacks
* UNSATURATED FAT: A thumb-sized amount in every meal and some snacks
3. Add healthy unsaturated fats to your diet
Healthy unsaturated fats are foods like salmon, avocado, nuts and extra Virgin olive oil.
‘Unsaturated fats have been proven to decrease inflammation and are important for active individuals because exercise can be a stress on the body,’ Leanne said.
But she said it’s worth being mindful of just how much fat you add to your plate and snacks, as it’s a very energy-dense food source.
‘I like to add a thumb-sized portion of unsaturated fat to my meals and snacks throughout the day,’ the dietitian said.
‘If you’re going to eat a whole avocado along with feta and eggs at breakfast, you can easily gain weight despite it being through healthy foods.’
Leanne (pictured with a typical day on her plate) said she eats carbs smartly, and adds them to her diet around her workouts so she can burn them off as fuel
4. Don’t fear carbohydrates – be smart about them
In the modern world, many fear carbs are the thing that make you put on weight.
But Leanne said this simply isn’t true.
‘Schedule your carbs to around your workout and use them to fuel your training,’ she said.
‘The body uses carbohydrates as the easiest fuel source, so why would you eat fat or protein before a workout and make your body have to work harder?’
Again, a quarter of your typical plate is the ideal serving. Protein should fill a second quarter, while salad and veg should fill the remaining half.
5. Eat mindfully
Leanne’s fifth tip is to eat mindfully, which can be tricky when we are always busy and rushing around:
‘Try chewing slowly and finish every mouthful before taking the next. Don’t just shovel food in,’ she explained.
She also said it’s sometimes worth waiting until you’re hungry to eat, as you don’t have to avoid hunger entirely.
‘Cravings are not true hunger, so learn to differentiate between the two,’ she added.
If you think you’re full, you don’t have to finish everything on your plate. Instead, wait for 10-20 minutes, have a glass of water and go back only if you certainly are.
‘Try going back for veggies,’ Leanne said. ‘If you’re going back for garlic bread, the chances are you don’t actually need it.’
‘Try chewing slowly and finish every mouthful before taking the next. Don’t just shovel food in,’ Leanne (pictured) said
6. Hydrate well
Leanne’s final tip is about hydration, which sounds simple but is often not handled well by people on a quest to lose weight.
‘Drink one to two glasses with every meal and snack for optimum hydration,’ she said.
A lot of the time, while you might think you’re hungry, in actual fact you’re just dehydrated.
To read more from Leanne Ward, you can visit her website here.