As well as giving your old Levi’s a new lease of life, losing fat will trim your risk of a multitude of illnesses. But depriving yourself of food can make your resolve crumble like pudding. We asked chef Tom Kerridge, who lost 12 stone, for his hacks.
Fuel Your Training
“I’m doing more cardio, so I’ve changed my diet,” says Kerridge, a former zero-carb devotee. Slow-release carbs should be on your menu before and after workouts, so you’re never short of energy: “If you have too much of a calorie deficit, your fitness will suffer,” he warns. Target a 2:1 carb-to-protein ratio post-workout – overnight oats and nuts, for example, or Spanish-style eggs with toast.
Turn Up the Volume
If your stomach is growling, you’re doing it wrong. “I’m rarely hungry,” says Kerridge. “Some high-calorie food isn’t very filling” – for example, donuts – “but a bowl of pulses and lean chicken will fill you up.” For texture, Kerridge uses fat-free Greek yogurt instead of empty-calorie sauces. The University of Tennessee found that those who ate dairy every day had larger reductions in their body fat levels than those who didn’t.
Mix Up Your Protein
Kerridge hasn’t ditched meat but is “much more conscious” of his intake. He stocks his freezer with low-calorie proteins such as edamame and prawns, and his cupboards with fibrous quinoa and lentils (the University of Copenhagen found that they’re more satiating than pork). If you do cook meat, Kerridge advises poaching it in a tasty stock or blowtorching it for a delicious char instead of frying: “Then you’re not adding any fat.”
Go Big on Flavour
Focus on adding flavour to meals, rather than simply subtracting calories. “Throw in fresh herbs: parsley, basil, chives…” Dried mushrooms and liquid aminos are Kerridge’s go-tos for an umami kick – the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests this boosts fullness – while preserved lemons and pickles add instant acidity.