By Steve Devine

Just recently I entered a weightlifting competition and believed (erroneously, as I would later discover) that I had to make a weight class. Midpoint through the final week, I found that I weighed 2kg more than I should!

Having set myself the goal of entering (and telling everyone that I was going to do it – waging psychological warfare on my superpowers of procrastination), I felt somewhat obliged to go through with the competition, avoid humiliation and hit my weight target.

Along my short weight-loss journey, though, I learnt some very important lessons which reminded me of the challenges many of us face when trying to shift the pounds.

10 Tips for Weight Loss

1. Decide why you want to lose weight. By this I mean the real deep down reason, the one you’ve not told to anyone! Perhaps it’s to impress your ex and let them know what they’re missing, or to buy a pair of trousers without an elastic waistband. Get to the real reason why you want to lose the weight and what it will give you.

2. Portion Control. This goes further than just measuring the amount of food on your plate. And whilst we’re talking about plates and portions sizes, use smaller plates to make the portions look bigger. It doesn’t matter whether you weigh your food out or use palms and fist sizes to determine your portions – just choose one you’re comfortable with.

Portion control means taking account of the mindless snacking that you don’t even realise you’re doing. I’m talking here about pinching your kids’ sweets and chocolates, or tasting your other half’s dessert!

3. Eliminate mindless eatingstart mindful eating. Pay attention to what you put in your mouth and eat slowly. Enjoy the process rather than rushing it. You’re more likely to overeat if eating on the run and thinking that you don’t have time to eat a proper substantial meal.

4. Avoid healthy food?? Just because a food is labelled “healthy” or promoted as such it doesn’t mean that it is – it may be loaded with invisible calories. Yes there are healthy fats in nuts, avocados and cheese but over indulging on these types of foods can send your daily calories into a spin!

5. Alcohol – yes it’s enjoyable but at 7 calories per gram alcohol can play a huge part in overall calorie consumption. If you can’t knock it on the head at the very least reduce it. A good start would be to halve your drinking and take it from there.

6. Don’t exclude treats. Ice cream, chocolate and alcoholic beverages are not on the banned list but they should be heavily regulated. Denying yourself these simple pleasures in life is more likely to derail you and set you up for a binge. This, in turn, can cause a downward spiral and lead to more unhealthy habits!

7. If you decide to go on a juice diet how likely are you to sustain it? Adopting such a strict regime for short term weight loss is unlikely to be sustainable.

8. Move! Keep your daily activity levels high. Use a pedometer on a Fitbit (other trackers are available) or your phone and track your steps daily. Aim for 10k – if you’re currently doing 2k increase the number gradually until you reach the target. Couple this low intensity activity with some higher intensity movement against resistance that targets your muscles. Together this will give you a recipe for holding onto lean body mass whilst stripping away unwanted body fat.

9. Dining out? It’s not a problem. Most restaurants these days offer healthier options. Notice I didn’t say ‘healthy’ option – though a burger without a bun is better than one with, as is grilled fish and chips over battered and deep fried. You must remember that you have choices – whilst they may not be ideal they are options nonetheless.

10. Consistency. If there is one trait that would assure success it must surely be consistency. Yes it will mean doing things you find boring or low priority on a daily basis, even after the initial excitement of change wears off (this usually takes about two weeks by the way). It also means making a comeback if you derail with a binge day or a day of unhealthy eating. Get over it. It’s going to happen. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get back on the wagon. In the words of that immortal wise old man Rocky “That’s how winning is done!”


In summary it’s not all about the food or the number on the scales; it’s changing your habits and your relationship with food that will lead you to become the healthier, fitter, stronger version of you that you always promised yourself you’d be.

Steve Devine

About the author

Having worked in the emergency services for 13 years, Steve knows a thing or two about trying to stay fit and healthy whilst living in the real world. His no-nonsense diet and exercise plans are designed to get clients to their goals in a way that fits in with today’s hectic lifestyles. He also understands the importance of mindset, and has many tricks up his sleeve to keep clients motivated way after the initial flush of enthusiasm has worn thin.

Steve’s qualifications include REPS Level 2 Gym Instructor, REPS Level 3 Personal Trainer, Opexfit L1 Nutrition, Opexfit L1 Program Design, Opexfit L1 Assessment, Opexfit L1 Life Coaching and Crossfit L1. He’s also completed Phil Learney’s Real World Fat Loss programme and is currently studying Precision Nutrition.