10 tips for weight loss (not only) for pole dancers
10 tips for weight loss without counting calories for polers (and non-polers)
Pole dance is for women (and men!) of all shapes and sizes. At the studio or home, you are free to be yourself and feel good in your body. In fact, pole dance has proven to be an excellent sport for raising self-esteem and confidence, and the community celebrates that!
Yet many of you told us that you are trying to lose weight. This may be for health reasons, because of your fitness goals or simply because you want to make a change in your life.
People are always looking for shortcuts, a magic formula, new "guaranteed results" diet. If you try to lose weight the wrong way, you risk the yo-yo effect or weight cycling — basically going back to your previous weight, or gain even more.
There is ONLY ONE way to lose weight - Calorie Deficit - you have to eat fewer calories than your body burns each day. And there is ONLY ONE way to maintain it - the changes you will make have to be permanent, it means new habits and a new lifestyle.
Wait, it doesn't have to be COMPLETELY different from your current lifestyle; it shouldn't be.
Less restrictive "diet 'for a long time will be more effective than a more restrictive diet that will only be sustainable for a very short time. Furthermore, the very restrictive diets may generate anxiety or lead to eating disorders.
Many people think that they need to count calories and be very restrictive to lose weight, but this is (fortunately) not always true. Counting calories will, of course, help you make sure you are in a calorie deficit, but for some people, it can be too challenging and not sustainable long term. One key to dieting is patience and consistency.
So before you start another "new diet" ask yourself a fundamental question - Do I see myself eating like this in 6 months? In 12 months? If the answer is no, then your efforts will be, as usual, in vain.
Below are our tips that should help you learn healthy habits that will initially "create" a safe calorie deficit and later help you maintain the desired weight.
If you commit to these simple rules you will see results, not just in a mirror, but also in your energy levels and general health.
1. Eat only when you are hungry
Here are a few occasions where you don’t just have to eat:
- Because it’s lunchtime/dinnertime and everyone is eating
- Because it’s someone’s birthday at work and they brought pastries
- Because you are bored or sad
- Because you don’t want to leave food on the plate
You get the idea! While we all know that eating has a strong social component, its primary function is to provide our bodies with energy. Being aware of when you are actually hungry and when you feel like eating something is a very important step for controlling your daily intake. When it’s the latter, things, like drinking a glass of water/cup of tea, brushing your teeth or going for a walk, may help with the sense of appetite.
Lastly, it is not necessary to eat 5 or 6 meals a day. If 3 times work for you, that’s great! Whichever suits your lifestyle and your body needs.
2. Eat protein with every meal
As we all know, protein is one of the three macronutrients in food, along with fats and carbohydrates. All three are essential in any diet, but the proportions may vary depending on your goals. Protein has a relatively low calory density compared with fat, as it provides 4 calories per gram as opposed to 9. Carbs also provide 4 calories per gram, but they don’t give the same satiating effect that proteins do. So eating protein in every meal is a great way to stay satiated for a longer time.
Additionally, if you practise pole dance or another kind of exercise, eating the right amount of protein will help in muscle growth and maintenance. Because muscle tissue burns more calories than body fat, even at rest, having more muscle mass is helping fat loss.
There are a lot of sources of protein to choose amongst fish, meat, eggs, soy, lentils, cheese… Here are a few ideas for including protein in your meals:
- Porridge with protein powder, fruits and peanut butter for breakfast
- Chicken with rice and vegetables for lunch
- Salmon salad for dinner
Do keep in mind that while fats are calorie-dense they are essential for your body and also improve satiety. Absolutely do not remove them from your diet, enjoy in moderation and try to stick to unsaturated fats when possible.
Lastly, protein powder comes in handy for smoothies, pancakes or to have a post-workout shake. This powder usually comes from milk (whey), but there are plant-based options as well, generally from soy or chickpea.
3. Drink a lot, mostly water
You should be drinking plenty of water. This will improve your general health and also will reduce the feeling of hunger. Sparkling water is amazing since it is even more filling.
Other fizzy drinks should be swapped to their zero sugar options and only had occasionally. Hot drinks like coffee or tea are also great for avoiding hunger, but be careful with the amount of sugar you put in them since it adds up during the day. If you put two teaspoons of sugar in your coffee or tea three times a day, that’s approximately a hundred kcal a day — with no added benefits in terms of nutrients.
A good idea is to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in your coffee or tea. Your body will adjust to the new taste, and you will even be able to appreciate the natural flavours more intensely than before.
4. Move everyday
Food intake is not everything that counts for weight loss; the calories that you burn by exercising are very important too. So do not forget to go to the gym, or do yoga, or run, whatever you like!
Pole dance in all its styles is actually a complete workout that includes both cardio and strength training. Everybody identifies cardio with weight loss, but as we mentioned before, building muscle is key to a healthy and toned body.
5. Eat your veggies
Every main meal should have some vegetables, ideally half of the plate! These have tons of micronutrients and low density of calories since they typically contain a lot of water. Fruits are great combined with other foods or as a snack and fructose can help with glycogen replenishment. They will keep you full of energy for your day as well.
Many people think of vegetables as bland or boring, but there are many different ways to eat them: learning how to cook healthy meals that you enjoy eating will help with losing weight.
6. Limit your junk food intake
This includes ready meals, sweets and other processed foods. However, going back to the adherence thing, removing them completely from your diet may not be ideal since you would crave them, at least at the beginning and especially if other people are eating those around you. One of the issues with junk food (apart from some of their ingredients being generally unhealthy) is that they are very dense in calories. The good idea is to have a treat once or twice a week while eating a healthy, varied diet for the rest of the time.
Your social life will benefit from not being continuously restricting food but be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that because you ate unhealthy one time, it doesn’t matter what you do for the rest of the day or the week. If you had pizza for lunch, that’s fine (who would like to never have pizza, right?), you can have something less dense in calories for dinner and it shouldn’t impact your goals.
7. Get enough rest
When you don’t sleep properly, your stress hormones levels rise, and this has been found to make it more difficult for some people to lose weight. Not to mention that you will have less motivation and energy throughout the day, exercise less and make lazy and poor decisions regarding which foods you eat.
This can be extended to any kind of stress, so take it easy!
8. Limit your alcohol intake
Again, you don’t have to completely remove it from your diet if you enjoy the occasional glass of wine. Just reduce the amount, paying particular attention to sugary cocktails: try to go for red wine or spirits with zero mixers. Moderation is key!
9. Move a little bit more
Yes, again! Practising regular exercise is important, but keeping active during the day is crucial. A few tips that can help are:
- taking the stairs at home/work instead of the elevator or escalator
- parking the car a bit further or getting off the bus/subway a stop earlier
- walking while talking on the phone or listening to something.
These activities don’t make a big difference on their own but add up during the day and can make up a few hundred calories. A common reference is taking 10000 steps a day but don’t worry too much about the figures; just do what you can to stay active.
10. Avoid getting bored
Boredom often leads to snacking, especially in the evening when motivation is low, and fatigue is high after a long day. This can snowball to watching Netflix and ordering pizza every other night, which is unhealthy and not ideal if you are trying to lose weight.
Picking up a hobby is a good way to stay busy and thus away from snacks. If this hobby involves exercising, that’s even better for losing weight. As mentioned before, pole dancing is excellent, and you can also do it from your own home!
We hope that these tips were useful if you are trying to lose weight. Keep in mind; the most essential is to create a healthy and sustainable habit that lasts in time, not to follow a “perfect” diet for a few weeks.