Losing weight is not rocket science. It also isn’t easy. This may help explain why so many fad and crash diets go in and out of popularity – they often promise miracle results, which sound extremely appealing to dieters that are struggling the old fashioned way.
There are of course many legitimate diets and weight loss tips that will help you reach your goals, but at the core of all of these is a simple scientific process. Calories!
Technically a calorie is approximately the amount of energy required to raise one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius in temperature. However it is also applied as a measure of energy from the food we eat, and the energy we use within the body.
Now everybody knows that in general the more you eat or the more calories you consume, the fatter you will get. Obviously the types of food you eat play an important role, but believe it or not even if you eat a stupid amount of vegetables, you can still get fat!
Most food labels will list a calorie amount per severing and/or per the entire packet. Likewise a lot of digital exercise equipment will give you an approximation as to the amount of calories you’ve used through exercise by monitoring your heart rate and other variables.
The basic principle of weight loss is simply to burn more calories through exercise or day to day activities, than you consume through eating food.
In other words: Calories Burned minus Calories Consumed = Weight Loss/Gain
Your goal is to create a calorie deficit until you reach a healthier weight, and then maintain it.
Begin By Eating Less
Thankfully the calories in and out formula is no infinite. In other words if you stay in a calorie deficit each day you won’t disintegrate in to nothing. At some point your body will adjust and weight loss will plateau. Likewise you may be overweight, but chances are your actual weight hasn’t changed much in the past year; you’re just generally consuming a poor diet and not doing much exercise.
Nobody ever says weight loss is easy, however because of the plateau effect if you are particularly overweight you can start to lose that fat simply by changing what you eat and the amount you eat, without yet having to increase your physical activity.
There are some very simple dietary steps you can take if you’re in this position:
- Eliminate added sugar. If you drink full sugar fizzy drinks, go diet. If you have 3 spoons of sugar in your tea or coffee, have 1. If you have 3 bars of chocolate at night, have 1 and substitute the rest with fruit.
- Decrease bread consumption. Bread is full of calories and gluten, makes you bloated, and is hard for the body to process. If you often have bread to accompany a meal, reduce the amount or cut it out altogether. If you regularly eat sandwiches replace the white bread with wholemeal or replace the sandwich altogether with a piece of grilled chicken and salad.
- Stop snacking. Try to curb your snacking between meals, or replace those snacks with fruit. If you feel hungry drink a glass of water to feel full, or have a non sugar tea or coffee. Even chewing sugar free gum can help with cravings, though because you produce excess saliva digestion is ramped up and you may end up feeling more hungry.
These commons sense tips are not drastic, but are also not going to make you skinny over night. What they will do his help you kick start your weight loss, so you are more prepared to start counting calories and exercising. One of the biggest hurdles for dieters is Yo-Yo Dieting.
You want results fast, you go head strong in to a exercise regime or fad diet, and because you can’t maintain it, you gorge and return to your normal weight or even worse.
You will get much better results taking things a step at a time.
Once you have cut some of the extras out of your diet and have started seeing early results, it’s time to begin exercising and counting calories. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous and you don’t have to become a fruitarian or follow any other whacky diet.
All you need is a calorie counter watch, the ability to read labels and the willpower to go on a brisk walk.
Once you get used to the amount of calories you’re consuming and the amount your burning going on a 15 minute walk, you can begin increasing the exercise and potentially decreasing your food intake, so you can start entering that calorie deficit.
Make a note of all the numbers in your smart phone notepad or associated app, and you can track your weight loss success.