Weight loss is undoubtedly the most popular fitness goal of all time but making an actual weight loss plan isn’t simply eating less and moving more, no matter what some basic personal trainer might tell you.
Yes, calories do matter and the foundation for losing weight is to eat fewer calories while burning more.
The approach to achieving this is what matters most. Subtle differences in your approach can be what separates success from failure. To help with this, let’s break down five key weight loss points that you should know before you do anything.
The first thing to get down before anything else is to have the mindset of changing habits. Pretty straightforward, you got to make new habits rather than just simply looking for an endpoint.
Lifestyle changes baby, that’s what you need. Thing is, the first step to weight loss is to reach your actual weight goal. But what’s more important is what you do next to maintain it.
What this ultimately boils down to is creating habits. Regularly moderate your foods. Create more of a habit for whole foods, but you can also have the occasional treat.
That’s the beauty of habitual moderation. Feel inclined to reach for some of your favorite sweets now and then but with a solid dose of mindfulness. Of course, keep those calories in mind. If you’re not already, make exercise a regular part of your day. Of all habits, being regularly active can be the x-factor. Again, habits, not short-term changes.
your weight will fluctuate and that’s okay. This is where things mess people up. All the fancy media and advertisements would have you thinking that you’re successful only if you continuously lose weight. Reality says that’s hardly the case.
In the beginning, yes, you will sustain weight loss quite linearly. But that’s to be expected. Much of early loss comes from fat, yes, but also a little thing we call water weight. More so if your diet is low on carbs and salt, two elements that retain water in your body. Once this water reduction stops, however, weight loss might stop with it. Worse yet, you might see it go up. This is normal.
Fluctuations can happen by simply ingesting more salt or carbs one day or you just simply ate a little bit too much. Or you’re weighing yourself at different times of the day. Very small changes, whether that’s an increase or decrease, will happen. Again, it’s normal. The best advice I could give here is to not put too much emphasis on these small changes. Instead, look for trends. If weight generally trends down over time, then you’re good to go. One more thing to look at is WHEN to weigh yourself. Do it at the same time each day. Usually, first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom is a good idea.
No stranger to my usual advice, but you probably want to GET MORE PROTEIN. Nothing different here. Protein does a body good. Knowing its benefits before you start meal prepping is a sure-fire way of boosting your weight loss. The benefits?
Well one, it can help you burn more calories. The thermic effect of food, aka the calories it takes to process protein, is roughly 30% of its calorie content versus 5 to 15% for carbs and fats.
Two, protein has a strong satiating and satiety effect. It gets you feeling full quicker and keeps you full longer. In other words, you eat fewer calories.
And three, of course, protein helps preserve your muscles and better yet, if you’re a beginner, can help you build muscle as you lose weight. Get your protein.
cardio is cool but you might want to tack on resistance training as well. I’m kind of glad that this point is starting to become more mainstream. Previously, whenever exercise and weight loss are uttered in the same sentence, the first thing to come to mind is cardio. Don’t get me wrong, cardio’s dope. Of all exercises, cardio, be it steady-state or high-intensity intervals will burn the most calories. But there’s a risk.
Risk of losing muscle mass if you ONLY do cardio. Luckily, resistance training, be it calisthenics or lifting weights, can help preserve your muscles. Not only that, doing cardio and resistance training can lead to MORE fat loss while keeping your muscles intact. Hell, for beginners, you might even ADD muscle while losing fat at the same time. Best of both worlds! Needless to say, make sure you are resistance training.
As you embark on your weight goal, you should start knowing that it takes a long time to see meaningful results. One of the worst things, in my opinion, to have captivated a lot of today’s mindset is the desire for immediate satisfaction.
Lose weight as FAST as you can. If you don’t lose weight fast enough, then you’ve failed. But it’s a crazy mindset if you think about it. It takes years and years to accumulate all that extra weight. How does it make sense then to think it will only take a few months or even weeks to reverse it? Patience.
Long-term rewards over short-term satisfaction. This goes for your food and exercise decisions as well. A little bit less here and there can make a huge difference. You can lose an extra pound a month just by drinking only half a can of soda a day rather than the whole thing. Better yet, lose even more by replacing your soda with water. But to circle back, weight loss will take time. Healthy and safe rates of loss are about a half to a pound of weight loss per week, or about 10% of your current body weight in 6 months.
So, let’s stop thinking of “lose a pound a day” silliness you might have read on the internet. It’s simply not worth it. Patience, my friend. Apply all the previous steps and you should be good to go. I hope these five points will be useful for you before you start. If you started already, that’s fine, you should still apply these if you haven’t already.