I get it, you’re probably pretty frustrated right now. You want to lose weight but you’re stuck, you have no idea on what you need to be doing. You’ve googled ‘weight loss’ and 772,000,000 results appear (at the time of writing this post, there are probably more now). Searching weight loss hasn’t made it any easier for you, in fact you’re now super confused. Do you go low carb or low fat? Weight training or running? Intermittent fasting or carbohydrate cycling?
The world of weight loss is a mine field of information and it’s no wonder so many people just like you are confused right now. Believe it or not It’s even confusing for fitness professionals, so don’t beat yourself up.
This article is here to make the weight loss process so simple, that you will have no excuses what so ever. The hard part will be putting it into action.
I guess the first thing we need to clarify with achieving weight loss, you have to be in a calorie deficit over a week. This is non negotiable. Without a calorie deficit you will NOT lose weight.
A calorie deficit is defined as: any shortage in the amount of calories consumed relative to the amount of calories required for maintenance of current body weight
^^Read that again before you go any further. If you don’t adhere to this one rule you will never succeed in achieving your weight loss goals. Read it again anyway.
Let’s continue. In order to achieve a calorie deficit you can either consume less calories over a week or you can move more. Which leads us nicely onto number 1; consume less calories.
Number One: Consume less calories
Easier said than done I know, but if you don’t get your head around this, you will struggle to achieve you goals. So how do we do it? How do people manage their food to stay within their calories?
This first step is to record the food you currently eat for 3 days. The most efficient way of doing this is by using an app for your phone called MyFitness Pal. The key to proficient recording is ‘eat it, record it’. It’s been shown in many studies that people under report food due to forgetting that they ate something. This goes for weekends too; weight loss isn’t a Monday to Friday thing. Weekends are where most people will do the over consumption of calories and negate a whole working weeks’ worth of work, don’t be that person!
Step two – add up your total calories over the 3 days of recording and divide it by 3. This will give you your average daily calorie consumption. Once you have the number, reduce it by 10%. This new number is now your daily calorie target for the next 7 days. It’s essential that you jump on the scales at this point and weigh yourself (first thing in the morning) and then re-weigh yourself 7 days later at the same time.
You will see if you have lost weight or not, if yes? Continue as you are. If no? Have you stuck to your calorie levels? Be honest with yourself here, the only person you are cheating of success is yourself. If you have still not lost weight and you have stuck to your calories, reduce by another 5-10% and repeat the process.
This process of calorie control is simple and works. Have you noticed how I’ve not even mentioned chicken and broccoli yet 😉 This way will allow you to keep the foods you are currently having but on a reduced amount which means that the sustainability of this approach will be very good.
Is this the most optimal way you could work with your nutrition for weight loss? In my opinion, no. but it will work!
Number two: Move more
Just move more…Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, it is simple. Pretty much every person I have met that is overweight doesn’t actually move that much. I’m not referring to exercise right now. I’m referring to the small things like getting out for a walk, leaving the car to go to the shops – this in fancy terms is called your NEAT. Non exercise activity thermogenesis (now you know why we call it NEAT for short aha).
Imagine being able to burn an additional 300 (minimum) calories per day without even exercising…that’s a whopping 1800 calories over a week. Simply achieved by moving more each day.
Pro tip: Get yourself a smart watch/tracker to check your activity levels. You’ll be surprised by how little activity you actually do.
It goes without saying that exercise also falls under the ‘move more’ component. The benefits of exercise on both physical and mental health is very well documented. In my opinion, when it comes to weight loss and shape change weight training is the optimal exercise to be starting with. Weight training is low impact on your body and can be adapted to anyone at any ability at any age. Of course, I am biased as that’s what we specialise in here at Impact.
Weight training isn’t for everyone, so there is a caveat to my rule for weight training. If you simply do not enjoy it, find something you enjoy more. You will be better served in a sub optimal exercise plan that you adhere to.
Number three: Sleep
If you could take a pill that would help you with the following…
- Weight loss
- More energy
- Better skin
- Lean muscle mass
Would you take it?
Of course you would. That pill is of course, sleep. It sounds ridiculous that we even have to speak about this, we have all felt the benefits from a good night’s sleep. So why do we fight it? Why are we so keen to stay up late and whilst using our phones and tablets when we know that this will result in less and poorer sleep quality.
Whist reading the book “Why we sleep” by Mathew Walker (an excellent book by the way if you struggle with sleep) there was a quote that really stood out for me…
“Sleep is the Swiss army knife of our health and wellbeing”
He couldn’t be more on the money. So here are some pointers to help you improve your sleeping routine.
- Do not use your phone/laptop/tablet 1 hour before bed. The blue light stimulates us and will affect you getting to sleep.
- Read a book or listen to a podcast/audiobook to help you unwind.
- Take some time to mentally unwind and enjoy your own company.
- Keep coffee to before 4pm so that you don’t have caffeine floating around your body late at night.
Sleep is an under used tool when looking to improve your health. As with everything in life, you will have to work hard to change your routine pre bed, but it’ll be worth it.
So that’s 3 key components to weight loss. I sincerely hope that there have been some take home points that you start to implement and improve your health.
Director – Impact Personal Training