Losing weight can seem like an impossible feat. You might see people pull it off on Facebook, but the pounds never seem to disappear when you try it yourself.
Well, as with all goals, losing weight takes planning and commitment. In fact, there’s more mental effort required than any other kind. So how do we get into the right mindset for weight loss?
Introduction to Weight Loss
Firstly, losing weight is simple. Every day our bodies burn a certain amount of calories. If you were to eat nothing at all for long enough, your body would deplete its available calories.
Inversely, if you were to eat a lot, your body will work to try and store these additional calories as fat. If you are doing resistance training, some of those calories may become muscle. No matter what you’ve seen people say about slow metabolism and all its associated buzzwords, every person will lose weight if calories are restricted sufficiently.
When we talk about weight loss, we are typically talking about burning excess fat to break this down a little more. A pound of fat is equal to around 3,500 calories. That means in a given week (7 days,) for you to burn one pound of fat, you should reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories.
But how much less is that than you eat now, you ask? The best way to figure this out is to estimate your current base metabolic rate (BMR). This will tell you how many calories you should eat each day to keep your body weight the same. This BMR Calculator is a good place to start. Type in your age, gender, height, and weight, and the calculator will estimate your caloric needs based on activity level. Eat more than this, and you will gain weight. Eat less, and you should lose weight.
Disclaimer About Weight Loss Struggles
Before moving on, it is important to recognize where medications, hormonal imbalances, or other issues may be contributing to things like water retention, poor metabolic function, or other medical issues that may interfere with weight loss. To determine if this describes you, consult with a weight loss specialist to learn about the next steps.
Also, the above calculator is an estimate. Tracking your weight eat a day on a scale, both morning and night, is a good way to track your weight over time and learn if you need to consume fewer or more calories to maintain healthy weight loss. Aim to reduce body weight by no more than 0.5% each week, or work with a specialist to determine how much weight is safe for you to lose.
Trouble Losing Weight?
For “medically normal” individuals, weight loss is all about sticking to it. Remember, weight loss takes time.
With that in mind, it is important to mention this fundamental reality of weight loss, because it’s frequently denied by people who claim they can’t lose weight. Some people say they are too old to lose weight anymore, or have a body that holds on to calories to an unbelievable degree.
While there might be associated challenges with losing weight for older people than they once were, or those with certain medical conditions, this lack of weight loss is primarily due to inactivity and how much we eat.
Many of us are stuck at home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That means, in most cases, that we are moving around less than we once did. It should be no surprise, therefore, that many of us are gaining weight. If you want to be in the right mindset for weight loss, you have to recognize that you aren’t yet burning enough calories, relative to your calorie intake, and that this is why you aren’t losing weight.
Once we’ve accepted this fundamental notion of weight loss and weight gain, it’s time to decide what we’re going to do about it. Again, our options are pretty simple.
You can eat less or exercise more, or both! Some people have found success starting with diet alone for the first few months, then adding exercise; others find that balancing exercise and diet works for them. Trying things is key to finding what is right for you!
Once you choose your methods, you’ll have to stick to them for a long time. This isn’t like a New Year’s Resolution, where you give up on day two. Weight loss and weight management require a change to your lifestyle going forward.
Staying motivated may be the biggest challenge of all, but having a good plan can help.
Creating a Plan
Even if you are going the diet route, you should still consider adding a few simple exercises to your schedule. Walking and jogging may be the simplest and most effective, especially if you have been inactive for a long time and aren’t sure how your body will hold up; take your time and don’t force weight loss because you will potentially injury yourself.
If you are looking to be more active, along with diet, then get access to cardio and resistance training equipment at a gym or home. Start by adding about 30 minutes of exercise to your daily routine, without changing your daily caloric intake.
Ideally, you are getting at least 150 minutes of exercise that elevates your heart rate each week.
As you cut your calories and exercise more, you will start to eye food differently. Often, we “freestyle” eat, meaning that we snack when we’re hungry, and we don’t take careful stock of the portions we eat at mealtime. Thousands of calories can slip by unnoticed when we eat this way.
Get any of the many free calorie counting apps and monitor everything you consume.
Supplements for Cravings
If you have trouble with food cravings, some supplements can help.
- CarbCrave Complex by Pure Encapsulations.
- Compulsive Eating Drops by Professional Complementary Health Formulas.
- Advanced Appetite Suppress by Life Extension.
Each of these three products works to help you limit your hunger in strategic ways, whether you are craving carbs or trying to limit your binge eating habits.
Once you’ve managed to follow a regular exercise routine and establish calorie limits, you’ll start to see results. Don’t try to lose weight too fast. You want to preserve your health and energy, and for weight loss to be sustainable. Many lose-weight-fast diet programs don’t help you rethink your relationship with food and build good lifestyle habits. They merely tell you that certain foods are “bad,” while encouraging you to lose a bunch of weight and then gain the weight back just a month or two later, so you have to come back and do the program all over.
Stop doing this!
Keep up the good work for weeks and months, adjusting your exercise and calories as needed, and you’ll hit your weight loss goals before you know it.