How to lose weight safely and effectively, striving for long-term success.
With the emergence of summer, weight loss ads on TV and social media increase significantly (as they do every year) from many companies who have little to no concern for your health, rather, for what’s in your pocket.
The truth is, losing weight, shedding body fat, leaning out — it all comes down to one simple thing.
Being in a deficit with your maintenance calories.
This means you are burning more than it takes to “run” your body.
It doesn’t mean you have to:
- go on a drastic no carb or no fat diet (how dreadful)
- eat your stereotypical bland, boiled chicken and broccoli with a sweet potato everyday-single-day for dinner
- wear (scam) wraps and drink “fit” teas
- you can’t enjoy yourself to a few treats here and there while continuing to lose weight
- bust your butt on the treadmill for hours at a time
You simply just need to be taking in less or burning more than your maintenance calories. Period.
OK, that’s great, but how do I know what my maintenance calories are?
Our energy requirements are based on three factors:
- our resting metabolic rate
- the thermic effect of food (energy cost of digestion, absorption, etc.)
- physical activity
These factors are further effected (directly or indirectly) by our age, genetics, body size and composition, environmental temperature, etc.
For your average person, a daily caloric intake of 1,800-2,000 calories serves as a good starting point to eat to.
Eat within these calories for 1-2 weeks (consistently) and see if your weight:
- remains the same, these are your maintenance calories
- goes down, you are now eating below your maintenance calories (deficit)
- goes up, you are now eating above your maintenance calories (surplus)
Note, it is best to lose no more than 1% of your body weight per week (ex. 124lbs can lose up to 1.2lb a week, 332lbs can lose up to 3.3lbs a week). The more weight that is loss in a shorter amount of time, the higher risk of losing lean muscle mass too.
See how your body responds, then decrease or increase your caloric intake as necessary.
A great, free app to track your calories (macros) is MyFitnessPal.
- Understand macros. Protein and carbs both contain 4 calories per gram, while fat contains 9 calories per gram.
- Make the base of your meals from whole-foods. Strive to eat at least 70% (more preferably) of your meals as real, natural, unprocessed foods.
- Eat out less. Not only will you save money, you’ll also save yourself some additional (empty) calories.
- Do more compound exercises. The more muscles that are recruited to perform an exercise, the more energy your body has to expend to complete it. Incorporate more compound movements into your training, such as: squats, deadlifts, lunges, step-ups, military press, bench press, pull-ups, etc.
Furthermore, understand that weight loss is not a sprint — rather it’s a slow, steady jog.
Stay patient, persistent, and positive with yourself. YOU CAN DO IT!
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