Weight Loss Guide for Beginners
There are so many different weight-loss plans and diets out there today that it makes it nearly impossible to figure out which ones work and which ones do not. Very often, theories involving physiology, nutrition, and biochemistry are used to validate each method.
The average person who wants to shed some pounds and body fat is frequently overwhelmed by the sheer array of options out there and, very often, as a consequence, he or she is too daunted to make a choice. I am here to offer you an easier alternative: a simple way to lose weight and body fat the right way, and keep it off. I believe that simplicity is the key to success and the method I am going to explain has always worked for me.
There are only 3 scenarios possible when it comes to our weight: we are either gaining weight, losing weight, or maintaining our current weight. Sometimes we might experience all 3 at various times. The 2 main factors that determine which of the 3 scenarios we experience are: 1. How many calories we consume and, 2. How many calories we burn. It really is that simple.
In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories every day than you consume. It might seem overly simplified, but that is the fundamental truth to losing weight. You want a caloric deficit.
- If you burn more calories than you consume, you will shed weight.
- If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.
- And if you burn and consume the same amount of calories, you will more or less maintain your current weight.
The amount of calories you burn in a day is determined mainly by your basal metabolic rate (how many calories you burn while inactive and doing nothing) and how active you are. And the amount of calories you consume in a day depends on what types of food and drink you ingest and how much of them.
It is possible to lose weight by not exercising, although it is not ideal. All you need to do is consume less food each day than you burn. There are people who adopt this method and lose weight by simply consuming less food and drink calories than they burn.
However, the healthiest way to shed your pounds is to increase the amount of calories you burn while simultaneously consuming fewer calories. It is a two-pronged approach that allows you more flexibility. As long as the net effect is that you burn more than you consume, you will lose weight.
How do you increase the amount of calories you burn each day?
Increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
- Eat 5-6 smaller meals each day rather than 2-3 big meals
- Drink green tea
- Eat more lean protein (fish, shellfish, tofu, eggs, lean meats)
- Avoid processed food (if it comes in a box or is prepackaged, avoid it)
- Eat real food (unprocessed and as close to its natural form as possible)
- Build more muscle by lifting weights
- Drink more water
- Avoid stress
- Get enough sleep
Doing the above will increase your metabolism.
Exercise and Become More Active
- Find sports and exercises that you enjoy (swimming, cycling, walking, jogging, yoga, hiking, tennis, etc)
- Lift weights in the gym or at home
- Use the treadmill, stepper, elliptical, stair climber, etc, in the gym or at home
- Do bodyweight exercise (push ups, sit ups, squats, etc)
- Join an amateur sports league
- Avoid being sedentary. Get up and do stuff rather than sit down at your desk or watch TV (garden, clean the house, play with your dog, go bowling, rollerblade, mow the lawn, use the stairs rather than the elevator, ride your bike to work, play with your kids, dance to your favorite music, etc)
- Find a partner to join and support you
There are so many fun options out there. The key is to find something you enjoy, start slowly, and gradually increase the length and intensity. Even if you can only walk for 5 minutes, do it.
Now, how do you reduce the amount of calories you consume each day?
Eat Better Food
- Avoid processed food
- Learn to cook using healthy methods (baked, not fried)
- Cook all or most of your meals
- Reduce your sugar consumption (eat fresh fruit rather than candy and desserts, drink your coffee black, etc)
- Eat lean proteins with every meal
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
- Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables
Doing the above will reduce the amount of calories you consume without making you feel starved.
Eat Less (in terms of calories)
- Drink more water before and after meals
- Replace some of your starch with lean protein
- Eat foods that contain more fiber (beans, bran, vegetables, whole grains)
- Replace fattier foods with less fatty and healthier options that give you fewer calories per serving
- Eat 5-6 smaller meals each day rather than 2-3 big meals to stay full longer
- Eat unprocessed food that is as close to its natural form as possible (brown rice, whole grain pasta, etc)
- Get rid of unhealthy food in your pantry and refrigerator to avoid temptation
- Eat out less often
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
- Eat your fruit and vegetables first
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
- Reduce your sugar consumption
- Use smaller plates (most people tend to fill their plate regardless of the size)
- Get rid of snacks and do not keep them visible
- Surround yourself with others who eat healthy and support your habit
The habits above will help you reduce the number of calories you consume while leaving you feeling full. I suggest making a list of healthy ingredients and then go grocery shopping. This reduces the temptation to buy junk food which could derail your efforts. Of course, it is advisable to see your doctor before starting any exercise or diet change, especially if you have pre-existing ailments.
One important thing to remember is that it is best if you burn body fat rather than muscle in order to achieve your goals. To help achieve this, it is essential that you eat right (including lean protein) and do some bodyweight exercises or lift weights on your journey. Having some muscle will raise your metabolism so that you burn more calories even while at rest. It also keeps you stronger and more toned. This does not mean you need to look like a bodybuilder. It just give you some definition and strength.
Putting all this information together, you need to burn more calories than you consume each day in order to lose weight. Remember to lift weights or do bodyweight exercises to ensure that you burn fat and not muscle. You do not have to adopt every single suggestion I listed above at once. Start with one or a few and slowly add more. The key is to start now and to do it consistently. This is not a diet plan or a quick fix. It is a lifestyle change that you can maintain for the rest of your life.
If you make these changes, you will start to lose weight and succeed in keeping it off.