Diet and exercise need to be a lifestyle choice. You can't eat right for a month, run a lot and expect to be healthy for the long run (No pun intended). It just doesn't work that way. I can cut 10 pounds in a week by eating chicken and tuna while running my butt off (pun intended). Then, before I know it, I have stopped working out, started eating pizza and ice cream again. The next week I weigh myself and discover I've gained 15 pounds to replace the 10 I just lost. It happens to almost everyone who tries to lose a few pounds, the dreaded yo-yo dieting cycle. I am more guilty than most and I struggled with this for a long time before I ended up keeping the weight off! I have created a healthy weight and lifestyles by creating a few good habits. When you are ready to lose weight, you need to know and remind yourself that small lifestyle changes go a long way in weight loss and weight management.
To lose 1 pounds a week, you need to make a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day from your diet to start (7x500=3500, there are 3200 calories in one pound of body fat). To figure this out you take your current bodyweight (210 lbs for me), and multiply it by 15 (3150 for me). This is the number of calories I need to consume to stay the same weight. We want to lose weight so we need to consume 500 calories less (2650 for me). This alone will allow us to lose 1 pound a week. With weight training and a cardio exercise routine, 2-4 pounds a week is well within your grasp. Remember this is not a quick fix. This is a small lifestyle change that will give you the results you are looking for in 3-6 months and will last a lifetime if adhered to.
When You are ready to lose weight, new habits are our best friends. We have to take the initial drive we have and use it to create new habits for a healthy lifestyle. Just start with one, and when you are comfortable, add another. remember, it takes an average of 21 days to form a new habit. Start with some eating changes, as these will give results with the least amount of effort. These are some of the weight loss tactics and principles that have made this journey easier and actually enjoyable for me:
- Eat 5-6 small meals a day. This will keep your metabolism going full speed all day and eliminate hunger and blood sugar spikes better than 3 big meals a day.
- Cook your meals ahead of time. Pick a day, and spend an hour cooking your meals for the week. This makes it easy for you to eat right. It also gives you a opportunity to work on your portions. A food scale is very helpful here but anything that is the same every time will work.
- Buy $20 worth of cheap Tupperware containers and put your pre-cooked meals in them. When I am hungry I just grab a meal out of the fridge and microwave it. It also allows me to Take meals with me when I am on the go. I have no excuse not to eat healthy.
- Find and stick to some portions that work with your goals. I use measuring cups. One of my favorite meals is 3/4 cup cubed chicken breast, 1/4 cup of brown rice, and 1 cup of steamed broccoli. Sometimes i cut out the rice and do a full cup of chicken with the broccoli.
- Drink a lot of water. When I am doing a cutting cycle I try to drink a gallon of water a day. It sounds like a lot but it really isn't. I have a 1 liter water bottle i take every where with me and I usually drink 3-4 liters a day. If you are having trouble drinking the water plain, there are tons of calorie free water flavor additives that you can use.
It took a lot of ups and downs for me to realize that eating needs to be ONLY for essential nourishment. Eating till I feel better didn't solve anything and in the long run made me feel terrible. The only way I was able to break the cycle was to make a habit out of healthy eating. Cooking and packing meals ahead of time, made with calorie specific portions, which I eat 5-6 times a day with lots of water. In my next few articles i will talk about the other half of weight loss, weight and cardio training, followed by some diet examples and high protien, low fat recipes!