Living in an environment saturated with media and advertisement we're constantly pushed the idea of weight loss at a break neck pace. There's no shortage of diet pill ads filled with air brushed models promising to evaporate your belly fat in 3 days. With all this over stimulation it's easy to lose sight of the science behind weight and how to lose fat in a healthy and efficient way.
Step 1: Set a goal
This is by far the most important step in the weight loss equation. You must set a goals. Sit down and set a long-term weight loss goal, then set subsequent yearly, monthly and weekly objectives for yourself. Your goals are your roadmap and we all know we can't go anywhere if we don't know where we're going.
Step 2: Calculate your caloric intake
I can't stress this enough. No one is the same and there is no magic 1200 calorie per day diet plan that is going to work for everyone. You need to calculate a starting point so you can begin to cut calories in sensible way. The best way to do this is write down everything you eat over a three-day period and take the average calories of those three days. This is your average daily intake.
Step 3: Cut Calories
Now that you have a starting point (it's probably somewhere around 3500), take that number and find 70% of whatever it is. In our 3500 calorie example we'll be at 2450, 3500 x .70 = 2450. We've cut about a 1000 calories out of our diet every day and it's surprising how easily this can be accomplished. Most people can lose a 1000 calories from their day just by making two out of their three meals healthier. A great example of this is eating a salad for dinner instead of a high calorie dish like spaghetti. Following this method we're cutting out 7000 calories a week without exercise. That's 2 pounds of weight loss a week, simply because you ate a salad for dinner.
Step 4: Exercise
I know, it's the word nobody wants to hear. None of us really look forward to going to the gym and causing our bodies pain. However, exercise is absolutely essential and not just for weight loss. I'm always telling clients that exercise is the best medicine because it prevents health ailments. That being said, you don't have to kill yourself in the gym for two hours everyday. Start small. Give yourself a goal to burn 200 calories every time you go to the gym.
Step 5: Stick with it!
It goes without saying that this is where most of us trip up. All too often I see people coming into the gym excited about changing their lives only to burn out after two weeks. I think a lot of this has to do with "air brushed model" expectations. Losing weight doesn't have to be difficult, all it takes is small changes and patience.