lose weight

Lose weight: The basics for sustainable weight loss

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How to lose weight and keep it off.

In order to lose weight, we need to create a balanced and healthy way of eating. The first step is changing the way you think about dieting and losing weight.

Fast weight loss is possible, but not several pounds in one week. To be able to do this would require literal starvation and nobody can keep that up for very long.

You will also be completely miserable.

Think about the weight you have gained. Did that weight appear overnight or did it take weeks or months?

In order to lose weight, start thinking about it as a longer term strategy. You are aiming to reverse your weight gain, so aim for weeks or months to reach your goal

I know this is disappointing, but that time goes faster than you think. A sustained effort over the course of a few months will be more successful than repeated failures on crash diets.

Crash dieting is a false economy and very unhealthy.

Make nutrition your number one priority.

Shifting your mindset away from losing weight. Focus on actually feeding your body well and this will lead to greater success in the long term.

Cravings happen because your body needs something but it does not always know how to identify what that need is. If you are feeding your body everything it needs, you will find your body balanced. It less likely to crave the junk food.

The number one rule: Eat a varied diet which focuses on balanced nutrition.

Read more about nutrition in our in-depth article here.

Calories in vs calories out

You have probably heard this a lot in your searches to lose weight. The only way to lose weight is to consume less calories than you use each day.

This is where we need to keep our feet on the ground. You have probably gained weight over time, probably by overeating a few hundred calories each day. Weight creeps on slowly and the best way to get rid of it, is to use the same strategy.

You are going to need to work out your required energy expenditure for the day. There are complicated mathematical equations we can do here, but is easier to use a calculator which you can find in the side bar.

Set your weight loss rate

As a general rule, subtracting 500kcal from your daily intake will lead to approximately 1lb of weight loss per week.

Do not be tempted to crash your calories. You will sacrifice your nutrition and sticking to your diet will be harder.

If you find your calories result in your daily intake being less than 1200kcal per day, reduce your deficit. Work on losing weight at a slower rate. It is not healthy to fall below 1200kcal. If you are failing below, you will only have a little to lose so you can afford to go slow.

Step up the exercise

If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less than you burn. This means subtracting a realistic number of daily calories.

You can create an even bigger deficit with exercise. Adding some cardiovascular workouts as well as strength based training will aid your weight loss goals.

Cardiovascular exercise is aerobic activity that increases you heart rate and intensifies your breathing.

Strength training involves using weights or resistance to build muscle.

Exercise does not have to be formal. Start bringing exercise into your day by taking opportunities to move more. If you are just starting out with exercise, why not try walking for weight loss.

How do I know how many calories I am eating each day?

The best way is to keep a food diary. You can do this manually and keep a count of your nutrition labels. This becomes a little more difficult when you are cooking from scratch. You also have to add them all up at the end of each day.

There are some brilliant nutrition tracker apps you can use. Have a little look in your Google Play Store or Apple App Store for some great free trackers.

My personal favourite is Cronometer, which tracks nutrition; calorie intake and energy expenditure. It shows me a lot more than other trackers I have used. My main reason for sticking with this one is the information it gives about vitamin and mineral intake. This enables you to really understand your exact nutrient intake and try new foods to balance them. I discovered I do not get much vitamin E, so I introduced some almond milk to fix that. Its also free! This is amazing because I have paid for apps in the past in order to get this level of information.

Back to that important rule – nutrition.

Implement this rule “I will ensure eat everything my body needs each day to be healthy. Only then I will have a treat”.

You are not denying yourself. You can have a little bit of a treat.

Treat your calories like currency: Spend only what you have available; get the most nutrition for your money and treat yourself a little with whatever is left.

You can also bank some calories. If you have a special occasion coming up, save a few each day (do not go into too much of a deficit though); then spend them on something special.

Finally, be adventurous.

A diet doesn’t have to be boiled vegetables and misery. It is a great time to try new food. Get into cooking from scratch and try some recipes and stock up the store cupboard with new herbs and spices. This is an opportunity to pull yourself away from a routine that has caused you to gain weight. You can create a new routine that makes your happier and healthier.

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