SUMMARY: If you’ve made the decision to lose weight, well done you. But don’t succumb to pressure and other people’s goals – you are doing this for you, and you need to do it your way. Find a good plan, stick to it, and the results will come.
How to lose weight, and keep it off for good
These days everyone tries to make weight loss such a complex science. Sure, you can separate fats and carbs, eat only certain things at certain times and track your macros. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated – it can be simple. The simple formula to losing weight is burning more calories than you eat. So calories in is less than calories out. Simples.
There are numerous ways to do this, so don’t let anyone tell you that you have to stick to a particular way of life to lose weight. You don’t. The most important thing is to find a plan that works for you, and stick to it. If it doesn’t seem like something that is sustainable, then you could end up just crashing and burning, along with your weight loss dreams. It’s better to go slow and steady, than look for a quick miracle fix and be disappointed with the results.
So I’ll quickly tell you the way that works for me, tried and tested as I’ve lost three stone in the past six months. Firstly, I identified my weaknesses: I have a terrible diet and binge eat when I’m sad. Secondly, I tried to find a way to overcome these weaknesses. I started tracking my calories and instead of comfort eating, if I’m sad I go to the gym. Thirdly, I don’t hate myself for having a bad day, or a bad week. So what if I ate like shit, and didn’t work out? I’m still me, and I still love myself. I can just get started right back again when I feel okay. I don’t use this as an excuse to binge eat though; it just helps put me in the right frame of mind to keep going. Also, through tracking my calories I’ve found a lot more freedom in what I can eat. If I want a pizza, I’ll have it. If I want chocolate, I’ll have it. I just incorporate it into my daily calorie allowance.
So I eat roughly 1500 calories per day (that I track through myfitnesspal). I’ve increased my steps to at least 10,000 a day (tracking through fitbit). I lift weights 3-4 times a week, and do a HIIT session once a week. Many women are a little dubious when it comes to weights, so let me just clarify that they will not ‘make you bulky’. They build muscle, to tone your figure, and help increase basal metabolic rate (meaning the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest). I also give myself one day off my diet a week, as I find dieting very difficult. This doesn’t mean that I just eat crap, it means that if there is anything I really crave in the week then I can have it. It gives more flexibility to the diet, making it easier to stick to.
But you have to find a way that works for you. My key pieces of advice are listed below:
- Try to decrease your caloric intake. Online calculators can give you a very rough estimate of how many calories you use on a daily basis. Subtract 500 from that, and you have your diet.
- Track your calories on myfitnesspal. Sometimes portion sizes and food can be deceiving, so try and be honest with yourself.
- Increase your normal activity levels, by walking more steps a day. 10,000 is a good aim.
- Do something active at least 3-4 times a week, for 30 minutes or more.
At the end of the day, it’s a lifestyle change. These fad diets may help you shed a few pounds but as soon as you stop, you’re going to go back to how you were. Don’t let anyone tell you that weight-loss is easy, because it isn’t. It requires motivation and determination to keep you going. It’s also very important that you find the way that works for you; there’s no point going on an 800 calorie-a-day diet if you can’t live without chocolate. Find a plan that works for you, and stick with it. You might not see the results straight away, but as the weeks and months go by you will start to see sustainable changes in your body.
Good luck on your fitness journey!