Weight loss is a simple equation: if you expend more energy than you consume, you will lose weight. To lose weight effectively, you need to maintain a calorie deficit. It sounds easy in theory, but in practice, there are numerous things that can derail the best-laid plans of mice and men. Here is a quick guide to getting started, as well as a few tips to help you avoid the most common pitfalls.
Work out How Much You Want to Lose
You need a target weight. The more you want to lose, the longer it will take you. Do not set yourself an unrealistic goal. All this does is doom you to failure. Between 0.5 and one-pound per day is a reasonable amount of weight to lose. Most people can’t sustain a two-pound weight loss, as it requires a significant calorie deficit. To lose 0.5 pounds a day, you’ll need to expend 250 more calories than you eat. A one-pound weight loss requires a 500-calorie deficit, and so on.
The easiest way to count calories is to have a personal chef devising bespoke meal plans, but unless you’re a celebrity, you’ll have to try a different technique. Counting calories is not that difficult, thanks to an array of tools for modern dieters. Most packaged food is labelled with the number of calories per portion, although this information is not always accurate. You can also download apps such as MyFitnessPal and input everything you eat and drink.
Counting calories is important, but it doesn’t guarantee success. There are a number of variables that you need to be aware of. Firstly, what you eat is just as important as how much you eat. If you consume 1500 calories of sweet treats or two bottles of wine, you are going to struggle to hit your targets, regardless of how many calories you log.
Successful weight loss combines a calorie-controlled diet with exercise. Including exercise in your program boosts your metabolism, so you continue burning calories after your workout has ended. You can’t exercise if your diet is poor, so try to include healthy proteins, fresh fruit, and vegetables, and minimise the sweet treats. People who follow a low-sugar, low-carb diet tend to enjoy more success on weight loss regimes.
Don’t assume you need to hit the gym each day to lose weight. Clearly, it depends on how active you are, to begin with, but in general, a small increase in activity levels will help you to lose weight. Try and make lifestyle changes that are sustainable. Too much, too hard is not sustainable, and you will probably end up putting weight back on once you stop dieting.
Why You’re Not Losing Weight
There are several reasons why you’re not losing weight.
- You’re in denial about how much you are really eating
- You have an underlying health problem, such as an underactive thyroid
- You’re not eating enough to sustain your activity levels, so your body is in starvation mode
Always talk to your doctor before starting a weight loss program, to make sure it’s safe for you.