Losing weight is difficult and many people struggle with it. This is due to the myths surrounding weight loss and the plethora of diets. So how do you figure out what works for you? How do you figure out how to lose weight?
A lot of people question this quite justly. The reasoning behind this is the massive amount of myths behind weight loss. This Healthline article goes into 12. Clearly, there are more than 12 but these 12 may be the biggest. Think about your difficulty with losing weight. Do you coincide with any of these factors? This is where to begin. Start with what hasn’t worked for you in the past and really discover why. By doing this you can analyze yourself in a way that is objective. Without judgment, decide why you may like doing something or why you may not.
By starting here we can avoid a lot of the myths that come with weight loss. Too often we are attracted to diets such as low carb, keto, south beach, or weight watchers. The mistake here is following a preset plan. Everyone is different. This is why these diets don’t work. Everyone’s body will react differently. You don’t know how you will feel eating in a certain way. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is by experimentation. You have to try different foods and see what works for you.
Where Do You Start with Weight Loss?
This is the hardest part about losing weight. It is really hard to know where to begin. To me, you should begin by solely tracking. By doing this you can see exactly what you are eating and how many calories this equates to. Do this for a week and see if you’re around the correct calories per day. Make sure you factor in exercise and total daily energy expenditure (what you burn without moving). Check out this calculator to give you a baseline that incorporates exercise.
The next step is to find out how many calories are you taking in. Chronometer is the best and most researched app for calorie counting. Check it out here. Do this for a week especially on the weekend. It will give you a much better idea of how much to eat per day. Maybe you’ll want to eat more when you’re exercising or have tough days. By using Chronometer you have a place to start.
Where Did I Begin with Weight Loss?
It would be hard to prescribe something that you have not done yourself. I can help with weight loss because of the weight I gained and lost during college and then after. I lost 30 lbs. by dieting alone and this is why I believe in this method of weight loss. In my senior year of college the compounding effects of drinking, eating, and not exercising caused me to gain 30 lbs. After college, I realized I had to dedicate myself to losing this weight.
After college, I was starting a new job so I was extremely busy. Due to this, I realized I had to focus on food. I would not be able to exercise a lot due to having to drive 40 minutes each way to work while working over 8 hours a day. Despite this, I was able to lose that weight sustainably with just a diet. This is why I prescribe this. It is easier to focus just on diet. Yes, exercise will help but you can lose weight by diet alone! Here is a post I wrote about this exact topic!
The Next Steps for Weight Loss
So what do you do after you start tracking? You may be happy or you may be upset. Regardless of that fact, you still want to know what to do next. My first step is different than most. Most people will tell you to start on a diet you have no experience with that has worked for them. This is what you should not do. The real first step is to look at what has worked for you in the past and why. We can make the most progress by doing what worked before. It is going to be different from person to person, so you need to think about what works for you.
When you’ve found what has worked for you in the past, start with that. Make sure your habit is easy. You should be confident that you can accomplish the habit at least 8/10 times. By making the habit easy you lower the barrier to starting. Most people get lost in starting. There is so much conflicting information out there about weight loss that it is impossible to know what to do. As a result, people try something random and often fail. This is why it is so hard to lose weight.
Don’t do something random. Don’t do what your friend or family member did. Do what works for you. This is the first step to any sustainable weight loss. You find what works for you regardless of what others have done and go with it. Don’t follow fad diets. Know that you are different. The problem is there is so much money to be made people will tell you something that may never work!
How to Keep Going
This is the hardest thing to do and where most people fail. You can succeed with weight loss by starting easy. Keep it simple. When you get used to the habit you can ramp it up. Most people also do not have an accountability partner. Make sure you have someone who is watching your actions. They can reprimand you when you don’t follow your habits or praise you when you do! That accountability can be the difference between failing and succeeding. This post talks about how to keep going despite what happens.
If you don’t have someone who can hold you accountable schedule a call with me! No obligations. Even if we decide not to work together you will learn so much more about what to do in the future. Don’t hesitate! Pick a time that works for you and let’s talk!
How to Keep Weight off
You can do this by following the plan set forth here. By starting with something simple and easy that you are at least 8/10 confident you can do every day you can maintain weight loss in the long run. This is because the habits you have developed make it easy to keep going. For instance, if you love eating pizza once in a while, totally getting rid of it forever makes it really hard never to eat it. Just smelling it around the corner can cause you to want to eat it!
It has also been shown that support systems are more likely to help keep weight off. John Hopkins illustrates this! Hopkins also says activity that burns 1,500 – 2,000 calories per week can help maintain weight loss. We all know that accountability keeps you on a task. Think of having a boss who is keeping you accountable to your work. Exercise is not necessary for losing weight in the first place, but burning extra calories can help you keep weight off no matter what you eat.
The last and most important thing for maintaining weight loss is to eat healthy 80-90% of the time. You can have a “cheat day” every week, but overdoing bad food can make you gain all the weight you lost. “Cheat days” can even help you reduce cravings and provide a mental break. The biggest and most important thing is to stick to your healthy habits so you and your body maintain healthy homeostasis with your environment. As I’ve said this is different for everyone, so find what works for you.