According to Our World in Data, 39% of adults were overweight or obese in 2016. With this figure presumably getting larger as of 2021, losing weight has become a hot topic.
This new-found interest in weight loss has bred millions of different programs and weight loss gurus that claim to offer the fastest and easiest way to lose weight. With most of these claims turning out to be scams, those searching for a way to shed some pounds have been left frustrated and feeling hopeless.
Sadly, in this state of hopelessness and frustration, many people give up and no longer care about the most effective way to lose weight and start to revert back to their old habits that made them overweight in the first place.
Like I’ve said in previous posts, the only TRUE and PROVEN way to lose weight is to eat in a caloric deficit (eat fewer calories than your body uses in a day) for an extended period of time. Throughout this article, I will not be offering you lose weight quick schemes or showing you how to lose 30 pounds in a month. That’s basically impossible and very unnatural. What I will be showing you are different strategies and habits that can help make weight loss and staying in a caloric deficit as painless as possible.
Remember, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
Track Your Calories
The first step to losing weight is to track the amount of calories you eat. For many people, this can seem like a very tedious and annoying task. But it doesn’t have to be. To count calories and not hate every second of it, I recommend eating food items that already have the calories labeled on them. For instance, if you eat a protein bar and a muffin for breakfast, the packaging on both should tell you the amount of calories you consumed from each.
What I try to do is eat smaller packaged/labeled items throughout the day for breakfast and lunch. I aim for around 25-30% of my daily calorie consumption during this time. Then for dinner, I will prepare a lean meat, rice and vegetables where I weigh each food to determine the calories.
This helps to keep the annoying and tedious part of tracking calories, which is weighing and calculating, to only once a day instead of every meal.
A great app to assist you in tracking calories is MyFitnessPal which is available on the apple and android app stores.
Suggested Article: Gain Muscle and Lose Weight at The Same Time
Intermittent fasting is an amazing strategy that has been scientifically proven to improve weight loss. Intermittent fasting is when you only eat during a certain time period throughout the day and allow your body to fast when you’re outside of this feeding window. According to the Harvard Medical School, not eating for an extended period of time lowers our bodies natural insulin levels. Insulin is responsible for helping our body convert leftover sugar into fat. So less insulin means less fat that gets stored in the body.
In other words, intermittent fasting helps to improve our bodies ability to burn fat and use the food we consume more efficiently.
There are many different ways that intermittent fasting can be done. I recommend fasting for at least 16 hours a day and allowing yourself an 8-hour window to feast. If you want to be more strict, you can also fast for longer than 16 hours but I wouldn’t recommend fasting for more than 18 to ensure you don’t experience any negative side effects.
The good thing about intermittent fasting is that it can be very flexible. For example, a popular method is to eat between the hours of 12 and 8 o’clock, but you can pick any 8-hour window that best fits your schedule. For best results, you want to try to not eat anything until 4-6 hours after you wake up and at least 2 hours before you go to bed.
Eat Nutritious/Filling Foods
The hardest part about maintaining a caloric deficit is controlling your hunger. No matter what you try, being in a constant caloric deficit will make you hungry. The best way to combat this hunger is to spread out your meals, only eat in a slight caloric deficit between 400-600 calories (this will give you a better chance of staying consistent), and eat food that will keep you full.
Some foods that I eat between meals to control hunger are Greek yogurt, apples, bananas and broccoli. These foods tend to be low in calories and satisfy me just enough to hold me over until I eat my next big meal.
Other low calories foods you can eat to hold off hunger are oatmeal, fish, soups and lean meats. I also found that drinking plenty of water and black coffee can help keep hunger at bay as well.
It is not a necessity, but if you want to lose weight working out will help TREMENDOUSLY.
Working out for about 30 minutes to an hour can help burn off extra calories and, in turn, speed up weight loss. Whether you want to lift weights, stick to body weight exercises or run on the treadmill, as long as you do it for at least 30 minutes, you will experience weight loss benefits.
A common complaint from many people trying to lose weight is that working out makes them hungrier and they end up eating more than they should. To combat this, I recommend only working out 3 times a week for no more than an hour at a time. This will help preserve your energy and keep you from getting too hungry.
Another thing you can do if you don’t want to work out or you have some sort of complication is walking. Walking is amazing for weight loss because it is so easy and effortless and doesn’t require a lot of energy. This, in turn, allows you to burn extra calories without making yourself any hungrier. For best results, I recommend walking around 15,000 steps a day. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “15,000 steps?! That’s insane!”. Not really.
Most people walk thousands of steps a day without realizing. Walking back and forth to check the mailbox, going to the bathroom, and strolling to the kitchen for a snack are a few examples.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of walking, check out my post on the health benefits of walking daily.
In conclusion, weight loss is not easy. It is arguably one of THE hardest and most challenging things you can do, especially with the abundance of unhealthy foods. It takes persistence, determination and a lot of will power to stick out the constant battle with hunger and see results.
But like I talked about in this article, there are many ways to make weight loss less painful like tracking your calorie consumption, fasting for certain hours of the day, eating foods that keep you full, and staying active. These tips mixed with an optimistic mindset can take you places you never thought were possible.
So, what are you waiting for, get off your butt and start working towards your dream body today!
If you found this article helpful, please feel free to leave a comment and share your opinions on weight loss!