I hate the idea of weight loss being something where you drown your sorrows in a bowl of salad like that is something that you would be only allowed to eat. Undoubtedly, this leads to you breaking out of your impossible diet with a glorious feast that could feed a battalion and regain every lost pound. So let’s ditch that salad and start making a real change.
You should be able to enjoy your favorite foods. This is the thing that makes your diet sustainable. You can eat whatever you want and still be able to lose weight, but you need to be careful about the portion sizes. It all comes down to this simple rule which is:
👉🏻 Eat fewer calories than your body burns.
That’s it. There is no magic to this. You have to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, which you probably already know. The trick to making this successful is how you do it. This article will guide you on how to make this happen with the following steps.
- Find out your goal
- Start tracking
- How to eat
- Make it sustainable
This might seem a little overwhelming at first, but as you will notice, it’s not that hard when you get into it. You will have ups and downs on the way because there’s one thing making this change a whole lot harder – and that is you 🏻. Your mind is quite persuasive and will try to trick you on the way. So brace yourself, there will be days when you exceed your daily calorie budget, and that’s okay. Learn from that and start over the next day and keep on going. Don’t let these get you down. We are not trying to make a crash diet here but a long-term change in how you see and consume food. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Few hiccups don’t matter.
How much should I eat?
There’s no single answer to this as this is highly individual. The body burns calories differently depending on weight, height, sex, age, and activity level. To find your number, I have attached a calculator below 🙂 It is based on a common Mifflin-St Jeor formula to calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which represents your daily calorie expenditure when your body is at rest all day.
On top of this, we estimate your activity level from which we get the calories needed to maintain weight. Select weight loss from the calculator to see how much you need to stay in a calorie deficit to lose about 0.5 kilograms (1 pound) per week, which is ideal for sustainable weight loss. Remember that the values given by the calculator are estimates, so use your common sense. If you’re not losing weight, you are overeating. On the other hand, if you’re losing too much weight, you’re not eating enough. We will talk about tracking your progress later in this article.
Now that you know how much you should eat, you need to start tracking how much food you actually put in your mouth. I hate to break it to you, but this means that you need to start tracking your calorie intake. Of course, you could just eyeball it and make rough estimates, but I think this will likely lead to a failure if you haven’t done this before; it’s really hard to estimate the calories in a food. You will get better at this, and eventually, you will be able to do this without weighing everything you eat.
Tracking gives you an understanding of the calorie density in foods and teaches you how much you can eat different things. That’s why I highly recommend starting tracking your intake. This means that you need to weigh every food you eat. Of course, this is not always possible, and then you need to make those reasonable estimates, but as you have tracked other things you ate, you’ll have more knowledge to make better guesses. There are a lot of different apps that can make tracking easier for you. Here are a few:
When I began my calorie tracking, I started it with Noom. It comes with a hefty price tag, but it’s much more than a simple calorie tracker. With helpful lessons, personal assistants, help groups, and much more, it really makes it easier to start losing weight. After four months of using Noom, I felt like I couldn’t get more out of it and switched to MyFitnessPal, which I still use today to track my macros (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) to get the most out of my gym training.
Making the change
So now you know how much you should eat, and you have a way to track what you are eating. Now we should talk about how you should be eating. As I said at the beginning of this article, you can eat whatever you want. However, a donut-based diet will not probably be a good idea. You cannot fit that many 400-calorie donuts in your calorie-deficit diet, which would mean that you’d probably be starving all the time, which probably wouldn’t be your only issue. So what to eat then instead of munching on donuts? It’s all about ratios, and here’s the guideline:
👉🏻 Fill yourself with foods that have a low-calorie density.
For example, when filling up your lunch plate, reduce the amount of calorie-dense foods (rice, potatoes, sauces, mayonnaise) and add more low-calorie-density foods (vegetables, fruits). They will fill you up, and you will feel more satiated. Here are some foods categorized by caloric density to give you some idea. Remember, no food is off the menu; you only need to be more careful about the portion size.
|Vegetables||Potatoes, pasta, rice||Butter|
|Fruit||Meat||Olive oil, vegetable oil|
Constructing your meals like this should be your daily routine. So, no food is forbidden, you feel satiated, and you lose weight, but no food is off the menu. Of course, some foods are really high in calories, like burgers and pizzas. How about those, then? How do you fit those into your daily budget? Well, it’s all about planning ahead.
Let’s talk about snacking first. It’s really easy to start snacking on treats if they are easily available. Imagine a bowl of chips at the reach of your hand – how likely are you to eat them? And who’s tracking how much you ended up eating those? That’s 500 calories in no time. Hide your treats or put them somewhere where you need to make an effort to retrieve them and you won’t be mindlessly munching on gummy worms. In addition, planning your snacks is a good idea because snacking isn’t bad but an excellent way to keep you satiated. Prepare your snacks beforehand and enjoy them when is the time and you won’t end up overeating. Make a plan even for those chips or gummy worms.
As I’ve said, no food is off the menu. When you have the urge to eat a burger, do so! But don’t eat them every day. Eventually, it all comes down to your calorie intake, and you can plan a cheat day, eat less in the week, and saves calories for the weekend. You can easily save 100-150 calories daily during the week, which gives you 500-750 calories more on the weekend. This way, you won’t lose your mind munching on that salad and can keep making progress without giving up on foods you love.