By Rume Ameke
Weight loss like any other goal a person is working to achieve, it starts in the mind. It all depends on how badly you want it. You have to do away with any excuses and be single-minded towards it.
Set your weight loss goal and work towards it like any other. Break it down into smaller achievable milestones e.g. if your goal is to lose 20kg, break it down into 3kg to 5kg over 4 months and celebrate each milestone when you hit it.
In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. Within a healthy balanced diet, a woman’s daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories and a mans is 2,500 calories. You should aim to lose a minimum of 1lb (.5kg) a week. This is equal to 3,500 calories. This means you have to create a deficit of 500 calories a day.
These values can vary depending on age, metabolism and levels of physical activity, among other things.
The following are some tips to help with losing weight:
- Empty your fridge of any unhealthy and tempting food. This is very helpful to stop you from reaching for these foods when craving. Replace them with healthier alternatives. Be willing to research for healthier meal alternatives. There is so much information on the internet and so many food bloggers such as Deliciously Ella provide healthier alternatives to many of the meals we are used to eating. This opens you up to more choice. Healthy is certainly not boring.
- Make a food diary to see what you eat, snack on and drink every day; at least when you initially start. Apps like MyFitnessPal are quite handy to gauge how much you are eating on a daily basis. This can help you stay on track and help you with working out portion sizes on your plate.
- Apply portion control and know what portion sizes of food groups you should have on your plate. Your vegetables should take up half of your plate, whilst carbohydrates and protein take up one-quarter each. Eat complex carbohydrates like brown rice, brown pasta, wholemeal bread, sweet potatoes etc. Simple carbohydrates spike your blood sugar as they are absorbed very quickly by the body. A spike in blood sugar besides having negative health effects, it also makes you feel hungry again quicker.
- Drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Water flushes out toxins from your body, aids in digestion and boosts your body metabolism. Plus, water is zero calories. Do not drink your calories. This takes up calories that you could be eating when you are sticking to a calorie consumption limit. The more food you are able to eat, the less hungry you are and less likely to then overeat.
- Exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes a day. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and stick to it, whether at home or at the gym. Cardio helps you lose weight, it is also great for your heart and lungs. Strength training, however, is also recommended as it builds lean muscle which boosts your body metabolism and keeps you burning calories hours after the workout is done. Athlyt Unisex’s Neoprene Dip Dumbbell is highly recommended for easier indoor workouts
- Meal preparation or Meal (prep) is very helpful in keeping you organised and sticking to the foods you are meant to be eating. It can seem initially but you will reap the rewards of always having a healthy meal to hand especially if you live a busy lifestyle and it stops you reaching for that chocolate bar. Prep snacks as well as meals on a weekly basis.
- Never go grocery shopping on an empty tummy. When you are hungry, you are drawn to unhealthy foods and can find yourself loading up that shopping cart with oven pizzas instead of broccoli and cauliflower. Choose healthy options when you go out to eat especially if you eat out frequently. For example, if you are having a pasta dish, have a tomato base instead of a creamy base as a creamy base will likely be full of butter and double cream. Allow yourself a cheat meal now and again, about once a week. It helps you feel balanced and not completely restricted. However, do not make it a regular occurrence as you can end up eating back all the calories you lost.
- Lastly, find what works for you and your body. Some people are able to lose weight by cutting calories through their diet only. Some have to exercise in addition to see any results. Some can eat a good amount of carbohydrates and still lose weight while some have to up their protein intake. Find what is right and sustainable for you.
Having said all of the above, this brings me onto how to maintain your goal weight and keep it off once you have lost it. It ties back to one thing, making the new habits you picked up whilst losing weight, permanent. Make it a lifestyle. You cannot go back to your old ways of eating and expect not to regain all the weight you lost. This is where the mind comes in again. You have to run with the new mindset of (this is how I eat now and going forward).