For some odd reason, people think that weight loss is some magical thing that only happens when you manipulate carbohydrates, do six hours of cardio a day, stand on your head for a minimum of 20 minutes while sipping water, and are only allowed to eat foods that are green. Only then will you achieve weight loss success. It’s not funny but it’s actually comical to hear people talk about their “weight loss plan.”
The fact of the matter is, people are overthinking the process. Once and for all, I want to set the record straight and provide you with what I like to call “weight loss simplified.” Now, the first thing we need to understand is that weight loss isn’t going to necessarily be easy. But then again, anything worthwhile is never easy, right?
So, what exactly is weight loss simplified? It’s all about putting yourself in a daily caloric deficit. Yes, macro ratios come into play but at the infancy stage, your main focus should be on at the end of the day having your caloric intake below your maintenance level. Let’s look into this a little further.
Put Yourself into a Caloric Deficit to Achieve Weight Loss
Again, people seem to overcomplicate things with diets by eliminating various macronutrients, depriving themselves of certain foods (which causes them to have severe cravings and eventually cheat on their diet by binging), and doing all sorts of crazy techniques that don’t work or only provide them with temporary results.
Why do these things never work? It’s because it’s not a lifestyle you can adhere to. It’s nearly impossible. Think about it. Do you think for one minute that you can say you’ll never eat a cookie, a donut, a bowl of ice cream, any desserts, pizza, or peanut butter ever again? The answer is no, right? And you shouldn’t have to.
The problem most people face is that they have no idea where their calories fall day to day. Some days they assume they ate “clean” (which they may have), but at the end of the day, they could have still been over their maintenance calories while eating healthy foods which still puts them into a surplus and can cause them to gain weight.
A caloric deficit is the only way for you to succeed with weight loss and reducing body fat. There’s no way around it. It’s math. You need to burn more calories during the day than you take in. How do you ensure you are in a caloric deficit? You track your nutrition.
Tracking your nutrition is not difficult, it simply takes some time and discipline to stay consistent. However, you don’t know what you don’t know and if you’re serious about your weight loss, it’s a necessary evil to track your numbers and hold yourself accountable.
One of the best tools to track your nutrition is MyFitnessPal. It’s a free app that you can download onto your smartphone. The setup of the app is very easy, and you’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes after putting in your personal information such as height, weight, goal, current lifestyle and activity level, etc.
Two Ways to Ensure You’re in a Caloric Deficit
There are a couple of ways to make sure you are putting yourself into a caloric deficit so you can succeed and hit your weight loss goals.
1. Eat Fewer Calories Each Day
While exercising along with putting yourself in a caloric deficit would be ideal, you can actually still achieve weight loss success without exercising at all (but you risk burning some lean muscle tissue). The key is eating fewer calories than what your maintenance number is.
For example, let’s say your maintenance calories per day is 2,000. If you were to eat more than 2,000 you could gain weight. If you eat fewer than 2,000 calories, you could lose weight. Again, it’s simple math – calories in versus calories out.
The only way you would know if you achieved this is if you tracked your nutrition and noticed weight loss from your efforts.
A good place to start would be to eat around 250 fewer calories per day than your maintenance. Using the 2,000-calorie example, that would mean you should consume 1,750 calories per day. After a week, check your progress. 250 calories removed daily from your nutrition over the course of seven days should allow you to see a weight loss result of 0.5 pounds. If you bumped it up to 500 calories per day you could expect to see a weight loss result of one pound over seven days.
When you stop seeing weight loss progress, eliminate another 250 calories from your nutrition. Or, you could add in #2 so you could still eat the same number of calories.
Note: You can lose anywhere from 1-2 pounds each week in a healthy manner. Anything more and you risk wasting away lean muscle mass.
2. Burn More Calories Through Exercise
One way to decrease the number of calories tallied at the end of the day is to start exercising or to exercise more. When you exercise, you’re burning calories. Burning calories means you don’t have to decrease how much you eat in order to put yourself in a deficit.
For instance, using the 2,000-calorie maintenance example, you can eat 2,000 calories a day but exercise to burn 250 calories to get you down to 1,750. You also have the ability to play with the amount of exercise you do each week along with your calories to provide yourself with some flexibility yet still achieve weight loss.
An example of this would be you can eat above your maintenance and hit 2,250 calories but then exercise and make sure you hit 500 calories burned. This will put you at the 1,750 you want to hit daily.
What’s the Benefit of Leveraging These Two Methods?
The two weight loss methods above are extremely advantageous in that they allow you greater flexibility. No one wants to be TOLD they HAVE to spend an hour a day on the treadmill to lose weight. No one wants to be TOLD they HAVE to eliminate all carbohydrates from their diet. It just doesn’t make sense.
By utilizing the strategies found in this article, you can greatly improve your weight loss success by simplifying the process. Overcomplicating things is only going to lead to frustration and eventually giving up on the plan altogether. Simply make sure are hitting your numbers every day and that you are in a caloric deficit – it’s that easy. It’s a numbers game. Turn it into something fun where you try to hit your numbers exactly on a daily basis by manipulating your food intake or by exercising and hitting a certain number of calories burned.
Give this a try and I’m willing to bet you’ll have better success when it comes to weight loss.