Losing weight is not easy but it is simple. It doesn’t require expensive treatments, complicated formulas, or the complete restriction of foods and food groups. However, it does require effort, a bit of planning, consistency and patience.
Calorie deficit = Weight lossCalorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. This means taking in fewer calories than you burn. This needs to be done consistently. One day of calorie deficit will not result in an overnight significant loss of weight. 1-2lbs weight loss per week is a normal for most people. This equates to a calorie deficit of about 500 – 1000 calories a day. So being good all week and ‘rewarding’ yourself all weekend, with lots of high calorie foods, will just hamper your progress.
Taking it slow and steady means, it is more likely the weight will stay off. This is why a lot of patience is needed. While it is normal to feel impatient, and maybe a little bit demotivated, with the slowness, this time does provide an opportunity to develop a healthier lifestyle which will become a way of life. This is not just about losing weight, it is also about maintaining that weight loss. This takes effort as well; habits take time to change as well.
My Weight LossAbout 10 years ago I was at my heaviest weight – 13 stone. I can still remember sitting on the bed and the rolls of fat flowing over the tops of my jeans. Jeans which I could no longer button up. I was so upset. I knew if I did not take the matter in hand my weight would continually creep up. I made the decision that I was not going to allow that to happen. I was not going to buy a bigger sized pair of jeans. I was going to lose weight.
It took me one year exactly to lose 3 stone. At the time I was not doing much exercise and I had a sedentary job. My energy deficit came primarily from the amount of food I was eating. It was usual for me to lose between 0.5 – 1lb a week. It was very slow. Some weeks there would be no loss at all. But that time gave me the space to develop healthier habits. And those habits have in the main stuck with me. I developed a healthier way of life. One I am happy with and now requires little effort on my part as it is my normal now. Since I lost it, I have made sure not to find that 3 stone again.
What to eatYou could choose to eat all your calories in cakes and biscuits and lose weight. Leaving aside the fact that you will be missing out on vital nutrients, these foods are unlikely to fill you up and may lead you to wanting more and more (ever noticed how it is hard to eat just one biscuit ….). These types of foods are high in calories, are non-filling, and will keep you hungry. And if you are hungry you will eat more, meaning more calories, meaning weight going on.
Replace some of your high calorie food choices with lower calorie options. Reduce the amount of starchy carbs on your plate and replace with more vegetables. Vegetables are lower in calories and generally higher in fibre – meaning you will be full for longer. Be aware of what the food is adding to the plate in terms of calories, nutrition, satiation, and enjoyment. For example, 1 tablespoon of oil (any) is about 120 kcals.
Don’t ban foodsBut you don’t need to ban these foods completely. You are not just losing weight. To maintain that weight lose you need to establish a healthy way of eating. This means being able to enjoy ‘unhealthy foods’ in moderation. Just be aware, when choosing foods higher in calories and fat, what is a serving and use portion control. My main weakness is sugary sweets. I have not stopped eating them. I just don’t have a big bag of sweets every day. I limit the amount I eat. Once upon a time I would happily eat two (and sometimes three!) large pizzas in one sitting. I still have pizza, but I practice portion control, and I am satisfied with that.
If you ban foods or food groups, all that will happen is that they become your focus and could end up sabotaging your weight loss attempts. Restrictions can lead to cravings, binges and overeating.
And if you do find you have eaten a large tub of Quality Street … Just draw a line under it, and make the next meal a healthy one