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A Beginners Guide to Sustainable Weight-loss
For many people losing weight is an all too familiar struggle. Often times we restrict ourselves from eating the foods we enjoy and experiment with crash diets which are simply not sustainable in the long run. I mean let's face it, boiled broccoli and chicken is hardly a combination anyone finds enjoyable.
Hours and hours of low-intensity steady state cardio is another approach people take to try and lose weight. The truth is though if you were to walk or jog on a treadmill for half an hour you would not have burned many calories at all.
These methods are boring and lack variety which is ultimately going to make it harder for you to stick to them and cause you to burn out in the long run. They are not practical nor are they specific enough to successfully lose weight and keep it off. Don't get me wrong, these methods work but they are not very sustainable or enjoyable. Trust me I know. From my own experience, the most effective way for anyone to lose weight is to track their calories and eat to place themselves in a caloric deficit.
Tracking Your Calories
I would recommend downloading a calorie tracking app to aid you in doing this. It will help you find how many calories your body needs from day to day to maintain its current weight. Establishing how many calories your body needs is essential in order to lose weight.
If your body needs a total of 1,700 calories per day to maintain its current weight then reducing the number of calories you consume in a day down to 1500 calories will place you into what is known as a caloric deficit. Being in a caloric deficit is the key to losing weight.
Some practical advice for anyone who is starting out tracking their calories is to buy an electronic food-scales to weigh your food portions with. This will allow you to accurately track the number of calories in the food you are eating.
Weighing your food is going to feel like a slog in the beginning but once you start seeing the results it will all be worth it. If you are someone like me who eats the same food week in week out then you will eventually get to the stage where you will know exactly how much you are eating just by eyeballing it.
Your body relies on food for energy so think of it as a fuel source. A car is a great example. If you fill your vehicle with diesel or petrol it holds it until it is ready to be used. It does not simply throw it away because it has no immediate use for it. The human body works in a similar fashion when it comes to food and storing fat. This is because the human body is complex and intelligent. It stores fat as a sort of energy reserve, unwilling to part with a precious commodity it knows not when it will be able to avail of again. By storing energy in the form of fat when we overeat the body is ensuring it has an energy resource ready to avail of at all times. By placing our bodies into a caloric deficit they are forced to tap into these energy reserves. We lose weight as a result.
Why This Method is Superior
Tracking your calories is so refreshing because it does not restrict the types of food you are allowed to eat. You can still eat the foods you love without feeling guilty so long as you fit them into your daily caloric allowance. This can even be done while losing weight and will have no effect on your progress as long as you remain in a caloric deficit! Being afforded flexibility in a diet is a game changer and will help you stay on track in the long run. Once more tracking your calories enables you to decide how quickly or gradually you lose weight. I personally chose to lose .25 of a kg per week, or half a pound if you work in the imperial system. By keeping my weight loss gradual I was able to avoid feeling hungry and also keep my energy levels high enough to make small strides forward in the gym. Regardless of what you choose to do going forward, tracking your calories is a great option.