The jeans don’t lie. You know you’ve let yourself go a little and after throwing the stupid bathroom scales away because it said you were (insert your red flag number here), you go for the true test – slipping on your favourite jeans.
Not being able to pull your pants past your thighs sure does tell you something. If you’re at a loss as to how to begin, here’s a no-fuss, straightforward, 11-step guide to losing weight.
1. Calories per day
Losing weight is all about creating a calorie deficit. Onepound equals 2750 calories, which breaks down to 500 calories a day. Do a combo of exercise and cutting calories to reach 500, and you’ll lose a pound a week.
You can meet with a nutritionist or your doctor to find a more specific daily calorie count, but don’t dip below 1,200 as it will slow down your metabolism.
2. Keep track
Monitor your calories as accurately as you can. Look up the calorie amounts and write them down in a food journal, or use a weight loss app. Everything you put in your mouth gets written down — yes, even that handful of M&Ms you’ve grabbed off your work buddys desk! It may not seem like much, but at 70 calories, those little nibbles will add up. Then weigh yourself once or twice a week to keep track of your progress.
3. Measure and repeat
Have measuring cups, spoons, and food scales on handbto measure correct portions. Eyeballing a cup of cereal is not exactly accurate, and you’d be surprised how easy it is to overestimate when you’re hungry. In the first few months, you’ll need to measure everything from the milk you pour into that bowl of cereal to the dressing you drizzle on your salad. After a while, you’ll become familiar with what the correct portions look like.
4. Eat five times a day
In order to prevent that famished feeling that drives usbto overeat, plan on eating three meals and two snacks a day, timing them so that you eat every two to three hours. Here’s a sample schedule:
7 am – Breakfast
9:30 am – Snack
12:30 pm – Lunch
3:30 pm – Snack
6:30 pm – Dinner
Don’t skip meals or snacks to save calories, since it’ll slow down your metabolism and cause weight gain. If you’re up late, enjoy a snack after dinner, but be sure to finish it at least an hour or two before bed so that digestive issues don’t keep you up – getting enough sleep will help you to lose weight.
5. What to eat
Every time you nosh, be sure to include some proteinnto satisfy your hunger, fibre to fill you up, and healthy carbs to sustain your energy. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be between 300 and 500 calories each, and the two snacks 150 each. Break them down to fit your needs, but you might want your midday meal to be the highest to ensure that you have enough time to burn off those calories.
6. Save calories
Find simple ways to cut calories, whether it’s swapping your daily Coke for water, using one slice of cheese on your sandwich instead of two, substituting spaghetti squash for pasta, or choosing a turkey patty instead of beef
7. Plan ahead
Dealing with hunger is the worst part about trying to lose weight. So, in order to prevent those pangs from making you grab the nearest cookie, plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Write out what you’ll be eating for the entire week and you’ll be even more successful if you pack and label the foods for each day.
8. Get moving
Diet is one part of the weight-loss puzzle and the other part is exercise. In order to burn calories to reduce your overall body fat, include 60 minutes of heart- pumping exercise five times a week. A leisurely walk around the block, unfortunately, isn’t enough. We’re talking running, biking, swimming and high-intensity classes for cardio, strength training to build fat-burning muscles and stretching to keep those muscles supple and prevent injury.
9. Set small goals and celebrate them
Losing weight is a long journey, so it’s helpful to set smaller goals along the way to your big goal. Find healthy ways to celebrate those milestones, such as a sports massage after 10 workouts or a new workout top after losing five pounds.
10. Come to some tough realisations
The first one is that diets aren’t the answer. There is no quick-fix diet and no one food has magical slimming powers. Anything that sounds too restrictive or is not nutritionally sound is not the way to go. Find a way of eating that can be sustained for the rest of your life, where you eat healthy most of the time and allow for occasional splurges. The second realisation is that you can’t go back to your old habits once the weight melts away. If you gained weight chomping on half a dozen doughnuts each morning, you can bet your sweet new buns that you’ll gain the weight back if you head to that bakery shop once the scale says what you want it to.
11. Be patient and remember why you’re doing it
Just as those pounds slowly crept on, losing weight the right way takes time, which means dropping about a pound or two a week. Practice patience and revel in each pound that you lose, and when you feel like giving in to that second cupcake at your friend’s birthday party, have one enormously personal reason you want to lose weight, which resonates strongly and keeps you motivated, no matter what......