Weight Loss Equation
Since moving to San Francisco I have dropped at least 5 lbs (I haven’t weighed myself for a while, though, so hopefully it’s more) and 1-2 pants sizes, depending on the brand. It makes me feel good when my coworkers notice I’ve lost inches (even though I’ve only been here 3 months) and I no longer have to dress in layers to hide my midsection or muffin top.
Now, I know I’ve never been “fat”. And, I’m not complaining at all about how I looked – I just knew I could look better. In doing so I read a lot of articles, consulted people that were already fit and healthy, subscribed to a friend’s fitness webpage, and scoured Pinterest. I wanted to share with you some of the biggest “AH-HA” moments or motivations for me.
- You lose weight by having a calorie deficit. You create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than the calories you burn for the day. This can be done by either cutting calories or adding more cardio to your workout (or, even faster, a combination of both). However, your body will not respond if you eat less than 1200 calories a day because it will go into starvation mode.
- Muscle doesn’t replace fat. If you start lifting weights and doing strength training, it’s great because it will strengthen your muscles and you’ll notice how much easier things become. However, don’t expect to lose weight or inches from only strength training. You need to combine with eating healthy and/or cardio.
- Cardio makes you burn calories, eating in moderation helps create a calorie deficit, and strength training helps you look good and toned. (If you’ve ever seen skinny fat people and you’ll understand why they need to lift weights.) You need to do all 3 or else you won’t get the results you’re seeking as easily.
- Don’t crash diet or take weight-loss pills. These are great for instant gratification, but you have to maintain the crash diet or the pills if you want to maintain the results. Plus it won’t make you feel good like a work-out or healthy food does.
- Cut out sugar and sweeteners. Sugar is empty calories and does nothing for you, even though you may believe it makes you feel more satisfied. Sweeteners don’t have calories, but instead makes you hungry, which then makes you consume more calories. Instead, replace them with fruit to get that sweet fulfillment you’re seeking.
- Drink only water. Water has no calories and makes you feel full. Plus, any other drink (even apple juice, orange juice, etc.) has so many sweeteners in it that it’s again, empty calories.
- Cutting out starches will allow you to see the biggest results in your stomach. You’ll notice within a couple of days that it’s flatter and less bloated. You can replace a lot of your favorite starches with healthier foods that taste the same. For example, crushed cauliflower instead of potatoes, spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti, almonds instead of Ritz crackers, etc.
- Take rest days from working out. I know it sounds opposite of what you’d think, but a rest day actually does a lot for you. If you work out every day your muscles become fatigued. After taking a rest day you’ll find you can handle more and are stronger than you used to be. But, only take 2-3 rest days a week or else you’ll find every day is a rest day.
- Plan! If you plan your meals and workouts for the week you’re more likely to stick with them. And, after you plan your meals, go grocery shopping for everything you’d need that week. Once you know what lunch you’re going to pack and what you’re going to make for dinner, you’ll find you’re more likely to eat healthy. The same goes for if you plan your workouts for the week you’ll spend less time at the gym because you’ll know what you’re doing.
- It takes 4 weeks before you notice the difference in yourself. It takes 6 weeks for family or people close to you to notice. And, it takes 8 weeks for others to notice. You can literally mark these dates on a calendar. If you’ve just started with a new fitness or nutrition regime, give it 8 weeks to truly see if it’s working before quitting.