I often get messages from my followers asking me simple broad questions, like ‘how can I lose weight?’ ‘What should I do at the gym?’
There are so many different ways of losing weight, so many different opinions on the best way or most effective way.
There is no quick fix, there is no one size fits all, unfortunately what worked for me may not work for you, its all trial and error and seeing what your body responds best to.
I have personally found the most effective thing for me, or the thing that ‘stuck’ was a combination of weight training and clean eating, as so many of you are asking I wanted to just guide you through in simple terms what I did diet wise.
Figure out what your body is getting. If you have quite a lot of weight to lose your bodies internal systems are probably not responding very well. I know that when I was over weight I just over ate, no two ways about it. I probably didn’t realise at the time quite how bad my eating habits were but on reflection I really did just eat anything and everything I fancied. If I had already had breakfast, and popped into Starbucks at 11am to grab a mocha frapuccino (yes, with cream!), if I saw a slice of cake, or a little brownie I fancied, I would have it, no filter, no question. These eating habits leave your body constantly battling against the extra calories and in simple terms all of those internal systems that break your food down will struggle, ending up in it storing as excess fat.
I had no idea how many calories I was actually eating, and I didn’t even no what a macro nutrient was. I recommend using the app ‘My Fitness Pal’ to start tracking your food. It may seem tedious at first but once you get into the habit of tracking your food it becomes second nature. Track for a week or two, just your normal calories, don’t change your eating habits, lets see what your body is working with.
Clean your diet up. If you realise say you’re eating 1800kcal a day, continue to eat that many calories, maybe play around with your macros if you notice fat is rather high or carbs could be lower. Eat those calories in clean foods, you will probably find it difficult to match but try that for a week and get used to eating simple whole real foods rather than processed naughties. Swap your crunchy nut cornflakes for porridge, your Greggs chicken baguette for grilled chicken with salad and rice or new potatoes. Snack on Ryvita and peanut butter instead of caramel shortcake. Ditch the mocha frappucino in favour of a cappuccino, or remove the caramel flavour syrup from your latte.
Slowly lower your calories. Like I said before, there is no hard and fast rule here, no perfect number of calories or perfect macro split.’My Fitness Pal’ will actually allow you to input your weight etc and advise you which could help, or do a little more research into you and your specific requirements. How many carbs you need a day for example will drastically depend on your exercise level, type of training you do, or lack of. But where ever you are at, start to lower. S-L-O-W-L-Y. Keeping those calories clean drop your total calories by around 10% and stay on those calories for 4 weeks.
Use your tools and lower your calories. I spent 3 months lowering my calories by 10% each month before I started carb cycling. Carb cycling was a process that worked well for me, but for other people slowly lowering calories in itself is a great long term sustainable way of losing weight. Around every 4 weeks your body will hit a wall, it will be used to the calories its getting and weight loss will slow. It is then you drop your calories a little further. Each month start removing or adding things to your diet and exercise routine. Perhaps cut out fizzy drinks, cut down on the lattes or switch to skinny, ditch the sugar in your morning cuppa, add in a 30 min walk once a week, then twice a week. Start using your tools.
The problem with so many diets is you go straight from 1800kcal a day to 1000kcal a day, you train, you run, you drink only water. All of that done in one go leaves you with no where to go when you hit the inevitable wall. Slowly lowering calories worked for me, it left me wiggle room, and enabled me to kick things up when I hit a plateau, WITHOUT going to dangerously low calories.
Reverse diet. I won’t go into too much detail here as its all in another blog piece found here. The main principal of it, is once you reach a weight you are happy with which you want to maintain, you need to do exactly what you just did adding the calories in month by month slowly again.
Maintain. Unfortunately maintaining your dream body won’t include lots of donuts and cream cakes, you can make lovely healthy macro friendly recipes from my blog to keep your sweet tooth at bay, but in the main being healthy and fit is a lifestyle not a temporary fix. Once you have got your calories up to a point where you are not gaining or losing weight via reverse dieting, you can continue to track until your confident, and stay there eating at that level happily forever.
As I said at the beginning there is no hard and fast rules here. I have simplified the process in a way that people can adapt and change according to their own goals. For me I have been weight training, I upped my gym days from 3 to 5, added a little cardio, used a natural fat burner, slim tonic, for a time as a tool. Everyone will have their own tools, their own goals, and will need to adapt their food intake accordingly.
Thank you for reading my 6 simple steps on how I managed to lose my weight, and how I maintained it. There are many more stages to my personal journey as I am sure there are to yours, but hopefully I have given some of you an answer to the main question I get asked. ‘Where do I start?’ HERE.