Here at the Wellness Factory we believe in self-love and to be comfortable as you are. But we all know some of us have goals, and for some it's to lose weight. We want to share some advice on how to do this safely and healthily!
Far too many people turn to fad diets and extreme measures to try and lose weight as quickly as possible. But the harsh reality is that these diets often do not work, or – they do help you to lose weight, but you put it all straight back on again once you (inevitably) get sick of the diet.
These diet fads - such as Atkins, Keto, and Paleo, or a drastic cut in calories - are not sustainable. This drastic change will often make you miserable meaning you are very likely to give up and go back to old habits. Plus, they simply aren’t healthy for a lot of people.
We believe that losing weight should be a lifestyle choice and not just a 4-week super-intense diet that doesn’t work in the long term.
So, in this article, we’ll be explaining how you can actually lose weight quickly, effectively, and healthily, without putting it all back on again. And don’t worry, it’s far easier than you might think.
Weight Loss: It’s Simpler Than You Think
Are you a fan of maths? If so, you’ll love this.
When you boil it down to fundamental basics, weight loss is very simply a game of mathematics.
Well, the number of calories you consume and burn is what determines your weight. Many people think that the type of food you eat determines your weight. For example, chocolate is bad and will cause you to gain weight, whilst vegetables are good and will cause you to lose weight.
Whilst it’s true that vegetables are much healthier than chocolate, it doesn’t actually matter where you get your calories from when it comes to weight loss/gain.
In other words, someone who eats 5000 calories of vegetables a day will gain weight. Someone who eats 500 calories of chocolate a day will lose weight.
* Please note: we are not advocating that you eat an excessive amount of chocolate and nothing else! The person who eats 5000 calories of vegetables will still be far healthier, despite gaining weight.
So, it all comes down to this:
- If you consistently eat more calories than you burn each day, you will gain weight (calorie surplus).
- If you consistently eat fewer calories than you burn each day, you will lose weight (calorie deficit).
- If you consistently eat the same amount of calories that you burn each day, you will maintain the same weight.
So to lose weight, you’re aiming to be in a calorie deficit.
How to Start Your Weight Loss Journey
Step 1: Find out how many calories you burn each day. Or, you BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).
Everybody burns a certain amount of calories each day just by simply existing. You will then burn more calories if you exercise or carry out any physical activity.
So, first of all, you need to find out your basic daily calorie expenditure. Usually, the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn naturally each day.
Use an online calculator tool to calculate your BMR. Take your ‘Sedentary’ calorie number (this is the number of calories you burn if you were to do little or no exercise) and make a note of it.
For the sake of example, let’s say this number is 3000.
So, if you ate 3000 calories a day and did little/no exercise, you’d maintain your current bodyweight.
Step 2: Work out how many calories you need to consume each day to lose weight
Now, this is the fun bit.
Every pound of body weight is equivalent to roughly 3,500 calories. So, if you are in a calorie deficit of 3,500 each week, you’ll lose 1lb per week. Simple!
Now, let’s assume you want to lose 2lb per week. This means you need to be in a calorie deficit of 7,000 per week.
To work out how many calories you need to consume each day in order to lose 2lb per week, all you need to do is:
- BMR x 7 = how many calories you need per week to maintain your current weight
3,000 x 7 = 21,000
- Weekly BMR (the number calculated in step 1) - 7000 (the number of calories equivalent to 2lb of body weight) = the number of calories you need to consume per week to lose 2lb per week.
21,000 - 7,000 = 14,000
- So, you’ve worked out that - in this example - you need to consume 14,000 calories per week in order to lose 2lb per week. Simply divide that number by 7 to work out your daily calorie intake.
14,000 / 7 = 2,000
This means you need to consume 2,000 calories per day in order to lose 2lb per week.
*Please note: you should never ever eat below 1,200 calories per day (women) or 1,500 calories per day (men). This will lead to a very unhealthy diet where you may be missing vital nutrients. You’ll lack energy, your mental health will suffer, plus you will find it more difficult to lose weight in the long term, and you’re more likely to put weight back on.
Step 3: Track your daily calorie intake
The easiest and most effective way to ensure you are sticking to your daily calorie intake (2,000 in this example), is to track your food.
Download an app such as MyFitnessPal – this allows you to input everything you eat each day and track the number of calories in that food.
After a while, you’ll start to find meals you enjoy that fit into your daily calories, and it will slowly become second nature to you to eat these foods. If you’d like some healthy, easy-to-make recipes, then be sure to download our FREE ebook - A Guide to Better Wellness.
And remember – it’s okay to indulge every now and then. You can still eat your favourite naughty treats, as long as it’s in moderation and you aren’t constantly exceeding your daily calories.
Step 4: Consider your exercise
Getting in a little bit of exercise daily, or a few workouts per week, will make your weight loss journey even faster and better.
For example, if you’re burning an additional 2,000 calories per week through additional exercise, you’ll be losing an extra 3lbs (ish) per month.
Or, you can use these extra burned calories to justify a delicious meal out, or order a takeaway pizza!
It’s all about moderation and balance.
A great way to track how many calories you burn during a run, swim, cycle, or gym session is to use a fitness tracker watch. Check out this article for our recommendations on the best fitness tracker watches.
How to Avoid Putting Weight Back On
You need to ensure you enter this weight loss journey with the mindset that this is a lifestyle change, and not just a diet.
You simply cannot go back to your old habits, or you will gain weight again.
As you lose weight, you’ll need to re-check your BMR – as the less you weigh, the fewer calories you’ll burn naturally. This means you’ll need to reduce the amount you’re eating or increase the amount of exercise you do.
Once you reach a weight you’re happy with, you can begin eating at your BMR - or your maintenance calories.
After a few weeks of tracking your food and exercise, you’ll begin to understand how many calories different foods actually contain. This will make it much easier to be conscious and aware of how much you’re eating, and how to make the right choices when it comes to food.
As this will be a gradual and gentle journey, we’re sure you’ll find success if you just stick with it! Remember your goal – when you find yourself struggling, remind yourself why you’re doing this.
And remember that you don’t have to cut out the foods you love, or start eating foods you hate. You simply need to find a healthy balance and learn to enjoy life’s pleasures in moderation.
The end goal is to be able to eat intuitively. Intuitive eating means that you make peace with all types of food. Unlike traditional diets that restrict or ban certain foods, intuitive eating requires you to stop looking at food as “good” or “bad.” Instead, you listen to your body and eat what feels right for you. And once you understand the calorific profile of various different foods, you’ll know what foods and how much food feels right for you.
Shop at the Wellness Factory