Feeling overwhelmed with weight loss? Wondering where to start? Here are some guidelines to get you headed in the right direction for weight loss.
How Much Do I Eat?
- Calculate Estimated Energy Requirement: Before you can even start to lose weight, you must get to know your body and how much energy it needs to sustain activity and maintain weight. This is called your estimated energy requirement and is based on your gender, age, height, weight, and physical activity level. The number that you get from the equation will tell you how many calories you need to consume each day to maintain your current weight. You can find an equation online or just do a quick search on the internet for “estimated energy requirement calculator”. Use the online calculator to get your EER and then come on back for step 2.
- Energy Requirements for Weight Loss: For healthy weight loss, you should only lose 1-2 pounds per week. And losing one pound of fat requires a deficit of 3,500 calories. So, you should consume 500 calories less than your EER each day to lose one pound of fat per week (EER – 500cal = cal per day for weight loss). Simple enough, right?
- Choose Your Foods: Because eating within a set number of calories is probably new to you, it will be really hard to start. For an easier time focus on smart food choices. Begin your diet by ridding your house of empty calorie foods like candy, sodas, juices, packaged snacks and stockpiling on foods high in protein and fiber like vegetables, string cheese, nuts, etc. You can eat a lot more nutrient dense food than processed foods for the same amount of calories which will keep you fuller longer.
- Record Your Food: Keeping a record will help you stay accountable and will help you recognize your progress. That means yes, even include the food you eat if you “cheat”. Its not the end of the world if you mess up here and there because if you recommit yourself every day, over time you will get better at living your new diet and a record will help you see how far you’ve come.
Don’t Skip Out on Exercise
Starting a diet is hard enough, but don’t forget to exercise. Physical activity burns extra calories, increases your metabolism (meaning you burn more calories all day long), and builds muscle requiring even more energy to sustain. Exercise means faster weight loss, improved health, and a higher level of self image, confidence, and esteem. Make exercise a part of your life by following these tips:
- Make it feasible. Don’t say you’ll run 5 miles every day if you can’t even run 1. Start out with a walk around the block, or 15 minutes of stretching.
- Plan in advance. At the beginning of the week, sit down and write out your exercise plan for the week. This should include a when, where, and what.
- Schedule exercise during your most motivated time of the day. If you know you’re not a morning person, then don’t make 6:00 am your choice for exercise.