How do I lose weight?
Why is my scale stuck?
Diets mean starving, I don’t want to diet!
The only way to lose weight is to go hungry.
If I eat more than 1,000 calories, I gain weight!
I’ve heard all of these in some combination or another, but did you know that undereating can cause you to hold onto fat as much as overeating can cause you to gain weight?
Ideally for fat and weight loss, you want to be in a calorie deficit. That is, you want to burn more calories than you’re eating. This is a precious balance, because we don’t want to eat too many and we don’t want to eat too few. Any deficit of 1,000 or more every day sustained over time can actually cause your body to go into starvation mode and kill your metabolism. And we don’t want to kill your metabolism!
What you want to do is this: move more and eat less junk. By junk, I mean overly processed foods, foods which are high in sodium, foods which are fried, foods which contain refined sugar, etc.
The best way to get in gear is to increase your level of physical activity and do food swaps:
- Bag of chips? Try celery and hummus instead.
- French fries? Slice and bake a potato. Doesn’t have to be a sweet potato; all potatoes are good so long as they’re not fried in a ton of oil and/or butter.
- Cheese and dairy freak? Cut back and/or make substitutions. Also, non-dairy cheese isn’t necessarily healthier. I know of someone who had a nearly impossible gut to lose until he started eating significantly less dairy products and began to eat leaner versions of the high protein sources he normally ate. Tony Horton rants about this too, and he is right!
- Swap hummus for cheese, avocado for mayo.
- Decrease all sources of refined sugars and/or eliminate them entirely: white pasta, white breads, white rice, baked goods, etc. Stick with whole grains and in moderation.
- Increase the amount of veggies you eat, especially fresh ones.
- If you are a meat-eater, replace about 25-50% of the meat you eat with vegetable sources of protein. They are not only leaner and lacking in cholesterol, but unlike animal products they contain fiber and will fill you up faster.
- Go easy on oils, nuts, and seeds. They are very healthy in moderation; however they are calorically dense and can add up fast!
- Drink more water. If you like tea, drink more eat–especially green tea.
- Consider drinking coffee black if you’re used to having it with some form of milk and sugar. If you have a lot of it, that too can add up–it is not calorie free.
As a general rule you want to save your calories for that which is higher in nutritional density. Much of the problem with junk food is that it’s high in calories but low in nutrition. Eat smarter and you won’t have to starve in order lose weight, move more and you don’t have to worry as much about eating less as much as eating right. Problem solved!
Need more tips? Looking for accountability and motivation with your fitness goals? Help is a click away!