We all have a *why* for diving into a new nutrition or fitness routine. It could be that you want to get stronger, try new recipes, or lose weight. When I implemented a healthy diet + incorporated more workouts into my routine for the first time, it was because I wanted to see physical results. What I didn’t know was how much time + energy + resilience it was going to take to embrace this new *lifestyle* ++ how much it would positively change me as a person.
If your *why* right now is because you want to lose weight — that is okay! As you begin this process, you will learn more about yourself + your abilities ++ I promise you will be amazed at all your body is capable of : )
Here are 6 tips on how to lose weight in a balanced, healthy ← [I hate this word] manner. [#6 is the most important one ; )].
1] LOSING WEIGHT INVOLVES ENERGY IN VS ENERGY OUT
There are roughly 3500 calories in one pound — in order to lose one pound, you would have to burn 3500 calories. Little by little, you can expend more energy than you consume to do so. Makes sense, right? Here’s an example:
Sally normally eats 2200 calories/day + expends 2200 calories/day. Right now, her weight is not fluctuating. However, if she were to eat 1700 calories/day for the next seven days while still expending 2200 calories/day, she should lose one pound [-500/day X 7 = -3500]. At the same time, if she decided to eat only 250 calories less/day but expend an extra 250 calories/day, she would still end up with the same deficit.
For some people, it is much easier to exercise more than it is to eat less. [I do not advise active women to consume less than 1600 calories/day — your body needs energy to engage in all of the activities you’re involved in.] The most practical route is to switch up the composition of your foods [substitute energy-dense foods for nutrient-dense foods so you’re not really eating *less*] + slightly increase your activity. Over time, this lifestyle change will make a difference!
2] PORTION SIZES > CALORIE COUNTING
It’s extremely exhausting to try to figure out the exact number of calories//macros in the foods you’re eating. Try implementing portion control [which is 100% doable without counting if you increase nutrient-dense foods + decrease energy-dense foods] + remember those sizes each day. Portion control does not mean eating extremely small meals, but it’s about being conscious of the sizes of the foods we put into our bodies. Slowly, you will recognize when a serving at a restaurant is way bigger than you need + you can save the rest for tomorrow.
Nutrient dense foods [think fruits + vegetables!] contain less calories for their size [so you can eat more of them for the same *price* as energy dense foods — think cookies, cakes, pastries, french fries, pizza]. At the same time, you should never feel restrictive in your diet! Try not to label foods as *good* or *bad* because that can be associated with guilt. Focus on the foods that make your body feel good + treat yourself every once in awhile!
3] YOUR BODY + METABOLISM ARE DIFFERENT THAN YOUR BEST FRIEND’S
In theory, burning 3500 calories seems easy to grasp. But what also influences your total energy expenditure is a thing called your BMR — basal metabolic rate. It’s a fancy term for the *amount of calories your body burns at rest* — some people have naturally high BMR’s while others have naturally low BMR’s. If you have a friend who can eat whatever she wants + never gain weight, she might have a really high BMR. There are a whole host of reasons why someone may have a tougher time losing weight than someone else, which is why I emphasize that this process *should* work like this — I am not guaranteeing it will. A realistic timeline for losing 5 pounds for some is about 5 weeks, but for others it could be 10. But whether it’s 5 or 10 weeks — they will pass either way, so don’t be discouraged if you happen to fall into the latter category!
The type of workouts you are doing can also change the composition of your body. If you lift a lot, you may see more muscular changes [which is great!] but it may be helpful to add a little more cardio to your workouts to increase your total energy expenditure. We tend to overestimate how many calories we are burning + underestimate how many we are eating. While it’s vital to be conscious of that, it’s important not to obsess over it!
4] THERE IS NO MAGIC TO LOSING WEIGHT
You see it all the time — ads + commercials + blogs about *superfoods* that will make you lose weight faster. Despite the hype, there is no one food or drink that will magically make you lose weight. Your weight is the culmination of your entire diet — your breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night snacks, and drinks with friends. You are not entirely composed of pizza from one drunken night with friends + you do not need a juice cleanse to quickly drop 5 pounds. [Your liver is the only detoxifier you will ever need!]
5] WHAT YOU DO EVERY DAY [ALL DAY] MATTERS MORE THAN WHAT YOU DO ONCE IN AWHILE
There was a period in my life when I was extremely focused on *getting a workout in* + when I couldn’t I thought I wasn’t active for the day. Focusing solely on *getting a scheduled workout in* each day may inhibit you from focusing on the bigger picture. *Working out* for one hour/day + being sedentary for the rest of the day is most likely going to leave you *less active* than someone who walked around shopping all day, went for a walk with her dog + played a game of cornhole with her friends that night.
You have to consider the whole picture — when I think about my days I try to be *active* all day instead of worrying about whether or not I can get my run in. I park far away from work, take *push up* breaks, use the stairs, grocery shop for longer than necessary — anything to keep me moving! This allows me to pursue multiple activities, not sweat it when I can’t fit in a trip to the gym ++ actually can leave me more active overall!
6] YOUR WEIGHT DOES NOT DEFINE YOUR WORTH — FOCUS ON HOW YOU FEEL
Yes, you’ve just read five points about *how* to lose weight in a healthy manner. ++ Yes, it’s hard to deny that we are not occasionally focused on our weight. But let me be *oh-so clear* — your weight does not + will not ever define your worth. From a health standpoint, it is an admirable goal to want to obtain a healthy weight. Once you are there, celebrate it. If you are naturally curvy, work it. If you were born thin, own it. There is only one of you + there is a wonderfully great chance that someone you know loves the very flaw you may not. Start where you are, use what you have + do what you can with your beautiful self. Appreciate how hard you work + congratulate your successes while learning from your failures. Focus on strength, not the scale + you’ll begin to see changes in yourself you never could have imagined. I can truly say I value what my body can do more than what it looks like + that confidence will always be worth more than a number on a scale.
A healthy lifestyle is going to come from sweat, positivity, + consistency. BUT that doesn’t mean it’s going to be boring + you’re never going to eat pizza again! CHAARG is all about finding your fit — there are *tons* of ways to get active + even more yummy recipes for you to try on the blog. While we’ve been talking a lot about how to implement a lifestyle change, it’s also important to remember that this is *your* life + you should love it! A healthy weight should be a priority, but it doesn’t need to consume your life. Figuring out how to balance nutrition, fitness + fun is going to take some time + lots of adjustments — but we’re here for ya : )
++Alyssa[@thebusybee_] // VirtCHAARG Pittsburgh