With warmer temperatures around the corner you’re probably going to want to go back to your summer weight so here are a slew of healthful, wholesome tips to help you lose that winter fluff in a sustainable manner!
There are a number of tactics you could use to lose fat but the reason why any of them work is because you ultimately end up creating a “caloric deficit” by eating less calories than your body needs.
Diet is the most important factor because you can’t out-exercise a shitty diet.
Theoretically it sounds very logical to just start exercising more to lose weight while eating the same amount. But in reality, if you don’t adjust your diet, this doesn’t work very well because you need to spend an exorbitant amount of time and energy to make such an impact because you work can easily be negated by any extra snacks.
For example, let’s assume you can run for 30 minutes nonstop everyday. That’s a lot of time and effort but if you’re not tracking how much you eat, you will feel hungrier than usual, and you feel like you deserve it, so you say yes to those 2 cookies after dinner, negating the caloric deficit you worked so hard to create.
- When you workout you will actually end up having a more ravenous appetite and unfortunately it’s very easy to over-eat relative to that little bump you created in your metabolism.
- And psychologically, you are more likely to succumb to these food cravings because you feel like you deserve it because you did, afterall, do a bunch of exercise!
So the point is, you can theoretically out-exercise your diet, but in reality, it doesn’t work so well. It’s far easier to go into a caloric deficit by eating slightly less. Exercising on top of a good diet is just icing on the cake.
1) One methodical, straight-forward way to ensure you’re eating less calories is to simply log the food you eat in an app such as MyFitnessPal.
MyFitnessPal helps you keep track of how many calories you’ve eaten for the day. Stay under the calorie-goal and you’ll lose weight overtime. Simple. But it requires a bit of commitment toward using the app to maintain accuracy. The benefit is it will make you far more conscious of how much you’re actually eating and there’s no need to restrict yourself from any type of food or time frame.
However, this doesn’t work for everyone as it requires more obsessiveness than some can stomach. Ironically, the fact that you know you need to log something would sometimes make me refrain from eating a snack just to forego the effort of logging it. Do it for a week and you will learn a lot more than you ever anticipated! If you go this route, here’s 9 tips I’ve written to help calorie counting become second nature.
2) When you feel like you need to eat something, but you can’t figure out what it is, it’s water. It’s always water.
Many people lose lots of weight by vigorously adhering to this simple approach. Drink water or no-calorie drinks like sparkling water or a low calorie drink like unsweetened almond milk. If you’re looking for something sweet you can get those La Croix cans or mix a splash of soda (or squeeze some orange or lemon) into the sparkling water to jazz it up. That may be just what you need rather than having a snack. In the early mornings or late evenings I’ll opt for some hot tea in lieu of any snack and that works very well for me as well.
It also helps to have a giant bottle of water next to you, within arms reach and in your line of sight. So anytime you feel like munching on something, drink some water instead. It prevents us from overeating and helps sort out when we actually feel hunger. Pretty simple, ey? If you would like more help, here’s more tips I’ve written on how to drink water more often.
3) Eat only when you’re actually hungry and stop when you’re not.
Are you eating because it’s “breakfast time” and “lunch time” or are you eating because you’re actually hungry? Pay attention to these patterns.
When you’re having a meal, are you eating it all the way even when you’re stuffed just because you have to clear what’s on your plate out of tradition? Why not save the extra portion and eat it a few hours later?
4) Practice Portion Control For Your Bodies Needs Because Portion Distortion Is Real
We all come in different sizes and shapes and thus, have different energy requirements.
- With all else being equal:
- Men burn more energy than women.
- Taller people burn more calories than shorter people.
So take two individuals: A very tall man and a very short, petite woman. If they both go into a restaurant and order the same meal, that meal will be too much food for the woman and just enough for the man. If this couple always ate out the same amounts, the woman would gain weight quite easily if all else was equal. (Not to mention that restaurant meals tend to be on the heavier side as well. The foods tend to taste very good because of the delicious fat they use that you can’t see.)
5) Intermittent Fasting aka Time Restricted Eating Can Work Wonders
Many people nowadays realize they function perfectly fine, or even better, when they restrict themselves to eating in an 8 hour window (like say, 11am to 7pm). So people will maybe skip breakfast or have a late breakfast/light lunch and then a normal dinner and find that they function perfectly fine and actually like it more because they end up having more time since they’re not trying to eat 3 meals a day. This example also works well because it prevents eating late at night. By the time evening rolls around, most people have ate enough of the calories they need for the day and anything more results in excess. For more information on the numerous benefits behind intermittent fasting, I’ve written a ton about it here.
So in conclusion do any one of the following…
- Practice portion control. Stop eating when you’re actually full by eating slower so the feeling of fullness catches up to you.
- Eat less calories than you need by trying an app like MyFitnessPal. It will make you more conscious and raise awareness about how much you’re actually eating over the week.
- Eat only when you’re hungry.
- Implement intermittent fasting.
- Opt for some water or a low calorie drink instead of a snack.
You don’t have to do ALL these things at once! Just implement ONE thing and stick to it. If you want to layer on more tactics, do so overtime. But don’t overwhelm yourself trying to change everything about your life in a day. Finding a sustainable diet requires experimentation and it’s going to be very personal. Do any of those things or just one of those things and you’ll find yourself on the right track!
Notice that I purposely not even mentioned any dietary restrictions? Because in the context of weight loss, no matter what your diet is (vegeterian, whole-foods-only, low carb, etc)… the main thing that matters is not what you’re eating, but how much you’re eating. Get your priorities straight on that and then you can refine it further to your liking. Hope that helps! Leave a comment below with any question or tips of your own you’d like to share!