As the New Year approaches, many of us are focusing on getting back into shape. With so many diet plans out there, it can be tough to find one that is right for you. Below are some helpful tips on how to lose weight and keep it off, catalogued with some of my best weight loss posts.
Disclaimer/trigger warning: This article contains discussion of calories and weight loss, please be advised. Also, this is written from my personal viewpont and does not constitute medical advice.
Check out my video on this topic and then dive into the article:
Be a CEO and focus on CICO
The only tried and true way to lose weight is to eat less calories than you burn. This is known as “CICO” – or “calories in, calories out.” You can read my explanation and how this applies to weight loss here:
There are so many ways that the fitness industry tries to give us an “out” with fad diets that you can follow without counting calories. If you read my post on different diets, you will see one underlying theme – indirectly, they all do reduce calories by eliminating major food groups. For example, keto and atkins take out carbs and sugar, paleo and whole30 eliminate dairy. The restrictive nature of these diets with no flexibility other than “cheat days” will lead to overeating when you are on a satisfaction hunt.For example, if you are craving something carb-y, but can’t have carbs, you probably will end up eating a lot more quantity of fats and proteins. And these foods still have calories. So if you think you can outsmart this by mainlining butter instead of having a little bread, you are in for an unpleasant surprise.
Instead, focus on metrics. All you need are 3 basic steps:
- Calculate using the tools I give you in the DAO of metrics how many calories you need to eat a day.
- Figure out your required protein intake. It’s a lot less than you think (we will talk about how overeating protein may be sabotaging your goals).
- Toggle the remaining calories between fat and carbs, depending on which you better use for energy. If you need help on figuring that out, take this macro quiz from Jillian Michaels.
- Use the 80/20 rule to balance your consumption of healthy whole foods with flexibility to indulge in the occasional Christimas/holiday treat.
Drop your protein intake
One of the biggest “bro science” falsehoods that has made its way into common practice is that you need to inhale mega quantities of protein to build lean muscle and speed up your metabolism. Unless you are a professional bodybuilder, this is way, way, overstated and more likely to make you store more fat, not muscle. Your kidneys can only process so much protein at a time, and the extra is stored as fat.
The recommended daily allowance for adults is shockingly lower than most of the daily protein consumption in the Western diet. For relatively active adults, it is .8 g of protein per kilogram of weight, or multiplying your weight in pounds by .36. When I was following what trainers told me to do, I was eating 1 POUND of protein per body weight. For my weight, this equated to 130 grams of protein a day, which is like 6 chicken breasts a daily.
Fitness industry has a lot of protein bars and shakes to supplement, but RDA is .8 g of protein for a kilogram of weightn. Once I did that I noticed a difference. I was leaning out and felt more energetic. This change really helped. You can read more about why too much protein can sabotage your goaks, here:
Intermittent “dirty” fasting
The simple truth is that you have to eat less calories than you consume in order to lose weight and keep it off.
And if you can’t do that, you won’t lose weight.
Intermittent fasting is a topic I have written about before, but I always quit it because it had me so stressed out about whether a splash of almond milk in my coffee was breaking my fast.
A better way I found to do this is to drink espesso or matcha blended with a cup of unsweetened almond milk in the morning, and sometimes a few drops of MCT oil. The MCT oil acts like octane for your brain and it gives you extra energy. The calories from this mix are under 100, which may techncially break a fast according to some stricter interpretations of the guidelines, which is why it is called “dirty fasting.”
Another beverage I consume that gives me a great boost of energy is called Vital Portins Get up and Glow, which is a collagen protein powder infused with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. Again, this is a possible additional “fast breaker” but really has a minimal overall impact on CICO, and you can still get some benefits that IF provides even if you do not technically have a “pure fast”.
The important thing about IF is not just how you fast but how you break your fast. Eating foods rich in fat, protein and fiber with minimal sugar is an excellent way to fuel your body during your eating window, and it will make those Christmas cookies seem much less tempting. According to most resources eating food with a subst
- Turkey chop salad – mixed greens, kalamata olives, chopped basil leaves and cucumber, with red wine and olive oil dressing.
- Chickpea tahini salad – mixed greeens, garbanzo beans, avocado, tahini, red bell pepper
If you wnat to read more about IF check out my post here:
Alcohol reduction is a crucial component of weight loss success. You can’t effectively lose weight without reducing your alcohol intake. I wrote a blog about how alcohol can be a saboteur and how to reduce your intake so that you can lose weight and debloat:
Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss Success
The grocery store is the best place to start when trying to lose weight. This is because you have a lot of control over what you buy and how much you buy. Here are some tips for grocery shopping for weight loss success.
1) Buy at the permieter – all of the produce and good stuff is on the outer aisles. The more “inside” the store you get, the more you get processed food.
2) Beverages should exclude the following: juice or wine. The two of these are packed with sugar . Juice is not a real health food, it is one of the top fake health foods. Wine is just liquid calories and the more you keep alcohol in your house the more you will drink.
3) Buy “instant” snackeable veggies like baby carrots, small sweet peppers, and celery. Pair it with one of my low-calorie dip ideas:
Dont’ Overrely on Exercise
Find an activity that you enjoy doing and will stick with. Start by walking at least 10 minutes every day. Set realistic goals and make sure they’re achievable.
I have blogged about why exercising is not the magic pill for weight loss:
It can be tempting to floor the gas on exercise when you plan to attack weight loss. But this can come at the expense of actually recalibrating your hunger hormones and overtraining. This article I came across has a great story of how too much empahsis on exercise can sabotage weight loss, I highy recommed reading this article:
Exercise can contribute to greater calorie deficit and, as a result, contribute more to your overall efforts, but even those hard-core workouts might not have as much impact as you’d think. Studies show that in some cases, vigorous exercise can leave you so depleted, you actually move far less for the rest of the day than you would normally, resulting sedentary athlete syndrome, which I have blogged about:
“It’s very hard for most women to bulk up enough to make a significant difference in their metabolism,” says David Nieman, a professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University’s research campus in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Do two sets of eight to ten strengthening exercises three days a week for several months and you’ll be lucky to add two to three pounds of muscle, for a total extra daily burn of up to 36 calories. That’s nine baby carrots.
I would recommend waiting at least 2-4 weeks before kicking off any new workout plan, and not making it too aggressive