1. Know Your BMR
First off, before you start your weight loss journey, its good to know your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). This is the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day. This is good information to know because this is the number of calories you can eat to maintain your weight and if you want you lose weight, you decrease the amount of calories from this baseline number. Here is a link to a good BMR calculator. For example, if your BMR is 1,700 calories and you want to lose 1 lb a week, decrease your daily caloric intake by 500 calories a day or by burning 500 calories through exercise. (Of course both put together works faster). This method, of course, works by you counting your calories you consume. Warning: do not consume under 1,200 calories a day because this will decrease your metabolism; this happens when your body goes into starvation mode and it holds onto your fat for dear life. If you have a smartphone, try downloading an app that helps you with keeping track of your calories. My favorite is the free version of Noom. This app also tracks your workouts too and tells you how many calories you should be consuming daily.
2. MEASURE YOURSELF!
Go and buy a cheap tape measure and measure yourself. You can chart your measurements on this printable weekly measuring chart. By measuring yourself you also can find out your body fat percentage. Your body fat % should not be greater than 31%. There are different ways of calculating body fat percentages but what I use is waist, neck, and hip measurements correlating with your height, weight, and activity level. Click on this Diet Calculator below and it will send you to a great website where you can put those measurement in and it will formulate not only your body fat %, but also your BMI and waist-to-height ratio. This site also tells you how many pounds you are overweight, how many calories you should consume per day to either lose weight or maintain, and how many grams of protein you should have each day.
3. Make a Plan
WRITE IT DOWN!!! Getting your goals in writing gives yourself motivation and a set plan of action of how you will achieve your goal. First do the first two steps on this list (know your BMR and measure yourself). Then, figure out what is a reasonable amount of weight to lose a week is for you. You really shouldn’t aim for over 2 lbs a week for two reasons, the first because its not healthy and you will probably gain it all back and then some and second because if you don’t reach your goal, you may become discouraged and lose sight of your goal. Next, calculate what your daily caloric intake should be based on BMR and how much you want to lose per week. It is simple math – 1 lb = 3,500 calories – so if your plan is to lose 1 lb/wk, then cut back your BMR by 500 calories per day. If you want to lose 1.5 lb per week then you should cut back on 750 calories per day (do you see why it is unrealistic to set a goal of over 2 lb a week now??). Now here comes the fun part – setting a goal date! I think seeing a set date of when you are going to reach your goal weight is the biggest motivating factor of the whole process. It is motivation for me because based on my data, I can reach my goal weight before Christmas this year and if that is not motivation, I cannot help you! So to figure out your goal date, decide how much weight you want to lose total (for example, 50 pounds), then divide that by how many pounds you want to lose a week (for example, 1.5 so = 33.3333) then divide that number by 4 (33.3333/4 = 8.33) and that will be the number of months it will take to achieve your goal weight! So in the example case, it would take 8 months to lose 50 lbs by losing 1.5 lb/week. Now, 8 months may seem like a long time, but check your calendar – that means that the example case can reach their goal weight by Christmas and so they will be fabulous for the holidays and they would have made 2012 their year to change by being at their goal weight before the new year…amazing! To help you get his in writing, what I did was to take the printable measure your body worksheet which you will find the link to under “#2 measure yourself”. Print that sheet and fill it out, then on the right hand side by your current weight, go down to week 2 and write your goal weight off to the side of the weight column and next to the week 2 on the left, write off to the side the date. Keep doing this for the rest of the page, printing another off if necessary. Now you have a plan!! So each week you will measure yourself and record your weight, as you will notice, some weeks you may lose more and some you may lose less…but that’s OK!! Now you can see your goal weight for each week in writing so on the weeks you lose less, you will see that you are STILL ON TRACK for your goal and that is very motivating during a hard time. If you consistently find yourself not making your goal weight every week, then you need to evaluate your goal and what you are eating. Your goal may be too hard to accomplish or you might need to log your daily intake to keep track of what you are putting into your mouth (I highly recommend this!).
4. Do What Works For You
The most important thing is customizing weight loss advice so it works for you - after all, this is a lifestyle change. That could mean trying dieting before incorporating exercise. It also means that it may not be the best idea to follow the popular diet trends. Some of these restrict what foods you can and can’t have which means more than likely you will not stick to it. Remember – it is a lifestyle change, not a diet you do for a couple weeks. You may not know what works for you, but you do know what doesn’t so…avoid that. Knowing what works for you happens through trial and error. This means experimenting with new foods and workouts. Maybe try a quick 10 minute workout you found on pinterest. Here are some short workout videos that I love.
5. Re-vamp Your Recipes
Nobody wants to give up their favorite foods, and guess what – you don’t have to! What you do need to do, however, is to “lighten” those foods…AKA “healthify”. Use the skim milk, substitute applesauce for the oil, use egg whites, use evaporated skim milk instead of heavy whipping cream…the list goes on and on. This website has a ton of healthy cooking substitutions.
6. Eat Whole Grains
Eliminate those refined carbs! Try to eat as much whole grains as possible. Why? – because refined grains cause a spike in your blood sugar which triggers insulin…which stores fat. Whole grains contain more fiber which keeps you fuller, longer!
7. DRINK WATER!!
I know, I hate forcing myself to drink water too, so I found a good substitute – green tea. I drink probably a gallon of green tea a day; I love the stuff! It’s probably because that is what I drank growing up. Anyway, the benefits are that it boosts metabolism and its just good for ya!
8. Eat More, Weigh Less
Sounds crazy, but eating more meals throughout the day (of course smaller portion sizes) is better than the usual 3 large meals. Why? Because eating every 2-3 hours keeps your metabolism high. It also helps you to avoid cheating.
I know what your thinking - DUH!!! I already knew that! Dieting gets rid of fat but exercise creates a stunning body; instead of being skinny and fat, you will look skinny and toned. Exercise improves muscle tone which increases your metabolism. Dieting actually decreases metabolism so this boost from exercise is extremely important. Include both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training. You can do them on alternating days or what is best is to do resistance training first and then cardiovascular exercise afterwards.
10. Add HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to your routine
HIIT is an exercise that involves short bursts of really intense exercise followed by short periods of recovery. When I say short, I mean like 20 second intervals! What is great about HIIT is that it is a MAJOR time saver meaning that the workouts take half the time. Here are some HIIT videos that I have reviewed. There is even a 4 minute workout that really gets the job done! Now who doesn’t have 4 minutes?!
11. Do Something Fun
I made working out fun by making a Workout Jar where I put different exercises on little slips of paper and put them into a jar and I would draw a slip from the jar during TV commercials or when I needed a break from studying! If you have any fun ideas that you have tried, message me and I will post them on my site!
Check out these helpful links:
Weight Loss 101: Whats In a Pound
Lose Weight the Healthy Way, and Keep It Off!
Best Diet Tips
How To Get Skinny
7 Steps to Becoming a Morning Exerciser
TV Commercial Workout
Slow & Steady Wins the Race
Weight Loss 101: College Edition
My Daily “To Do”
Links to Amazing Workout Videos
Printable Body Measuring Chart
Flat Tummy Tips
Know Your Healthy Weight
Pear vs Apple Body Shape
How to have a good relationship with food