A Beginner’s Guide to Weight Loss

Whether you’ve always been on the heavier side or have gained weight over time, figuring out how to shed those unwanted pounds can be overwhelming. Weight loss is not always as simple as just eating less.

Hips don’t lie, and when you can no longer fit your jeans around them, it may be a sign that you’re ready to jump in and get rid of the extra weight.

Daily Calories

When it comes to weight loss, one of the key things to remember is that in order to lose weight, your body needs to burn more calories than you consume, also known as a calorie deficit. This basically means that, if your body requires 2,500 calories to maintain your weight, you need to consume less than this.

For those that are very active, you will be burning more calories, so you may find that you lose more easily if you eat more calories. Keep in mind that your body will go into starvation mode if you dip too low, so it’s important to stay above 1,200 calories per day.

Food Diary

We’ve all done it. You’re making lunch for your kid or for yourself and, before you close up the chip bag, you sneak a few chips. No big deal, right? It’s not the 4 chips at lunchtime that can throw your diet off, it’s those chips, plus the free donut from the break room or the candy bar that you pick up while getting gas before work that can really start stacking up before you know it.

One of the most important things you can do, especially if you’re a chronic snacker, is to track every piece of food that enters your mouth. You may think you’re eating healthy or eating under your allotted daily calories, but you just might be surprised when you start noting everything.

Reduce Carbs

Carbs. They’re filling and affordable, but are they really the best thing for your body? Carbohydrates are important for your body, they help fuel you so you can do what you need to do. But how many is too many?

One of the most popular ways to drop pounds quickly is by eating a very limited amount of carbs per day. In order to get your body to burn off fat rather than use the carbs for energy, it’s important to keep your carb count low. Many people follow the ketogenic diet, where they are limited to just 20-30 grams of carbs daily.

Don’t Skip the Fat and Protein

Every meal you eat should include:

  • One protein source
  • One fat source
  • Vegetables
  • A serving of complex carbs, such as whole grains

It is important not to skip the protein, even if you have to supplement with diet shakes or protein shakes. One of the things that can happen when you lose weight, especially if you do it quickly, is hair loss. Protein is also important because it can improve your metabolism, cardiometabolic risk factors, and your body weight.

In general, adult males should have between 56 and 91 grams of protein daily, and women should have 46 to 75 grams. Healthy sources of protein include:

  • Meats, such as pork, lamb, beef, and pork
  • Fish and seafood, such as shrimp, salmon, and trout
  • Eggs
  • Plant-based proteins, such as quinoa, legumes, beans, tempeh, and tofu

If your goal is low carbs, your best protein sources are eggs and meat, as they generally contain no carbohydrates.

Healthy fats are also crucial when it comes to planning your meals. Olive oil and avocado oil are the best options, but butter and coconut oil are fine, too. If you plan on sauteing or frying anything with high heat, avocado oil will be able to stand up to the heat the best, as it has a really high smoke point.

Get Moving

Any movement is better than no movement. If you want to lose weight and build muscle, you have to exercise in some way. This can be something as simple as walking to the stop sign at the end of your block once or twice a day or turning on some upbeat music and dancing. No matter what type of movements you choose, stick with it and do it regularly and you should start to see a difference in no time.

With a little bit of patience, understanding of the type of fuel your body needs, and some exercise, you will be slimmer before you know it.