Diets for losing weight in the 21st century have gotten far too complicated. Instead of making things as simple and realistic as possible, losing weight now requires following an endless number of complex rules, some of which even contradict one another:
- Don’t eat carbohydrates
- Eat carbohydrates, but not within 4 hours of going to bed
- Only eat complex carbohydrates
- Avoid fats as much as possible
- Eat healthy fats from oils and nuts
- Eat every 3 hours
- Drink a gallon of water every day
The truth of the matter is that those who need to lose a significant amount of excess fat need a simple and realistic solution to achieve their goal of getting down to a healthy weight.
I’m going to navigate you through the mirage of dietary rules and restrictions and explain the aspects of losing weight that truly matters.
Tracking Your Calories
I know, I know. I said you need a simple plan and nobody wants to deal with counting calories.
That being said, most overweight individuals have absolutely zero ideas how many calories they’re actually consuming in a day, or how many they ought to be consuming to start losing weight and ultimately get down to a healthy weight.
My recommendation is to first estimate the number of calories you should be eating to reach your goal weight, and then track your calories to that estimate for a week or two, just to get an idea of what your meals should look like in terms of the kinds and volumes of foods you should be eating with each meal.
Keeping a food log to use as a future reference will be a big help during these two weeks if you can swing it.
While you may not track every single calorie after the initial two weeks, it is still a good idea to always be cognizant of the number of calories you’re consuming each day to ensure that you are always in the neighborhood of where you need to be to continue shedding the pounds.
Determining Your Daily Caloric Needs to Lose Weight
Here is a simple formula you can use to determine the number of daily calories you should consume to reach your goal weight:
Daily Calories = Goal Weight (in lbs) x 0.6 x 24
So, if you are a woman with a goal weight of 135lbs, the calculation would be as follows:
Daily Calories = 135 x 0.5 x 24
Daily Calories = 1,620
Remember, this is a generic calculation, which should be sufficient to get you started losing weight. But, you’ll need to be sure to decrease this number if your weight loss stops before you reach your goal weight.
Set Small Attainable Weight Loss Goals
A common mistake those with a considerable amount of weight to lose make is that they immediately start following a drastically reduced caloric allowance to get them down to their ideal weight – even if they need to lose 100 or more pounds.
All this will do is make following your diet much more difficult and force you to feel unnecessarily hungry. Instead, you should set a series of smaller, attainable goals to keep you on track without overwhelming you.
For example, if you have 100 pounds to lose, start by structuring your diet so you are eating a number of calories that will enable you to drop the first 40 pounds. Once you’ve achieved that goal, then you can recalculate your caloric estimate to drop another 40 pounds, and so on.
Attacking your weight loss goals in this manner will give you the opportunity to celebrate your successes along the way, keep you motivated, and not overwhelm you with a drastic change to your caloric allowance overnight.
Losing Weight Can Be Simple
If you know you need to lose weight and get healthy but have been turned off at the thought of following a litany of dietary rules, I hope I have helped you get past the less important minutia and given you a renewed focus on what truly matters.
Of course, if you want to take the extra step beyond simply counting calories, eliminating processed foods from your diet will enhance your fat loss results and increase your overall level of health.
But, if this is too much of a change for you, don’t let it keep you from starting your weight loss journey. At the end of the day, the formula for weight loss is simple, tried and true.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn each and every day.
It really is that simple!