It's January. You've decided that you want to lose weight. 2020 is going to be your year. But where are you going to start?!
When you start your weight loss journey you want to see results immediately, well, yesterday actually. It's those results that keep you motivated and push you to achieve your goals.
You'll find that the medically agreed sustainable healthy weight loss per week is 2lbs, a little under a Kilo. Depending on your starting physique, this can still be a little bit too aggressive to be healthy for some people, but it's a good ball-park figure. It's estimated that you need to burn (or cut out) 500kcals per day for a week to lose 2lbs.
Losing weight is actually a really simple equation. Burn more calories than you consume.
For the average women you should be eating 2,000 calories per day, for men it's 2,500kcal per day. To lose 1-2lbs a week, you need to have a net calorie intake of 1,500kcal for women and 2,000kcal for men (guys, did you know that 2 pints of lager are a whopping 500kcals?!).
Calories IN less Calories OUT
Let me show you your three options...
1. Keep being sedentary but reduce your food
2. Continue to eat thoughtlessly and do some exercise
3. Eat thoughtfully and do some exercise.
So which do you think will be easiest? Which will work the best? Why?
Before starting your weight-loss journey you need to understand the reasons behind why you want to do this. Your reasons will help you determine which path you want to follow. Let me be quite blunt about each of the above options;
1. Just diet, keep a sedentary lifestyle, join an aggressive diet plan.
This might seem the easiest option to a lot of people, but think about what you'll actually be achieving. You'll be hungry! REALLY hungry!
You won't be allowed to enjoy any of the foods that you love, which, in turn, is likely to make you miserable.
You'll fall off the strict diet regime and your weight will creep back up. It's human nature not to keep putting ourselves through something that we don't enjoy when we have an easy choice to stop.
For women, this would mean restricting your food intake to 1,500kcal a day and for men restricting to 2,000kcal a day.
2. Eat whatever you like and start exercising!
This sounds pretty good, the freedom to continue to eat takeaways, chocolate, biscuits, fizzy drinks.....although if you think about it, you'd have to workout pretty hard in order to burn off that bag of crisps, chocolate bar, can of coke and sausage roll that you just grabbed at lunchtime.
And are you really going to feel like exercising when you're on your sugar-crash later in the day or when you're feeling sleepy after eating so many carbs? Probably not. You'll feel tired and bloated and tell yourself that you'll 'do it tomorrow.' You might even start to put on weight because you've given yourself permission to eat whatever you like on the false promise of doing some exercise later. Yikes!
Continue with your current diet, if you're consuming toast or cereal for breakfast, a cake or a few biscuits at work each day, a pre-packaged meal deal for lunch and/or takeaway on your way home, coupled with a glass of wine or a couple of pints of beer in the evening then you are probably eating over 3,000kcals. For women, this means you'll need to burn a whopping 1,500kcals a day and 1,000kcals a day for men through exercise to lose just 1-2lbs a week.
Here's what 1,500kcals looks like in exercise for the average person;
*Run for 2 hours at 10min/mile pace
*Swim breaststroke for 3 hours
*Do a 3 hour Zumba class
*Do 2.5hrs of Spinning
Those food choices suddenly don't seem worth it, do they....
3. Eat thoughtfully AND do some exercise.
Oooo, now this one is starting to sound a bit more appealing.
First of all, I want you to notice my careful choice of words... eat 'thoughtfully.' I'm not telling you to diet, as such. I'm not telling you to stop having everything that tastes amazing or to stop having chocolate or takeaways. What I am suggesting is that you decide whether you really NEED it. It's a choice. How is that donut going to make you feel afterwards, bloated, tired, grab something that will fill you up and make you feel good; nuts, a banana.
I believe you should have everything in moderation, that goes for exercise and food.
Make the healthier choices when you're choosing your meals, cook for yourself rather than buying ready-meal. They might say they're natural and healthy, but you'll still find a list of preservatives, flavorings and other weird ingredients on the list.
If you want a dessert, then have one.
Be good for 80% of the time and you'll find a nice balance between enjoying the food you love and eating healthy, sensible meals.
Similarly, exercise should also be done in moderation. Don't feel like you have to be at the gym twice a day, every day. That's an aggressive routine and one that you aren't going to stick to. Set yourself some achievable goals, start with maybe 3 sessions or group exercise classes a week. When you've nailed that, add another session in. The important part is to enjoy your rest days.
So by eating thoughtfully, you could easily reduce your calories by 250 or 500kcal a day, that's around 30 - 60 mins of medium to high exercise needed to maintain a healthy weight loss. Much more achievable!
On the days you don't exercise, eat more thoughtfully to preserve your calorie deficit. You are living a much healthier, more balanced lifestyle.
If you're making thoughtful food choices, you'll start to avoid those carb-crashes and sugar-lows that would have made you really sleepy and lethargic before. You'll feel healthier, you'll look healthier and your confidence will grow. What's more, you'll be hitting your targets, feeling motivated and looking great!
Don't forget...If you're feeling apprehensive about starting exercise then our classes are the perfect introduction for you. You don't need to worry about stepping in to a busy gym, trying something new in front of lots of people. Join our online classes from the comfort of your own home and get fit in confidence.