Every so often I receive comments and emails about weight loss and any advice that I can provide. I thought I’d write a post on my thoughts and opinions on weight loss to share with you all!
First and foremost, I have never had (or chosen) to lose a significant amount of weight. I’m content with my body and I don’t desire to be a size 2, 4 or smaller. It’s not worth it to me. I enjoy having a womanly and strong figure with curves and muscles, so if you’re looking for me to tell you how to be a stick figure, this is not the place!
I’m not saying these smaller sizes are bad in any way, as some women are built petite and that is great! We should all be happy with ourselves. My point is that I am not advocating weight loss for those of you already at an appropriate weight for your body.
Weight Loss: My Tips and Advice
Make it a Lifestyle
This is crucial. Diets don’t work long term. Lifestyles do. When I was prepping for a figure competition I was on a diet. I followed a meal plan that was calorie and portion controlled. Simple science of weight loss is that you have to consume less calories to lose weight. My diet was around 1700 calories and I lost about a pound a week (and I was also exercising 6 days a week, sometimes 2x a day). I found it simple to follow a diet. Being on a diet is the easy part and anyone can do it. Maintaining your loss is where the hard work comes in and it never stops! You have to continue to be aware of your body.
But I hated the way I was eating during my prep. It was high protein and I am not a fan of that. I just don’t enjoy eating that much protein! I love carbs! So I knew that when my diet was over, I would go back to how I was previously eating. And that meant I would gain back the weight I lost. And I did. I couldn’t keep up that diet as a lifestyle and therefore I fell back to my old habits and the weight came back (I was not overweight before though and was fine with gaining that weight back).
It’s important that when you do decide you want to lose weight that you do it in a way that is smart.
You have to eat for your NEW body…not your OLD body
When you lose weight you get smaller. Therefore your calorie requirements are going to change. You will have to eat less than your former body weight. That’s why it’s important to make changes and habits that you can stick with for life to maintain your new body.
Calories in and Calories out
This is weight loss 101. You have to consume less calories. You can do this through eating less, moving more, or a combination of both. Most people choose to do a combination of eating less and working out more.
Keep in mind that when dieting, it’s important to maintain lean muscle mass. You should continue to lift weights to maintain your current lean mass or start lifting weights if you don’t do it.
You don’t want to lose your muscle for the sake of seeing a number on the scale get lower! Plus, losing muscle mass means lowering your metabolism and no one wants that. Pump that iron!
Increased Cardio = Increased Hunger
When dieting you are most likely going to feel hungry, at least in the beginning until your body adapts. Doing too much cardio can increase your hunger and can also sacrifice lean muscle mass.
I recommend not going crazy with the cardio when dieting. Keep it moderate to control your appetite and make it easier on yourself.
When it comes to calories, some people find it helpful to keep a food diary and track calories.
I am not one of those people. I get irritated when I feel I have to track my food. Therefore if I ever wanted to lose weight, I would not count calories. However, others find it helpful to track and actually enjoy doing so. It becomes like a little science project for your body. Do what works for you!
I personally find the “intuitive” method more my style. Here is a great book on this to get more in depth with this style of eating. It’s all about listening to your body’s hunger signals and not making any foods ‘off limits’. And when you are trying to make your diet changes last forever, you need to eat what you enjoy. Limiting certain foods only makes them more appealing.
Stop Obsessing Over a Number
The number on the scale is not the most important thing while dieting. Take measurements or have a pair of pants you want to fit into. Stop putting so much energy into a number. Because that is all it is…a NUMBER.
Unless you know what that number is made up of (fat and lean mass) then it’s useless. Get your body fat assessed to see what your body fat % is. Continually monitor that as well as measurements to assess weight loss.
Now, the scale is an indicator of weight loss obviously, I am not saying it’s not, it’s just not the only thing. Stop the number obsession!
Weight loss should be slow and steady. Be patient with yourself and take it one day at a time or even on meal at a time.
Maintain a Happy Weight
I believe this is the hardest part of the lifestyle. Maintaining. I’ve seen countless friends and even my own parents lose a significant amount of weight only to gain it all back (sometimes even more) because they dieted. The diet they chose to do was too harsh and unrealistic to keep up long term. Eventually old habits come back and the weight comes back.
Your happy weight is a weight that should be easy to maintain for YOU. Saying that you want to be 120lbs is useless if that weight is not meant for your body. Be honest with yourself and your goals.
When at a happy weight you shouldn’t go to bed hungry, you shouldn’t feel restricted with eating and have food-consumed thoughts, and you shouldn’t need to exercise 2+ hours a day to maintain it. At least these are my opinions on what a happy weight is and how I personally feel day to day.