Wednesday, May 30

Short Guide To Weight Loss: The Basics

So you're overweight or fat. You want to get in better shape,"tone", or fit into a smaller pair of jeans, but how? There is a lot of bullshit out there, which aims to make a quick buck off your ignorance. So here is a short, basic guide to improving your situation and work towards weight loss.  If you are in decent shape and wants abs or to "tone", or some such, then you'll need to read the next entry. This guide will mainly serve people who are significantly overweight.

Now your aim should be to lose fat, not weight per se. If you lose muscle, that isn't helpful. If you lose water weight, that isn't helpful. Thus it is important to have a educated diet in order to maximise fat loss, while not at the expense of muscle or anything else.  You can go on some liquid vegetable diet for a week and lose 5 pounds. But some of that will be muscle, some of that will be water weight, and you may just put back on whatever fat you lose, if you go back to your old eating habits. It is extremely important to realise that this shouldn't be a temporary diet change. This should be a permanent lifestyle change, which also means it must be reasonable and sustainable.

You will need a concerted effort to do this. If you stick to half these suggestions one week, then none the next, you will make zero progress. Make a plan and stick to it! Here are the basics:
- Cut out, or significantly reduce, all drinks containing calories (milk, fruit juice, soda, alcohol). Replace with water.
- Cut out all shit foods e.g. chocolate bars, takeaways.
- Reduce snacking.
- Home cook as many meals as you can.
- Eat as many meals as is convenient to you. 2 meals a day or 6 it doesn't matter, meal frequency is mostly irrelevant.
- Fat is essential for health, so is protein (from animal products or a variety of plant sources) don't cut these out.
- Increased protein intake is associated with better lean mass preservation and is necessary for athletic performance, thus you may want to eat up to 1 g of protein per pound of body weight (or 2 g of protein per kg of body weight).
- Low carbohydrate diets (low carb is typically under 150 g a day) have better satiety than other macro nutrient restricted diets. Thus you may want to reduce carbs and eat more fat and protein.
- When you are eating, you should never eat to fullness. You should eat until you are satisfied but you COULD eat more.
- You can allow yourself one cheat meal a week, where you can eat or drink whatever you want. So you may want to save your weeks cheat meal for a night out with friends, or a birthday party.
- Pick an exercise you ENJOY. Doing exercise you don't like is a great way to kill your motivation.
- Aim to do this exercise several times, totalling a few hours a week.

If you are overweight and stick to most or all of these suggestions, you should lose fat. You may be able to lose a few pounds a week doing this, typically the more overweight you are, the faster you can lose fat. Keep in mind that the body's weight fluctuates a few pounds day to day. So when weighing yourself, do it at the same time every day and then take a weekly average. You probably won't be able to see physical differences day to day, or even week to week. Taking progress photos every week or so is good for motivation and tracking your success.

Next post will outline stricter methods to lose weight.