At first losing weight can seem daunting. Here’s a secret: it doesn’t have to be. In this beginner’s guide to weight loss, we’ll cover the science behind losing weight, because once you understand and apply this, you can’t go wrong.
Then, we’ll share our five top tips to ensure you succeed long-term.
Calories. Yes, that dreaded c-word. But how exactly does it work? Think of your body as a car. It needs fuel to operate. For our bodies, this fuel is food. If you burn more calories than you eat, you start burning fat (called a calorie deficit).
If you eat more calories than you burn, you start putting on weight (called a calorie surplus). And the science behind weight loss is that simple.
All the rest of the noise you hear around timing of meals, “good” and “bad” calories, carbohydrates being bad for you, dairy being bad for you, and more, is nonsense.
A calorie deficit is what counts when it comes to weight loss.
How can we ensure we’re in a calorie deficit?
Start by getting an estimate of your BMR (basal metabolic rate) using this calculator. This is an estimate of how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, based on your activity levels.
Subtract 500 calories for weight loss (500 calories a day equates to 3500 calories per week – enough to lose 1lb a week).
Once you have this, use MyFitnessPal to record calories, and ensure you’re eating the calories calculated above for weight loss. A weekly average is fine (so you can have some more flexibility on weekends if needed).
How do we succeed in the long-term?
Now that you understand the science, here are our 5 top tips for long-term success:
- Think of your journey as a lifestyle, not a diet. Your have to enjoy your journey because if you don’t, you’re less likely to succeed. Your daily food plan, your level of exercise, and general changes you make all need to be sustainable. This is why we don’t recommend drastically cutting calories at the start, and also why a lot of traditional diets don’t work!
- Exercise. Whether it’s running, weight training, yoga, bike riding, or anything else, exercise is important for weight loss. When it comes to being in a calorie deficit, this can be achieved by eating less, or burning more. By exercising, you can optimise your weight loss and still eat a reasonable amount every day.
- Record what you eat. A calorie deficit is essential to weight loss, but how will you know you’re in one unless you record what you’re eating? This takes some effort up front, but it does get easier with time.
- Sleep well. A poor sleep can lead to an increase in appetite and a decrease in energy. Two things you don’t want when weight loss is the goal! Aim to sleep at least 7 hours a day. If you’re struggling to sleep, try putting your phone in another room, read before bed, or try some meditation.
- Drink water. Water is calorie free, and can lead to a reduced appetite. Two litres per day is recommended. You can read more here.
Weight loss can be simple if you don’t overcomplicate it. As long as you’re consistently eating in a calorie deficit, there’s no way you won’t lose the weight you want to lose.
Use exercise to optimise your weight loss and refer to the 5 top tips in this beginner’s guide to weight loss in order to succeed in the long-term. Enjoy!
I’m Ravi – a qualified personal trainer and fitness blogger, who teaches people how to transform their bodies and lives through fitness and nutrition. I’m also the CEO of Sports Samurai, an online store selling high quality gym bags and backpacks – you don’t want to miss these, so click the link.