Trying to lose weight can be one of the most challenging tasks in one’s life. People look to fad diets, social media influencers, and even dangerous weight loss pills or devices from untrustworthy places all in the name of losing weight.
The key to weight loss is being in what is called a calorie deficit. While there are more complex equations to calculate energy expenditure, the simplest way to be in a calorie deficit is to burn more calories than you consume.
Another important point is that 1 pound of fat is about 3500 calories. To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories. Therefore, to drop 1 pound per week you would need to consume 500 less calories per day or burn them off with additional activity.
While some people can find a way to shed the extra pounds, keeping the weight off can be an even more difficult task. So, without further delay (or more math!) here are three tips for healthy sustainable weight loss.
Tip One: Reduce Your Portion Size
Portion sizes have dramatically increased over the past 20 years. For example, a standard bagel has nearly doubled in diameter and the average calories have gone from about 140 calories up to 350. A single meal from a restaurant can now contain more calories than the recommended total daily intake! Even meals that are traditionally thought to be “healthy,” like a salad, can now contain as many calories as two slices of pizza.
Reducing portion size is a sustainable weight loss strategy as you still get to eat what you love. By simply consuming slightly less, you can achieve significant weight drops.
Tip Two: Add in Some Exercise
Adding just 15 minutes of physical activity can also help shed those extra pounds. This will mean something different to every reader, but try finding something that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat. To make regular exercise more sustainable, partake in activities that you find enjoyable or motivating towards a goal.
For maximum sustainability, start with activities that may only slightly challenge you. As you master this activity, or it becomes easy, increase the duration and intensity. If you have never run a mile in your life, trying to run 3 miles is not a viable starting point. However, walking a mile (or even for just 15 minutes) is a great place to begin.
Tip Three: Skip the Scale
A person’s weight can fluctuate by nearly 6 pounds a day depending on time of day, food/drink consumed, and multiple other factors. Checking the scale every day is more likely to hurt your journey through weight loss than it is to help.
Even if the scale is showing weight reduction, you may not be noticing as big of a difference as you would like. This is often because people tend to hyperfocus on places on the body with which they are most dissatisfied. Remember, there is no way to spot-reduce fat loss. Genetics play a large role in where individuals store fat. If you have lost 10 pounds but are still seeing those love handles you hate, it is time to exercise something else: your patience.
Instead of measuring success on the scale, try looking at other metrics such as: Are your clothes fitting better? Is it easier to get out of bed every day? Are your energy and mood improved? Focusing on these accomplishments instead of just the number on the scale will help on your journey to sustainable weight loss.
The Bottom Line
These tips aren’t glitzy. They don’t come with a promise of losing 10 pounds in one week. But if you follow them, one thing is true: You will lose weight. It will take time, effort, and dedication. Not only will you shed those excess pounds but using these tips will help you keep them off.