I am going to be straightforward with you. There are only 3 ways to lose weight, and they are:
1 — Calory Deficit
2 — Calory Deficit
3 — Calory Deficit
There you have it. Look no further.
Eating healthy is hard, losing weight is easy.
I have been trying to lose weight, lose fat, gain muscle, lose weight again, lose stubborn fat, gain muscle, for years.
So often, too often, I spent long lonesome minutes staring at myself in the mirror. All I could see what this lump of fat that was hanging around my belly. These love handles that I would physically feel getting full while eating. The two-pack under my chest that would make me falsely believe I was getting somewhere. You know what I mean.
It was frustrating, but it was never my fault.
“I am working out 3 to 4 times a week. Why can’t I lose this fat?”
“I am eating quite healthy: some vegetables, some carbs, some protein, why do I still have fat?”
Never did I question myself. I was doing everything right but seeing no results.
Well, here is a simple truth.
If you are doing everything right, but see no results, then you’re not doing everything right.
Losing weight is basic mathematics. You need X calories to get through your day. You consume Y calories by eating. If X is higher than Y, you lose weight. If Y is higher, you gain weight.
Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process. Your body adjusts over time. If you eat too much one day, and less the next, it roughly balances out. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
The problem is, like most of us:
- I had a tendency to overestimate how many extra calories I would burn during the day, and while training.
I had no idea about my Base Metabolic Rate — the number of calories your body consumes during a day when you do nearly nothing.
And more problematic:
- I had no idea how many calories I was actually eating, and thus, underestimating that number.
Most of us refer to the general calory guidelines provided by the health ministries of our governments. A grown man should eat about 2000 calories, while a woman should stick more to 1800. Some guidelines suggest even more.
Well, in my case, I now know that 2000 is too much if I don’t do any sports during the day. It’s more around 1800.
Filling up your daily calory goal goes really fast. And I mean, really fast.
A cup of oatmeal for breakfast? You’re in for about 370 calories for 100gr, maybe more depending on the size of your cup. Add in some yogurt, honey, berries, nuts, and you easily get past 500 calories.
A banana as a mid-morning snack? There you have around 80 calories.
A chicken lettuce tomato cheese club sandwich for lunch? Easily 500 to 600 calories.
A plate of pasta for dinner? It can quickly go up to 300, 400 calories. Now you add in some sauce, olive oil, and you’re beyond 500. And that’s plain pasta with sauce.
There you have it. Already close to 1700 calories.
None of these foods are unhealthy. I am talking purely in caloric terms. If you need to eat 1800 calories to maintain weight, you should target around 1700 to slowly lose weight.
So, what if you snack?
Look at protein bars for example. I am not debating whether or not they are healthy, but they have become a widely used snack to take along to the office.
Every bar is different, but from the ones I have seen around, they have between 150 and 250 calories. If you need to eat only 1700 that’s a big chunk of your daily calory intake. And with the menu above, you’ve exceeded your goal by 200 calories already.
But by the way, in case you feel like snacking or eating a lot, all the veggies that came to your mind when reading the word “veggies”, are super low in calories, just saying.
Now, let’s talk about exercise. Of course, exercising is healthy. Very healthy. And exercising does burn calories. This means that if you do exercise, you should eat slightly more.
But going for a training session doesn’t mean you should eat a lot more thereafter. Unless you go running for an hour and burn maybe 450 500 calories while running 9 to 10k, you’re most likely going to burn only half of that amount during a regular bodyweight, lightly weighted training.
What your body will need, is protein to recover your muscles. But not a double serving of pasta, which will only put you in caloric excess. Remember the 500 calories for that one plate earlier? That’s exactly why I never managed to lose weight, and fat until now.
Seek a calory deficit. It’s not about eating Mediterranean, going full keto, sticking to intermittent fasting, or any other type of diet. It’s about being in a calory deficit.
All these diets might have benefits of their own, and challenges too. They might fit you, or might not. They might help you, or maybe hold you back. But regardless of what you do, how you eat, you need to be in a caloric deficit.
I didn’t go into the specific macronutrient, micronutrient needs of your body here, because it’s not the point. Of course, it’s also important, but it’s the next step to eating healthy. Let’s take the first one here.
As I said, eating healthy is hard, losing weight is easy.
If you want to lose weight, you need to do the math and stick to it. You have to know what you need, and what you are consuming.
That’s the only way.