I’m about to say a word that scares some people, but hear me out: diet.
Yes, I heard the gasps, felt the shudders, but it’s an important thing to discuss when you’re on your health journey, and there’s some things that are important to remember. Despite what a lot of health gurus say, maintaining a healthy weight isn’t only about calories, how much you exercise, or what supplements you take.
In fact, it’s about a multitude of factors. A key factor in maintaining your weight and body fat percentage is the amount of energy you consume versus the amount you exert.
It’s probably safe to say you’ve heard of restrictive diets that only allow you to consume between 1000-1200 calories per day. Those are generalized fad diets that don’t pertain to every unique body, and oftentimes people who try to follow them end up feeling ravenous and frustrated.
Trust me, I’ve been down that road a time or two myself, and the only thing they’re good for is impressive weight loss and subsequent weight gain. The weight might disappear quickly, but it tends to come back with a vengeance once you put the diet aside.
Instead of spending time studying the ins and outs of frustrating diets, try gradually optimizing your nutrition through sustainable methods. Remember, the health journey is about practicing daily habits, so the more you get used to it, the more natural it feels.
Now, the bad news is, you can’t train out a bad diet. So, let’s see what we can do to make a simple change that, over a short period of time, will produce measurable results that are so subtle you’ll be shocked by the time you notice them.
Figuring that 1 pound of fat is equal to approximately 3500 calories, let’s see how much we’ll have to cut if we want to lose, say, 1 pound in a week.
Taking the 3500 calories divided by the 7 days of the week, we see that, in order to lose 1 pound a week, we either have to cut back on 500 calories each day for the week, or we have to increase our exercise intake to exert the 500 calories instead.
Of course, that’s possible, but sometimes it can take an awful lot of time and planning to actually succeed in either exercising more or cutting out those 500 calories each day. Some days, your friends or your coworkers will want to take you out to lunch, or a client will bring you in a box of chocolates to thank you for all you do for them. Others, you could head over to a family member’s house where the menu is unknown and you won’t be able to plan out your meals.
Although it’s possible, it is hard to sustain over a long period of time, so please surround yourself with professionals who can help monitor your weight loss if you choose the 500.
Now, if we remember that the health journey is also a marathon, not a race, it’s just as plausible to take a slower route that will provide the results in a much more pleasant manner.
Instead of diving in with the 500, try out cutting back on 250 calories a day.
The half a pound a week might not seem like much at first, but if you were to consistently cut out those 250 calories daily, over a year, you’d lose 21 pounds.
Well, that sure adds up, doesn’t it?
On the flip side, if you wanted to try cutting out 500 calories a day, you’d hit the same results in six months. That way, if vacation happens, or life happens, or holidays and birthdays somehow sneak up you’ve only got to commit for six months.
Again, though, be leery of the pushback from shedding off a pound a week. If you’re not careful, once life happens and you get busy and you lose track of monitoring your meals and snacks, you risk reverting back to your old ways and gaining back even more than you started with.
So how much does 250 calories look like? Well, believe it or not, a Venti Non-Fat Milk Chai Latte from Starbucks is 260 calories. Of course, not everyone shops at Starbucks or drinks milk, but that’s just an example. It’s something that seems small and insignificant, but really adds up over time.
So try to pay close attention to what you’re consuming over the next few week. You don’t have to be overcritical about it, but try and look at labels and portions to track how much you absorb. Then, figure out 250 of those calories you can start to cut back.
A surefire way to lose 21 pounds of fat in 1 year is to cut back on 250 calories a day AND add exercise into your routine.
Let’s say you decide to walk 10 (almost ridiculous) minutes each day when before you never walked. Other than being beneficial for your heart health, brain function, mood and bone health, that brisk walk can amount to 50 calories. That walk alone can help you lose 5 lbs in a year.
10 minutes everyday to be 5 lbs lighter? Where do I sign up?
Feel free to share your results (in the comments?)! What do you plan on cutting out of your system? How do you feel?