There’s only one way to lose weight, and that’s to be calorie deficient.
And that’s all well and good to know, but to be able to action this and ensure you are maintaining a calorie deficiency in a healthy and sustainable way is a different story.
Finding a way to be calorie deficient that works for you is important, and the 5 ways I’ve listed below are some of the greatest routes to take (I know from personal experience!)
1. Join a challenge
Whether it’s for 8 weeks or 12, less or more, a challenge is a great way to lose weight.
Whether it’s through your gym or an online program, setting yourself a plan with an end date can provide that extra motivation you need to see your goals through.
When I did an 8 week challenge (which involved low carb, no sugar and exercise 6 days a week) I lost 10kg. It was the quickest and easiest way I’ve ever lost weight, and the weight has stayed off.
How I Lost 10kg By Cutting Carbs
Whilst gaining energy and getting back by self-control in the process.
It’s important to choose a challenge that helps you develop healthier habits and one that provides you with correct information about health and wellness. Why? Because that ensures that once the challenge ends, those habits and learnings you discovered throughout the challenge are more likely to stick, and you will benefit from the challenge long after it has ended.
For me, I learnt just how much refined carbohydrates effect my weight, and how amazing I feel working out 5–6 days a week. I also learnt that it’s possible to lose weight without a gym membership. The program I participated in utilised HIIT workouts and strength training from the comfort of my living room. No excuses!
2. Join a weight loss program
There are an abundance of weight loss, health and wellness programs out there. The majority of which ensure convenience and portion control.
Portion control is one of the biggest issues we face when it comes to our weight. Most of us eat far more than we need, but many don’t even realise that they are doing so.
Joining a program that provides you with specific portions can teach you the invaluable lesson of exactly what amounts you should be consuming, and how many calories are in certain types and sizes of food.
Give it a few weeks before you give up — most of these programs take a few weeks to see a change, and months for others to notice as well.
Even if the programs become too expensive, or you’re not longer enjoying them, you’ll have learned how much of each type of food you should be consuming. You’ll learn new recipes and new ingredients, what you like and what you don’t.
They’re also super convenient, and you’ll find more time to workout — woohoo!
3. Count your calories
Obsessively counting calories can be incredibly detrimental to your health, but it is important to be informed about what you are actually consuming. Myfitnesspal is a wonderful tool to use for this (and the basic version is free). There’s also many other free apps you can use to track your calories.
Most of us would be way off if we were to guess how many calories we were actually consuming on a daily basis. We would heavily underestimate the calories we consume by eating and drinking, and greatly overestimate how many we are losing through exercise.
Try counting calories for a month, just to get a basic understanding of what your usual diet looks like. You might be surprised with how many calories are in certain foods or drinks that you frequently consume. Like little lifestyle landmines. I suggest a limit on how long you count calories for because they can become an obsession and it’s not a healthy way to live.
It’s okay if you’re tracking macros or are doing a diet like keto which requires certain restrictions on macros like carbohydrates, but do be cautious otherwise.
4. Reduce your carbs
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — carbs are not the devil. Not even close. But refined carbs such as white bread, pizza, pasta, sweets, white rice, pastries, etc can have a huge impact on your weight.
Cutting these out of your diet, or reducing them significantly, will have a huge impact on your weight. You’ll also find that it’s quite easy to do, because of all the carb substitutes we have these days.
I love pizza, so discovering cauliflower pizza bases in the supermarket was life-changing.
Find your weakness, and then find its healthy substitute.
It’s not always easy to eat your favourite food in moderation, and most of us love our refined carbs. But if you cut these out from one, two or even three meals, it’s possible that you’ll be amazed at your fast weight loss (even long past the water weight you lose in the first week or two).
5. Find exercise you love
Your diet has the biggest impact on your weight, but exercise can help push you into calorie decificent (alongside an abundance of other benefits to both your physical and mental wellbeing).
Join a sports team, or try a variety of gyms and classes.
Most places these days have trial periods or cheap introduction rates. Whether it’s pilates, boxing, weight training or running, find something that you actually feel excited about (even mildly — it is exercise, afterall). Mix it up, and move on if you find yourself intensely dreading it.
Over the course of 2 weeks, I tried a kettle bell class, a running class, an F45 and pilates. Out of those, the running class put me on a massive high, and so I signed up. In a dark room with some epic nightclub bangers, we run on treadmills with a coach egging us on. I’ve never run so far in my life, and was stoked to find exercise that I genuinely looked forward to (albeit, with a tiny bit of fear every time…).
I’ve also been part of a social netball team (with my best friends, brothers and boyfriend) for 2 years and can’t imagine my life without it. I look forward to every Wednesday night after work, and although I end every game drenched in sweat and completely exhausted, it never feels like exercise or a chore.
Find something that works for you. It doesn’t have to be the only thing you do for exercise, but if you find a class or a team that you can participate in even once a week alongside your other sessions, you’ll find that you’re getting your workouts in and actually enjoying it.
Find something that works for you.
If you’re absolutely miserable on a certain diet, restricting certain foods, counting calories or going to the gym, find alternatives. I tried many, MANY different fads and diets before I found different parts of different ones that personally suit me.
When it clicks, it really clicks.
Don’t give up just because something hasn’t work previously. You will find something that works for you if you keep trying, and stick it out long enough to notice changes. Do it for you.
Most of us need to make permanent lifestyle changes to maintain our weight, health and fitness. Slow and steady is the way to achieve this.
But for those who want to kickstart their journey, lose some weight and start to feel how good life can be when we also feel good, the methods above are tried and tested avenues to start this change.