Nutrition is always an interesting topic. There are a lot of considerations to take and everyone reacts differently to common weight loss approaches. Below you will find ways you can begin your weight loss as well as the next steps. All of the information you need is right here, you have no excuses, get up and get after it.
What causes weight loss? What causes weight gain? I am glad you asked. These are both very simple concepts, the difficult part is staying disciplined.
Weight loss simply put is expending more calories than you are consuming. So this means you are burning more calories during the day than you are eating. If the goal is weight loss this is good!
What about weight gain? Well, it’s the opposite. You are simply consuming more calories than you are expanding. So you are eating more calories than you are burning throughout the day. Regardless if you are working out or not, eating more than you burn WILL cause some form of weight gain.
THE HARD PART
I mentioned the most difficult part is discipline, this remains true, hear me out. Short term satisfaction or long term gratification? Which one will you choose? You certainly know which one to choose, but will you make the right choice?
Choosing to eat that nice dessert will only make you feel good for a few minutes, then comes regret, guilt, wished the ability to go back in time, etc.. Opting for a healthier option will have you feeling healthier, unlike the dessert will, this is guaranteed. Will you ever say this: “I wish I didn’t eat that healthy option, I don’t feel as good”? Most of the time we are thinking this “that dessert was sooo good, but now I feel terrible”. The good feeling of the dessert or junk food only lasts for a few minutes and doesn’t get you closer to your goal or make you healthier.
WHAT DO I DO?
I’m interested, how do I start? What foods do I eliminate? How do I stay disciplined? How often should I workout?
The first thing you should do is analyze your diet. What do you eat during an average week? It is important to be aware of the foods you are consuming to develop a plan moving forward.
TRACK FOOD INTAKE FOR A WEEK
Begin by tracking everything you eat each day for a week and yes this includes any liquids. I strongly suggest using a sheet of paper or a notebook over a diet tracking app. Using paper allows you to clearly analyze your diet and is easy to make notes. I do suggest using an app later on, just not the beginning. Why am I writing down my calories for a week? I like where you are at let me walk you through it. One, it will bring awareness about the foods you consume so you can cut out foods that are unhealthy. Two, you can estimate the number of calories you are consuming. Three, you can see if you are missing food groups and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
ANALYZE DIET FOR TRENDS
Once you have tracked your food intake for a week, it is time to take action. There are a couple of things to do here. First, determine if there are any unhealthy foods to cut out. An example would be: “I noticed I ate ice cream 5 out of 7 days”. Then make a note to reduce or cut this food out. You can try reducing it to 2 days a week so it is more of a reward than part of your meals. Trust me you will enjoy it even more if you treat it as a reward.
Analyze each day to determine if there are any patterns. Patterns are best to focus on as they are usually habits and are more difficult to break. A pattern could be the ice cream example from above, or it could be that you drink a soda at a specific time each day. So, see if you can find any patterns that consist of unhealthy and healthy options. I find it very important to also identify existing healthy habits you have! An example of a healthy habit would be the smoothie you eat for breakfast every morning or that salad for lunch during the week. In addition to identifying a pattern, it is important to determine the next steps for that pattern. Is it healthy or unhealthy? If it is unhealthy, do something similar to the ice cream example (set a goal to reduce).
MAKE CHANGES | PLAN MEALS
Now that you have a few foods to eliminate or habits to focus on it is time to begin the real changes. It’s time to create a meal plan for a week. (I have a great template for this, email me if interested, it’s free.) The goal here is to clearly define your food intake for the week and eliminate the identified foods from the last step. Also, it will ensure you are consuming well-rounded meals and receiving adequate vitamins and nutrients. Planning out your meals this way will also help you continue healthy habits and reduce unhealthy habits.
When planning your meals for the week, it is important to select healthy sources of protein, carbs, fat, and micronutrients (our template helps with this). This will also help with shopping, as you will know exactly what to buy for the week. You are also less likely to purchase unhealthy food since you have a list to go off of and know you need to eat healthily. You can make your shopping list at the same time you are planning out meals for the week.
How do I plan out healthy meals for a week? Let’s break it down. For example, let’s say you will consume three meals a day and two snacks. The three main meals will be determined the same way. First identify your macro sources (protein, fat, and carbs). A breakfast example would be: eggs for protein, coconut oil (cook eggs in this) for fat, and oatmeal for carbs. That takes care of our macros, now let’s determine the micros. Fresh blueberries will serve great as a micro source at breakfast. Now you have hit the categories for a well-rounded meal. Do this same process for the other two meals.
How do I prepare snacks? Snacks are different than your main meals and should be treated as such. Snacks can be chosen to contribute to just one of the macros/or micros and can be chosen to ensure you reach your nutritional goals for the day. If you need more carbs in your day, choose snacks that have adequate amounts of carbs, likewise for other nutrients. I strongly suggest to plan out your snacks at the same time as planning your meals for the week. This is because often times snacks can consist of highly processed foods such as granola bars and sweets. Planning your snacks at the same time will help you reach your caloric goal for the day.
Now you have your plan for the week! It’s time to go to the store and prepare your meals. I like to use a scale to measure my ingredients to ensure consistency, especially when I am tracking calories. You can prepare multiple meals at the same time (I really like to do this) and store them individually in the fridge/freezer to last the whole week to save some time. If you are tracking your calories, be sure to do so throughout the day and make any adjustments as necessary.
I have prepared my meals, now what? It’s time to stick to your plan! This is the hard part, everything else was easy. Remember your goal and why you started, and remember this: Will eating poorly get you closer to your goal or make you feel better? Probably not. Ask yourself that question when faced with decisions of wanting to get off track from your plan. Stick to your plan and get the results you deserve.
Always contact a medical professional when needed.
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