By consuming fewer calories than you burn you create a calorie or energy deficit. A calorie is a unit of energy. Calories allow our bodies to function even while they are at rest. The total number of calories you burn each day is known as TDEE: total daily energy expenditure. This is anything from breathing to digestion to movement and exercise. In order to calculate the total amount of calories your body needs to function while at rest you must work out your RMR (resting metabolic rate) https://www.omnicalculator.com/health/rmr
Many people consume MORE calories than they need to function each day. If this is repeatedly and consistently the case, as time goes on, this energy is stored in the body as fat. In order to lose weight, it is vital to create a calorie deficit. i.e. consume less energy than you use (eat less food and more exercise). While this seems a very simple concept to grasp, putting it into practice can prove quite difficult. Research suggests that to lose just a pound of fat you need to create a calorie deficit of 3500. This seems like a huge number at a first glance, but when you break it down daily (500 calorie deficit per day) it becomes a lot more manageable.
This is not an impossible task and does not require any quick fix, or trend or completely ridiculous diet. It simply requires you to be a little more mindful. Here are some really easy tips to create your calorie deficit in a healthy, balance manner:
- Keep moving
This seems obvious. The more you move, the more energy you will burn. Remember, while regular exercise is hugely important here. This also includes all forms of movement. So take into account that the more you stand and walk around throughout the day (particularly if you are working at a desk), the more calories you will burn. Try standing up and walking around every hour for a few minutes. Make sure you get yourself outside on your lunch break and increase your daily steps by walking up the stairs or parking further away from the supermarket allowing you to walk a little further.
2. Eat less food
Another no brainer… The easiest way to cut back on your calories is to manage your portion size, eat a balanced and healthy diet, full of green leafy vegetables, fruit and wholegrains and of course, control your snacking. More often than not we pile our plates and end up eating way past the point of satisfaction and more towards feeling sick and full. By making your plate size smaller, you are less likely to feel the need to over-indulge and instead you will be able to consume exactly what you need rather than going above and beyond. We should be aiming to fill half our plate with vegetables, and the other two quarters with protein and carbohydrates. Planning your meals is another essential factor for successful weight – loss. By giving yourself a plan you curb the last minute take away order when there’s nothing in the fridge. Not only that is saves calories, time and money. Meal planning can be a lot easier than you thing. Have a read of this step by step guide to making meal planning simple https://organisemyhouse.com/meal-planning-made-easy/
3. Combine the two
Your best bet and by far the most effective way to lose weight safely is to balance both diet and exercise. For example, by consuming 250 calories fewer per day, combined with a brisk 60 minute walk or exercise session burning 250 calories you have easily created a 500 calorie deficit. Do this daily and you will notice huge improvements.
4. Tracking what you eat
Tracking what you eat is a very handy tool for weight-loss. As you get used to tracking your intake you will get a better idea of what you are getting from the food you put into your body, i.e. the amount of protein, carbs, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals. This becomes a lot easier with practice. My Fitness Pal have a really easy app to help you do this. Everything is calculated for you once you enter your data and all you need to do is track what you consume. It is important to remember not to get to tied up with this. Tracking what you consume (even if not perfectly) is hugely effective and essential for weight loss.
5. Hydration is key
This is one of the easiest things in my mind to get to grips with. The more you drink, the more liquid you consume, the less room for calories. So often we dive towards the fridge for a snack without giving it a second thought. Take a moment, consume some water – so often we are actually just thirsty. Have a read of this blog from My Fitness Pal ‘4 ways water helps with weight – loss’ for a better insight https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/4-ways-water-helps-weight-loss/
It is all well and good to say ‘move more, eat less’, but putting it into practice can be tough. Have a read of these tips to make it a little easier:
- Master food swaps. This is a really effective tool for saving calories. Something as simple as swapping spaghetti for zucchini can save you a huge amount of calories while still packed with flavor. Eat this, not that have some really helpful ideas, have a read! https://www.eatthis.com/ways-to-cut-calories/
- Remove temptation. It’s simple… don’t buy it! And if you absolutely have to buy it, keep it hidden or out of immediate reach.
- Quit the late night snacking. There is just something about that last biscuit before bed! But late night munchies usually involve mindless eating and snacking simply because it is there. This can be a recipe for a weight gain disaster. Try and stop eating after your dinner, this allows your stomach to digest easily before bed. If you are still getting cravings try sipping on a herbal tea, I love a peppermint to help digest my meal.
- Ditch the scales. If we are constantly glued to the scales, we are quite literally doomed. Weighing yourself excessively is NOT always an effective tool for measuring weight loss. With water retention, bathroom habits, muscle development (muscle weighs more than fat!), hydration and other fluctuations, the scales are not necessarily a good indication of weight loss. There is far more to good health than a number on the scale, so do not let this define you. Instead focus on how you feel in your clothes and in yourself in general. Taking progress pictures and measurements are also really helpful tools.
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Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. Your weight-loss and then health weight sustainability will be full of bumps in the road. We all fall off the wagon sometimes, but it is important to NOT beat yourself up. Understanding what happened, where you slipped up, adjusting and getting back on track is the key to success.