There is only one way to lose weight, and that is to be in calorie deficit. Simply, one has to eat fewer calories than they have burned throughout the day (if you want a more in depth explanation of calorie deficit click here). However, attaining and remaining in calorie deficit comes with many struggles that test a person’s will power and strength.
Being in a state of mild hunger or discomfort is not uncommon for one who is in calorie deficit, especially when they are just beginning their weight loss journey. The first few weeks are filled with challenge, doubt, and test a person’s will power and determination until their habits become more solidified and they get into a routine of calorie deficit.
Eating less, exercising more, or a combination of both can, and will be difficult.
Despite the inevitable struggles, there are certain things that you can do to ease the growing pains. I have developed this article to introduce you to what I believe are the best tips and tricks that will help you stick to your plan, and give you a higher chance of achieving your goals. Weight loss can be difficult, but these tips will help to support and reinforce your movement towards a healthier lifestyle.
1. Eat Foods that are High in Protein
You’ve probably heard at some point in your life that you should make sure to eat your protein. Whether this advice came from a parent, family member, or someone with a background in nutrition, it has been widely accepted that eating protein equates to having a better diet, but why is this true?
Foods that are high in protein are generally more filling and contain fewer calories compared to other foods that are higher in carbs or fats. High protein meals are more satisfying, allow you to avoid hunger, and also energize your body to function throughout the day.
The daily recommended amount of protein varies for each person, but the general rule of thumb is an active adult should be eating 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram they weigh (0.36 grams per pound). The more active you are, the more protein you are recommended to eat throughout the day, but beware that eating 2 grams of protein or more per kilogram of weight has been shown to have adverse effects on health.
2. Resist the Evil Temptations of Snacking
Snacking. A habit that has the capacity to dismantle even the strongest of diet plan. Most people think of snacking as harmless, as if the calories they eat then are not accounted for. Contrary to this belief, they do in fact count just the same as any other calorie ingested throughout the day.
Often times snacking is small, and an average snack can range anywhere between 50-200 calories; but if one snacks 2,3 or even 4 or more times a day, these calories can add up fast. This extra caloric intake has the potential to add up to an entire meal if you are not careful!
Some people snack out of habit, stress, or even just boredom. Whatever the reason, it is essential to cut down on snacking to remain in calorie deficit.
3. Reduce Liquid Calories Intake
Liquid calories are extremely sneaky, dangerous, and similar to snacking, can demolish a diet without someone knowing why. Calories in drinks are “hidden” and most people don’t even consider them while accounting for their total caloric intake.
It is a good idea to be aware of any other liquids that you drink throughout the day (other than water) to make sure you don’t let these liquid calories build up. Also, make sure that you measure out how much you are drinking in order to accurately track how many calories you are drinking.
You can build whatever drinks you want into your diet, as long as they are accounted for, and you don’t enter into calorie surplus. I recommend switching higher calorie drinks for lower calorie food or drink. For example, instead of drinking orange juice, eat an orange instead. Or instead of getting a Double Chocolatey Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks (which is 610 calories!), have black coffee (much lower in calories ~5).
I urge you to, whatever you do, please drink responsibly and don’t allow “hidden” liquid calories to ruin your calorie deficit.
4. Drink Water, and LOTS of it
Water. The majority of our bodies are made up of it. So it should not be a surprise that we need to drink lots of it throughout the day, and not just when you’re thirsty!
Staying hydrated is key to getting things done throughout the day. It keeps your skin clear, mouth moist, and energy up. There are endless health benefits to drinking water, and a habit of drinking ample amounts of water is essential for any health lifestyle.
As it pertains to weight loss, drinking water can help you curve hunger. Drink water before, during, and directly after eating to help stay full. Drinking even just a cup of water before a meal will help you feel more satisfied with your meal and avoid eating more than necessary. Drinking water during and after a meal will help you clear your pallet so you are not tempted to eat more.
If you think that you are hungry during any other time throughout the day, drink a cup of water before you eat anything. Most of the time you will discover that you are not hungry after this. Drinking water will help you eat less during the day and keep you satisfied with the foods that will keep you in calorie deficit.
5. Don’t Eat Less, Eat Different
Weight loss is an art, and it is one that anyone can find success in, but the most creative are the ones that are able to enjoy their time. Anyone can simply cut food from their diet, and it might be difficult, but they are willing to do so because they are stuck in the mental set that you need to eat less to see results.
This is not necessary false, but there are other, more enjoyable, approaches to dieting and losing weight.
Instead of cutting food from your diet, it may be worth choosing alternative foods that are lower in calories. This tactic is most effective when it is used to replace foods that are high in carbs or fats.
A prime example, and one of my personal favorite alternatives, is to replace a hamburger bun with lettuce. In doing this, you do not have to sacrifice the contents of the burger while at the same time avoiding unnecessary carbs and calories.
By eating lower calorie foods, most of the time you will be able to eat then in a greater quantity, which will also keep you full and energized for longer. A good place to start is to look to incorporate vegetables in meals because they are generally low in calories.
There are endless ways to cut unnecessary calories from your diet, even if it is as simple as lower calorie brands of the same food. This is truly a way to show your colors, and use your own creativity to make your diet personalized and enjoyable.
6. Eat Slowly
Slow down! Have you ever heard someone ask another, “you ate that so fast did you even taste it?!” Chances are they did not.
When we are hungry, we devour our food, like an animal that has not eaten in days. In reality, this hunger is just part of the growing pains of weight loss.
It is two separate battles, first learning how to space out your meals, and then controlling yourself to eat responsibly during these meals. The hardest feat, however, is to win both of these battles simultaneously.
Your body takes time to process food, which is why you don’t feel full immediately after you eat. When you scarf down your food, you may still feel hungry and eat more that you don’t need to, but if you slow down to enjoy and process your meals, you are less likely to eat unnecessary foods.
7. Brush Your Teeth After Eating
This is not always an accessible strategy, especially during the day when most people don’t have their toothbrush with them, but it can be highly effective when implemented. It may seem odd at first, but there are two aspects that can greatly reduce a person’s urge to eat more than necessary.
Primarily, when you brush your teeth after eating, you clean your mouth of the excess food that remains, and you also replace the taste of food that lingered from your last meal. Simply by removing this taste from your mouth, you reduce the desire to go back and eat more food.
Not only do you remove the lingering taste of food in your mouth, but you replace it with the new taste of your toothpaste and mouthwash. This new taste is most likely not compatible with the old taste of the food you were just eating. For instance, have you ever eaten a mango or an orange directly after brushing your teeth? If you haven’t, please don’t. It’s disgusting. This is the principle that is behind this strategy, and it will reduce your desire to eat more than necessary to avoid calorie surplus.
8. Don’t Focus too Much on Current Weight
People have the natural tendency to obsess about their current status, whether that is socially, economically, or physically. However, this can be counter-intuitive.
Weight fluctuates constantly, and it has nothing to do with losing or gaining weight. There are many factors that would cause one to be a few pounds heavier or lighter at any given time, like eating more or less food than normal, or drinking a lot of water (which is a good thing!). It is important to remember that this weight is not indicative of fat gain, so long as you are not in calorie surplus.
One must also take into account that weight loss is not immediate. You will not lose weight the instant you are 3,500 calories in deficit. This is another reason why weight is not indicative of your progress, because you can be the same weight for a few weeks and then one day lose a few pounds. This is not due to the fact that you did anything astronomical that day, but because your weeks of hard work have finally caught up.
Take it Slow and Trust your diet
There is a lot of information that I have presented to you in a short period; it is unreasonable for anyone to enact all of these tips into their life right away. These are minor habitual changes, but when all combined together, equate to a larger lifestyle change, and this takes time.
The most reasonable thing to do with this information is to pick one strategy that you feel personally attracted to, and start doing it today. Build this into your daily routine, and once it is part of your lifestyle pick another strategy and do the same.
The main theme behind each of the tips I described are to help you stick to your weight loss plan. As long as you have crafted a meal plan that gives you energy throughout the day and keeps you in calorie deficit, all you need to do is avoid deviating from that plan. Do not let your emotions, hunger, or other outside factors sabotage the hard work you are putting in.
I hope you have found value in these tips, and they help you to further your success on your weight loss journey. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns comment then below or send me an email I would love to hear from you. Also, comments any other tips or tricks you use for dieting, I’m sure someone else that reads this can find value in it!
I wish you well on your endeavors,