You clicked, I baited. Sorry guys, this headline is a total click bait and what you’re about to read about fast weight loss might not be the truth you want to hear, but probably somewhere already kinda know. In this post we will talk about how to actually lose weight fast (and sustainable), how out body uses energy, and put an end to fad diets.
Fitspo, gym bros, and eating disorders.
If the fitspo culture has thought us anything about weight loss is that we’re willing to do anything besides working out and eating healthy. Fat burners, keto diets, calorie restriction, and juice cleanses are just a few examples of this. The fact that our favorite gym bros on Instagram are promoting these diets is not making it any better. Maintaining a healthy weight is important and there is nothing wrong with wanting to shred a few pounds (as long as it’s within a healthy range for you). It becomes a problem when social media profiles (who first of all lives in a bikini-fitness prep all year around) starts giving unrealistic advice to the everyday public on how to achieve these goals. Not to mention how normalized it is for young people do have full blown eating disorders and getting praised for it!?
The different ways your body burns calories.
Before we start talking about the right approach to sustainable weigh loss we have to understand how our body burns calories. When we talk about energy expenditure we tend to lump them into four categories.
Your BMR, or basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy you exceed by literally living. You can lay in bed all day, binge watch Netflix and your body would simply just burn these calories. By breathing, keeping our heart beating, and thinking. Clutch or what? What most of us don’t realize is that 70%, aka the majority of our daily energy expenditure comes from our BMR. How much you burn is completely individual. Factors such as age, sex, height, weight, and muscles mass will determine your. You can get a rough estimate by using a BMR calculator. Emphasize on rough estimates!
TEF, or thermic effect of food is the calories you burn while digesting the food you eat. Yes you heard me, you actually burn calories by eating food! Different types of food require more or less energy to digest where protein and fiber require slightly more calories than sugar and fat. TEF stands for around 10% of our daily energy expenditure. It’s like having your cake and eating it too. Almost.
NEAT – non exercise activity thermogenesis, or in simple English all the movements you do throughout the day which doesn’t include a “scheduled workout”. This includes literally every movement you do. From walking, to typing on your laptop, or doing the little pee dance when you need to pee but someone is occupying the bathroom. Pretty neat, huh? (major pun intended).
And last but not least we have exercise, which actually only accounts for around 5% of your daily energy. Like what!? This tells us that the line “you can’t out-train a bad diet” makes a lot of sense. I mean, maybe not if you’re a pro athlete and exercise like 4 hours daily. Those guys play in a different league! Your focus when exercising should be to build strength and to feel good. It should not be a tool to “burn off as many calories as possible”.
How to achieve sustainable weight loss.
Turtles don’t live until 150 years for nothing. Slow and steady wins the race and the same principle should be applied to weight loss. You have to approach your weight loss as a lifelong change. Yes, it’s cliche but it truly is a lifestyle and your focus should be on building sustainable habits. So let’s get into it. How do you do this?
Throw the scale away.
First things first, the scale does more harm than good. Your weight will fluctuate on a daily basis depending on if you had a saltier meal last night, if you’ve slept poorly, if you’re a female on your period, or if you have more muscle mass – just to name a few reasons. Daily scale check-ins will destroy you mentally and your focus should always be on how your clothes fit, body composition, getting stronger, and feeling amazeballs.
Weight loss vs fat loss.
Losing weight is easy. All you need to do is excessive cardio and cut your calories super low. The weight will drop for sure. Is it sustainable? No. Not at all, and you’re more likely to gain all the weight back – and more. Or you’ll develop an eating disorder which is even worse. Fat loss is the goal and the way to achieve this is by hitting up those heavy weights and staying in a slight, emphasis on slight calorie deficit. Resistance training should be your main focus and cardio just a tool (and also to keep your precious heart healthy). By increasing your muscle mass your BMR will also increase, meaning you can eat more food.
When dieting or trying to lose weight you need to consume less calories than you need. Slight calorie deficit is the key here and you want o aim for a 300-500 calorie deficit each day. Within your daily caloric intake you can literally eat whatever you want but it’s smart to think about the type of foods you eat to make your journey sustainable.
You want to eat as much as you possibly can within your calorie range. Remember, we are not starving ourselves here! The key is volume eating which means eating bigger volumes of foods low in calories. As you can see by the image below we want to want to eat more food for the same amount of calories. This will increase your satiety, make you feel fuller for longer, and actually not make you hate your life. Not to mention all the vitamins and nutrients you’ll get. Good foods for volume eating include: fruit and vegetables, lean protein, protein yogurts, diet sodas and candy (aspartame is not the devil, I promise), potatoes, and berries (to name a few).
Don’t eliminate food groups.
For the love of God, do not, I repeat, DO NOT restrict yourself! If you’re craving a brownie so bad you’re literally climbing the walls – eat a brownie. Eat it, enjoy it, and get on with your life. It’s better to have a piece of your craving rather than trying to “satisfy” your craving with a bunch of low calorie alternatives or a piece of fruit. You’ll just end up bingeing on a whole plate of brownies instead. Food is not only about calories in and calories out. It’s about pleasure, emotions, and social experiences.
Your mantra should be: “overtime”
What’s important to understand is that weight loss happens over time. It won’t happen in a week, or even a month. 1 kg fat is about 7,000 calories which means that you’re not going to lose it in one day. On the flip side it also mean that you won’t gain 1kg in one day either. So what if you go over your calories for a day, or two, or maybe even a week? It’s alright! As long as you get back on track again you will be fine.
It’s a lifestyle.
If yo didn’t get anything of value from this blog post I want you to leave with this one thing: It’s a lifestyle. You are working on creating the best version of yourself and create habits to keep for the rest of your life. If you’re currently following a fitness plan which you hate down to your core I want you to stop and ask yourself “is this sustainable? Can I do this for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, then maybe it’s time to have a proper think. And finally, please don’t compare yourself to the fitness models and gym bros you see on social media. A huge chunk of it is not even real (editing, Photoshop etc) and some of these people literally don’t do anything else than workout and eat super clean all year around. As a “normal” person with a 9-5 job this isn’t sustainable. Once again, you want to create a healthy, sustainable life. And yea by the way, you’re super cute and sexy. Good bye.