5 Easy Steps to Weight Loss
Step 1 – Determine How Many Calories You Really Need
When it comes to weight loss, a calorie deficit is necessary. If you’re not sure how many calories you actually need it can be difficult to understand if you’re eating fewer calories needed for weight loss or eating too many to result in weight maintenance. Determine your calorie needs by using the standard Mifflin equation.
If you’re a man use the following equation, (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) – (5 x a) + 5 and for woman, (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) – (5 x a) – 161. Where w = weight in kilos, h = height in cm and a = your age in years. This will give you the amount of calories you need to just live, also known as your resting metabolic rate.
Multiply this number by an activity factor where 1.2 is little to no exercise, 1.4 for those who are active or light exercisers, 1.5 for those who are moderate exercisers, about 3 to 5 days per week, 1.7 if you are exercising hard in the gym up to 6 days per week. This will give you an idea of the amount of calories you should ideally be getting each day.
Step 2 – Eat Consistently
Most people think eating less means they need to take it to extremes buy limiting their eating, or abstaining from eating for extended periods, but this method rarely works. For one, when you don’t eat for hours, your blood sugar levels will crash, when this happens, cravings and appetite can become insatiable, resulting in binge eating to overcompensate for the lack of food.
Instead of abstaining from eating, eat more frequently. Eating every 3 hours will help keep your blood glucose levels balanced, ensuring hunger and cravings remain in-check.
Aim to eat about 5 meals per day of roughly the same calorie levels. Eat within 30 minutes of getting up in the morning to kick-start your metabolism, and then eat every 2 to 3 hours after that.
Step 3 – Eat Less Carbs and More Protein
Both macronutrients are essential to a healthy diet plan, but it’s the ratio of these two nutrients that can ultimately result in not only faster weight loss but will change the way you look too. Eating a high protein diet that is lower in carbs has been shown to result in quicker weight loss, and also a better body composition – more lean muscle and less body fat. In addition, those who follow higher protein diets have less hunger, lower cholesterol levels, and feel more energetic than those who follow higher carb diets of the same caloric level.
Eat a diet that is about 40% protein and 30% carbs. High quality protein sources should include lean red meat, poultry, whole eggs and low fat dairy. As for carbs, keep them to high fiber, low glycemic options such as vegetables, fruit, beans, legumes and whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal.
Step 4 – Don’t Forget About Fat
At one time, fat was thought to be the bad guy when it came to weight loss diets, but fat doesn’t make you fat! Fat is an essential nutrient to any diet plan, fat plays roles in hormone balance, and has been shown to be a thermogenic nutrient. Which means it raises your body’s metabolic rate.
A healthy diet should consist of about 30% of your calories from fat, from healthy fats including poly and monounsaturated sources. These fats can be found in fatty fish like salmon, and also in avocadoes, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, whole eggs, nuts, and dairy.
Step 5 – Make it a Lifestyle
Permanent weight loss isn’t about following a ‘diet’ for just a few weeks; it’s about staying the course for life. Consistently eating fresh, natural, whole foods, and abstaining from processed foods high in calories, sugar and unhealthy fats will ensure your weight remains stable, and you remain healthy for the long run. If you’re not sure how to get started toward losing weight and a healthy lifestyle, use a meal planning service to make sure you get the right calories and the right macronutrients. Kcal Extra does just that, sign-up for our meal planning service and we will cook, prepare, portion and delivery all your personalized meal plan directly to your door! Click here to find out how Kcal Extra can help you get started today.Written by Lauren Jacobsen, Nutrition Director