If you’ve ever asked someone who has lost a lot of weight in the past how they did it, they will probably tell you they didn’t focus on losing the weight immediately, rather they just focused on losing a little bit of weight each week. This is good advice. Trying to lose 50 pounds all at once will make you feel like a failure because it simply can’t be done. You know that old saying, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?” Well that holds true for weight loss as well. So instead of asking yourself how to lose “52 pounds by next year,” start asking yourself “how you can lose one pound a week.” That will break that huge task into bite-sized chunks, and will help you succeed in the end.
Method 1: Adjusting Your Current Calorie Intake Using the 500 Rule
Perhaps the simplest way to decide how many calories you should eat per day is to measure how many calories you are currently eating, and then adjust that amount based on your goals. Using this method allows you to do two things:
- Start with a daily caloric intake close to what you are already used to eating
- Actually see the how the quality and type of foods you eat affect your weight gain or weight loss
In general, increasing or decreasing your daily intake by 500 calories will allow you to gain or lose about one pound per week. Now just think about that … All you have to do to lose weight is consume 500 calories less each day than you currently are! You can accomplish that by switching from regular Coke to Coke Zero and foregoing that Snicker’s bar during your 15 minute break at work! Of course some people don’t eat candy bars or drink soda, but there are other adjustments they can make as well, such as buying bread that’s low calorie and high fiber, reducing the amount of butter they use to cook with, and mixing their protein shakes with water instead of milk. Regardless, adjusting your diet in this way allows you to make tiny changes to your diet each week so that you can create a lifestyle that allows you to succeed long term.
Who should use this method?
- Someone who is just starting to learn about eating healthy and living an overall healthy lifestyle
- Someone who just eats whatever they want, whenever they want
- Someone who commits to making drastic changes and then fails to follow through
If any of these statements describe who you are (be honest with yourself!), then I would highly recommend you begin making changes in your diet by using this method first. There are, of course, more sophisticated ways of determining what your daily caloric intake should be, but that does not necessarily mean that they are better or will be more effective for you.
Your task …
For 7 – 10 days, live and eat as you normally would, only this time make sure to write it all down! Write down everything! Whatever you eat, when you eat it, when you exercise … everything! To be honest, when I first made a change and a commitment to living healthier each day completing this exercise was a challenge. Now it isn’t. I have grown in my abilities and you will too!
Writing everything down will allow you to discover not only how many calories you’re eating, but also the amount of protein, fat, carbs, sugars, and fiber you are eating each day. This macronutrient breakdown is important and for some of you, making the changes from what you currently eating to what I recommend will be enough to move your body in the right direction.
You may be surprised at the crap you choose to fuel your body with each day!
After the 10 days are completed …
Once you have a log of what you have eaten, you have a few more steps to complete …
- Reduce or increase your average daily caloric intake by 500 calories based on whether you want to gain or lose weight
- Start replacing bad foods with foods I reccommend
- Adjust the amount of foods you eat so that your daily macronutrient breakdown (the amount of protein, carbs, fat, and fiber) is in line with your current goals
- Master your meal timing and adjust your macronutrient breakdown for each meal of the day
- Check in with yourself each week and make sure that you are continuing to make progress
Mastering each of these steps could be a very quick process for some, and it could be a rather long process for others. The length of time it takes doesn’t matter. What is important continually improving your diet, food selection, and meal timing each week until it eventually becomes second nature. The real gains begin when you no longer have to think about what to eat and when you should eat it. Instead it’s just automatic. It took me several years (using the trial and error method, plus I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed!) to reach that point and now I know that I never have to worry about being fat again. If you don’t already know then let me tell you … IT IS AN AMAZING FEELING!
So now what?
Just do it! You can use the log here to keep track of your daily calorie intake. After you have completed the 10 days, come back and begin steps 1 and 2 from the list above!
Let other people know what works and what doesn’t. Please comment below and help everyone who reads this build a better body!