Last Updated on
This is one of the most common questions people ask when it comes to fitness: How can I lose weight… safely. Ok, we added the ‘safely’ part, but it should be part of your approach.
The first question you should be, ‘Do I need to lose weight?’ And then, ‘How serious am I at sticking to a new regime?’
Let’s look at the first point:
For a start, there is a big difference to ‘need’ and ‘want’. So let’s delve deeper into the possible reasons of each…
Need: the only real reason someone would need to lose weight is for health issues. Perhaps you have been diagnosed as clinically obese, or close to it. That is usually based on a few factors, but the main one being a high BMI, or Body Mass Index.
With this, but not always, comes the risk of developing high blood pressure, high blood sugar, diabetes, heart conditions and high cholesterol. Many, if not all of these conditions can be avoided through maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Want: many of us want to lose weight; to fit into that dress, to go back to a previous size or look, or even to look like an instagram or tv personality. Even if you are not necessarily overweight, you may just feel like you could look better than you do currently.
There is nothing wrong with just ‘wanting’ to lose weight, but you have to really want to, or there is more chance you won’t achieve your goal, and even if you do, it’s harder to maintain, especially if you see it as a diet, rather than a new lifestyle.
I hear so many people that have lost lots of weight in a relatively short time period, but then as soon as they stop dieting they put on more weir than they lost.
This is the key to any weight loss program. You have to be committed to truly achieve your goal. While I use the word ‘goal’, don’t think that this is a fixed-term thing. Though you can lose weight for a specific occasion or timescale, the best results will come with persistence.
Keep in mind that the most weight loss will come at the beginning or your journey, and it will then slow down. This is another time when people tend to give up, but stick with it.
As we are talking about a ‘diet’, more a healthy lifestyle, we don’t want to suddenly cut out everything you like and expect to maintain it. What I would strongly recommend is to make substitutes, swapping what you normally eat with the healthier alternative.
There are so many workout programs and fad diets out there that promise to help you lose weight, but, like we’ve just spoken about, diets don’t work, not really.
All you really need is to have a calorie deficit.
Everything you eat supplies your body with certain amounts of energy, and this energy is defined as calories. There is a certain amount of calories a person is required to consume just to go about their everyday life. Most of us take on more calories than we actually need, or a calorie surplus.
Generally speaking, a woman burns around 1800-2000 calories a day, while a man burns around 2000-2500 calories. If you consume the same amount of calories that you burn you will maintain your weight.
Consume more than this – you will gain weight – Calorie Surplus
Consume less than this – you will lose weight – Calorie Deficit.
If you exercise, you burn calories. The more you exercise, or the harder you work, the more calories you will burn.
So, if every day you consumed your daily calorie requirement and exercised, chances are you’ll lose weight, as you will enter into a calorie deficit.
Or, if you consumed fewer calories than your daily requirement, you would lose weight, again, calorie deficit.
Do a combination of the two, regularly, giving you a greater calorie deficit, you will lose more weight.
Don’t forget though, the more exercise you do, the more energy your body will need, so you may find you have to eat a few more calories just to have enough energy to get through that workout. But this does not mean you want to treat yourself with ‘bad’ foods – stick with your healthy eating plan, but maybe increase your carbs and protein before and/or after your session.
Take a look at the NHS (UK) website for more on How to Lose Weight.