Weight loss. Is there a more common goal around the world? With 70% of the United States being overweight, and 30% of us now obese, it is also now an important health consideration. However, many of us fail to lose weight because we think it is a difficult, time-consuming and arduous process. But these beliefs are entirely untrue! Weight loss is actually very easy when approached correctly, and does not require much of a conscious effort on your part at all.
That being said, it’s best to follow certain guidelines, as whatever caused you to gain weight in the first place needs to be corrected. Sometimes this can be a little more complicated, depending on the individual. However, weight loss is still not nearly as difficult as most people make it out to be. So without further adieu, I’m going to show you just how easy weight loss can be, and how to effortlessly break through those bad habits!
1. Take Stock Of Where You Are
As in any situation where changes are required, you need to first write down the things you are doing right, and the things you may be doing wrong. Often times we simply have a hard time accepting that we’re not doing everything right, or that we have areas which we can improve upon.
But this is where true change and growth occur! Those who succeed in almost any aspect of life do not usually immediately succeed. As the saying goes, “the person at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” The first step toward any kind of improvement is a honest analysis of where you currently are.
In the case of weight loss, this means writing down some common questions, as well as their answers. These might be:
- Am I getting enough sleep?
- Am I eating enough vegetables?
- Am I exercising enough?
- Am I indulging in too many sweets?
- Or other relevant questions.
Sometimes we are not aware of all that we are doing wrong, and truly need to write it down to see it. This works in other areas of life too, like when a project veers off course, or with relationship issues.
2. Do You Already Have The Answer?
What I’ve found from working with such a large number of clients over the years, is that oftentimes they already know the answers to their problems. But most never find the time to really confront them. Make time to do an honest self-analysis, and you will find that you may be staring at your “secret” to weight loss already. If you’re only sleeping 4 hours per night, a good place to start is by getting more sleep.
Or maybe you’ve been eating too many Paleo treats. That is another good place to start, regarding weight loss. A structured meal plan (try our 21-Day Paleo Meal Plan, it’s free) is a great place to start but that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have no idea if you’re eating enough protein, it is a good idea to seek out the help of a professional. Once you have a baseline established, it becomes a lot easier to make small adjustments.
3. Start Tracking Your Progress
That’s right, write things down! This is another no-cost way to discover the root of your problem(s). We often put on rose-colored glasses when looking back at our own dietary choices (if we even look back at them at all). And I am guilty of this one, too! I used to be very hesitant to really remember all the fast food I used to eat or alcohol I drank on a Friday night. But once you get over this initial hesitation, you will look at things in the cold, harsh light of day. And while at first, the truth can hurt, it will also help you to improve your progress.
4. Calculate How Many Calories You Need To Eat
Yes, calories aren’t all that matter, but they do eventually give us a good place to work from. By using the Harris Benedict equation, we can find out (roughly) how many calories we should be consuming, on a regular basis. One of the best things about this formula is that it takes into account how active you are, and what adjustments need to be made (calorie wise) from there.
Once this is calculated, you can eat about 200 calories less than maintenance, and you will easily start to shed the extra weight! If you want to lose weight more rapidly (but risk losing a bit of muscle with the fat) you can go to 500 calories below your maintenance level, but don’t go beyond that. Drastic caloric cuts can actually throw your body into a metabolic crisis, making it harder to lose weight — exactly the opposite of what we want here.
5. Start Exercising A Little More
Everyone’s favorite! This one is really simple to implement, though, and you will hardly notice. Do you use your car to get everywhere these days? Take one of those shorter trips, and walk to your destination instead. Are you skipping the gym more than you ought to? Structure a workout plan, and follow it! Just like you did with your initial questions, this step can help you think logically, progressively and linearly about your health and fitness. Once you’re thinking positively, it’s much easier to keep the ball rolling the right way.
And if all else fails to motivate you in this area, join a group exercise class! Watching others, or making exercise more fun and social, will keep you coming back for more, and make you more likely to continue the habit. And if you paid attention to the Harris Benedict equation we used above, you noticed that the more you exercise, the more you get to eat, while still losing weight!
6. Get A Standing Desk
This works synergistically with our recommendation above, as standing more, throughout the day, is going to keep you healthier in a variety of ways. This is a very easy way to burn more calories, leading to more weight loss over time. In fact, the term “effortless weight loss” is bandied about way too frequently, but this step is one of the closest ways to achieving this “unicorn” of a goal.
7. Tell A Friend
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: how is this going to help me? But in truth, having a friend to talk about your goal with will make you more accountable and more likely to follow through on your promise. As weird as it sounds, we don’t hold ourselves as accountable as others might. This is also commonly known as “peer pressure” — but this time it’s being used in a good, healthy context.
8. Eat More Protein
Yes, another simple step! Most of us eat far too little protein, and just eating more protein can lead to more satiety (i.e., less overeating), more muscle and eventually — less fat! And the more muscle you’re carrying – the more you get to eat, and the more calories you will burn. That’s a “win-win-win” scenario!
9. Sleep More
Many do not realize that they are sleeping too little, and many of us also do not realize that eventually this leads to a nice (or not so nice) accumulation of fat. Sleep is one of the best things you can do when it comes to weight loss or muscle growth. It is sort of an overlooked and underutilized fat loss tool in everyone’s arsenal. Remember: 8-9 hours of sleep per night is ideal, and make sure you are blacking out your bedroom and avoiding blue light immediately prior to bed.
I bet you thought it was going to be more difficult than this, didn’t you? The truth is, a few small changes can result in fairly rapid weight loss. And this is the healthy way to do it! Do not fall for those “quick detoxes” you see in magazines — they will end up doing more harm than good in the long run!
Your path to long-term health is really a simple math equation: exercise + sleep + good nutrition = success! Do not veer off this path and fall for gimmicks, tricks or other “fixes.” I hope I’ve been of some help today, and remember to share this advice with your friends (they can lose weight easily, too!) if you liked this article.