How to Lose weight naturally and keep it off
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If you are reading this chances are you may have struggled with keeping your weight under control at some point in your life. It is something that can be extremely difficult for most us. Especially, with how accessible unhealthy food is today. There are a-lot more unhealthy choices floating around out there, than there are healthy ones.
I have tried different approaches throughout my life and I have found that going back to the basics and keeping simple yet effective strategies in place is what works.
Success really just boils down to the question of : Are you willing to put in the work and take on the challenges that arise on this type of journey?
If your answer is a definitive yes, then you can use these principles and just apply some patience. It’s all about self-discipline and consistency. The following are some effective strategies that have worked for me.
Understand That It’s A Lifestyle
Becoming a healthier version of yourself is going to require a paradigm shift. If you are going into this because your doctor says you need to drop some pounds, or you have a trip coming up, or you want to fit into jeans, then I am sorry to break it to you, but that is not going to sustain you over time.
Losing “some weight” is just scratching the surface of what this lifestyle can bring you. If you really identify your WHY, and are able to zero in as to why making these habitual changes are important to you, then you are onto something.
A strong purpose is necessary to keep at the forefront of your mind everyday. This acts as a reminder when moments of difficulty arise, and they will arise. The transformation takes place over time. A long time. This is something that you have to come to terms with.
This journey, will require your effort for the rest of your life. The real benefits of health and wellness is not found on a 6 month journey to weight loss. It is found in a lifetime of effort and self-discipline. Enjoy the process and the self discovery that comes along with your journey. Now that we have covered that, let’s jump in to the good stuff.
This is the first place I would suggest to start making some changes. Most people would say that the first place you should start is your diet, but I disagree. There is plenty of research available which suggests, that sleep has a direct correlation with your overall health and hormonal responses. In order for the human body to properly deal with stress response and the hormonal effects that stress can cause upon the body, we need plenty of sleep.
If you stop for a second and think to yourself that you can properly get by without adequate sleep, then you are only hurting yourself. Look at your routine and see what type of habitual changes you can make. Start prioritizing your sleep. Something that has helped my wife and I, is a quality sleep mask to block out light. Your body will need solid sleep in order to properly recover throughout your journey.
I have tried quite a few different diet fads and different approaches towards weight loss goals. I have come to find that the only real way to drop body fat is to create a caloric deficit. So what does this mean? You essentially want to consume less calories than what you are burning on a daily basis. To go further into detail, you can create your macronutrient calculations using the help of this Energy Expenditure Calculator. Using this calculator will help you create a benchmark and give you numbers to start working with.
The best way to create that deficit, is through consistent exercise. Picture a large bucket that is filled with water. The bucket represents your body and the water in the bucket, represents your body fat. By creating a small caloric deficit, you are drilling a small hole into the bucket to allow the water (body fat) to slowly seep through.
Over time, your bucket (body) will less water (body fat) in it. Once you reach your desired weight, you can now increase your calories to maintain your weight. This is like patching up the hole in your bucket and holding the rest of the water that is in there and keeping it there.
Hydration is absolutely vital. I carry a large water bottle with me all day and my kids carry their own kids bottle. This helps us stay accountable for our water intake.
We have all heard that 60% of the human body is composed of water. That means, that water is a highly valuable variable in our overall physical health and performance. Water is necessary to push oxygen through our bodies, eliminate waste through our urine, regulate body temperature, and helps form key hormones within the body.
Fun Fact: The brain and the heart alone are comprised of 73% water! 🤯
When you are in a caloric deficit, you are burning more energy than you are consuming. This basically translates into – you are under eating. In order to make this process easier on the human body, you want to ensure yourself that you are properly hydrating the body.
Water should become a staple in your daily routine. You will most likely be running to the bathroom frequently, but this is a good sign you are properly flushing your body with good, clean, refreshing water!
” Where the Mind goes, the Body will Follow. “— Arnold Schwarzenegger
The American Heart Association recommends at least 2.5 hours of weekly exercise for overall cardiovascular health. When you break that down over a 5-6 day exercise schedule, you are averaging about 30 minutes a day when you do it 5 days out of your week. I personally, strive to stay active at least 6 days a week. Even if it is just a short walk. Overall, I move 6 days a week minimum. It is important for you to understand that I did not start off like this. I slowly worked towards that. Start slow. I went into exercising to drop weight, like most of us do. My perspective on the importance of fitness and mental health shifted, as I continued my journey with consistency.
I have learned over time, that the physical results is just a by product of the effort. The real results, are cultivated within the mind. Today, I keep at it for the mental health more than anything. It has become therapeutic for me. If you can stick with it consistently for a long enough time, that is where the results start to reveal themselves. If you are not happy with the results, then you need to put forth more effort.
Track your Calories
The times that I have put myself into a caloric deficit to cut body fat, I have always tracked my calories. This is just me. My family would see me measuring and weighing my nutrition and they thought I was nuts. So, if this is not something you see yourself doing, then of course do you. I did it and I recommend to do it. The way I saw it was, if you are trying to cut body fat, you need to put yourself into some kind of caloric deficit. How will you know if you are in a deficit or not if you are not looking at this angle at all? You end up spinning wheels. Caloric deficits are not fun. You want to get in, and get out.
Unless you are going to do a crash diet and eat salads all day long, then I would look into using a tool like MyFitnessPal. It’s free to download and has an enormous data base of nutrition facts to accurately track your calories. You don’t have to do this forever. Once you start to learn the nutritional value of the foods you are taking in daily, you can ease off. On the path of improving your nutrition, you will start to learn what foods fit you best and what their nutritional value is. Once you get this down, then you can just eyeball your caloric intake. But first, you need to learn it and you need data to work with, not just numbers from the air.
This journey is about creating a realistic healthy approach that delivers results. You don’t want to starve yourself, you just want to put the body into a deficit, to the point where body fat slowly starts to drop. In order to do this properly, I had to track for a while until I got the hang of it.
Combine Strength Training & Cardiovascular Training
Before engaging into any physical exercise program, you should always consult with your doctor to find the best approach. Not everyone can workout, but everyone can move. A great strategy to combat limited movement is to hit the pool and in addition to the pool, start with small distance goals for walking. The goal here is to increase your distance over time. If you have access to a pool, this is a great option to minimize impact on your joints and still work the entire body.
There is a plethora of home exercise equipment and training programs out there that you can do at home. I would spend very little time in trying to pick a routine. Find one that is reasonable to start with and just start. The most important take away when it comes to exercise is to focus on getting your body moving to improve mobility and strength over time.
What worked best for me, is combining a strength training program and cardiovascular training. A training program is something you want to switch up every once in a while. You don’t want your body to get too efficient at what it is you are doing, because then you plateau.
You want to keep your body in training mode. You achieve this by constantly challenging your weaknesses and strengths. Your body will reveal what weaknesses it has by the difficulty it takes for you to complete certain movements. For example: Maybe you work out legs and this feels like nothing for you, but then you move to working out your abdominal muscles and it feels like you are pulling teeth to complete a repetition. This is a flag that signals you need more work on this area.
Each program can vary with different exercise movements. This is why, you want to switch things up often enough. Different movements, target different muscle fibers, thus giving you an overall balanced physical strength. A good place to start, would be to rotate one day strength training, the next day cardiovascular training. Keep that pattern going. Just switch up the actual exercises that you are performing every 4-6 weeks.
Fasting has changed my life. It’s not for everyone. I found that it was valuable to me and my daily schedule. I do want to stress, do not start jumping into something like fasting, without consulting with your doctor. However, I do recommend to dedicate some time into researching it and learning about it.
I started experimenting with Intermittent Fasting 8-9 years ago. I started with a fasting window of 12 hours and slowly increased with time. It wasn’t too bad. Basically, you are skipping breakfast and eating around lunchtime depending on what time you go to bed.
The hours that you are asleep are counted within your fasting window. So, if you sleep 8 hours a night, that’s half your fasting window right there. That’s if – you are doing the 16 & 8 approach (16 hours fasting, 8 hour eating window). Over time, I slowly increased to a 20 hour fasting window and today I hover around 16 hours fasted. From my experience alone, fasting has helped me eliminate unnecessary caloric intake throughout the day and stay alert.
Stay Away From “Cheat Days”
The point of all these effective tips is to cut body fat and drop to a healthy weight. It’s about results. If you are going to put yourself into a caloric deficit and take on these strategies, then you can’t throw away all of your hard work in one reckless day. You will quickly realize that this process is not an easy walk in the park. It is challenging. This takes sacrifice and requires will power and self discipline. The more you practice, the better you will get.
Again, if you want to really drop body fat, then you need to keep yourself in the fire. The caloric deficit should stay present throughout this process in order for you to reach your goal. There will be days where you just want to throw in the towel and eat whatever you want. This is natural. Avoid these moments by reminding yourself that this is only temporary.
The goal is to bring yourself down to a healthy weight. This process will test you. Any mistakes that you make, just brush them off and get back on track. Don’t let one day — turn into one week. When you veer (and you will veer) learn to quickly bring yourself back to path. Do NOT beat yourself up. Just keep going.
Track your Progress
A key piece in keeping you engaged, is to monitor your work. You are putting in a great amount of effort to accomplish this goal that you have set for yourself. Therefore, you should be tracking your progress and holding yourself accountable. My personal favorite way to track my progress, was the way my clothes fit and pictures. I also used the scale just to ensure that my weight was reducing at a healthy level, but I didn’t put too much energy into the scale. You’ll go crazy 🤪
The most effective way I found to gauge my success, was the way my clothes fit. This was a great indicator that my body was changing. The overall goal is the physical piece for most people starting out. However, looking back I would just let the physical changes come at their own pace. Focus more on the mental health benefits that are associated with fitness. I have learned first hand — Where the mind goes, the body follows.
If you want results, then you need to put in the work. There is no way around this. This change in your life will require you to stay consistent in both your nutritional decisions and your exercise decisions. If you don’t stay consistent over time, you will never achieve and see the results that you want.
This type of goal, requires you to do this day in and day out. Embrace the fact that you will be incorporating this and prioritizing this into your daily routine. If you are going to start off with 3 days a week of movement, whether that be walking, jogging, cycling, weight training, swimming, whatever you want. Then you need to make sure to consistently execute 3 days out of every single week.
The only way you are going to see what is working for you is to collect the data on what your approach is providing to you. If you become inconsistent with your approach, then you cannot properly make adjustments. You won’t know what has been working. Which leads right into the last one…
Last but not least — you must be patient. I cannot stress this enough. In order for you to achieve anything worth having in life you need to give it time. Time allows for you to experiment within your journey and really see what has worked and not worked. This requires your patience. If you are terrible with patience like I was, then this is the perfect setting to start working on your patience game.
I have learned throughout my years on this journey, that patience is something that is built over time. If you can pro actively stay aware enough, to learn when you experience the most impatient emotions and behaviors, you can then use that as a starting point. You start working on that mind muscle connection. This pays off later in life 😉
My intention here, is to share what I have learned over the years, and provide that value to you. There is too much unnecessary, complicated, information out there that confuse people on how to drop weight and bring themselves to a healthier state. I believe these to be very effective tips and strategies that I have learned over time. If you can apply them into your life, they can be just as valuable to you as they are for me.