Setting up your own fat loss program. Starting weight loss or a diet can be hard. There are so many questions.
Where to start? What do I need to eat? And how many calories do I need? Some of you may go to a dietitian or another professional for this.
This is great and I provide these services myself, but I understand that not everyone can do this. Here are some tips and steps you can follow to set up your own fat loss program for free!
Want to know how you can still enjoy dessert and snacks in a healthy way, that still supports your fat loss? This is definitely something you should check out!
1. Start tracking your food intake
Every fat loss program needs a place to start, and that is to know how much you are actually taking in.
Tracking your food intake is the place to start, this is even before making your plan. You need to know what goes in before you can start.
There are two things you need for this a food scale and an app to track your intake. The app I I use myself and always advise using, is MyFitnesspal.
Do this for about a week to get an average idea of how much you take in. Don’t forget to track liquid calories, small bites and tastes, and alcohol as well.
These are often forgotten, but it can make a huge difference in total daily calorie intake. Be honest with yourself, this is the only way to do this.
Now you know your calories in, it is time to determine the number of calories out. Or the calories that you burn on a daily basis.
You might already have an idea of your calorie needs, if not don’t worry.
There are thousands of sites out there that will help you get a rough idea. You fill in all your statistics and you get an estimate.
Note that I said estimate. These sites are great, but they are built on averages and often only give your maintenance calories. So make sure you try the calorie number out first.
When weight goes up you need to decrease your calorie intake. But when your weight goes down you have to increase your intake. Try this out for a week to find your maintenance calories.
Your maintenance calories are the calories you need to stay the same. You won’t gain or lose any weight by consuming these.
It is important to know this number before you start with the next step.
2. Create a deficit to lose weight
The next step is to go from maintenance calories to a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit means that you consume fewer calories than you burn.
A calorie deficit is the most important thing when it comes to weight loss. This way you are not providing your body with enough energy (or calories) and it needs to get it from other sources.
This source will first be the glycogen (stored carbs in your muscle and liver) when these stores are empty it will go for your body fat. (1)
If your goal is fat loss you need to create a deficit. A deficit of 200-500 calories is optimal for results. To get this you need to subtract this from your maintenance.
It is important to understand why you don’t want to start off with a deficit of 500 calories. The amount of calories you burn on a daily basis depends on different factors, one of them being your weight.
Metabolism adaptation to weight loss
So when you lose fat your weight goes down, but so does the number of calories you burn. This is your metabolism adapting to your new situation, you are not ‘broken’ it is just a natural process.
As time goes on you won’t be in a deficit anymore, since your body has adapted to the lower calorie intake.
At this moment you want to create a larger deficit, do this in steps of 100-200 calories. So go from a deficit of 200 to 300.
If you already started with a deficit of 500 you can go to 600 of course, but this is really hard to sustain. Being that, the goal is to be in a calorie deficit for a long time, this isn’t the best approach for fat loss.
The bigger your starting deficit is the easier it is to hit weight loss plateaus, get hungry, feel less energized, have cravings and fall into a routine of yo-yo dieting.
And on top of that, being in a big calorie deficit for a longer period of time is also unhealthy.
There are ways to make this deficit easier. This varies from person to person. You can try different types of diets or different types of cardio to create this deficit.
I am not the biggest fan of creating a calorie deficit through cardio. I prefer and suggest to do this with your nutritional intake.
Having a deficit only by doing cardio means you have to do it every single day. And that is nearly impossible.
Sure the first few days, maybe weeks, will be fine. But life is full of unexpected events, maybe you get injured, or maybe your gym closes for a few days. What are you going to do then?
But cardio definitely has its place in a healthy and a weight loss diet. But don’t depend on it to get in a deficit!
3. Eat protein and vegetables for fat loss
When you are in a deficit you’ll get hungry and cravings start to kick in. We all know and hate this. But luckily there are ways to minimize this.
Sadly it is not possible to fully exclude hunger when you are in a calorie deficit. It is your body telling you that you are short on energy.
Vegetables and fruits are low in calories and high in volume. The perfect snack or part of your meal when it comes to weight loss. They contain fiber, a carb that your body can’t digest.
Because we can’t digest carbs they will stay in our bodies for a long time, and this leaves us with the feeling that we are full.
But with these tips, you can minimize that annoying feeling that might make you cheat on your diet.
Protein for fat loss
Eating a high protein diet will leave you very satiated and minimizes the chance of cravings and binging.
Protein is hard for our bodies to digest so it takes longer, that is why we feel fuller for a longer time. Consuming a high protein diet isn’t dangerous as long as you don’t have any existing kidney or liver problems!
There are even some studies that suggest that a high protein intake can increase your fat burning and metabolism! (2)
Because of this, protein can make dieting a lot easier. Being that, a calorie deficit is easier to achieve this way.
Another great low-calorie way to feel full is drinking water before and during your meal. Water is physically filling and contains no calories. This is also a great tip when you go out for dinner.
4. Start going to the gym
Going to the gym has so many benefits. It will not only burn some extra calories it builds muscle as well!
Having more muscle mass has some great benefits as well. When the fat comes off you’ll look nice and toned. This can happen, in particular, when you combine strength training and a high protein diet.
Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to gain muscle mass in a calorie deficit when you’ve been training for longer.
If you have very little muscle mass and start losing fat you’ll look very skinny and some people still look skinny fat.
Another benefit is that muscles burn more calories than fat. So you burn more calories in and out the gym!
5. Be consistent, patient and enjoy
The hardest things of weight loss: being patient, consistent and trying to enjoy it. It sounds almost impossible to do but you need to try it.
Finding a diet that is easy for you to maintain can be hard but there are so many different types out there, so there is one that suits you!
If you don’t see immediate results don’t worry. It takes some time to see results, this can be very frustrating but when you keep in mind that this is normal you can get through this!
With this in mind, you know that the quick fixes and weight loss products can’t actually work. These products do have some effect on your weight on the scale don’t get me wrong.
However they will only lower your weight because you lose water weight, this will have no significant impact on your body composition.
Even more, these products can be dangerous. Since some countries don’t require regulation or testing of the product before going on the market.
So please don’t fall for these weight loss scams, real weight loss takes hard work but it is worth it in the end.
It is a lot better to put in the work now, instead of buying some magical weight loss pill that can lead to serious health problems.
IIFYM for fat loss
A diet that works great for a lot of people, is the IIFYM diet, this is a very sustainable diet. It makes it possible to eat any food you like (in moderation) while still reaching your weight loss goals.
By setting a range of macronutrients for yourself you can fill these up with the foods you like. It is, however, important to keep your general health in mind.
That is why a lot of people that follow the IIFYM approach also follow the 80/20 rule. Make sure you consume, at least, 80% whole foods and the other 20% you can fill up with fun foods.
You don’t have to follow a restrictive diet, this makes it unnecessarily hard for yourself. This diet works as long as you track all the calories you take in, also from drinks.
If you don’t want to make your own fat loss plan, there is another solution! You can let someone else do all the hard work.
You can send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for online coaching.
Don’t forget to share and let me know your thoughts!
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