Decide to start the Weight loss journey today!
Stop the procrastination and get to it! The first step to losing weight is to begin the journey of losing weight! Stop pushing the D-day forward. Choose a day and date right now. To give it more pomp, pick a date to correspond with an event you celebrate. It could be you or your spouse’s birthday, your wedding anniversary, a child’s birthday, New Year’s Day, etc. Just make sure it’s the closest event on the calendar.
Pick a Realistic Weight Goal.
We can’t all be a size 8, or 10 (for us ladies); and for guys, who says you have to look like Mr. Macho to be healthy? Your ideal weight should be a healthy weight you can reach and maintain without having to starve yourself. Most BMI charts, in my opinion, put unrealistic pressure on you to fall within a specific weight range regardless of age and bone density. The smartest BMI tool I found online is called the SBMI. This tool takes into account all the factors I mentioned above and can help you find a comfortable weight that you can aim for and achieve without undue stress.
Let’s use an example. Kate is in her mid thirties, 35 years old, and weighs 85kg at a height of 172cm. First, we need to check if Kate is at an ideal weight for her age and height. So, we input the parameters into the calculator below. Kate wants to lose 20kg , however according to the calculator, this may be a little too ambitious and she should aim to lose 9kg or in pounds – 20 pounds approx.( 1 kg=2.2 pounds).To use this tool, click on the link below.
Stop the Fad Diets.
There’s a reason why crash diets or fad diets don’t work, and it’s that the human body was designed for self-preservation. These diets do not give you all the nutrition you need and so, your body resorts to taking its extra nutrients from the fat and muscle stores you already have. It may look like you’re losing inches initially, but as soon as you discontinue the diets you go back to gaining all the weight you shed, and some. Your body was designed to function optimally on a well -balanced diet with food items from all the six classes. To lose weight healthily, you need to lose the ‘Diet’!
Stop Counting Every Bite You Eat.
To lose weight naturally, all you have to do is reduce your daily calorie intake gradually( more on that later) .You can find the calorie content of most African foods online and this should give you a guide on how to adjust your diet to fit in with your required dailh caloric intake.Type in the food you want to check, hit the search button and it brings out the calorie content per 100 g. Most men will lose weight on an 1800-2000 calorie diet unless they do not exercise at all. Women should aim to consume between 1200-1500 calories per day, for steady and effortless weight loss.
Calorie loss or gain= calorie intake- calorie output. To get your daily calorie output, first, you will need to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and factor in your level of activity to get a rough estimate of your caloric needs per day. There are a number of online calculators you can use to get your BMR and depending on your level of activity , you can calculate your calorie needs per day. Once you’ve established the right calories in each food you eat, draw up a meal plan for a week. .
Week 1 : start by cutting down your intake by 200 -250 calories per day.
Week 2 : cut back another 200 calories .You would probably be eating 400-450 calories less than you were taking before.
Week 3 :You cut back your calorie intake by another 200 calories By now you should be close to your weekly calorie goal.
Note that these figures depend on your ideal calorie intake, your initial calories consumption, and your goal weight. way, you won’t have to count calories every time you eat.( I’ll expound a little more on the right foods to help you lose weight further down in this post)
Aim for Slow and Steady Weight loss.
I would like to stress this point again. If you want to maintain your goal weight for the next two, five or even ten years, then slow and steady is the best way to go. A weight loss goal of 1-2 pounds (-0.91 kg) per week will not send any “starving” signals to your body. Losing weight naturally, by losing at a gradual pace is the best way to avoid weight fluctuations.
Create a Meal Plan that Works for You.
Some of us are big eaters and asking you to cut down on food portions drastically, would only make you get hungrier before your next meal. The more hungry you get, the more likely you are to indulge at your next meal. If you are a big eater, to lose weight, you may need to create a meal plan that best fits your eating habits. Depending on your eating pattern, you could choose any of the meal plans below.
Meal plan 1: Eat your normal portions:
Make sure, though, that over 50% of your meal is made up of low-calorie, high fiber foods. Foods like vegetables are a good way to fill up without eating extra calories.
Meal plan 2: Create a 4-5-meal per day plan if you are the snacking type
Your meal plan should consist of three main meals, each 400 calories , and one or two healthy snacks, not more than 200 calories each. This will give you a total calorie count of about 1600 calories. If your weight loss requirement is less than this, you can either remove one snack or adjust the serving portions.
Meal plan 3: Eat more at breakfast, less at lunch and even less at dinner.
Note that this may not work for you especially if you are the type that doesn’t like to eat early and skips breakfast as a result.In this case, you could reverse the order and eat your heaviest meal at night. You probably wonder at the feasibility of this idea, since you’ve probably believed that eating heavy at night has a strong correlation with weight gain. In actual fact, several studies show that it’s not the time of day you choose to eat your meal, but the total calorie count you consume that determines whether you lose or gain weight.
Whatever method you choose, make sure it is a plan you can stick to because the goal is to lose weight naturally and without stress. Choosing the right diet plan would also help you maintain your goal weight and reduce weight fluctuations.
Choose the right carbs to help you lose weight.
Your daily carbohydrate intake should not exceed 200 -250g per day, on a daily weight loss diet of 2000 calories. 1 g of carbs equals 4 calories which means only 800 -1000 calories from your 2000 calorie diet should come from carbs. To maintain weight, your daily intake should not be more than 60% of your caloric requirements. While very low carb diets like keto- diets work really fast, the jury is still out on their sustainability.
My advice is to stick to meal plans that allow you to consume up to 50% of your daily calorie as carbs. This will ensure that you do not feel deprived and have a variety of food options to choose from. Not all carbs are created equal, and some are moderately low in calories.
Foods like rice, yam ,corn, cassava, bread,plantain and pasta contain very high amount of carbohydrates per gram.
Moderate amounts of calories is found in food items like beans, sweet potato, and peas.
Foods that have very low amounts of carbs and calories include most leafy green vegetables, fruits like apples ,tomatoes, meat, fish, nuts and eggs, whole unsweetened milk and unsweetened yogurt.
Processed foods like ice cream, cakes and pastries, chocolate, cereals and sugary drinks contain the highest amount of carbs in the form of sugars and should be avoided totally.These carbs are more dangerous because they can easily enter the bloodstream and can cause spikes in blood sugar.
Find a link to a calorie count guide, which can help you estimate how much of each of the healthier carbs you should eat to get the required 50% carb content for effective weight loss.
Fast Overnight to Put your Metabolism in Overdrive.
A recent study conducted on mice shows that fasting for extended periods will help you lose weight. Since this post is all about losing weight without stress, the easiest way would be to fast overnight. Fasting for 12-16 hours before your next meal can help you lose some good inches. Make it a rule to have your last meal for the day at least 12 hours before your next meal. What this means is that if you plan to have breakfast by 7 a.m, you should be done with eating between 6 -7 p.m the evening of the previous day.
Take a Walk Daily.
Walking for thirty minutes daily, at the rate of 5.63 km/h will help a 185 pounds (ca. 84 kg) person burn 200 Calories. While this may not seem like much, let’s look at the cumulative calorie loss per week – roughly 1400 calories. That’s quite a loss from exercise alone. The best part is that you lose the weight without stress!
Substitute your Comfort foods
Let’s be a little blunt here- the reason you are probably overweight is that you probably have binged on one too many comfort foods, a few too many times. Simply substituting that chocolate bar for some healthy nuts will help you lose weight and still satisfy your sweet cravings. Even though nuts are high in fat and calories, research shows that not all the fat in them is absorbed into the system. What this means is that you can lose some weight by substituting junk foods for a moderate amount of nuts. ( not more than a handful per day). Instead of reaching for the next bottle of soda, why not reach for a can of unsweetened yogurt. If you don’t like yogurt, then go for plain or carbonated water. You could also add a slice of lime or lemon to warm water to give it a refreshingly different taste. Eggs are also good for snacking on in between meals. You can eat up to 3 eggs per day and maintain all the health benefits without the added cholesterol.
Eat before you get very hungry.
It may not be a bad idea to take your lunch to work with you every day. This way, you don’t get tempted to fill up on junk like soda and chips, when you get hungry. Try not to wait until you are very hungry before you eat, as this could make you eat more than you should.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep.
Not sleeping enough, increases the production of hormones that could make you store fat easily. Your cortisol levels rise; satiety hormone leptin falls; and the levels of insulin, the fat storing hormone in your body, increases. The combined effect makes you eat more and store fat more readily. Sleeping for 7-9 hours every night is one of the most effective ways to lose weight easily.
Drink Plenty Of Water Before Meals.
Filling up with water before your meals is another way to help you feel fuller and reduce the urge to fill up your tummy. For best weight loss results, drink 8 glasses of water per day, 30 minutes before your meals.
There are other benefits to drinking lots of water.
- It helps to boost your metabolism. Taking a glass of ice-cold water, before food, speeds up your fat burning system. This is because your body requires energy to bring the water to internal body temperatures and sources this by burning your stored fat.
- It flushes your system and gets rid of waste products and toxins.
- Drinking water before meals aids digestion. Taking water with meals could actually slow down your food processing system and give you indigestion.
- Taking lots of water helps you lose stored water weight. It gets rid of the unnecessary pounds caused by water retention.
Eat Foods that are Rich in Potassium.
Did you know that low levels of potassium in your body could make it difficult to lose weight? In addition, too low levels of potassium may cause heart disease, osteoporosis (fragile bones), and diabetes. Potassium is an essential mineral component of your tissues, which is required for muscle building. Apart from aiding growth and development of your muscles, it also helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels and boost your metabolism. Potassium also helps to reduce water retention in your body. Some common foods that contain high levels of potassium include avocado, bananas, sweet potatoes, beans, tomatoes, and yogurts. Unfortunately, the average person often does not eat enough of these foods to get the recommended daily potassium requirements. To check the potassium in foods like bananas and avocado, check this post to see how much potassium you need daily.Don,t overdo the banana part, though,because a lot of it could make you gain more weight.
Have a positive mindset
Even though this may sound a bit like psychological babble, having a positive mindset is important when embarking on the weight loss journey.Those first few days or weeks before your begin to see definite results are usually the hardest, but you need to keep telling yourself that the changes are happening , even though you can’t see them yet. Once the weight starts coming off, it will keep coming off and the best part is the habits you form will keep the weight off- maybe, even for life.
The advantages of losing weight naturally.
Many people go to the extremes of starving themselves or practicing some weird diets like the egg diets in a bid to lose weight fast. You don’t need to do all these. Losing weight should be a gradual, and natural process and should help you develop good and sustainable eating habits. These days the keto diet is all the rage. Even though this diet has a lot of merits( extremely fast weight loss), it also has several demerits; quite expensive to maintain, especially in this part of the world. What this means is that people try the keto-diet for a few months to lose all the excess weight, and then go back to eating their normal foods. The end result is that they end up fatter than they were before.The advantages of losing weight with this natural weight loss plan are:
- You lose weight at a steady and moderate pace( 1-2 pounds per week). Not as fast as keto, maybe, but the idea is to trick your body into believing that everything is the same while you gradually shed the pounds.
- You don’t have to go broke in order to lose weight on this diet. The diet does not require special foods like ketogenic bread. These are simple meals you can prepare at home by yourself. You only have to reduce some of these foods and remove some others entirely from your diet.
- You lose weight on a sustainable diet plan. The idea of losing weight on this plan is to develop habits that you can maintain for life.
- You lose weight without having to starve yourself. You cut back on calories gradually. As your body adjusts to each calorie reduction, you cut back some more.
- You avoid the plateau effect. The plateau effect occurs at some point during your dieting when your weight drops to a point and refuses to drop further.
- You gain good eating habits that will help you maintain a normal weight for the rest of your life.
Keep at it until you begin to see results
Take it step by step, day by day and meal by meal.Even though this meal plan makes it easy to lose weight by developing sustainable habits, you won’t achieve much if you are not consistent. Celebrate each milestone you achieve with your weight loss.It could be as little as dropping two pounds.Once the weight starts coming off, you’d be surprised at how easy the rest of the shedding process becomes.
Important points to note on this natural weight loss plan.
- Never cut back on more than 250 calories per week, the first week. The whole idea is to give yourself time to adjust to your new habits and learn new eating habits as well.
- When you get to the ideal number of calories you should eat daily to maintain a healthy weight, continue for a few months on this diet plan.
- Check your weight every week at the same time of day. If you notice your weight is not going down for two consecutive weeks, reduce your calorie intake further by 200 calories. Note that this weight loss plateau usually occurs when you are close to your ideal size.
- Once you get to your ideal weight, increase your food intake by 200 calories daily to stop further weight loss. This final meal plan is what you should eat thereafter to maintain your weight, hopefully, for the rest of your life.
- You can easily find out the calories in most African foods and use the information to plan healthy meals that will help you lose weight without the need for a ketogenic diet.