How to (ACTUALLY) Lose Weight!
Updated: Mar 5, 2019
I've published tons of articles on how to lose weight and to be honest, we often have a tendency to make it more complicated than it needs to be (and than the gurus tell us it has to be).
As I preach over and over, you need to create what is referred to as a "calorie deficit" - i.e., you are consuming fewer calories than you are expending through daily living and/or exercise. This happens by (1) decreasing the amount of calories you are taking in and/or (2) increasing your physical activity (whether formal "exercise" or simply random movement).
For a complete "Trainer Sarah" guide to the ins and outs of weight loss, please check out these articles here:
These articles are going to break down the science behind weight loss and they are super important for understanding what needs to happen from a biochemistry standpoint (in super easy to understand language). In them, I break down essentially how you need to take in fewer calories than you are burning, and how there are many different approaches to do this (i.e., reducing dietary fat, reducing dietary carbohydrates, intermittent fasting, etc. - anything can work as long as you are committed to it). They also debunk a lot of the myths surrounding weight loss and hopefully make it seem less complicated. However, making this science happen comes down to psychology and the habits of everyday life.
In other words, you need to sculpt the right habits to make this caloric deficit possible.
Here are some everyday suggestions to help you create new habits so you can create your daily caloric deficit and ACTUALLY lose weight:
Make your goal visible in some way. Whether it's hanging up an outfit you want to wear, or making a countdown checklist of the weights you will hit on the way to a bigger goal, make it something you can see. Every. Single. Day.
Weigh yourself, and pretty frequently. I wrote a whole article on this, but I find people who wait too long between weighings have a tendency to get out of touch with what is actually going on. They stop owning the process. Yes, weight will go up and down based on things like sodium intake, fluid intake, menstrual cycles, etc., however, you need to know where you are at. To have a good handle on your "actual" weight, take a three-day, same-scenario average (this will eliminate fluctuations caused by water retention).
Evaluate and plan for the singular day coming up. Stop looking three weeks into the future. Look at tomorrow. What needs to happen tomorrow to stick to your goal? Do you have a meeting that will be catered with tons of high calorie options? Plan for it, whether you are going to select one item and eat lighter the rest of the day, or perhaps you are going to instead pack your own food so you aren't tempted by things that will likely blow your caloric budget and make achieving that deficit difficult. It doesn't really matter what you pick, as long as you have a plan that will work for you! Then stick to that plan!
Automate things that happen frequently. Instead of reinventing the breakfast (or lunch, or snack) wheel every single day, automate it by having the same breakfast. Same for lunch. This can also be done for exercise. Pick a consistent, no-fail workout. Have a backup plan (mine is a brisk walk on my treadmill or an exercise DVD).
If something works, keep it, if it doesn't toss it. If you find that a particular breakfast or lunch or workout seems to be effective, keep it in the mix! Again, stop trying to reinvent the wheel! On the other hand, if something isn't working - if your current routine/meal plan isn't getting the scale moving, CHANGE IT! Stop doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Finally, move more. No, it's not going to undo a bad diet, BUT moving more is (1) great for your body, (2) great for your mind, and (3) will of course help to increase that caloric deficit and nudge you in the right direction.
I hope these tips help you to create the habits that are essential to making that important caloric deficit if weight loss is your goal.
As always, if you have questions on how to do this, never hesitate to contact me!
In good health,