Losing weight is a straightforward process. As long as you follow a simple rule, failing becomes impossible. As long as the amount of calories you're eating is less than the amount you're burning each day, the weight will come off. Though at times, living by this rule can be difficult, every diet or exercise routine that works follows this simple principle.
Step 1: Figure Out Your Daily Calorie Needs. Weight loss is dictated by the amount of calories you eat versus the amount you burn. The difference between what you burn and eat is known as a calorie deficit. The bigger your calorie deficit, the faster you will lose weight. Knowing how many calories you burn each day will allow you to estimate how many calories you should eat. Using the calorie calculator is the quickest and easiest way to estimate your daily calorie needs. It uses your weight, height, age, gender and physical activity level to estimate your calorie needs. Once you know how many calories you burn, you need to either cut your intake so it's under how many you burn, or increase the amount of calories you burn through exercise. Combining a calorie restricted diet with an exercise routine will yield the healthiest and quickest results.
Step 2: Count Your Calories. Now that you have a good idea of how many calories you need to eat in order to lose weight, you need to monitor your intake. Though this might seem like a cumbersome addition to your lifestyle, it's necessary because most people tend to underestimate their calories. This leads to eating more than you accounted for which will slow or even stop any weight loss plan.
Step 3: Eat Healthy Foods. Losing weight isn't synonymous with being healthy but by watching the types of food you eat, your overall health will improve and you'll lose weight with less effort. Foods you should stay away from include those high in sugar (candy, soda, fruit juices, sweet tea, doughnuts, muffins), those high in refined carbs (white bread, white pasta, white rice), those high in saturated & trans fats (dairy, some meats) and foods that are heavily processed. Instead, eat foods that are high in complex carbs (100% whole wheat bread/pasta, vegetables, brown rice and fruit) and lean proteins (chicken, turkey and seafood). You should also replace foods that are highly processed with those that you cook with fresh ingredients. Generally, cooked meals are healthier than meals ready to eat or ones that you eat in a restaurant.
Step 4: Increase Physical Activity Level. Eating is only one side of the weight loss equation. Since physical activity increases your calorie deficit, exercising will allow you to eat more calories while still losing the same amount of weight. Exercise allows for a more manageable change in your eating habits. Free Exercise Plan
Step 5: Monitor Your Results. Seeing results will let you know that your new healthy lifestyle is actually working. The results will fuel further improvements to your health, which will help get you to your weight loss goals even faster. The two best ways that you can easily monitor your progress is by weighing yourself on a regular basis and by taking pictures of your body.
Step 6: Make Changes Accordingly. Most diets are based on an estimation of your daily calorie needs. Estimates are not perfect and occasionally, need to be tweaked. When monitoring your results, ensure that you are moving in the right direction. Start off by using the calorie estimation from step 1 for two weeks. If you aren't losing weight at the pace that you would like, decrease your daily intake by 200-300 calories or increase your daily exercise by 20-30 minutes. If you are losing weight too quickly, eat 200-300 more calories per day. Monitor your results for another two weeks and keep making changes to your calorie intake and physical activity level as needed.
The Bottom Line
Losing weight is about combining calorie restriction with physical activity. Remember that changes will not happen overnight. After taking the steps outlined above, stay dedicated and be patient. Don't be too quick to quit.