Weight loss is often made out to be far more complicated than it actually is.
The law of thermodynamics shows that weight loss is a simple energy balance involving calories in vs calories out.
What does this mean for the average guy or gal trying to shed a few pounds?
You have to move more or eat less (cut calories).
Simple. Or is it?
Most individuals who lose weight regain it within three years! A staggering 65% in fact.
This suggests that there is a much larger problem that isn’t being addressed...Sustainability.
The five methods I am about to share are long-term changes and not quick fixes. However I promise they will make a tremendous difference in your weight loss efforts!
1) Substitute food choices with lower calorie versions
By swapping high calorie foods to lower calorie variations you will be saving HUNDREDS of calories.
I cannot stress this enough.
Here are some examples of substitutions:
- White sugar (17 kcal teaspoon) vs Artificial sweetener (2kcal teaspoon)
- Whole milk (84 kcal glass) vs Unsweetened almond milk (24 kcal glass)
- White rice (484 kcal per serving) vs Brown rice (436 kcal per serving)
Even if we add up just these three examples, there is a saving of 123 calories!
This can make a big difference in the long run, especially when combined with cardiovascular work.
One thing to note is that you will see the biggest difference in substituting to low-fat variations as fat has the most calories of the three macronutrients at 9 calories per gram vs 4 calories for carbohydrates and protein.
2) Eat high volume/low calorie dense foods
When trying to cut calories appetite management becomes extremely important as are your food choices.
The main benefit of eating high volume foods is that you can eat alot and be satisfied without feeling the need to binge and potentially thwart your weight loss efforts.
Trying to keep high calorie junk foods as the main staple of your diet is sabotaging you in more ways than one.
Which snack do you think is more satisfying? A snickers bar which contains 440 calories (king size) or seven medium sized apples for the same amount of calories?
This is the fullness factor.
When we observe the table it becomes apparent that the snickers bar is right on the low end of the spectrum whereas apples are extremely filling for the calorie content.
As a general rule high protein/fibre is usually present in the most satisfying foods and foods with a higher fat content should usually be moderated.
3) Do LISS cardio
LISS cardio (low intensity steady state) is a great tool for losing weight and cutting calories because it is accessible to most people.
It doesn’t have any extreme fitness requirements and it can be done multiple times a week to expend more calories.
The main objective of this form of cardio is not athletic performance but caloric expenditure.
When performing LISS cardio you want to ensure your heart rate is slightly elevated (above resting levels) but you should be able to hold a conversation.
Some example of this would include the following:
- Incline treadmill with a brisk walk
- Light jogging
- Biking at a medium speed on a flat surface
I would recommend including LISS cardio up to 4x per week for 20-45 minutes depending on starting fitness levels and the amount of weight you need to lose.
4) Skip breakfast
Most gurus claim ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ but this is false.
Intermittent fasting is a great way to cut calories because it structures your diet in a way that you naturally eat less.
With intermittent fasting you delay your first meal upon waking by 4-6 hours and eat in a smaller time-frame which makes calorie management much easier.
*Pro tip: Use black coffee and sparkling water during the fasting window. The caffeine will provide appetite suppression effects as will the carbonation from the sparkling water.
I advocate eating larger meals less often as opposed to the ‘six small meals a day’ because they are much more satisfying and enjoyable.
Fasting grants you much more flexibility in your dieting and as a consequence you are much more likely to adhere to the program in the long-run.
5) Add strength training to your routine
Having more muscle mass on your frame not only gives you the ‘toned’ appearance, it also expends more calories!
Whilst the effect of this has been exaggerated by some, it still holds true.
It is widely known in exercise science that strength gains correlate with increased muscle mass.
Therefore adding strength training to your weight loss efforts is a wise decision.
(Alternative to those who don’t have access to a gym)
*If you don’t have access to weights, I have written a bodyweight program for free on my site which will allow you to add muscle with limited equipment.