I am personally in the middle of a weight loss challenge after having my fourth baby and gaining 50 pounds. It’s tough. I gain weight like a champ and losing it is incredibly difficult for me. I have to be all in mind and body.
So what does that mean? Tracking my daily calorie intake, using my workout time wisely to burn maximum fat and most importantly, trying to keep myself motivated. I have facilitated many weight loss challenges and regularly tell others how to lose weight. So now it’s my turn to practice what I preach.
Calories in versus calories out. There is not a magic solution to losing weight. I asked my friend, Elizabeth Hayes, a nutritionist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital to break down the idea that calories are not the enemy. Here’s what she had to say:
A pound of fat is 3500 calories. To lose 1 pound per week, you would need to trim off 500 calories per day. Studies have shown that a slow and steady weight loss over time will maintain a goal weight longer than quick fix diet plan that cut calories drastically. Reducing calories is all about making swaps and developing habits that are sustainable for the long run.
If cutting calories is good, shouldn’t the goal be to cut as many as possible? The short answer is no! When you cut your calories too low, you will likely find yourself binge eating and not be able to sustain your weight. There is no need to treat yourself that way.
Your body uses its metabolism to convert food calorie macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein) into fuel. Cutting your calories too low can slow your metabolism and cause you to reach a plateau and stop losing weight. Don’t let calories be the enemy in your battle to lose weight. They play an important part in helping you achieve your overall weight goal.
Marietta’s Personal Tips To Achieve Your Goals
- Track your calories with an app like My Fitness Pal. You will be able to easily log your meals so that you can stay close to your calorie goal.
- Determine how many calories you need a day to lose weight. My golden rule is to never go below 1,500 calories per day. Your metabolism could slow down significantly, and your weight loss strategy will backfire.
- Carefully plan out your meals so that you know the exact calorie and nutritional content before you sit down to eat. Failing to plan will result in a last minute, high-calorie decision. I love these Honey Sriracha Glazed Meatballs from Kelly at Eat Yourself Skinny. I’ve made them several times and they’re super yummy!
- Motivation is key. When someone tells me that they are ready to lose weight, I tell them that they need to work as hard as they can while they’re motivated. Motivation comes and goes, and that is okay. But when you have it, go with it!
- Get an accountability partner for workouts – a friend that will call you out when you try to cancel.
- Choose a group fitness class where there is a time and place you have to show up.
- Pay for workouts in advance so that you have monetary incentive to show up.
- Exercising properly is crucial. If you only have a one-hour time slot in your day to exercise, you should make the most of it. For me, that means going to a boot camp style class where there are high-intensity cardio sets paired with low impact strength training. Any time your heart rate is going up and down in intervals, you are burning significant calories.
Another important exercise factor is frequency. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercise three to five days per week, for 20 to 30 minutes each time, to improve health. For weight loss, they advise increasing the duration to 50 to 60 minutes per session.
For me, the most difficult part of exercising five times a week to lose weight is scheduling those workouts into my week. Because I want to be home in the evenings with my family, I have found that early morning sessions work best. My kids are still asleep, and I can get home before they even wake up. Whatever that time of the day is for you, find it. Most importantly be consistent.
If you’re ready to get started on your own weight loss journey, make sure you include all three components: calorie tracking, exercise frequently, and staying motivated! Your body will start to change in just four weeks. By eight weeks others will notice. And by week twelve you’ll be a down a significant amount of weight. You can do it!