the beginner's guide to weight loss
Hello hello fit fam!!
I’ve been getting a ton of questions in my Instagram DMs about how to go about starting the weight loss process, so I figured I’d write a post about it!
That way I can direct you all to this post if you have any other questions!
So without further ado…here’s all the info you need to learn how to lose weight safely and healthily!
The Beginner’s Guide to
What Does It Mean To Lose Weight?
Okay this may seem like a dumb question to answer, but I think it’s important to address before we dive in! Losing weight does NOT mean losing fat. Losing weight means exactly what it says: losing weight. This weight can be in the form of fat, water, and/or muscle. So the next time you look at the scale, make sure you’re acknowledging that the number reflects all of these different parts of your body (well and your bones and your organs lol). But weight fluctuations tend to be from fat, water, and muscle gain or loss.
bottom line: weight loss does NOT necessarily mean fat loss. weight can be gained and lost in the form of water, fat, muscle, and other components of the body.
What Do I Need to Know Before I Get Started?
To start…you’ll need to be mentally ready. Being in the proper mental state is IMPERATIVE for your physical health and any physical transformation. This means working toward loving yourself no matter what the scale reads or whatever societal standards we have for beauty. This also means finding your inner motivation and drive. You can read my post on 5 Steps to Get Back on Track HERE or my post about how to stay motivated on your journey HERE.
bottom line: make sure you are entering the weight loss process with a healthy and determined mindset.
Once you’ve decided that you are ready to get started, you can start thinking about the physical aspects of weight loss.
The basics of weight loss come down to numbers. In order to lose weight, you MUST be at a calorie deficit, meaning you are eating fewer calories than you are burning. A common mistake is thinking that you have to be eating fewer calories than you are burning via exercise, when in reality exercise is just one of the many ways that your body burns calories! Walking, eating, sleeping, sitting, and even just breathing are all ways that your body uses energy (in the form of calories). You can read my post on calories HERE to learn how to figure out the amount of calories your body requires for maintenance.
bottom line: in order to lose weight, calories in must be less than calories out. calories in = food. calories out = exercise + everyday activities + maintenance
How Can I Lose Weight?
So now we know that weight loss comes down to burning more calories than we are eating. But how exactly do we do that?
Well there are 3 main ways to make calories in < calories out:
(1) decrease calories in
(2) increase calories out
(3) a combination of both 1 and 2!
(1) Decrease Calories In:
We can decrease the amount of calories we put in our bodies simply by eating fewer calories. The difference between calories in and calories out does NOT have to be huge! Literally even eating one calorie less than the number of calorie
s you are burning will cause you to lose weight. Definitely not a lot of weight (we talking way less than a pound lol), but that illustrates the basic idea.
For healthy weight loss, you should be eating 200-300 calories less than the number of calories you would need for weight maintenance. So if your body requires 1800 calories per day to stay at your same weight, you should drop your daily calories to 1600-1500 calories to be at a deficit and healthy lose weight.
*again, see my post HERE on calories to help you figure out your numbers.
bottom line: eat 200-300 calories fewer than your maintenance calories to promote healthy weight loss
(2) Increase Calories Out:
We can increase the amount of calories our body burns by increasing our daily exercise! In my opinion, the best and most efficient way to burn calories is by increasing the amount of cardio you do. This can be in the form of running, biking, jump roping, jogging, or walking just to name a few. I personally am a big fan of HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio because your body continues to burn calories even hours after you finish the workout. I have a post on HIIT cardio and its benefits HERE. The post also includes a full HIIT cardio workout for you to try!
While increasing your exercise is a way to make calories in < calories out, it is not the best solution and should not be the only protocol you use. It is much easier to cut out 200 calories from your diet than it is to burn an extra 200 calories through exercise. I recommend implementing (HIIT) cardio 3-4x per week to help with weight loss
bottom line: increasing your daily exercise via cardio will increase the number of calories you burn. as a result, calories out can be made larger than calories in and you can lose weight. HIIT cardio is the most effective cardio.
(3) Combination of Both:
Combining eating fewer calories with increasing your exercise is the best, and most healthy, way to lose weight! This way allows you a bit more flexibility, and it is much easier to reach a caloric deficit when you are both decreasing calories in and increasing calories out!
bottom line: do both 1 and 2 for the best results!
How Do I Maximize Fat Loss While Minimizing Muscle Loss?
This is the golden question! Generally when people say they’d like to lose weight, they are really saying that they’d like to shed all of their fat while preserving the underlying muscle mass (or while toning the underlying muscle).
The best way to maximize fat loss while keeping/toning the muscle underneath is to add weight lifting into your regimen. If you are aiming to lose weight, you will still need to be in a caloric deficit, but you can minimize the amount of muscle you will lose by working out those very muscles! As a result, instead of your body utilizing your muscles for fuel while it is in a deficit, it will allocate some of the resources to the muscles and choose a different place to get fuel: fat.
If you are losing weight, you are likely losing muscle as well (like we discussed above), but by implementing a weight lifting regimen (in addition to cardio), you can keep the underlying muscle engaged while shedding fat.
bottom line: do both cardio and weightlifting in order to maximize fat loss while minimizing muscle loss.
Important Tips Moving Forward
Eating clean (little to no processed food or added sugars: ie. food that comes in a box/with more than 5 ingredients) will be your best friend in weight loss. Sure you can eat only donuts every day and still be at a caloric deficit, but that is not the healthiest way to lose weight. Try your best to eat well during this journey and you will see the best results.
Try Intermittent Fasting:
Intermittent Fasting is a great way to promote fat loss! It’s a bit difficult, but it makes it way easier to decrease your daily caloric intake since you are fasting for most of the day. Read my post about intermittent fasting HERE.
Spot Reduction is Not Real:
Sadly, losing fat ONLY in your stomach region or ONLY around your thighs is not possible. Different people store fat in different areas of the body, and when in a deficit, the body does not discriminate between fat in the abdomen or fat in the legs. You will lose fat from everywhere.
Drink Lots of Water:
Drinking a lot of water is a very simple way to lose weight! Increasing your water intake will cause your body to let go of excess water that it holds on to. This method sheds pounds very quickly, but it can only go so far. Remember that the change in the number on the scale is not a fat loss number, but it reflects changes in your entire body.
Please please let me know if you have any questions about anything in this post! I am always here as a resource fit fam!
The quickest way to get a reply from me is by DMing me on Instagram.
Keep crushing your week!