Losing or maintaining weight is actually a simple mathematical equation that is often made more complicated than it needs to be. The bottom line is your weight is determined by how many calories you take in versus how many calories you put out.
Having 5-6 smaller meals per day helps to balance out your blood sugar and exercising on a regular basis (which should include strength training to maintain and develop lean muscle mass) also helps boost your metabolism.
The key is to find the proper balance of these two for you depending on if you would like to lose or maintain your weight. If you would like help learning more about what number is right for your body, Dashing Dish Health Coaching may be a good place to start!
How do I know how many calories i’m taking in!?
I think it is important to mention that a great way to keep track of calories in versus out (especially at first) is by writing down everything you eat (yes even that single fry you took off someone’s plate). This will get you in the habit of being more aware of the calories you are actually taking in... and you may be surprised!
It will also give you a good idea of areas you can cut back if need be. This does not have to be a long term thing.. but tracking what you are eating for even 2 days may be enough to make you aware of food labels, and open your eyes to any empty calories you may be consuming. It could also highlight any ‘emotional’ eating that you may be doing, like eating at night out of boredom for example.
Let me state, that in my opinion, this should only be short term, in order to gain knowledge on how and what you are eating, NOT a life long thing (which would be hard to maintain and could become unhealthy in the other direction).
- If you are unsure about the amount of calories in certain foods, www.MyFitnessPal.com is a great resource to get you started!
How do I maintain my weight?
If you want to reach and maintain a healthy weight permanently, you have to improve your eating and exercise habits permanently. Many people make the mistake of reaching a certain weight, and then go back to their old lifestyle.
People should instead focus on creating new health habits for the rest of their life. This is why learning to eat healthy foods that still taste great and finding a method of fitness that you enjoy is so important, because you can maintain that for the rest of your life!
Why can’t I lose more than 1lb a week safely?
It is important to eat enough to fuel your body, which means not eating less than 1,200 calories per day. This is because severely restricting calories causes the body to break down lean tissue mass, robbing the body of muscle and bone.
Unfortunately, when people are trying to lose weight too quickly, they might look at the scale and see the numbers are dropping, but what they don’t realize is they are not losing body fat at all! They are generally either loosing water weight, or if they are on an extremely low-calorie diet, they are loosing lean tissue, which is why this type of weight loss never lasts… and usually backfires.
This leads me to my final point...It takes time to put on weight, so it will take time to take it off properly! So be patient, do it the right way, and get results that last a lifetime! :)