How to Lose Weight
By Sharon Irish
This post covers the basics of how to lose weight and explains that just eating less is not the answer – there is a lot more to it than that.
Whether you want to lose a lot of weight or a little, or just get healthier and fitter, it can be tough not just physically but also mentally.
It is hard to know exactly what you should be doing as there is a lot of information out there. The problem is that not all of this is good information and some of the advice you find is fabricated or overemphasized in order to make money out of consumers.
Unfortunately, a lot of the health and fitness advice you see is just as misleading and a lot of weight loss products sold today offer quick fixes which either don’t work or only provide a temporary effect, leading to you ending up right back where you started, with a big hole in your pocket!
No one wants to waste their time or their money on something that doesn’t work and that is where I come in.
I want to show you how to lose weight without spending a lot of money, without starving yourself and without taking diet pills or fat burning tablets that cost a fortune and do more harm than good.
I will do my best to guide you through the minefield that is weight loss and fitness and help you to lose weight in a healthy way so that you can become a healthier, happier you!
I want you to know that I am not going to drop a load of tips and then leave you to it.
I am passionate about helping people to get the results they strive for and that can’t be done by writing one article. This blog is a work in progress and I will add new posts regularly, as often as I can.
Ready? Then let’s get started…..
How to Lose Weight
Weight loss for you depends on a number of factors because:
Everyone is different!
We all have different body types, and I will explain this in more detail in another post because your body type will dictate how your particular weight loss can be achieved.
Believe it or not, the type of foods you should eat, the amount of food you should eat and the type of exercise you should be doing all depend on your body type!
Most diet plans and fitness plans that claim to be the answer to how to lose weight come under a ‘one size fits all’ banner. This just isn’t good enough. They are often created to sell to a broad range of people so that the company can make as much money as possible, the individual person being an afterthought, or not considered at all.
Have you ever tried on a dress or an outfit that was labelled as ‘one size fits all?’ Yes? Did it fit?
Well I know I have and the answer for me was ‘definitely not.’ In fact it wouldn’t go anywhere near me and I looked ridiculous in it.
That is because there isn’t a size that fits everyone and it is the same with weight loss and fitness. A diet or fitness plan that worked for ‘Mary’ down the street may not work for you because you have a completely different make up than she does, your daily energy needs are different to hers and you have different genetics.
You will have heard about calories, especially if you have tried one of the thousands of ‘fad’ diets out there which claim to help you lose weight fast by only eating a certain number of calories per day.
The first thing that I have to say on this is that yes, in order to lose weight you probably need to eat less.
Yes I did say that, and the reason is that surprisingly a lot of people who are overweight are actually not eating enough!
The reason for this is mostly down to metabolism. If you go on a calorie controlled diet which is too low in calories it will help you to lose weight – which is why there are so many people who claim a certain low calorie diet has helped them lose so many pounds in a short amount of time.
So we have established that knowing your body type is important, but let’s get to the next point and that is calories.
So if a low-calorie diet helps you to lose weight, why is it a bad thing?
Well the truth is that it isn’t in the short term, in fact low calorie diets are recommended by Doctors for certain patients before they have weight loss surgery, although this is closely monitored by Medical Practitioners.
The low calorie diet can be used as a ‘kick start’ to your weight loss if you really wanted to begin right away and hit the ground running. It is not however so good for long term weight loss.
Now back to your metabolism
Your body is an amazing thing and what it is really good at is adapting to certain situations, for example calorie intake.
If you are on a low calorie diet, after a while, your body will adapt to this and you will stop losing weight because your metabolism will change.
Your body will recognize that you are not taking in enough calories and so instead of your metabolism working to burn calories, it will slow down so that your body can store the energy it needs for you to go about your daily life.
This means that your weight loss will stop even if you are still on a low calorie diet.
It also means that you will probably regain the weight you originally lost, plus a little bit more!
Basically you can ‘trick’ your body for a while but then it will get wise to your antics and change to adapt to the new scenario, so that it can keep you alive because after all, that is your body’s main job, right?
The key to long term, healthy weight loss is working with your body and your metabolism, not against it.
So next I want to explain how much food your body needs and stick with me here, this is a little bit of a different approach but I hope it will help you to understand the basics of metabolism and weight loss:
I would like you to think of your body as a car – whether you want a high speed racing car or a reliable old truck to do the weekly shop in, the fundamentals are the same:
You need fuel for it to run
You need to maintain it to keep it going
Let’s imagine that your car (or truck) is low on fuel. You take it to the petrol station to fill up and when the tank is full, you stop putting petrol in otherwise it will spill all over the floor, right?
The fuel for your body is food (calories) and the same applies. When your ‘tank’ is full you should stop eating. The extra food you eat after you are full isn’t going to spill out on the floor as with the petrol, it is going to be stored by your body as fat because it isn’t needed right now.
Still with me?
If you are a racing car, zooming around a lot and using a lot of fuel, then you will need to put more fuel in the tank more often, which is the case for those who have energetic jobs and do a lot of exercise.
However if you are a reliable old truck who only gets used every so often and mainly sits in the garage, then you won’t need to fuel up quite so much, as in those who have desk jobs and don’t do much exercise.
In essence, if you continue to overeat, your body will store more and more fat because it can’t do anything with the extra calories you are putting in, and if you aren’t exercising, your body has no way of burning it off.
I hope this basic analogy helps to explain the role metabolism plays in the body, I was told this in a course I did a few years ago and it really helped me to get my head around it in a fun way!
Okay so you now know that the amount of calories is important but what about the type of food (fuel) you are putting into your body?
To help explain this I would now like you to imagine that you are a plant (I know, stick with me).
You have been planted in some soil and given some water.
Across from you is another plant who has been planted in soil, and given water too, but that plant has been given plant food and compost.
After a few weeks you have grown, but not as well as the plant across from you. The other plant is taller and stronger than you are and it is thriving.
It is a similar process with people, if you have a healthy diet you are going to thrive much more than if you don’t and you will have fewer chances of health problems related to bad diets.
For example, there are the same amount of calories in the following:
- A whole plate of carrots and a handful of potato crisps (chips)
- Half a melon and one fifth of a sugary muffin
- An entire packet of celery and a can of full fat cola
These foods may have the same amount of calories but they have totally different effects when you consume them. (This is a tiny list, I will be writing a whole post on this subject soon)
The nutrient dense foods (carrot, melon and celery), help to maintain our organs and keep our bodies functioning.
I must confess that I love my comfort food, I love Indian food and Chinese food and I have a serious sweet tooth!
But do you know what? There is nothing wrong with that – the last thing I want is for people to be crying into their salads thinking there is no other way and they have to eat vegetables and fruit exclusively to lose weight – that is not true!
If you want a Chicken Curry, have one! If you want Chicken Chow Mein, you can!
Fortunately I also love to cook and adapt recipes to make them healthier. I have a few healthy takeaway recipes which are my particular favourites and are much kinder on your waistline and your pocket than going to your local takeaway restaurant. Check them out plus a whole lot of other recipes here:
I really need to point out at this stage that in order to be healthy you also need to be happy.
I think a big part of that is connected to the food we eat. I think that eating healthier versions of well loved dishes can really help you to achieve your weight loss goals and maintain them long term. I have found personally that if I completely change my diet, it is hard to keep up the motivation to continue.
If you are eating all the right foods but you are unhappy and putting yourself under a lot of stress, you may not see the results you are hoping for. Stress can have a lot of negative effects on the body and we should try to avoid it as much as possible.
Stress can have a lot of negative effects on the body and we should try to avoid it as much as possible
A lot of us are stressed because of the time we have available. We have busy lives and it is much quicker and easier to go and get a takeaway or heat a ready meal in the microwave than cook a meal from scratch. I understand this as I struggled with this too, but I found that if I cooked on the weekends in bulk (meal prepping) then I could prepare most of my family’s meals for the upcoming week in advance.
I would freeze the meals in portions or keep them in the fridge and then the majority of the work was done and I wasn’t chained to the cooker or the sink for most of the evening, I had time to spend with my family. I am going to do a whole post on meal prepping, complete with recipes (some of my healthy recipes can be used as meal prepping recipes).
I wanted this post to be a general overview of weight loss and I hope that I have helped you in some way whether you have already started on your weight loss journey or you just want some advice.
I hope to be adding a lot more informative posts to this blog in the near future so that I can provide a place where you can come for advice, recommendations and inspiration. Should you wish to ask a question or get in touch, you can use the ‘contact me’ page to do this and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.
Some Products I would recommend:
(These are affiliate links so if you purchase them I will earn a small commission)
Thank you so much for reading to the end – I know this has been a long post but I needed to get through everything you need to know.
I hope this was informative and helped you a little or a lot. See you next time!