The quick and dirty (I mean clean) overview for how to lose weight and keep it off.
For weight loss, you just need two words: calorie restriction and exercise. With diet being the most important. It has been found that our body fitness level is 80% based on diet and 20% based on exercise.
All the trendy diets that claim rapid weight loss can fit into two categories; blatant calorie restriction or hidden calorie restriction. The diet will either openly admit calorie restriction, such as with the soup diet, juice cleanses, baby food plan, south beach, etc. Or they will be masked calorie restriction diets like the ketogenic, atkins, caveman, vegan, etc. In the masked calorie restriction diet you are placed on a very restrictive list of foods you can consume and due to boredom, difficult preparation, or naturally lower calorie content of those foods will end up eating less calories.
While it is true that some diets are more effective and beneficial for fat loss on a hormone level, such as the ketogenic over the low fat diet, this type of diet is not sustainable. The body is not meant to be in ketosis 24/7. The first source of energy that the body prefers is and always will be carbohydrates.
How you choose to reduce your calories is based on your personal preference, but it is the most important aspect of weight loss. If you want to cycle your calories, do intermittent fasting, or eat less calories everyday is your choice. I would recommend no more than 5 low calorie days and 2 normal calorie days per week if you want to keep the metabolism higher. Too many low calories days will start to slow the rate in which the body burns calories. In general, eating low calorie meals day in day out is harder than doing intermitted fasting, but again, this is a personal preference.
How many calories do I need?
The best way to determine this is by using a calorie intake calculator. It is best to use one that asks for your height, weight, and current activity level. Once the data is inputted, you will be provided with the number of calories you need for loss, maintenance, and gain.
I recommend fact checking this number with how many calories you are currently consuming. Take the next 2 days and keep a diary of everything you eat. You can use an app like fitness pal to help you calculate how many calories you are eating or take this list to a nutritionist. Consider this number your true current set point.
To lose one pound you need a 3,500 calorie deficient. This can be achieved by eating less calories and by working out more. Keep in mind that as you lose weight the amount of calories you need to eat will go down also, in most cases.
How much do I need to workout?
On average, you should do 4 days of 30-45 min cardio and 2 days of weight training per week. The saying a body in motion stays in motion is true in many ways. Not only will exercise increase your calories burnt at the moment, but will also give you more energy as your stamina grows. Also as you increase you muscle mass, the rate in which you burn calories at rest will also increase.
Once you have reached your weight loss goal you enter the maintenance phase where you can increase the amount of calories you eat (slightly) as you are no longer trying to drop weight.
Below is a general list of high nutrient foods that should be a staple part of your diet. If you have an allergy to one of these, then supplements with vitamins or similar foods maybe needed.
- 2-3 cups of soup (made with bone broth) per week
- 1-3 avocados per week
- 1-2 boxes seaweed per week
- 2-3 cups greek yogurt per week
- 1 green juice or pressed vegetable juice everyday
- 2-3 servings of green, red, yellow, purple veggies everyday
- 1 serving of high carb vegetable or root per day (potato, corn,
- 1 serving of beans per week
- 1 brazil nut per day
- 2-3 eggs everyday (all whites or 1 yolk)
- 1 serving lean protein per day
- 2 serving of omega rich fish per week
- 15 mins of sunshine per day (or D3 supplement)
- 3 cups Holy Basil per week
- 1 probiotic per day or fermented foods
Foods to avoid do to their negative effects on the body
- Soy, which converts to estrogen
- Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda and Sweet &Low, which are linked to leaky gut, insulin spikes, and stomach cancer in high doses
- Foods high in pesticides
- High saturated fats and processed foods