I finally made the decision: I want to lose weight! If you’ve decided that you need to lose weight – be it for aesthetic or health reasons – it’s often difficult to know where to begin. There are so many different techniques, methods and diets to try that it’s almost impossible to make an informed decision. Luckily, weight loss usually comes down to a few important rules and these are where you should start. This article will take you through the most basic rules of all – reducing your calorie intake and increasing the amount of exercise you do.
Create a calorie deficit the healthy way
Although it isn’t fashionable to say that weight loss is just about creating a deficit in the number of calories your body uses, in reality that’s all that really matters. For that reason if you’re beginning to lose weight you need to work out how many calories you consume on an average day. It can be quite shocking to discover how much you’re eating which is why it’s always useful to make a note of everything you eat over a certain period. Once you have a benchmark you can then work on reducing your average intake.
This is important because many people assume that they have to crash diet in order to lose weight. Fortunately, this simply isn’t true and trying to eat as little as possible can actually damage your health and chances of losing weight in the long run. For example, if you suddenly stop eating then you may lose weight but your body’s metabolism will also have decreased. This means when you go back to eating normally you’ll put on weight much faster. Another problem is that a crash diet is very difficult to keep up for any length of time.
If you want to lose weight you have to exercise
Exercise is the other piece of the weight loss puzzle. If you’ve never been interested in sports then increasing the amount of exercise you do can seem daunting. You might imagine that the local gym is full of slim, fit people and be embarrassed to visit. The truth is that to lose weight you need to start exercising as much as possible. Some experts estimate that you need to perform cardiovascular exercise for around 250 minutes a week in order to lose weight which is a lot more than many people do in a month.
It’s important not to think you have to reach this goal straight away though. Start by setting yourself smaller targets and work up to 250 minutes a week. This will increase your confidence as you can see gains in your fitness. If going to the gym doesn’t excite you then consider going swimming, joining a dance group or taking up a new sport. Jogging is also great for weight loss although you need to be careful not to increase your mileage immediately.
Follow a weight loss program that suits your needs
Hopefully this article has given you a few ideas for getting started with weight loss. It’s vital that you come up with a plan – both for diet and exercise – that you can stick to for an extended period. The most common mistake people make when trying to lose weight is not creating a balanced diet which means it’s difficult to be consistent. Yo-yo dieting (where someone loses weight, puts it back on and then loses it again) is not only frustrating but could also potentially damage your health and hence should be avoided at all costs.
In summary, if you want to lose weight you should work out your daily calorie intake and then decide how to reduce it by at least 20% – potentially more if required. You should then increase the amount of exercise you do in a way that’s fun, enjoyable and sustainable.