Probably the most asked question of people who have lost weight is, “How did you do it?” or “Did you do some crazy diet? I could never do that.”
Anyone – yes – anyone can lose weight. It’s really a simple formula. You have to burn more calories with exercise than you input calories into your body with food. It’s called a calorie deficit – the gap that results when we burn more energy that what we bring into our body. When you are in a caloric deficit, your body gets the energy it needs from its stored reserves: glycogen (stored carbs), muscle tissue (stored protein), and body fat (stored fat). The key is to make sure you are still giving your body the nutrition it needs (protein and carbs), so it will burn more of the stored fat – making you lose weight – and keeping as much muscle mass as possible.
It’s all about watching what you eat, eating a balance of healthy foods, and having a strength and exercise program in place to make sure you burn more than what you eat. In other words, you have to decide what works best for your schedule, what you like — and don’t like — to eat, your level of activity, and your food preparation skills to determine just how you are planning to lose weight.
By working with a personal trainer and a nutritionist, you can make an elaborate plan that fits your lifestyle – or the lifestyle you want to have – by becoming more fit. Be sure you are open and honest with them when developing the plan – because you are the one that has to live it. Let your trainer know your motivation, any physical restraints you might have (that bad knee from a high school sports injury), any underlying general health concerns, and how much time per week you want to dedicate to an exercise plan.
Here are a few tips when it comes to developing a healthy eating plan with a nutritionist.
- Tell them about any food allergies you might have. Nobody wants to have an allergic reaction to something they’ve eaten that is supposed to be “healthy” for them.
- Let them know your favorite foods. Eating healthy is much easier when you can have things that you’ve always liked. If there’s something that mom always made (and it wasn’t the best for your body), they can help you find a healthier alternative.
- Be honest about your level of interest when it comes to cooking. Studies have shown that when you eat at home, you eat healthier. But if your kitchen skills are lacking, you won’t enjoy making healthier meals and end up going through the drive-thru on the way home from work. If you don’t cook at all, let them know. They can help you come up with various menu choices for eating out.
Whatever eating plan you come up with, make sure it is one that you can live with. Remember that losing – and maintaining – weight is a life-long process that will soon become a healthy habit you just do without thinking about it. And whatever the latest fad diet is, it’s all about living in a caloric deficit – burning more calories than what you eat!