My 10 Weight Loss Principles That Work Every Time
Do you have low confidence in your ability to lose weight? Many of us have felt at some point that we have tried everything that the fitness industry recommends, and nothing seems to work.
As an ex bikini fitness competitor, I have seen all sides of healthy and non-healthy methods of dieting promoted by the fitness industry, and shockingly there is little accurate information out there to prepare people for the real changes that need to be made to achieve success.
The principles I follow are simple, and healthy for the body and mind, so they are easy for anyone to execute if that person is ready to take accountability over their life.
I hope they can help you as they have helped me.
1. Firstly you need to fix the things that are stressing you & causing daily chaos in your life; and that will clear the way for a new lifestyle
A restrictive diet that puts you in a calorie deficit to lose weight is challenging. These kind of challenges do not survive in an environment where you are highly stressed and out of control of your daily routine, or if you have unaddressed trauma that leads to comfort eating. Start by making a diary of all the things that you notice trigger an unhealthy eating or drinking habit, and by process of elimination, start putting some plans and strategies in place that will help you get back the control in these situations, or find healthy substitutes for them. Now you will be ready to start dieting.
2. Understanding how a calorie deficit works
The simple truth about weight loss is being in a calorie deficit. To lose 1lb a week (generally considered a healthy speed of weight loss) you need to be in a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day. You need to research this and figure out how many calories do you need to eat, and how many calories do you need to burn to be in a calorie deficit of 500 calories by the end of each day. If you don't know how to do this, read my other blog on "How To Calculate A Calorie Deficit"
One of the single most powerful things you can do to ensure weight loss success is setting a daily routine for activity and meals. Weight loss will ONLY happen if you are in a calorie deficit, and unless you have a plan in place for how to achieve that calorie deficit each day by mapping out what you are going to eat and what exercise you're going to do, you have virtually no chance of being successful long term.
4. Working Through the Valley of Despair (very important)
What a lot of people don't understand is how much of a 12 week plan is there for trial and error, and how much is for actual weight loss. We typically drop weight quickly initially simply because we're suddenly exercising more/being more mindful of our calories. Its a big change from what we normally do, so we see an initial big drop on the scales. But then as the initial excitement and motivation wears off, we start slipping into some bad habits again (remember the ones we noted down in step 1) and our weight plateaus (not because our body is in starvation mode, this is a misunderstood phenomenon) but it plateaus because we're not hitting our calorie deficit like we think we are. It can take up to 8 weeks to learn how to get this calorie deficit right. Every time you fall off the diet, take note, make a plan for what you will do next time, and carry on. Before you know it, you will be actually hitting your calorie deficit consistently and you will re-enter the weight loss period. That's when things will really start happening for you, and it's an incredible feeling. You have to understand that plateau phase is your learning and elimination phase of old habits, and you have to push through it.
5. Eat clean whole foods, in the right proportions
Please read my other blog "Balance Your Plate & Never Count A Calorie Again" which teaches you about the ideal portion sizes and proportions on your plate. Weighting the plate towards vegetables and salads, allocating the right amount to lean protein sources, and finally a small amount to complex carbohydrates & fats, is a proven strategy that helps you feel fuller on less calories and keeps you feeling healthy and strong through the whole process. This is essential for ensuring you truly "glow up" from the inside out.
6. Imagine it's forever
Just because we're aiming for a calorie deficit, doesn't mean we need to eat things we hate. The people that get the best results are those that build their calorie deficit diet with things that they genuinely enjoy eating. If I have to eat vegetables, I cook my favourite vegetables (charred bell peppers omg yum), if I have to eat lean protein, I cook my favourite lean protein with my favourite seasoning. Build each meal in your plan with your own pleasure in mind. In my most recent diet I have achieved all my weight loss milestones without cutting out chocolate or pasta and if you want that kind of flexibility, then understanding how many calories are in foods is critical, so you can calculate if you can afford them (I highly recommend MyFitnessPal app).
7. Learning the signals of genuine hunger, and thirst
Many people flinch when I tell them how much water I drink on a daily basis, so I wont prescribe an amount for you, but over 80% of people are chronically dehydrated and its causing them to gain weight. The signals for hunger and thirst frequently get misinterpreted. Plan your water breaks throughout the day, just like you do with your meals, and you'll soon notice how full you are throughout the day. Its actually incredible when you realise how far your calories seem to go when you're properly hydrated.
8. Don't drink calories
This is a simple principle that helps ensure that all your available calories are there to properly feed the body with the rich nutrients, vitamins and minerals we get from food. This will keep you fuller for longer. Iced black coffee, black teas, waters with lemon, sparking water with a wedge of orange or fruits, are all close to zero calorie drinks. Get creative because if you drink your calories, you'll find yourself very hungry trying to feed yourself on the small amount of remaining calories you have left for food.
9. Be in bed by 10pm
The average person has a 9-5 job which means an early morning. If you're going to bed after 10pm you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage to stick to your diet the next day. When we are tired, the body signals for food, and cravings are at an all time high. Also, the chances of you missing that daily workout, and therefore missing your calorie deficit for the day also go up. Give yourself a fighting chance.
10. Diet is everything you consume, not just food
Surrounding yourself with the right people who inspire you, consuming social media content that inspires you, watching YouTube channels of people who live a healthy lifestyle, can really really help you get success. It helps connect us with the new healthy lifestyle we are leading, and promotes a sense of belonging that can be a powerful motivator in hard times. Hanging around people that want to keep you stuck, or encroach on your new healthy boundaries is a big no no.
I really hope this has helped someone out there, and if you have any personal challenges in this area, please please do not be shy and contact me anytime. I have many similar principles for those looking to gain weight and gain muscle instead of lose weight, and will write about this soon too.
Thank you! much love, Nicky x