FINAFLEX - 2022
Weight Management Diets: 8 Tips to Set Yourself up for Success!
Weight management diets can be tricky to follow when you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re trying to eat fewer calories without becoming hungry, cutting out all your favorite foods, or completely overhauling your lifestyle, you might end up feeling more discouraged than anything else. After all, it can be difficult to stay committed to any diet over the long term, but especially an unpleasant one. With that in mind, here are some of our best tips for mastering weight management diets so that you can begin losing weight today!
#1: Calculate Your Daily Caloric Needs/Deficit Goals
If you’re not sure how many calories you need, start by getting your weight and activity level in order. Then use something such as the Harris-Benedict formula to find out your BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is the amount of calories that your body burns when at rest and is unaffected by any activity. This number can act as your baseline when it comes to how many calories to take in. To figure out how many calories you are burning every day, take this BMR and add on the number of calories you’re burning during your daily workouts or physical activity. That's the baseline to figure out your caloric deficit. If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to consume fewer calories than you’re burning every day.
This number might change depending on your level of physical activity on a given day. For example, you might need to take in more calories on a day where you’re going to the gym versus a rest day, simply because you’re burning more calories with your workout. Make sure that you’re eating enough calories to support your fitness efforts. Rushing into too severe of a calorie deficit won’t necessarily fast-track your weight loss goals, it will just leave you feeling tired, sluggish, and miserable.
Tracking your calories can be an effective weight loss strategy if done correctly.
#2: Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals
For the best weight loss results, divide your caloric intake into easily manageable portions, perhaps 5-6 small meals a day. Keep in mind that while you might be eating more frequently than you used to, you’re focusing on keeping these meals healthier and smaller, thus reducing your overall calorie intake. Setting reasonable and achievable goals is just as important as the number of calories you eat. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help with overeating because you don't feel deprived at any given moment throughout the day.
This diet strategy can be successful for people who have trouble with consistency and portion control, which may make them prone to binging and overindulging when they do get to eat something. Eating frequently eliminates the dreaded hunger that often comes along with dieting, and using this method can make the lifestyle more pleasant and sustainable.
#3: Choose Balanced Meals Over “Diet Foods”
Eating balanced meals is an important aspect of weight management. It prevents binge eating and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Lean proteins, healthy fats, and fibrous carbohydrates should make up the majority of your diet. Meal planning should be both flexible and sustainable so that it's easy to adopt in real life. When it comes to calorie intake, it’s not just quantity that matters, but also quality.
Many people jump to skipping meals in order to cut down on calories, but this can often bring trouble. Avoid skipping breakfast as this can lead to overeating later in the day when hunger sets in again mid-day. Breakfast is often skipped because it's easy to do, not realizing how big a difference this makes over time as skipping breakfast or eating on the go early in the morning will leave you hungry by lunchtime or between meals; making you more susceptible to snacking throughout the day which can lead you back into unhealthy habits.
Eating quality, nutritious meals improves satiation or the feeling of being full. If you’re getting all of your calories from junk food, you’re going to have a lower volume of food, plus a lack of essential nutrients, combining to create a recipe for hunger.
# 4: Exercise Regularly
Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. Fitness experts typically recommend breaking your cardio into three 10-minute sessions each day and including some muscle training with light weights, like 3 sets of 8-10 reps of a weight that you can lift comfortably. Once you start seeing results, you might feel motivated to go further and exercise more, but start out slow. Focus on doing what feels good for your body at the moment so that it will do what's good for it long term.
Exercising is a great way to burn some extra calories so that you can maintain your caloric deficit, but it can’t replace a bad diet. Think of exercise as a companion to your diet, as opposed to an enemy. Getting your diet and exercise routine to work together will create a much more effective weight loss regime.
#5: Keep a Food Journal
Tired of feeling like you’re working hard for no results? You might not be as effective with your diet as you think. It’s easy to ignore how quickly carbs, fat, and general calories add up when you’re not thinking about it. Keep a food journal to track your progress and make decisions about future goals and meal planning. It keeps you aware of what you’re taking in so that you can more accurately predict results and push yourself forward. Oftentimes, this awareness in itself is enough to break down unhealthy eating habits. When you’re journaling, you begin to notice certain patterns and habits within your diet, exposing the areas you need to address and heal in order to see progress.
#6: Be Proud of Your Progress
You’re taking control of your health, your body, and your life! That in itself is something to celebrate. For every goal you reach, you should be proud. As you progress further along your journey, you’re not the only one who is going to notice! Embrace the support of those around you! Compliments are one of the best things that can happen to us. We all crave them, we love them, and they're so much better than criticism! But you know what's better than compliments? When someone is genuinely interested in your life and success, and when people want to see you be the best version of yourself! So start practicing acceptance with the little things. It'll make it a lot easier when somebody pays you a well-deserved compliment. It’s great validation that can help you keep going.
#7: Set Clear Goals for Yourself
While just starting this journey is half of the battle, setting clear, realistic goals for yourself is a great way to stay focused and motivated throughout the process. Many people chose to set a goal weight, or certain body fat percentage goals. these can be a great way to monitor your progress, and it feels so good to finally accomplish these when they happen.
If you want to set a goal weight, center your weight loss journey into two phases, losing and maintaining. Once you hit your goal weight, you may not want to lose any more weight and can focus more on maintaining the progress that you’ve achieved. You can recalculate your BMR to find your “maintenance calories” or the amount that you need to eat to maintain your current weight.
#8: Beware of Sneaky Sugars/Calories
If you're trying to keep your weight down, avoid any temptation of these sneaky saboteurs, and try some healthier alternatives:
- Sugary drinks (soda, juice, sports drinks) and high-calorie lattes from coffee shops such as Starbucks or specialty beverage stores. They add lots of calories (and promote tooth decay).
- Stick with diet soda instead, or even better, WATER! If you like sweetened iced tea try adding a sugar alternative such as stevia to it instead. It cuts down on sugar and calories and minor sacrifices such as this can make a big difference in the end.
- A great substitute for sugary soft drinks are supplement drink mixes. You can get the sweet, fruity flavor of a juice or a soda, but without the calories. Plus, you get the added benefit of whatever supplement is in the mix. For example, our BCAA 2:1:1 mix is extremely popular for drinking throughout the day. It’s sweet, doesn’t contain any stimulants, and scratches the itch of wanting a soft drink, but instead, it boosts your amino acids!
If you’re missing the caffeine boost of a soda, there are plenty of supplement mixes that include stimulants such as powdered thermogenics, or pre-workouts!
The Science Behind Weight Loss Diets
While fad diets come and go, a caloric deficit is one of the most reliable, most heavily studied ways to manage or lose weight. While tracking your calories in vs calories out can seem tedious, it is actually one of the easiest ways to make sure that all of your efforts in the gym aren’t being ruined by a poor diet. These tips are just a launching point for your weight loss journey.
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