So I lost 10 kilograms in the last 2 months. I know it’s not groundbreaking, but it’s the first time I saw actual progress in my weight loss journey, so I decided to share my tips with you. These are the kind that I would’ve liked to read when I was starting out.
I tried many things to lose weight, but none of them worked. I tried intermittent fasting, eating salad for dinner, eating steamed vegetables for dinner, giving up and eating whatever I want… But I wasn’t losing any weight and starving myself for no reason. I was complaining to a friend and they suggested keto, which seemed like a good idea at the time. I just wanted to double-check and saw on Wikipedia that it’s no better or worse than other diets. The only thing that works, turns out, is to lower your calorie intake.
So I said fuck it and decided to count every calorie that I consume. My first instinct was to buy a ton of sandwiches that has a nutrition label and exclusively eat them. I knew that if I can keep my daily intake below 1000 calories then I’d be losing weight. So eat only 300 calorie sandwiches 3 times a day, drink only water or sugar-free beverages and I’ll be fine, right?
In the end, I didn’t go that way but did something very similar. I didn’t stick to a small selection of foods, so nothing was off-limits. I just had to calculate the calories that it has and make adjustments. For home-cooked stuff, I had to investigate the replacements. For example, whole grain bread does not have fewer calories than white bread and since my goal is to lose weight first and foremost, I went with white. Also, white bread was available as thinner slices. On the other hand, light mayo has ⅓ calories of normal mayo so it seemed like a good idea. Canned tuna has a similar story, water-packed ones have half the calories compared to oil-packed ones. With this, you got yourself a tuna sandwich, with lower calories than store-bought ones.
If you want to order food, check how many calories one serving has. If it’s a lot, consider abandoning side dishes, or saving them for a later time. You can always share one serving with someone. If it’s especially filling, you can even skip a meal.
If you want to cook something tricky, the first thing you need to do is to get a kitchen scale. Weigh every ingredient and write them on paper. This way you’ll have a recipe with nutritional information! And think hard about what you can leave out, surprisingly you can leave a lot of things out. I didn’t know that you can cook many things with minimal or no oil. (Air-popped popcorn doesn’t taste as good, but it doesn’t make you fat either!) When you write everything on paper, you’ll notice the distribution of calories for different ingredients and you can make wise tradeoffs. This also works for a full breakfast.
Drinking a lot of water helps too. We eat or drink out of habit and those add up quickly. I also read that processing a lot of water burns some calories, so it’s a nice bonus!
I should also note that I didn’t work out during those two months at all. I barely even left home. Now I’m slowly integrating some daily light workout to my lifestyle since I don’t want atrophy, but good eating habits are more important to weight loss than anything else. Burning a few extra calories is always fine, as long as you don’t feel like you won yourself the right to eat a box of donuts.
One thing you can do to track your progress is to get yourself a smart scale. I got a Eufy one, but any Bluetooth enabled one can work. This way you’ll get a nice chart and see the big picture. One tip is to weigh every day. You can’t have too much data. There will be natural fluctuations to your weight and you want to increase the number of data points. Also try to weigh in the morning, after your morning routine, possibly naked but if that’s not possible in comparable clothing every day. Don’t get on it with your phone in hand, that thing weighs 200g; enough to botch your charts. Try to be consistent as much as possible and don’t feel bad if your chart does not look good. You’re in this for the long run and it works only if you stick to it.
Looking back, I ate almost anything during this period, but in moderation and while being mindful of my calorie intake. I did get sidetracked from time to time but the important thing was that I stuck to it. Now with everyone in quarantine, it seems like the best time to start a diet. There are no social obligations and temptations, you can eat what you want when you want.
Disclaimer: I support body positivity so unless it’s for your wellbeing there’s no reason to lose weight. And even if you’re overweight, you need to balance your own needs. If there’s a more pressing concern, focus on that first and think about dieting only after you feel comfortable. I don’t want anyone to feel invalid due to their weight.
Fire me an email or a tweet if you’re curious about anything I mentioned or forgot to mention here!