Diet, diet, diet.
That’s all that can often consume our minds when we’ve got some weight to lose, isn’t it ? Which one to do ? Which might offer the biggest bang for our time and investment of energies and most of all yield the biggest rewards?
As you read in part two of my series, sometimes the idea of starting a diet was a better idea than well, actually DOING the diet. And the best part was when I painfully struggled to the end and cried “Uncle” when I finished… or when the diet finished me…. whichever came first.
Losing weight isn’t easy. It requires work and sacrifice and determination to make it happen.
Often though we go about it by trying to fit into a plan that isn’t made or designed for us. We try to adapt and follow a set of rules someone else has made with food choices they have selected and we try and be good and make it work…. we do. Some of us might be successful, but for the most, it’s a reverting back to our old ways of what we know, and what we eat.
What if perhaps, there was something that was more made for us as … gasp… individuals ? Something that took in to account our unique likes and food preferences ? Could we, maybe then, have success ?
When I started on my health and fitness journey, there was one thing I determined early on. I was not going to make any food “off limits”. I understood that I was an adult and quiet capable of controlling myself and not splurging on the whole carton of ice cream. Somehow doing that took the power out of those foods. Knowing they were still there IF I wanted them seemed to put them in a proper place. No one was taking anything away from me. I could completely have that chocolate shake….. if I wanted it.
Now I was in control. Those foods were there but I didn’t have to eat them.
Imagine my delight years later finding out that even high level fitness trainers didn’t restrict themselves from occasional treats. If I had a moment I wanted something, I allowed myself a little, and moved on. Doing that didn’t cause binging or make me feel deprived or majorly crater my day…. and I moved along like that every single day.
Along the way I’ve learned that my body has specific caloric needs to sustain life AND specific needs for my athletic life. Every single day can be different depending on what I’m doing.
You, my faithful reader, are no different. If you’ve done your homework from the past two parts of my series, you’ve assessed the WHY of wanting to lose weight, and you were also to consider your daily life and activities as well as foods you enjoy eating. You will have set out some short and long term goals for your journey.
Because now you’ll need to figure the calories YOU personally need on a daily basis to do the things you’ve listed.
How? You might ask ? We’re gonna use a calculator to help determine your needs for daily living and any purposeful exercise. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t do any physical activity (yet) don’t plug in that you are moderately active. I’ve found the link below very helpful for figuring my daily caloric needs
Calculating your caloric requirement will then allow you to build your own nutrition plan based on your daily needs.
To lose weight, take your total daily number and reduce by 20%.
Keeping a food log for a few weeks will help you assess where your strengths and weaknesses are. What nutritional dense foods do you eat ? What is more empty calories? What do you need to let go of ? Where can you make improvements ?
I think it’s also important to think about that “thing” or two that you absolutely love and build a small portion of that into your weekly plan. If you don’t want it, fine. But if you have a craving, allow yourself and move on.
With practice you will begin to figure out what foods you can eat and stay within your daily calorie intake. Don’t get all crazy and think you have to keep it an exact science.
The goal is to build a sustainable plan you can keep at day in and day out and steadily, consistently lose weight. Enjoy foods you like while making intentional changes to remove or reduce foods that are not as nutritionally beneficial.
In time you will train your body to want healthier foods making it easier to maintain your new lifestyle =)