What’s the secret to weight loss? What’s the quick answer?
The secret isn’t so much a secret but rather the way you apply the tools that you already have in a way that results in weight loss.
Big Results, Big Reasons…
This ‘secret’ isn’t a secret because it doesn’t sell anything… The reason to change has to outweigh the reason to stay that same.
That starts with accepting responsibility.
Borrowing from a great book here, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’ by Mark Manson.
Mark talks about Fault and Responsibility.
It might not be your fault that you’re overweight. Maybe you were sick, injured, raised 6 kids and didn’t take the time to exercise and eat what you should. But… It might not be your fault that you’re overweight but it IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY! Your situation is your responsibility.
If all you get out reading this is the understanding that your situation, whether or not it’s your fault, IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. You are well on your way to making the changes you desire.
So then what do you do?
You didn’t get where you are in 90 days and you’re not going to get to where you want to be in 90 days, as much as Instagram tells you otherwise.
This site is dedicated to helping people figure out how to create a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Everyone’s situation is different. What is sustainable for one person isn’t always feasible for another.
However, this is the basics, the foundation on which you can build your own sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Without understanding the following is like trying to build a house without a foundation. You’ll keep trying to put it together and it’ll just keep falling in on itself. (Yoyo diets anyone?)
Let’s layout where to start and how to keep moving.
Step: #1 Calories
It doesn’t matter what “diet” you have followed in the past. If it worked, you somehow lowered calories you consumed.
Eat no carbs, eat paleo, eat keto, eat vegan, eat vegetarian, eat low fat… If you lost weight, somewhere in there you lost a few calories along the way.
The successful people who say they ate any one of those diets and say they didn’t lower their calories ALWAYS follow up with … ‘I just wasn’t that hungry’ and ‘if I couldn’t find something that fit the diet I wouldn’t eat.’
And there it is… YES, they did lower calories without realizing it. Which we should all strive for when trying to lose weight.
However, when starting out it’s not that easy. You can’t simply set it and forget it. That’s what this article is all about. The steps that are at the foundation of losing weight. Whether we realize we’re using them or not, they exist and you should understand them.
It should be said you can choose any popular name diet and GAIN weight. If you overeat enough. You will gain weight.
Calories matter. Type of calories also matter. More on that later…
How many calories?
For you? It depends. This is how you figure it out. (Sorry for the math, but it’ll allow you to deeply understand yourself so much better.
To START – Take your current bodyweight and multiply by 13.
So if you’re 150 lbs, multiply 150 x 13
13 times your bodyweight might be a shock!
1st – If you’ve never tracked calories start here.
2nd – There’s a good chance you won’t lose any weight at this number because this is more of a maintenance number.
But the whole point is to lose weight!!! However, if you’ve never tracked your calories, this is a good place to start. Remember you need to build YOUR foundation, not someone else’s.
This is about TAKING RESPONSIBILITY. And learning the numbers that work for you.
This isn’t about a quick 4-week program to lose 5 lbs that will quickly return when you realize that you are unable to sustain a super low caloric number.
If you’ve never tried to lose weight or have been unsuccessful in the past, start at 13. Get used to eating that many calories. Get used to exercising, if you don’t do it now. Any exercise.
If you already know from experience this is too many calories, lower the number 13 to something between 10 and 12.
Here are some guidelines.
To lose weight multiply your current weight by:
- 13-14 if you are a male who works an active job (construction). You know if you have an active job.
- 12-13 if you’re a Female who works an active job (nursing) or a large Male who works a somewhat active job (teaching).
- 11-12 for those that are somewhat active. For many of us, this is a great place to start.
- 9-11 for smaller women ( 5’4” and shorter), and those of us who with more sedentary jobs like sitting sit in front of a computer all day.
This is all about YOU! Start slow and make small changes over weeks, not days. If you’re frustrated with your rate of weight loss, take a holistic look at everything. Don’t just lower calories, there may be another reason you are not losing the weight you think you should.
Although calories are important, we will see shortly that weight loss is more than just calorie counting.
You don’t have to count calories forever, nor should you. It’s a tool. Learn it and how to use it.
You didn’t get to the weight you are in 90 days just like you shouldn’t expect to see “abs” in 90 days either. Remember…realistic expectations! Remind yourself that you are in this for the long haul. Learn what will work forever, not just for the next 90 days.
Step: #2 Macros!!
How to lose weight and still eat cake and cookies all the time! (please don’t do this, I’m kidding)
Macros (micronutrients) are Protein, Carbs, and Fats. Your daily calories consists of these three macros. (Yes, alcohol too. More on that later!)
There are generally two broad categories of people when it comes to macros.
The first, people like my wife can eat a cookie and put the box away and go back to what she was doing and never think about that cookie again. That’s great for her. Everything in moderation.
The second type of person, are people like me. When a food comes out that I like, steak, carrot cake, peanut butter flavored anything, tortilla chips, guacamole, ice cream, nuts, I want to eat all of it until it’s gone and I’m so full, I feel sick. I lose self-control and hate myself for it.
If I taste it, there’s this burning desire to have more and more and more.
If I’ve had a stressful day or week it makes resisting even more difficult.
Mindless, stressful… many fall into this group. Something is up with our relationship with food.
It’s much easier for me to just eat healthy foods that fuel me and ones that make me happy but don’t trigger crazy binge desires.
I’m getting better all the time about controlling it.
My wife’s macros can truly be anything. For me, I pick foods and flavors that don’t cause my brain to feel like it’s on fire.
The psychology behind this is deep and way way above this article, but we talk a lot about ways to manage if you’re like me. The short explanation to overcome this is more successful ‘at-bats’. The more times the temptations are there and you come away without letting yourself lose control, the easier it becomes to manage over time. I’ve spent years and years working towards this and will continue to spend years and years working on it.
Most people who have a significant amount of weight to lose fall into category two. And the best place to start is to get all the food temptations out of the house. Your willpower might be amazing right now, but it ebbs and flows. Keep it out of the house for the times you’re not in control.
Setting Macros is the easiest and most straightforward way to build this foundation. We talk a lot about finding what works for you. If that’s a vegetarian lifestyle, that’s great. I know many healthy vegetarians.
However, these macro numbers become a lot more difficult to hit each day if you choose to be a vegetarian. That needs to be pointed out before we set macros. Your priority is to always maintain your caloric number. It might take a little longer to find the macro ratios that work best for you if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.
How to set macros: (Remember this is for WEIGHT LOSS if you’re an athlete or trying to gain weight this doesn’t apply to you)
Always start with protein. The most success comes from hitting this number every day as it is the most satiating of the macros.
Your body weight should be equal to the grams of protein you consume on a daily basis
A 150-pound person should eat 150 grams of protein.
So 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Set it and decrease that number to coincide with your body weight as it decreases.
Carbs next! mmm carbs
Again, your body weight should be equal to the grams of carbs you consume on a daily basis,
150 lbs person should eat 150 grams of carbs/day.
Hold on… I’ll get to you low carb lovers!
Now for some Math…
1 gram of protein = approximately 4 calories
1 gram of carbs = approximately 4 calories
1 gram of fat = approximately 9 calories.
For example, a 150-pound person is going to eat 1950 calories per day (13 x 150)
They are going to eat 150 grams of protein.
So 150 x 4 = 600 calories
They are going to eat 150 grams of carbs.
So 150 x 4 = 600 calories
600 + 600 = 1200 calories
1950 calories – 1200 calories = 650 calories
They have 650 calories leftover for fats
BUT 1 gram of fat is roughly 9 calories.
So 650/9 = 72 grams of fat per day
Macro Calories per Gram
Quick numbers to memorize: 4, 4, 9
4 calories in 1 gram of protein
4 calories in 1 gram of carbs
9 calories in 1 gram of fat
For you low or high carb lovers… if you like eating more carbs take away fat grams. If you like eating more fat, takeaway carb grams.
These two can go up and down as you see fit, depending on your level of exercise and what you like to eat. But remember to leave the protein number alone.
You also might have noticed that if you multiply by less than 13 your fat number decreases quite a bit.
Carbs and Fat are a give and take. Work to balance them out to a ratio that you’re happy with. If you’d rather have more fat one day, then lower the carbs, and vice versa. This isn’t set in stone.
Remember these numbers (including protein) aren’t set in stone. If you have a crazy day of traveling and are unable to hit your macros, that is OK. Do your best to hit your caloric number.
It’s not about being perfect. It’s about calming the mind to continue to move forward.
Step: #3 Quality
Quality is important because generally higher quality foods are larger in portion, thus filling you more.
Yes, if you eat less than you need to maintain your current weight, you will lose weight.
Although Calories are #1, quality does matter! It helps fuel your thinking (brain) and your exercise.
If you’ve got the ability to balance life with your diet. You can have your cake and eat it too. Figuratively and literally, if you’re hitting your calorie numbers and macros, you can have your cake and enjoy it!.
Should you do this every day, no.
The protein macro number is probably on your mind. You’re thinking… that’s a lot of protein to eat, I’ll drink protein shakes.
That’s a great idea! I recommend that to a lot of people who have trouble reaching that protein number.
Don’t mindlessly fill up a shaker with a scoop or two of protein powder and think this it’s healthy free calories. They still count.
Figure out what works best for you. Eat high-quality food most of the time , junk food just a little of the time, and learn to balance life.
Remember, you’re in this for the long haul. Don’t go crazy with no I can’t have this or no I can’t have that. Learn to balance your food selections, recognize when a food sets you off and causes you to lose control. If that means getting it out of the house to start with or forever, if you choose, then that’s up to you.
Take responsibility for you.
Step: #4 Timing
Diets that prioritize timing generally work the WORST for most people. Looking at you Intermittent Fasting. You can still overeat in a shorter food window.
Timing for someone looking to lose weight and get healthy. Just isn’t that important.
When you eat doesn’t matter that much for weight loss. It matters more for your sanity.
If you don’t like eating:
- Before you workout
- After you workout
- When you wake up
- 6 times a day
- Fill in timing blank…
It doesn’t matter. For most people, it causes more stress than it’s worth. What matters is the times that keep you following your calories, macros, and quality.
Can you skip breakfast? Absolutely! Can you skip breakfast get to the office and then not have 4 doughnuts? I don’t know, can you?
If you’ve been following a timing diet and not losing weight you’re making up the calories somewhere else. Eat on the schedule that works best for you.
Eating around the same time each day will cause your body to develop the expectations to eat at those times. This can be helpful in knowing when you should have food ready that is going to help you, not hurt your progress. Structure of your life is always a positive when building a solid healthy foundation.
Bonus Step: #5 Supplements
If fat burning supplements worked no one would be fat. Don’t waste your money when you could just drink caffeine or green tea and get more (much much cheaper) benefits.
Caffeine – Good if tolerated well. There is some evidence that this is the only ingredient in weight loss supplements that work, and it’s a lot cheaper on its own. Coffee and tea are great sources.
Pay attention to your caffeine intake and the effect it has on your moods and sleep. Take note if you feel it causes you to crash throughout the day. Even if you fall right to sleep at night the caffeine later in the day can negatively affect your sleep without you even realizing
Vit D & Omega 3 – Everything works better when these are taken daily.
According to the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, a government website, human beings evolved on a ration of 1:1 (Omega 6: Omega 3). Our western diets are now 15:1 or 16.7:1.
Grass-fed beef and Wild Caught Fish are great ways to bring the Omega 6 and 3 back in balance. If you’re not eating these foods taking Omega-3 supplement is helpful.
The Best Brands:
Bonus Step: #6 Party Time!! Alcohol.
Weight loss is way way way easier when you’re not drinking alcohol. But a social life is important to our health as well.
If consumed correctly, you can enjoy alcohol and maintain or even lose weight.
People who say you don’t need alcohol to have fun is like saying you don’t need running shoes to run. No, you don’t, but it sure helps.
The best advice is to stay away from alcohol mixed with sugar. Those drinks are the absolute worst. Don’t drink them. Seriously, avoid them at all costs.
Daquries, mudslides, cream and Baileys, rum and coke, vodka and Redbull… Stay away.
Beer and wine in moderation. Don’t forget each beer is between 100-200 calories. For most people, 5 beers in a night out aren’t out of the norm. You just had a whole extra meal and some. It’s not called a beer belly for nothing.
The best option! Hard alcohol (with no sugar mixes added)
Alcohol is the 4th macro. Your body will prioritize its metabolization. It will get metabolized first and excreted. If you are at a body weight that you are trying to maintain, alcohol alone will not send you back to where you started, but if the alcohol itself is full of sugar, then it just might.
You’ve learned how to lose weight, but now let’s keep it off.
HOW DO YOU DO ALL OF THIS?
The most important things you can do to achieve success in anything, not just weight loss is… Take responsibility, be consistent and be prepared.
Being prepared will keep you consistent. Knowing where your next meal is coming from, what you’re going to eat, having food prepared and ready will help you make healthy choices.
When you’re stressed, or life presents something unexpected, we have a tendency to give up and forget about making good choices.
The more consistent you become, the more you will create good habits, the more these habits become part of who you are.
Stop looking to stay continually motivated. Learn to apply discipline. Here’s an article about learning discipline for weight loss.
1) Track your food with MyFitnessPal. It is an easy, simple to use app.
2) Eat mostly the same things, this sounds so boring, but you do it now and don’t even realize or think about it.
What do you always eat for breakfast? What 2-5 things do you rotate thru for lunch and dinner?
Even if you eat or order out all the time. It’s almost always just a few go to things.
People start to think about their limited food choices and don’t realize that’s how they already live.
But knowing the same foods intimately that help you lose weight and feel better will take you a long way. Trying to figure out calories for a new food every day is tiring and hard.
Knowing what you are eating, and recognizing food patterns will help you know where to start.
Build your foundation, then over time determine what works for you and make small changes to fit your lifestyle.
None of it is easy… learning how to lose weight isn’t easy!
This might sound simple and straightforward. Do this and bam! Off the weight comes.
But this is anything but easy. It is simpler than people like to admit to themselves, but easy, no.
Realize you’re not trying to get somewhere to ‘unlock’ the happiness. Learning to be happy now, with the process, is what will make this sustainable.
This idea is something successful people will tell you over and over, but you’ll never want to listen. No, when I’m a size 4, I will have the happiness that comes with it.
It’s the other way around. It was about loving the journey that makes this all sustainable. “The process IS the goal, the struggle IS the reward”
– Bryan Krahn
You learn to love you and then you change…
Then you love you a little more and you change a little more… it’s a self-fulfilling cycle.
It’s not easy but change never is. Make the hard decisions to make life easier because the easy decisions only ever make life harder.
Caitlyn and I have spent our whole lives around sports, fitness, and health. We love talking about all things related to living a healthy life. Why we started all this.
We put together a 7-day jump start guide that has meals with calculations done for you.
Reach out to us if you don’t know where to start. Often times it’s obvious to an outsider, and it’s not to you because of the emotion that’s attached to it.
Ask yourself… “What is the cost of inaction?”
– Tim Ferris