Studies show that making small changes over time to improve nutrition and increase physical activity is best to achieve lasting results. Now this isn’t exactly breaking news, but it is practical, healthy and usually leads to permanent lifestyle change. However, if you are committed to more rapid weight loss, then you might consider trying the 70/30 approach. It is safe and has worked well for many people I have personally trained.
The 70/30 approach is a rule of thumb that says about 70% of initial weight loss comes from changes in diet and 30% from exercise. This is because it is difficult to get people to exercise hard enough or long enough to see significant weight loss fast enough to meet their expectations.
If you are trying to lose weight primarily through diet then it all comes down to one strategy – managing the quality and quantity of calories. First, you must figure out how many calories you should eat to achieve your weight loss goal and then you need to automate your eating. Here’s how.
So how many calories per day should you eat to reach your goal weight? While there are no exact formulas, a good place to start is to multiple your goal weight by 11 calories per pound for a woman or 12 calories per pound for a man. So, if you’re a woman and want to weigh 135 pounds then multiply 135 x 11 which equals 1,485 calories per day. By using this approach you are making two big assumptions.
First that you have selected a realistic goal weight and are not trying to cut calories too low. Second, that you are using the calorie formula as a starting point and that you will safely adjust daily calories according to your results. To determine how many calories you need for each meal, divide your daily caloric goal by the number of meals you eat in a day. You can shift calories from your snacks to your main meals or say from breakfast to dinner to balance out your daily goal.
Automate Your Eating
Since most people tend to eat the same 5-8 meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner it is better to stick with your favorite meals as opposed to adopting some crazy new diet with recipes that you’ve never eaten before. To automate your eating, simply select 3-5 “healthiest versions” of your favorite breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners. Write down the ingredients and then get a calorie book or use one of the free on-line sites (www.fitday.com) to figure out portion sizes that meet your caloric requirement for each meal.
Once you have your plan in writing, just eat those meals for 8 weeks and you’ll find that you meet your calorie levels with no need to count calories. Make sure to track your weight loss weekly and adjust your calories to maintain safe weight loss. If you find that last statement easier said than done, you may want to consider hiring a personal trainer. Studies show that those who participate in moderate regular exercise and hire a personal coach to keep them motivated are far more likely to succeed. Bon Appetite!
Bio: Mike Carville is a NASM/RKC Certified Personal Trainer and co-owner of South Yuba Club in Nevada City and Grass Valley, CA