So I made an important decision mid-July – I decided I want to be healthy. I did some research and made a few changes to my diet. The beginning steps I took can be summarised into 5 weight loss basics, as elaborated below.
On top of these, I also quit Diet Coke. The weight came off gradually over the past 8 weeks. Some weeks I lost more, some weeks less. As at yesterday, 11 September 2012, my total loss was 5.8kg (around 12.7 pounds). If I were to calculate my average loss over the past 8 weeks, I have lost an average of 0.7kg (around 1.5 pounds) per week, which works out to 100g (0.2 pounds) per day. Clothes that didn’t fit me in July now fit. Shirts that looked like they were bursting at the seams are now loose. What a difference a few kilograms makes!
Many people around me noticed the weight loss and asked me what my “secret” was. The truth? There is no secret. But, there are some rules to follow. And you need a plan. To help you, I have decided to write a series of posts on weight loss. In these posts, I will highlight some areas to look out for, if you are on a quest to lose weight. :) When you read these posts, please bear in mind that every body is different, what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. I am merely writing from experience and sharing what worked for me, in the hopes that you will find something that works for you. Tweak it, make it yours!
Before I forget, my birthday giveaway closes this Saturday, 15 September 2012. Join if you haven’t! :)
1. Find out your Basal Metabolic Rate (“BMR”).
Your BMR is the amount of energy expended by you daily, at rest. This is the minimum amount of calories required to sustain you for a day, if you are lying in bed all day long. Try using this calculator to work out your BMR.
2. Find out how much it takes to maintain your current weight.
Now that you know your BMR, it’s time to work out how many calories it takes to maintain your current weight. Of course you don’t lie in bed all day every day, do you? You go to school, work, shop, whatever. You need to find out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (“TDEE”). If you used the calculator I mentioned in #1 above, it should also automatically work out your TDEE for you. Make sure you select the correct level of activity! That affects your TDEE. The more active you are, the higher your TDEE.
3. Decide how many calories you wish to cut from your daily caloric intake, and subtract that from your TDEE.
To lose 1 pound (around 0.5kg), you need to incur a total deficit of 3,500 calories. Which is to say, if you aim to lose 1 pound in a week, you should reduce your caloric intake by 500 every day, for 7 days. Whilst there has been much debate surrounding this formula, it works for me. As a general guideline, girls and guys should eat at least 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day respectively. These are net calories, i.e. food intake less exercise calories. Eat anything below those numbers and your body is likely to find it insufficient, leading to a reduced metabolism – which we do not want! Please eat properly and don’t cut your calories to a ridiculously low number. It’s going to backfire! The best option for weight loss would therefore be to eat at least your BMR, but below TDEE. Unless you are really tiny, I doubt your BMR will go below 1,200 calories.
4. Track your calories.
My diet change was based on a reduced caloric intake. Since mid-July, I logged every single thing I ate, down to every last morsel. I use MyFitnessPal (“MFP”) to track my calories because I found that of all the apps and sites, MFP has the most helpful community and its database contains the most amount of nutrition information, including local foods, which is important for me. How am I supposed to know how many calories there are in mee sua, or lor mee, or tau sar pau?
Calculation is made simple with MFP. With this app, I can update my intake on the go. MFP allows you to enter your height and weight information, your projected weight loss target, your exercises… everything you need to keep track of your weight loss. It then calculates your daily caloric goal, and warns you if you exceed your macronutrients intake. There are so many helpful functions in MFP. Use it!
5. Plan your meals and eat every 3 to 4 hours.
Every day, I pre-key my meals for the next day or two so that I’ll know how much to fit in, especially on weekends when I eat out. 100 calories typically last me around 1 hour, so if I were to eat every 3 to 4 hours, I would have to break my 3 daily meals into portions of 300 to 400 calories, and 2 snacks at 100 calories each. There are 2 main reasons why I eat every 3 to 4 hours: (1) to keep my metabolism running, and (2) so that I won’t ever feel so hungry that I overeat at the next meal.
I hope you found the above information useful! There’s simply so much to cover in this weight loss topic; I’m going to have to break them up into small posts so I don’t overwhelm you with too much information. For example, I could tell you about how I did not give up any foods I love – and still lost weight!
Why don’t you share a bit – got a plan that works for you? :)
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