- Write down a concrete goal
- Split it up into more digestible pieces
- Calculate your current basic metabolic rate
- Monitor the calories you consume each day
- Be aware of what you eat
My goal (an example)
My goal is to be more aware of what I eat and how I eat. I want to lose 10 kilograms of weight, hopefully fat, to be able to execute my calisthenic exercises with more ease – especially the muscle up and the human flag. Furthermore, I want to be able to fit back into some of the shirts and pants I’ve outgrown.I have a resting basal metabolic rate of 2182. I would say that I’m moderately active (3-4 times/week). Depending on which formula I use I end up at about 2800 kcal a day, which is a factor of about 1.3 compared to my inactive state. This is not an exact science, but at least it gives an indicator of the daily energetic intake needed to sustain my weight. Eating more would result in weight gain, and less in a loss. It is as simple as that.
Take it slowI’m not in a hurry – actually, and neither should you when it comes to weight change. The body needs time to adapt to those changes and can react in unwanted ways if done too quickly. This is the main reason why people struggle to lose weight permanently. For example, to lose 10 kg of weight in 26 weeks, or half a year, means a couple of grams shy of 400 grams each week. This translates to a decrease by roughly 400 calories a day (14 %). That doesn’t sound too bad. That’s one and a half Snickers or a piece of the delicious chocolate cake I made the other day. A small cup of rice (150 g) alone has 470 calories. That’s what I meant by “be aware of what you eat”. Some foods are very energy-dense. I think it is important to know which foods add how much energy to our daily intake to understand better what to tweak. For the next two weeks, we are going to eat the number of calories that fit our plan. This will be the last time we count calories.
And this is why:
The habit of eating the same things over and over againBe honest with yourself, don’t you eat the same meals over and over again anyhow? Count the different dishes you eat in a week. Is there a lot of variation? I would bet that there is little or none. I eat the same seven meals in slight variations every week. So why not leverage this and make it easier to control what and how much we eat by replacing or adapting each meal with a healthier one in the right amount? This way we have to count the calories for each meal only once – when eating it the first time.
Reduce obstacles in your dietObstacles are easily in our way when trying to stick to a new habit. They might trip us up once but might even let us spiral into giving up on our predefined course altogether. Planning what we will eat this week has the advantage of getting rid of the obstacle of having to think about what to eat three times a day.
I eat the same bowl of cereal every morning, I have the leftovers from the day before for lunch at work and cook something fresh and tasty every evening.Working with the bare net outcome – calorie input vs. calorie output – enables us to eat whatever we like. We just have to stay loyal to our daily minimum/maximum.