Being fat sucks. You don’t have to put up with it.
You have to eat less, forever. This is the simple but not very easy at all secret.
Any discussion about weight loss needs to start with the cause of excess weight. The cause of excess weight is always the same: eating more food than you need to maintain your body. This section is dedicated to why that is the case.
Excess fat is just stored excess food. Specifically, it is the carbon from the excess food being stored as fats. Often you will hear about CICO. This stands for Calories In, Calories Out. However I think it’s better to think of it as Carbon In, Carbon Out. When you lose weight, you actually exhale 84% of the mass that you lose, the other 16% being lost as water.
Carbon doesn’t care about where it came from. And you can’t produce it from nothing. You aren’t a plant and your sole source is the food you eat.
Healthy eating is good for you. Nobody denies that. But it is not required for weight loss. Carbon doesn’t care if it came in the form of potato chips and beer.
This is not to say you shouldn’t try to eat the right foods. Eating better foods will allow you to experience less hunger and improve your health. It’s to say you shouldn’t let healthy eating be a barrier for you.
I lost my first 10 pounds eating nothing but junk. I would eat a bag of potato chips for dinner. I would eat ramen for a snack. I would drink soda. I still love Taco Bell. I just ate less junk. My diet slowly got better as I was forced to either eat better foods or be hungry. Being hungry sucks and is a powerful motivator.
Even if you never cook, even if you buy all your food from fast food joints and convenience stores you can lose weight.
Getting regular exercise is amazingly good for you. It will improve your mood. It will lower your risk of disease. It is better than any drug at treating a variety of health conditions. But it is not at all required to lose weight.
Exercise does burn more food off allowing you to eat more. However it’s a terrible way to change the equality of your food intake vs your food expenditure. You don’t actually burn that much food off during normal exercise. Your body is efficient. It’s designed to go for as long as it can on as little food as it can. And you are unlikely to be willing to put in a huge amount of exercise (read: hours every day) forever.
Exercise also induces hunger. If you spend an hour sweating up a storm and then feed your hunger with a bagel and a protein drink you have just eaten all, or more, than what you just burned off. Or perhaps you do heavy exercise and then are tired and aren’t as active as you normally are. Either way your exercise food burn has been diminished.
Exercise for the health benefits ore because you like it. Don’t let it be a barrier to getting a weight you enjoy.
I hope I have convinced you that eating less food is the only way to lose weight and keep it off. Once you know the problem and the solution is easy, right?
When people say that scientists haven’t figured out how to get people to lose weight they don’t mean that they don’t know what needs to happen. They mean that’s figuring out how to get people to do the needful hasn’t been solved.
Hunger sucks. It is a powerful motivator for you to eat. If you’re losing weight, or even if you wish to maintain a healthy weight you’re going to have it on a regular basis. And this is why weight loss is simple but not at all easy.
If your dollars coming in aren’t matching your dollars going out, people will recommend having a budget. Figure out how much you earn and how much you spent and take control. The same applies to eating. Figure out how much you need to eat and how much you are eating. This means old fashioned calorie-counting.
The good news is that there are mobile apps to make this process a lot easier. I use MyFitnessPal, but there are many other options available for you. Most apps will estimate how many calories you need to eat to lose a certain amount of weight each week. If it’s not working check out my troubleshooting guide.
While I recommend calorie counting there are endless other diets to pick from. Why don’t I recommend those instead? Flexibility. If your diet says thou shall not eat junk food and you like junk food you won’t stick to it. If you can’t eat your diet foods because you’re eating out or are low on time to cook you won’t stick to it. And you have to stick to it, forever, to keep the weight off.
In addition, you can do calorie counting with any diet. If you like to intermittent fast–do it! Just keep track of how much you are actually eating. If you want to eat a whole foods plant based diet–go for it. Just keep track of how much you are eating. You can overeat just as easily on nutritious good for you food as you can on junk foods.
I lost 115lb using these methods. I have over 600 days in a row of logging my food.
At first, I started out just keeping mental track of how much I was eating with rough counts. And even that was enough to start. I lost my first 10 pounds with minimal effort. However, I started to stall out which is when I downloaded an app and got serious.
I tend to not be very hungry during the mornings and day, so I pack in most of my calories in my big meal at night. I tried a few different things in order to control my hunger best. I tried the eat many small meals throughout the day thing, but that just made me hungry all the time and I never felt like I got to eat a real meal.
As long as you find what works for you to eat the correct amount of food you will find success.
You tried to count, and it didn’t work. Why? The answer is: you didn’t count right or your goal calories are wrong.
Don’t keep track of these. Chances are you get roughly the same amount of exercise in every day. Just use your scale to see if you are eating too many or too few calories.
Use a food scale. Seriously. If you’re any thing like me you are not good at determining the portion of food you eat. If you are think you are eating 1 serving of pasta, but you are like me and think that the proper serving of pasta is in fact 3 servings, you will underestimate badly.
You will never be 100% accurate. But you should also use the closest thing possible. Be very cautious about user-entered data in calorie counters. If it’s a common food item, check out the USDA Nutrition Database.
Don’t try to remember what you eat and log it at the end of the day. Log as you go, before you eat. Chances are you know what you’re eating for many meals. Log those at the start of the day so you know how much you are working with for unplanned snack attacks.
Still not working? There is a daily post on r/loseit to ask questions. Ask there and you are sure to get a response.