The first time I tried to lose weight, I simply tried to eat less.
I limited my daily calorie intake by cutting out treats and other fatty or sugary foods, and I gave up my daily soda habit.
I lost a few pounds, but then the weight crept back on again when I started eating normally.
The problem with eating less is that your body gets used to functioning with fewer calories, which slows down your metabolism and causes you to burn fewer calories as you go about your day-to-day activities and at rest.
Try to eat six small meals a day
I know most of us skip breakfast or don’t have time to grab a bite between meetings, but we need it.
Studies show we’re less likely to consume excess calories when we’ve eaten recently.
Aim for 3–4 smaller meals each day and two snacks.
One mid-morning and one mid-afternoon.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have other things throughout your day.
Just try not to overwhelm yourself or your system.
Don’t worry if they’re not all perfectly balanced and healthy.
Consistency is more important than perfection!
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Define your goals and work backward
In order to achieve my goal of losing 15 pounds.
I needed to create a caloric deficit.
To do so, I first had to calculate how many calories I needed to consume each day and then decide on my target number of weekly workouts.
I made sure not to overeat by going under 1,500 calories; instead, I divided my daily total into six small meals throughout the day.
For snacks, I made sure to include fresh fruits or vegetables with every meal as well as whole grains like rice or oatmeal when possible.
Plan what you’re going to eat and drink for your diet
In order to lose weight and stay healthy, you have to have a game plan of sorts.
On any given day, I’ll consume anywhere from 1,800-2,000 calories – which is much more than what’s recommended for my age group.
I eat my biggest meal at lunchtime.
It’s typically around 1,500 calories.
My second biggest meal of the day is dinner.
After dinner, if I feel like snacking on something unhealthy or eating sweets – I don’t.
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Think About Portion Control & Snacks
One reason why it’s difficult to lose weight is that we are simply eating too much.
A good portion of our food intake should come from fruits and vegetables, but instead many of us fill up on snacks and sweets.
Have a cupcake?
Cut yourself off after two bites; otherwise, you may eat an entire cake!
There’re dozens of quick & easy ways to cut back your food portions while keeping your meals healthy—and they don’t require you to spend hours in the kitchen.
For example, a baked potato has only 110 calories, so go ahead and have another one!
Create a Meal Plan for Each Week of Your 21 Day Challenge
A critical aspect of weight loss is how you consume your calories each day.
Without proper planning and preparation, it’s easy to eat out of hunger or desperation, rather than as a function of caloric need.
So as you plan your 21-day challenge, be sure to include a solid eating plan along with whatever exercise regimen you choose.
Learn How to Cook Real Food
Learn to cook.
The more you learn how to prepare real food and take your time, instead of microwaving frozen dinners.
You will find yourself eating better, and your cravings for unhealthy foods will fade away as you get more energy from a healthier diet.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s meatloaf or salmon filet with a special spice rub (yum!) or egg whites scrambled with onions and peppers.
What matters is that you learn how to take control of what goes into your body on a daily basis.
Your parents may have been good about feeding you healthy home-cooked meals when you were growing up, but chances are they didn’t prepare them with weight loss specifically in mind.
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What’s Your Strategy?
After breaking down how much I was spending each month on food, I realized something.
I wasn’t even really eating healthy.
Sure, most of my meals were made up of vegetables and lean protein but they were usually drowning in sauce or oil.
What was once simple healthy meals had transformed into fast-food versions of their former selves.
In other words, my plan to lose weight would be equally as effective if I got hit by a bus later today—my only goal would be getting some pâté on my way out.
The key to successful weight loss is changing your lifestyle permanently.
So it becomes a routine as opposed to a last-ditch effort at shedding some pounds before summer arrives.
Eat More Plants, Less Meat
This’s a good place to start because meat (particularly beef) is extremely high in fat and extremely bad for you.
Studies have shown time and again that excess consumption of red meat causes cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight gain, and many other health problems.
So yes, cut back on red meat.
If your goal is weight loss then you can also consider cutting out all meats except fish/seafood.
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