This is just how I cut about 20+ pounds in a few months with little to no exercise. There are better ways, this just worked for me. And I really do feel it can work for you, too.
1. Calculate your BMR.
You can do it quickly / easily by going here, here, or or here.
That last link is especially useful because it can help you identify your daily activity and therefore give you a more realistic number of calories you are actually burning a day.
2. Set an easy, realistic, and achievable goal for how much you would like to lose and the rate at which you'd like to lose it.
If you are in a deficit of 500 calories a day, you burn 3,500 calories a week. That's the equivalent to a pound of body fat. That may seem slow to some people, but that's 4 pounds a month. And if you are in a greater deficit, you burn more (obviously).
If you ate a DEFICIT of (-)700 calories a day, you'd burn 5.6 pounds a month.
Do not make your goal unrealistic. If you are trying to CONSUME only 800 calories a day, your body will react negatively. It's not healthy. Plus, you'll be hungry and miserable.
3. Keep a food journal or food diary/log. Make sure you track the calories of everything you drink and eat for the day. Unless it's water, diet soda, tea, coffee, or any other beverage that does not contain calories.
Subtract the total amount of calories you've consumed for the day by your BMR. If you are in the negative, you're losing weight.
-I find that a simple program like Excel works very well for this task. Obviously, you won't have your computer everywhere you go. For quick on-the-go detailing of food items you can write on post-it notes, paper or ... I don't need to tell you how to remember things or write them down, do I? Just do it.
Here is what my daily calorie tracker looks like:
4. Snack smart, or not at all.
Okay, you CAN snack. But only if you are being aware of it. By that I mean that you know exactly how much you are snacking on, and record it. Chances are, though, you'll be eating fifty chips and thinking it's 15. I've done it. Hell, I've eaten nearly 3/4 a bag of chips and thought I had only had 'a few'.
|Not...quite what I was talking about.|
Snacks can lead to additional calories that you aren't even aware of. It's easy to slip up.
So, unless you are meticulous, portion out your snack sizes, and are aware of what you're putting in your pie-hole, try to stick to actual meals for the majority of your calories. That brings us to step 5.
5. Use Tools for Success.
The internet is a great thing. You can find the caloric content / value of nearly ANY food by simply searching Google. This includes take out places and specific restaurants. Here are my three favorite:
1. Calorie Count
2. Fat Secret
3. Live Strong
Other tools to use:
Get yourself a nice, accurate scale. This is the one I use: EatSmart Precision Scale but any accurate one will do. You can get some really good ones for 20-30 dollars.
Weigh yourself at the same time, every day. The best recommended time to weigh yourself is in the morning after you wake up, before you drink or eat anything, and after you ...ahem.. void yourself. (That means use the potty)
|"I'm going to be super-model light, after this one"|
-Buy a food scale to weigh your food for those annoying-as-hell 'serving size' labels on your food products. "Oh, the serving size of smoked Kielbasa is two ounces? Go to hell, Hillshire Farms!" Just kidding, we love Hillshire Farms and your delicious smoked meats... but we're not robots. Or drug dealers. I don't know about you, but I can't eyeball ounces, grams, or even cup sizes (I'm talking about metric cups here, not bra sizes. Actually, you know what? Both). With a food scale you can now accurately weigh out any food item and know it's damn-near-exact calorie and nutrition content. Here is the one I use: EatSmart Kitchen Scale. Also, don't forget that you can use Google's conversion feature.
Example: You can convert 5 ounces to grams by just typing...uh... "5 ounces to grams" in Google's search bar. Yes, I feel retarded for writing that sentence. But, you know, just in case you didn't know.
1. Calculate your BMR
2. Set up a realistic goal / calorie limit for the day.
3. Keep a hard-copy log of EVERYTHING you eat / drink that has calories. (Deduct BMR from this sum at the end of the day)
4. Snack smart. Or don't snack at all.
5. Use tools to help you out.
BONUS: Eat healthy and varied food items. Since you are eating less calories everyday (most likely less food) on a deficit, it is important to get proper nutrients with what you ARE eating.
That's all it really takes, as far as I'm concerned. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Again, this is all elementary stuff. It's very basic, very simple. If you want to get more in depth about a specific topic or question, gimme a holler in the comment section.
**** Key tips****
-If you notice strange fluctuations in your weight from day to day (like you 'gained three pounds') it is most likely water weight. Do. Not. Stress. It will pass if you continue as scheduled. Chill out, drink some coffee (diuretic). And, counter-intuitively (But VERY important), drink plenty of water. Your body is very good at monitoring itself. If you aren't drinking enough water, it will hold on to water. Check out this fantastic article on water weight / stress during a diet: water weight article. .
-Contrasty, please realize that not all weight loss is created equal. Sometimes you are losing (or as stated above, gaining) water weight along with fat loss. Sometimes, if you starve yourself of the proper macronutrients (example: protein) your lean body mass (muscles) will be used for fuel along with your body fat. Also, lean body mass weighs more than fat, as I'm sure you've heard. So if you are 'stuck' with your weight for days and days, it could be very well due to gains in muscle (if you're exercising on the regular). It could simply be water. But it is most likely NOT fat if you are sticking to your proverbial diet guns.
|Pictured: Diet gun. Pew Pew.|
And back to seriousness:
-You are going to have crappy days. Days where you feel / look bloated. This is most likely in your head. Stick with the above and I swear you will see results. You'll see the pounds lower on the scale. Even if you don't, see above (above the diet gun picture). Clothes will fit better. You'll see changes in your face and waist. Don't give up.
-Don't beat yourself up. So you had a Twinkie, big whoop. I ate a double meat, double cheeseburger today and I'm still in 600 calorie deficit. You have to allow yourself a LIFE when you're trying to diet. Just track the calories (as best you can) and keep going. I bet your net calorie deficit for the week is still way beyond whatever little slips you might have along the way. Enjoy your life.
- I can't remember where I've read this, but always remember: If you are overweight, it did not happen in a matter of days. So don't expect to get skinny in a matter of days. This takes time. I know you've probably heard this, and it should be obvious by now, but losing weight and staying in shape is a LIFE STYLE change not a fad diet or protocol. Everything I've written above is just a simplified way to lose weight. You have to keep up with it to make a permanent change. Eat smarter. Be vigilant and determined.
Again, direct any questions to the comments area. I'll be sure to respond.