Hey there, fam, thanks for dropping by for another dieting tips post.
In this edition, let’s talk about the early stages — which are the most crucial, in my opinion. I’m about a year into consistently dieting and I’m still learning as I go, but here are a few pieces of advice to help you out as you’re getting going.
My first piece of advice is to get an accurate scale and record your weight at least a couple times a week. I know some people don’t like to weigh themselves daily, and I used to be one of those people because I was always afraid of what it would say. But now I embrace it. After a while, it became something I got used to doing as part of my morning routine. It’s helpful to not only track progress, but to see how different foods and routines affect your weight. It also is a great feeling when you see that number go down every week.
If you’re not into that, however, another way of measuring progress is to pay close attention to how clothes fit. That’s another exhilarating feeling — putting on a shirt and having it fit a little better.
Stay in a calorie deficit
A calorie deficit means you eat less calories than you burn, which is one of the biggest keys to weight loss. I aim to eat about 1,800 calories per day which lets me see solid progress fairly fast. If you’re unsure where to start, I’d suggest counting how many calories you eat on a normal day right now, and shave off 100 or so each week to ease into it.
There are also tools online, such as a calorie deficit calculator, to get some ideas of how much to eat and how fast you want to lose weight.
Don’t make things off-limits
On the surface, I feel diets are viewed as these uber strict, not-at-all-fun ways to live. I believe a reason people feel that way is because they apply restrictions on foods they like. If I tell myself “no pizza whatsoever,” what am I going to crave all day tomorrow? Pizza.
Telling yourself you can’t have something is just going to make you want it more. So eat that burger if you need a burger. Carve out a night to grab a couple beers with your friends. There’s always tomorrow to rebound and get back on track. Typically for me, I’ll set Sunday aside for my “I don’t care” day/cheat day. Cheat meals satisfy my non-diet food cravings (usually something deep fried) and I’ve found by the end of Sunday, I’m excited to get back on track.
You can also stay on course and within a calorie deficit while simultaneously eating whatever. I wouldn’t recommend it, though, as an everyday thing unless your metabolism is just awesome. Let’s say you go out to lunch on Wednesday and have 1,200 calories worth of chicken tenders, which is the American dream, and you’re left with 600 calories for the rest of the day. If you hit that goal, you probably won’t lose the same amount of weight if you had spent those 1,200 calories on something cleaner, but you could still pull even or shed a couple ounces.
This is a critical part of being in the mindset to diet and lose weight. If you have an off day, or the scale gives you a number you dislike, don’t panic. Stay on course. Remember it’s a long road to the finish line. Dieting is a complex thing with many layers. Maybe you didn’t sleep as well the night before, or your digestion was off for a day or you were stressed out. Or all the above.
If you put the effort in to hit your stride on a diet, the weight loss will come. There will be bumps in the road, but never lose sight or forget the end goal.
Make it fun
If you aren’t having fun on the diet, it’s probably not going to work. “Dieting” and “fun” might sound like they shouldn’t go together, but it’s easy to make the diet fun.
Attempting to put a healthy spin on your favorite foods is a great starting point to having a good time with the diet. I constantly crave chicken strips and chicken sandwiches, so I messed around and made some pretty tasty and diet-friendly chicken sandwiches and chicken strips. Doing stuff like that will make you forget you’re on a diet.
This might be an unpopular opinion, but counting calories and protein has become fun. Finding foods that are really protein-dense and low-calorie is something that’s enjoyable to me.
I’ve got a ton of other tips, but I’ll leave it at this for now. I’ve taken up enough of your day. Everyone is different, so what works for me might not be the best option for you. Find your stride and find what’s comfortable and effective for you.
Thank you for reading. Much love and take care.