Let's face it, for many people weight loss is a pursuit that causes a huge amount of stress and grief in their lives
Often causing them to obsess over what they do and how much they eat.
From counting calories, to weighing out every grain of rice, starving themselves, or every morning obsessing over the number on the scale.
This repeated action is not only unhealthy, but it is made even worse when set backs can potentially cause them to spiral out of control. As they are filled with guilt, self doubt and remorse.
But the reality is you can eat a healthy balanced diet, without fixating over every single detail.
Which is why my last post looked at a simple strategy you can use to determine portion sizes, without counting calories.
Well now it is time to further expand on this thinking, putting it into practice so that you can apply it for eating in accordance to your weight goals.
But before going any further, if you haven’t already make sure you firstly read the initial post here ,
So what next?
In order to establish how to eat for your weight goals, you firstly need to adapt to this way of determining portion sizes for your meals and track your weight changes for 2 weeks.
Your aim should be to do so in similar conditions, as that limits the possibility that results are influenced or affected by a change in circumstances.
So select a day to weigh yourself where you will be able to do so on roughly the same time and day on all following weeks, use the same scale and do so wearing the same, similar or no clothes and preferably first thing when you wake up after going to the bathroom.
As with any change in eating, it is common for water weight to be lost within the first week or two, which is why you will not be looking too make any changes within this initial period.
If after two weeks you find your weight remaining the same, then you will have a rough idea as to that amount of food being required for your maintenance level.
Your maintenance level simply means; the amount you need to consume for your weight to stay the same.
So at the end of the two weeks;
If you are gaining weight, then you know that you are eating too much and if you are losing weight, then you are consuming less than you require.
Weight loss rates
Your goal should not be drastic weight loss or gain and instead you should be aiming to do it at a safe rate.
This means aiming to lose or gain around 1-2 pounds a week, which is around 0.2-0.5kg.
However, people with more weight to lose will initially see higher levels of weight loss, so it is nothing to be concerned about and will eventually average out.
So with that in mind, if after a couple of weeks you are not seeing the weight changes you are aiming for, then men can either add or remove 1 fist-sized serving of carbohydrates to a meal of their choice or 1 thumb of fat. Women can remove ½ that amount.
Bare in mind though, when trying to determine your starting point and maintenance level if you are seeing substantially higher levels of weight loss or gain than desired, then this may require tweaking further.
This will be down to your personal judgement, so use the information covered along with comparing your weight changes to decide whether you need to add or take away more from your meals.
For instance, if you find yourself to be losing over 1kg a week, then it may require adding more than one serving.
At the end of the next week revaluate and repeat if necessary until you find the amount needed to maintain your current weight, or are seeing a safe level of either weight loss or gain.
If you do have a weight goal target, then track your weight weekly and if after two weeks you see no change, then you will need to either increase or decrease the amount you are eating.
This is because over time your body will plateau or get used to the amount you consume, or as you weigh more/less your maintenance requirement will also change.
The reason why you need to wait two weeks before making any modifications is that it is common for weight to fluctuate daily depending on what you eat, or the amount of water you are storing.
This is also why your weight varies throughout the day.
Personally I have even noticed up to a kilogram difference from day-to-day measurements, which gives you a pretty good indication of how much it can be impacted.
This is why before reducing or increasing your intake, it is best to give it a couple of weeks to see if there really was no change, or if it was just influenced by another factor on that day.
This is also why you should always aim to track your progress at the same times, as well as in similar conditions to limit the possibility of how the readings may be influenced.
It is also important to take into consideration that if you have recently started incorporating more exercise into your life (especially strength training), then it is highly likely you could be quickly building muscle mass.
This in turn could even make the number on the scale go up, even though you are in fact losing fat at the same time.
If this applies to you then I’d advise ignoring the use of weighing yourself for now and instead once you have a rough idea of your intake requirements, base your progress on how you look in the mirror or your clothes fit.
As that will be a far better indicator of how your body is changing and the last thing you want to do is get down about the number barely moving. Especially when the reality is you may be in the perfect situation of building lean mass (which increases your metabolism and the number of calories your body burns on a day-to-day basis), as well as losing fat.
If you are trying to lose weight then eating in a calorie deficit can often be challenging both mentally and physically.
After all, no one enjoys the feelings of being hungry, which is why if you find yourself in this situation there are a couple of changes you can make to ease these feelings.
You’ll find that by adapting to a diet based primarily around whole food sources, you will actually be able to consume far larger portions, that are substantially lower in calories.
But if you are finding that after meals you are still hungry, then add an extra portion or two of vegetables.
Not only will this increase your micronutrient intake, but they are also low calorie and high in fibre.
This will aid in filling you up, without drastically increasing your calorie intake, or negatively affecting your weight goals.
Also make sure that you are drinking enough water on a daily basis, aiming for at least 2 litres. A larger amount may however be required depending on your lifestyle, activity levels, or even where you reside.
If hunger is still an issue, then try drinking a glass of water 15 minutes before each meal. This is because the stomach responds to volume rather than overall calorie intake, so will help partially fill you up before you start eating.
Not only that, but it is also easy to confuse feelings of thirst with hunger, making many people turn to excess portions or snacking, when the reality is their body is simply dehydrated.
That is why if you feel the desire to snack, start by firstly having a glass of water, waiting for 15 minutes and then seeing if the feelings have passed.
You’ll find that these simple strategies can help potentially cut out 100s of extra calories a day. Which when added up, will have a huge impact on your weight loss targets.
That should give you a better idea of how to determine portion sizes without counting calories, as well as eating in regards to your weight goals.
As you can see if is a pretty straight forward practice, that far too many people and fad diets over complicate.
My upcoming book ‘Become a Better You’ goes into this practice in far more detail. Including how to put together balanced meals, what ingredients to build them around, as well as a way of eating free of restriction.
One thing I can’t stress enough though is that losing weight and changing your body composition takes time. So as hard as it is, you need to learn to enjoy your journey for what it is. Rather than continuously placing unnecessary pressure on yourself.
At the end of the day if it takes 6 weeks or a year to get to your goal then who cares. As long as what you achieve is maintainable long term and is done in a way that is mentally, physically as well as emotionally balanced, then that is all that matters.
How do you think you can use this approach in your daily life to eat for achieving your weight goals? Do you think it is something you can easily apply for preparing meals?
Post your thoughts or questions in the comments below.