There are so many approaches to weight loss; fasting diets, joining a slimming club, eliminating food groups, counting macros and so on. I'm sure we all know someone who swears by a certain diet or workout regime, but everything that works in a sustainable way is all due to a calorie deficit. This can be created in a number of ways but essentially boils down to moving more and therefore increasing your energy expenditure, and/or eating less and therefore consuming fewer calories. Of course a combination of the two will have the greatest effect as you'll make a larger deficit, but weight loss can absolutely be achieved by just doing one (provided the change is significant enough to create that deficit).
Despite what some people may have you believe, if you are in a deficit, you will lose weight - it's just science!
There are some cases where some metabolic/hormonal issues will affect your ability to lose weight, however the vast majority of you don't have these medical problems, even though you think you might! Even in cases where you do, the issue is not that a calorie deficit isn't working, it's actually the fact that your metabolism is affected and therefore your calorie expenditure is much lower than you think it is, and consequently you aren't actually in a deficit.
With the uncommon medical issues aside, the concept of energy balance is indeed very simple, but putting it into practice isn't quite so. However, for a beginner, by simply counting the calories you are consuming in a day, you immediately become more aware of what you are actually eating. Everything must be counted to ensure accuracy, and this includes drinks, alcohol, snacks, and every single thing you eat. It can be shocking to discover how much you are eating and drinking without even realising! There are some great apps to record your calorie intake on which have a huge database of foods on to make it quick and easy to fill in. The most popular one that I would recommend is My Fitness Pal: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/.
If you want to increase your results or if you are happy with your current diet, you can of course try to create a deficit through your energy expenditure. This is more difficult, as a few gym sessions or class a week generally won't be enough to create a significant deficit, unless they are very intense and/or regular. As mentioned in previous blogs, general movement and activity is the key - walking when you would normally drive, parking further away from the shop and getting some household chores done are all ways you can increase your daily energy expenditure, and this is what will really ramp up your weight loss.
With specific exercise, consistency is the most important element. If you can really commit to regular exercise, it will make a difference to your life in so many ways. Weight loss is a bonus but the mental benefits from exercising are the best form of motivation. As I always say, this can be in any form; sports, Personal Training, group classes, hiking - whatever you enjoy!
In my job as a Personal Trainer I am at risk of shooting myself in the foot by trying to educate people on how simple weight loss really is - however we are so often miss-sold fad diets and 'magic' products that I think it's important that people understand that the principal isn't that complicated. In saying this, although I believe the concept of energy balance is straightforward, actually creating a deficit in a sustainable way is not always as simple in real life. This is where I come in! Consistency, balance and accountability are all things that I can help with as a PT. Cliche or not, weight loss really is a journey and it's a much smoother one with someone to help and guide you through it.
I hope that I've simplified the basics of how to guarantee weight loss, but if you need any more information, don't hesitate to contact me with Personal Training enquiries.