The world is currently facing an overwhelming pandemic. No, it’s not the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the obesity pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s an almost 50 percent prevalence of obesity in the United States, with the highest instances recorded among Non-Hispanic Black adults.
While there are factors influencing obesity, particularly among the less educated, the reality is that obese individuals can reverse the condition if they put in the work. If you’re looking to lose some of that weight using simple, natural methods, this weight loss guide will help you do just that.
Understand the Mindset
Before we jump in, it is important to help you get into the right mindset first. This is because effective weight loss primarily stems from the state of your mind. Most people are influenced by external factors like celebrities’ looks, wanting to fit into their wedding dress, getting in shape for summer, or wanting to shed some weight before their high school or university reunion.
While all these reasons are somewhat valid, the reality is that they’re fleeting at best. This is why you’ll find people losing some weight and gaining it back very quickly. True and lasting change comes from the inside, therefore, you must have a “why”. For example, parents who choose to lose weight so they can live longer and be around for their children tend to succeed and keep it that way for a long time.
The same goes for people who have a near-death experience like a heart attack or stroke directly or indirectly caused by obesity. In case you don’t know, obesity is linked to metabolic syndrome –a condition that causes life-threatening ailments like heart disease, arteriosclerosis, stroke, and hypertension.
So, before you start the weight loss process, here’s a crucial question to ask yourself: “Why do I want to lose weight?”. Figure that out first, and you’ll find that you’ll be able to sustain the process, develop a healthy expectation, and experience gradual sustainable weight loss.
With that out of the way, let’s get started.
Reduce Your Calorie Intake
Weight loss is a simple input-output issue. This means that if you consume fewer calories than you use, your body will tap from your fat reserves to complement the deficit. You just have to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. Do this for long enough, and you’ll naturally lose a lot of weight.
So how much food are you currently consuming on a daily basis? Well, the average calorie intake requirement for adult males is 2,500 calories and 2,000 for adult females. Of course, your needs may differ from the average person’s based on factors like physical activity, metabolism, and age.
You can check yours using calorie calculators –easily found on Google. You’ll have to input various parameters such as your current weight, height, BMI, and a few other details –can be done anonymously though. Once you have that number, eat less than the required calorie amount, and you’ll be sure to burn that fat.
Start Doing More Aerobics
Aerobic exercises like running, jogging, hiking, brisk walking, and swimming are tried and tested weight loss methods. Not only is aerobics heart-healthy, but it is also great for melting bodily fat, increasing your lung capacity, improving your cardiovascular health and keeping you in great physical and mental shape. This is why aerobics are a huge part of every personal trainer’s weight loss tools.
It works by helping you burn more calories. This calorie deficit is how you lose weight and keep it off. For a more powerful result, combine aerobic exercises with lower calorie consumption and you’ll have a fail-proof system guaranteed to burn fat and keep you lean.
Start Pumping Iron
This means start lifting weights. Now, you don’t necessarily need to lift weight to lose weight, but it does help accelerate the speed and helps you look fit as you shed the weight.
Weight lifting helps you burn fat, tone your muscles, and improves your looks. People who are particularly obese tend to have saggy or shrunk skin around areas like the stomach, chest, underarms, and thighs when they start losing weight. With weight training, you’ll not only build those muscles, but you’ll also have less saggy skin.
Weight training is also great for adults as it improves your posture, boosts your confidence, gives you a sense of internal and physical power, improves your looks –weight lifting encourages your body to produce more collagen and growth hormones which repair skin damage– and promotes longevity.
The best weight lifting exercises are those that target all parts of your body. These are known as compound exercises, and they include bench presses, squats, military presses, lunges, and deadlifts.
If you do this just 2-3 times a week with 15-30 minute sessions, you’ll lose a lot of weight. If you combine this with lowering your calorie consumption and aerobics, the fat will melt off your body like butter on a hot pan.
Start a Low Carb Diet
There are many low-carb diets, all of which promise good results. But the keto diet stands out because of its tested and proven effectiveness. In fact, the keto diet is scientific in its approach and has helped millions of people lose weight and stay fit.
Low-carb diets like the Keto Diet aims to limit carb consumption to between 30 grams and 50 grams daily. The thing is that’s a pretty difficult thing to do as carb tracking can be a pain in the butt. However, Keto shakes can help you track and limit your consumption to that range.
Low-carb diets like the keto diet can be pretty strict, which is why they’re not a favorite. Thankfully, they work because they help you stay below the carb limits necessary to trigger a state of ketosis, where the body taps from your fat reserves to provide the energy it needs.
Rev Up the Body’s Metabolism
People who have a fast metabolism rarely get fat. You’ve probably met people who eat a ton and are still stick-thin. That’s because they have a metabolism that torches the food they consume very quickly and converts it to energy. Then, there are people who have a slow or average metabolism. These folks tend to pile on the fat if they eat more food than is necessary.
The good news is you can trick your body into being in this state by boosting your metabolism. Just do a lot more fat-burning exercises. Start running or biking, do compound exercises like burpees, squats, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and lift more weights. These can help speed up your metabolism so you burn off more fat faster.
Track Everything You Eat or Drink
There’s a reason weight loss coaches and consultants tell people to track their food consumption. That’s because it not only helps you see what you’re eating and drinking, but it also forces you to become more conscious of the things you eat.
Most people don’t pay attention to what goes in their mouths. Tracking everything you eat will help you see how the things you eat are directly contributing to your obesity.
The easiest way to record this would be to get a binder, and literally write down what you eat, when you eat, and how many times you eat. The same applies to drinks. However, if carrying a binder around is inconvenient, download food tracking app on your phone and just log the details as you go.
These apps are even more interactive in the sense that they help calculate your calorie intake. This way, you can really see just how many calories you’re consuming on a daily basis.
Cut Out Sugar
A 12-ounce can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar or about 9 sugar cubes. Yet, the recommended daily sugar intake for adults is 30 grams. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American adult consumes about 34 teaspoons of sugar daily or 100 pounds of sugar every year. That is an incredible amount of sugar and one that contributes to the obesity epidemic.
When people consume so much sugar, the body stores away the excess sugars in the form of fat. This is what causes weight gain. So it goes to reason that if you do cut back on or completely eliminate sugars, chances are you will lose some weight.
Therefore, cut back on sugary drinks like soda, beer, slurpies, ice cream, and other sugary drinks. The same applies to foods that have a high amount of high fructose corn syrup. So get rid of the sweets, desserts, and other food items that have a lot of sugar in them.
Set a Schedule for Your Workouts
I know working out can be tedious and stressful, but the sense of accomplishment, discipline, and results far outweigh the pain. Plus, you’ve gotta do it before the doctors mandate it –obese patients are required to exercise to stay alive. Therefore, you need to start working out more frequently. Start with 15-25 minute sessions 2-3 times a week.
It can be something as simple as taking a brisk walk every time. What some folks do is simply park their vehicles a couple of blocks away from their offices, and walk the remaining distance to and from their offices every day. If you do this, you’ll be getting about 40-60 minutes of exercise per day without even thinking about it.
If you’re lifting weights, start small with the weights that you can actually handle. Then load up on the reps. Instead of carrying heavy weights, start with the light ones, but do more reps instead. This will raise your metabolism, burn the fat faster and improve your heart health.
Do this 2-3 times a week, see how you feel, and go from there. No matter how you feel, once the time comes for you to work out, just go do it. This is why it’s important to schedule your workouts into your daily itinerary.
Control Your Food Portions
Known as portion control, this is how you get to moderate how much food you eat at every point in time. Start by dividing your current food portions into three parts. Eat one portion, wait another 3 hours for the second and the third. You could also just opt for eating in smaller bowls.
Portion control is powerful and has helped many people lose a ton of weight. It works because it just gives the body the fuel it needs at that point. So the body has no need to store up any excess food or carb as fat.
Also, swap out carbs for veggies and proteins. Ideally, your plate of food should contain more veggies and lean protein than carbs. Dietary recommendations state that half the plate should be vegetables, one-quarter should be protein, and the last one-quarter should be carbs.
Change Your Commuting Options
For the average individual, cars are how you get around. Unfortunately, this great invention –thank you, Henry Ford– has increased our sedentary lifestyle, and is partly responsible for people’s weight gain –this is why you’ll find that truckers tend to be obese. It’s all that sitting in one spot, even if you’re driving for hours.
What’s the alternative? Well, commute by bicycle. Bicycle riding is an incredibly effective aerobic workout that helps you blast tummy fat, strengthen muscles, improve your heart health, boost your cognitive function, enhance your mood, enjoy better sleep, and achieve the weight loss goal you desire.
Start Jogging or Running
Even though I briefly touched on this earlier, running or jogging deserves a whole section. As an aerobic activity, this is a super-effective way to torch your body fat and burn those calories. If you doubt it, here’s a question for you: how many fat runners have you seen? I’m guessing none, right?!
That’s because frequent jogging or running works. It has a low entry barrier and can be done even right now. In fact, stop reading this right now, and go for a 5-10 minute run. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can run in place right now or just do a lap around your block.
Apart from weight loss, running offers a wide range of health benefits including appetite regulation which helps you eat less –great for weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, better breathing, improved mood and sleep, enhanced cognition, and better stamina.
Get Rid of Junk Foods
Fast food is usually cheaper and convenient, which is probably why many people indulge themselves. Unfortunately, the long-lasting effects of these foods are harmful. Studies have shown that fast foods, which are often made from processed foods are not as thoroughly digested as vegetables, fruits, proteins, and unrefined carbs.
This is why the body stores up the food as fat –particularly around the waistline. If you like eating ice cream, dairy products, fries, and burgers, the reality is that you’re basically piling on the fat. Spend some time cooking proper meals at home. And if you don’t have the time to cook, you can order home-cooked meals to your specification from many vendors online, and have them delivered to you. Cutting fast food from your daily meals alone will help you lose considerable weight, particularly if you replace them with the foods we’ll talk about in the next point.
Eat More Fruits, Veggies, and Protein
Fruits and vegetables are not only great sources of multivitamins and essential minerals, they aid and promote good gut health too. Also, protein is a good source of tissue-building nutrition. If you’re seeking to lose weight and build some muscle, you need to consume more protein.
From protein shakes and bars to grilled steak or chicken, proteins are a great way to shed some weight, strengthen your muscles and get proper nutrition. And if for some reason, you’re not lifting weights, proteins will help you keep your muscle tissues while you lose weight.
This is important because people tend to lose muscle mass when they’re cutting or losing weight. One of the best benefits of combining vegetables, fruits, and proteins is that they are filling, and devoid of empty calories.
Their appetite-suppressant qualities will help you stay fuller for longer, and will keep you from eating excessively. Frequent consumption of these foods will also lead to increased energy levels, faster metabolism, normalized blood pressure, and less hunger pangs.
Add all three food groups to your daily meal roster and you’ll see the fat melt off your body. Make sure to pay attention to your food labels too –in fact, only eat, natural organic foods in their original states. Foods that are high in sodium content tend to encourage excessive eating, water retention, and weight gain.
Consume More Fiber-Based Foods
Fiber-rich foods are your best friend in this weight loss journey. This is because they are great at promoting satiety and keeping you fuller for longer in the process. So, add more whole grains to your meals.
They’re not only great for weight loss, but they also regulate blood sugar levels, improve bowel movements, and lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the body. This is a better alternative to processed foods as well as junk foods too.
Also, remember to properly chew your food. It’s a small thing, but studies have shown that people who chew fast and rush their food tend to gain weight.
Cut the Beer and Drink More Water Instead
Ever heard the term “beer gut”? If you have, chances are you’ve wondered why people get fat from drinking beer. Well, the reality is that a can of beer contains an average of 152 calories.
Therefore, if you chug 4 cans a day, that accounts for about 616 calories. Remember that the average male adult only needs 2,500 calories a day. If you’ve already exceeded or are close to that by the time you drink these cans of beers, it’ll tip over your calorie consumption to numbers way above the recommended daily intake.
Do this for a few years, and it’s easy to see why this habit will add to your waistline. Instead of beer, health experts recommend drinking more water. This not only has zero calories but also prevents dehydration, keeps you fuller for longer, flushes out toxins, elevates your mood, and improves your body’s pH.
Beer contributes to your weight gain and can cause significant health concerns in the long term. Get rid of beer and replace it with water, and watch your waistline recede. In fact, always drink a glass or more of water before your meals. It’ll help you eat less food, and improve your satiety.
Get More Rest and Sleep
Weight gain can be caused by excess cortisol in the body. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and when you have inadequate sleep, you’re more likely to have high cortisol levels in the body and low leptin levels –leptins are appetite-regulating hormones. So less sleep increases the risk of obesity as well as other health conditions.
Also, sleep-deprived people tend to crave calorie-dense foods and eat a lot more than they should. This is why people suffering from insomnia eat in the middle of the night. The body demands more food from you when you don’t sleep enough. This is why the average adult should get 7-8 hours of sleep every day to function optimally.
A lack of sleep also impairs your willpower –and you need the willpower to stay disciplined and resist the temptation of excessive, unhealthy eating. Therefore, you’re more likely to yield to temptations if you’re not well-rested.
Track Your Weight
Tracking your progress is an important part of every weight loss goal. You need to know just how much weight you’re losing. This is not only great for your self-esteem but helps keep you motivated. However, I’ll recommend that you do this every 2-4 weeks after cutting back on your food intake and exercising every day.
Some people recommend weighing in every 3 or so days. I don’t because weight loss is a gradual process. In fact, the first few days or weeks may not show any indication of progress because your body will initially resist the new change.
And because the body attempts to replace any calorie deficits by tapping from your fat reserves, the progress won’t be as noticeable. This can be discouraging for many people, causing them to fall off the wagon. So weight every 2-4 weeks after maintaining the right diet and workout regimens.
Stick to Your Weight Loss Programs
Distractions are a huge obstacle to people who want to lose some weight. And by distractions, I mean other fitness regimens or diet programs. If you want to succeed, you have to pick one method and run with it for at least, one month.
Many intending fitness enthusiasts end doing a bunch of programs and then wonder why the programs don’t work. That’s because you need time and the cumulative effects of your efforts to start seeing results. Jumping from one fad diet to another won’t cut it.
Remember the discussion we had about expectations at the beginning? This is why it’s crucial to have realistic expectations. Can you lose 100 lbs. in 3 months? Possibly, but you’ll have to literally starve and train like a fiend –two activities that contradict each other as you need the energy to train hard– to achieve that.
However, is it possible to lose the same 100 pounds in 12 months? Absolutely. Just commit to losing 10 lbs. monthly –completely doable by the way– pick a proven weight loss method, and just go at it every day.
Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment and a loss of morale. And this is why people jump from one diet program to another without giving them any chance to work.
Remember that weight loss and weight gain are a calorie deficit and calorie surplus game. Understand this, and just develop habits and routines designed to keep you in a calorie deficit at all times.
Avoid Comfort Foods
Most people eat excessively when they’re stressed, worried, grieving, anxious, or in a state of trepidation. This is known as comfort food. They’re foods that people eat to feel a bit better about themselves or their situation. And when you eat too much, you gain weight. It’s that simple.
That’s why you need to do everything possible to minimize stress in your life. Make out time to have fun every day. It could be something as simple as watching a 10-to 20-minute comedy. Hang out with loved ones. Listen to good music, work out and exercise, and do everything to avoid stress triggers.
If you’re unable to avoid the stress, you can always work out as a way to de-stress. That has a two-pronged benefit of calming you down and helping you lose weight too.
Become More Active
The rise in personal computing devices and technology means that most people spend a lot of time sitting down at their desks. The reality is that man was not built to sit for prolonged periods.
These prolonged sedentary periods are responsible for excessive weight gain and associated conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, deep-vein thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, studies have shown that prolonged sitting shortens one’s life span by increasing the risk of death.
Research also states that it produces effects similar to or worse than smoking. When you’re a couch potato or stay in one place for too long, the body automatically starts mimicking the process of death.
WebMD says the brain of someone who sits for too long tends to look like that of someone suffering from dementia. Prolonged sitting is bad for you, period. This is why you feel better when you move around after sitting down for so long. You need to seriously increase your activity levels now. Start with simple things like taking the stairs every day. Avoid the elevators and take the stairs all the time.
If you need to go somewhere, walk briskly. In fact, get up and walk around for 10-15 minutes after every hour of sitting down. Get a standing or walking desk that will keep you on your feet while you work. Just get creative with the process, and you’ll find yourself burning more fat from all that activity.
Weight Loss Surgery
This is the absolute last option. If you implement all the suggestions we made earlier, chances are that you might not need weight loss surgeries. However, there is a very small percentage of overweight people whose obesity was caused by a hormonal issue. That can be treated or regulated with hormonal supplementation.
If all the above-mentioned tips seem like a ton of work for you, weight loss surgeries like gastric bypass and gastric band surgery can help you cut down on your food intake. You could also opt for an intragastric balloon procedure where an inflated balloon is placed in the stomach, thus leaving a small room for your food.
Gastric bypass surgeries involve the re-sectioning of your stomach so the upper part is separated from the lower part. Gastric sleeve surgeries, on the other hand, involve the complete removal of two-thirds of your stomach. Unlike other weight loss procedures that can be reversed, the gastric sleeve procedure is permanent and irreversible.
The ultimate goal of these procedures is to help you eat far less food and lose weight in the process.