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How to sustainably lose weight?

Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to decrease your body fat % a little bit? Have you worked really hard in the gym, and do you want better muscle definition now? Is there any upcoming special occasion where you just want to look better?


Are you not sure how to lose weight without painful dieting?

Do you want to lose weight without restricting yourself too much?

Do you want to lose weight but do not want to lose your muscles?

Do you want to lose weight sustainably?


Great! I have some tips on how to lose weight sustainably without overly restricting yourself.


First of all, you should never start dieting or losing weight just because someone told you to. This decision should always be just yours and if someone is pressuring you into dieting, just ditch them! Losing weight gets uncomfortable sometimes. You can get hungry and tired, but that is ok. Losing weight is just a short time process. But I will get into that later on.


How to lose weight sustainably?

Great question! The short answer would be: create a small calorie deficit, keep it for some time and then you will get your results.


But you are not here for short answers, right?

So, let's get a little bit deeper into this.


Calorie deficit

By the way, I have another blog post on how to set your calories and macros - you can find it here.


If you want to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit.

How do you do that? Well, firstly, you need to know your maintenance calories. (Again, I have another blog post about it) Once you know your maintenance calories, you can decide how big a deficit you want to create.


To start, I would recommend starting your deficit at 10% of your maintenance calories. As an example - if your maintenance calories are 2000kcal, start with eating 1800kcal for a few weeks. 10% calorie deficit is more than enough when starting with weight loss.


After some time, it can happen that the weight loss will slow down or stop. It is not because you did something wrong (unless you really did). It is because your metabolism will get used to a smaller number of calories. Also, because you lost weight, your maintenance calories could drop down a bit. If that happens and you will see no results for a couple of weeks, it is time to lower your calories a little bit more.


So, for the next few weeks, you can lower your calories to 1700kcal. That will give the body another signal to lose weight and create a different % of your calorie deficit.


I DO NOT RECOMMEND CREATING A DEFICIT THAT IS TOO LARGE. YES, YOU WILL LOSE A WEIGHT QUICKER BUT THE WEIGHT LOSS WILL NOT BE SUSTAINABLE AND YOU CAN GET SOME SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES.


So please, do not do that. Do not lower your calories too much.


For how long should I be in a calorie deficit?

Well, it depends. Everyone's diet will be different. Everyone's progress will be different, and that is ok.


Do not ever get discouraged if you see someone progressing quicker when you. Losing weight is not a competition it is not you against someone else. It is just you.


Everyone has a different history. Someone loses weight quicker, someone faster. Someone tried an endless amount of very restrictive diets, and someone has had the same sustainable eating habits for years now. For some people, eating a lower amount of calories is fine. Some people do not feel comfortable being in a deficit at all. What you also must consider is that everyone has different health. Some health issues and prescription pills can make your weight loss journey more difficult. And because of all this - please do not ever compare your journey to someone else's. Focus on yourself and on the work that you put in.


So now we have established that everyone's progress will be a little bit different, let's have a look at some guidelines that are good to follow.


First of all - make a plan. You do not want to be in a deficit for too long. Being in a deficit is unnatural and not good for your body for a long period.

And I understand that there are people who want to lose a bigger amount of weight and that is ok. Just try to do it sustainably and slowly.


Your plan could look like this:

  1. Find out your maintenance calories and create a 10% deficit, that you will follow for 4 weeks.

  2. After 4 weeks, lower your calories by another 100 - 150kcal and maintain that for another 4 weeks.

  3. After another 4 weeks, do it again. Now you have been in deficit for 8 weeks in total.

  4. After another 4 weeks (12 weeks in total now), you will see how happy you are with the results. If you are happy, you can stop dieting. If you would want to make another process you can either increase your activity by adding more training sessions or you can lower your deficit again.

  5. After 16 weeks I would finish the dieting phase and slowly start to increase my calories.

Why would I do that? As I said before, it is not healthy to be in a deficit for too long. You need to give your body a break from dieting and give it more nutrients now. Let your body rest, eat your maintenance calories for 12 - 16 weeks now and then if you want to lose more weight, create another deficit.


What about macronutrients in deficit?

You always want to keep your protein high if you are in deficit. You want to keep your muscles and protein also keeps you full for longer. So do not be afraid to eat around 2g of protein per body weight in deficit. There is no need to lower your protein intake when you will be lowering your calories in different phases of your diet.

Make sure you eat enough fat. Fat is extremely important, especially for women, and it can be dangerous to eat for example just 20g of fat a day. And absolutely unnecessary.


The macronutrient that I tend to lower when dieting is carbohydrates. People usually have enough of them in their diet already. So, if you are decreasing your calories, you can go from eating 220g of carbs a day to eating 200g a day (as an example). And by decreasing your carbs I do not mean a low-carb or keto diet. I mean slightly decreasing the number of carbohydrates.


What can help me in a calorie deficit?

I know that eating less than you are usually used to can get a little bit uncomfortable. Luckily, I have some basic tips on how to keep fuller and motivated.


Eat enough fibre and vegetables - make sure all of your daily meals contain fibre and vegetables. Fibre keeps you fuller for longer and also helps your digestion.


Eat high volume food - there is a difference in eating 200kcal from rice and 200kcal from cooked potatoes. Think about a food that is lower in calories and try to include it more in your diet. On the other hand, try to eat less calorie-dense food. It will not keep you full for longer and you will consume many calories in a small meal. Not good in deficit. Not good at all.


Include a small portion of your favourite meal - do not over restrict yourself. If there are snacks or food that you really like, try to include a small portion of it in your meals every day. Like for example, if you really like chocolate, put a little bit of it on your oats or have some with yoghurt. Or if you like chips and burgers, cook a lower calorie version at home. You can do amazing chips in the air fryer. And as for a burger, you will probably not be able to fit a large burger with tons of bacon, cheese and sauces in your daily intake. But try to improvise and see what you can fit into your daily calories. One day it can be a homemade burger with cheese, another day with a little bit of bacon.


Measure your progress - do not rely on your personal feelings, measure the progress. Even though how you feel in your body, or your clothes is important, it is also important to have the right evidence. Because we are just humans and feelings can be very misleading, especially when you are trying to achieve something. Take a photo in the same pose and clothes each week, weigh yourself regularly and make an average weekly weight, measure yourself. With that, you will see how your plan is working or not working. And even though you might have days when you will not feel like you are doing some progress, numbers can tell you otherwise.


Mindset - when you want to lose weight, mindset is a game-changer. Our minds can be so powerful. If you decide at the beginning that your whole journey will go well, that you have great reasons to start weight loss and you are motivated, then your weight loss journey will be so much easier. But if you decide that you do not like it, that you will feel hungry all the time and not make any process, it will certainly feel like it. Try to find things and activities that really motivate you. If you have a plan set up, you know exactly in what phase of weight loss you are and that can also keep your motivation up.


What activity is the best for weight loss?

The best activity is always the one that you enjoy. Do not force yourself to do an activity that you do not like or enjoy. If you prefer weights, go and lift. If you are a runner, go for a run. If you prefer low impact and low-intensity workouts, try yoga and go for a walk. Whichever activity you prefer is great.




If you are in a calorie deficit, make sure you do not lose the muscles you already have. You will avoid it by eating enough protein and also by progressively overloading in your training.


A simple way how to increase the number of burnt calories in a short period is HIIT workout. You can do it for 10 - 15 minutes on the bike, running (outside running, not treadmill), rowing machine, sky-energy machine, or any similar machine, where you are using your strength and do not rely on the machine settings. HIIT workouts are extremely effective and support burning a larger number of calories for the next 24 hours. And also improve your cardiovascular health.


Last but not least - you can increase your NEAT.

NEAT = non-exercise activity during the day


That can be anything like...

  • going shopping

  • taking the stairs instead of taking the lift

  • get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest

  • cleaning your house

  • gardening

  • playing your child

  • walking the dog

  • taking the longer route when going for a walk

  • going for a walk more often

And the list could go on. Important thing is - keep moving. Try not to be sedentary for hours and hours every day. Those are all small changes that make a whole lot of a difference.

 

As I said before, I know that losing weight can be uncomfortable and you get hungry. But if you have a great plan, vision, and motivational goals the whole process gets easier. Always remember that it is just a small period of weeks, not the new lifestyle. It is a tool that takes you closer to your current goals.










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