Weigh yourself every day, or at least once a week.
- Do it at the same time of day every time. For me, it’s right before my morning shower. This way you can avoid any fluctuations due to “I just ate,” or… “I just…” ….well, you know. The conditions are more stable, and you can avoid making excuses. Make it a habit.
- Get a digital scale. The ones with the analog dials keep you guessing about where you really are. Pesky shifting needle!
Count your calories.
- Seriously, just do it for a week. You will learn a lot. It’s a pain in the ass: you have to measure everything, and read labels, but by the end of the week, you’ll know where your diet problems are. For me, it’s cookies, and nighttime cravings.
- Remember, for weight-loss, the formula is pretty freakin’ simple. Calories in should be less than calories out. If I’m really aiming to lose weight (say, 5-10 lbs in a month or two), I’ll aim for 1500-1700 calories a day. Your count may be slightly higher or lower, depending on your height and weight. Try this calculator.
- Lift weights. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn, for your weight. Build your biggest muscles (quads, hams, back, etc.), and your burn will be even better.
- If you’re a girl, please don’t worry about “getting bulky.” It takes a lot more work than you probably imagine to actually get bulky. You’d have to work out at least 5 days a week, doing extremely high intensity stuff, with heavy weight. Don’t let the “bulk” excuse prevent you from lifting weights. Do you think Halle Berry is bulky? I guarantee you she lifts weights at least four times a week.
- Make sure you’re getting lots of protein. I’m supposed to get 78-97g per day. Here are some calculators to try.
Eat small meals very regularly.
- Make it 200-400 calories about every 2-3 hours.
- I’ll be honest, I am not as dedicated to this piece as I had to be before. At this point, I’m in maintenance mode — I don’t feel a strong need to lose weight right now. I think “small meals every two hours” is the hardest part of losing weight, because you really have to plan, and pack lots food for yourself. It’s a bit of a chore, but you get good at it. Some day I’ll do a post to suggest a meal plan along these lines.
And last but not least, just a mantra I have to repeat to myself all the time:
For me, weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise.
I can exercise all I want, but if I’m eating crap, I will not lose weight. In fact, I am very likely to gain weight. The secret — is it really a secret? — is to WATCH WHAT YOU EAT!