We’ve all heard of the BMI (body mass index) chart.
You know, the one that inputs the data of your height and weight and determines if you’re at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese?
Well, let’s be honest.
If you’re overweight or obese, you don’t need a doctor pointing at a chart to tell you this.
Frankly, that’s a little insulting if you ask me.
The thing is, when we’ve packed on extra weight over months or years, we know it.
And, we’re our own worst critics, right?
Maybe, like so many, you’ve tried countless diets and ways to lose the extra pounds to no avail.
So, should you just throw your hands up and say, “forget it.”
Absolutely not! The health risks of obesity are far too great, AND you absolutely can be successful in your weight loss efforts!
Let’s first look at the reality of obesity and then some sensible and sustainable ways to achieve and maintain healthy weight loss!
Health Risks Of Obesity
What is obesity? Simply put, this word refers to someone who has an unhealthy amount or distribution of body fat.
And, having too much body fat, or too much fat in certain areas of your body (the abdominal region, for instance) can wreak havoc on your health.
Chances are, if you’re carrying around an unhealthy amount of body fat, you can already feel this.
Of course, there’s the obvious ways you know this: the mirror, those dang jeans that just won’t zip anymore (stupid dryer), or the fact that you’re more fatigued doing general activities.
But, sometimes we also need to know the facts about what’s going on inside of our bodies as well.
When you have an excess amount of body fat, and this isn’t pleasant to say/type or think about, but essentially that excess fat is killing you.
We’re all dying though, right? So, might as well die happy with a large side of fries!
First of all, you don’t have to completely forego fries to be healthy, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Just being frank here, the seriousness of obesity is gruesome.
I mean, right now in 2020, the virus we’re all sick of hearing about, actually poses a greater threat than originally thought for obese individuals.
It increases the risk of being hospitalized from Covid by 113%, of being admitted to the ICU by 74%, and ultimately increases the risk of death from Covid by nearly 50%!
And, we like to talk about this due to its newness, but there’s a host of not-so-new problems for which obese individuals are at risk.
In fact, these health problems have become so intense that some governments are considering excess tax on food and drink items that threaten the health and well-being of the general public.
You may remember several years ago (2013) when then mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, attempted to outlaw sodas larger than 16 ounces being sold at restaurants?
In other words, the idea of government taxation on unhealthy foods and drinks isn’t new.
So, what’s their reasoning with this? Well, perhaps it stems from the laundry list of adverse health effects particular to obesity.
Obese individuals are at a greater risk of the following conditions and diseases:
- All causes of mortality…death.
Let’s stop right there. This is the “gruesome” seriousness of obesity that I was referring to earlier.
We’ll continue the laundry list in a moment…but here’s the bare bones of this folks.
Excess body fat causes inflammation, plain and simple. And, chronic inflammation in the body is a recipe for disaster.
Essentially, with chronic inflammation, your body attacks itself. This attack sets off a chain of responses that cause problem after problem after problem. In fact, many of the subsequent risks of obesity indeed stem from your body’s response to chronic inflammation.
And, if that wasn’t enough, excess body fat adds stress to your bones and internal organs. It can completely change your hormones (causing another cascade of negative effects) and it wrecks your metabolism.
But, back to the laundry list…because as serious as this is, I’m ready for you to finish taking notes here and get to the solution!
Excess body fat puts you at a greater risk of one or many of the following:
- Cartilage breakdown in your joints
- Cancer (many types)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea (stopping breathing during sleep)
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, which is a contributing factor to some of the above like heart disease, stroke, etc)
- Gallbladder disease
- Liver disease
- Complications during pregnancy
- Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and other disorders
- Overall lower quality of life
- Pain with normal everyday function
That list is frightening! That list is long! That list of risks is a reality for those with excess body fat.
But, that list can be reversed!!
Sensible Weight/Fat Loss
We’re done with the gloom and doom!
And, all the Gilmore fans are now quoting Lorelai, “Praise be to Him and all the little lambs that frolic the earth with their frankincense and myrrh…”
The thing is, while it’s necessary to know the reality of what an unhealthy amount of body fat can cause, it’s equally necessary to know how to effectively change that problem!
But, some folks can feel defeated before ever beginning any fat loss efforts.
Many times this can happen from a simple glance at a “diet” program that calls for ditching every carb known to man, never eating pizza again, and holding a ritualistic sacrifice for your beloved ice cream that stocks your freezer shelves.
But, does it have to be that daunting, that complex? Not at all!
Calorie restriction is an easy and effective way to significantly reduce body fat and achieve your weight/fat loss goals.
Simply put, when you eat too many calories, your body changes those extra calories into fat.
Therefore, to lose excess fat, you need to consistently eat fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight.
But, this does NOT mean starvation. And, this does NOT mean depriving your body of essential nutrients.
So, what does calorie restriction look like?
How many calories should you eat each day to facilitate fat loss? And, what kinds of foods should you incorporate to ensure you are properly fueling your body with needed nutrients?
If you’re a numbers person, and you would benefit from seeing the exact number of calories you should consume daily to achieve fat loss, this is the easiest caloric deficit equation that I’ve found (and have had sustainable success with). It works as follows:
Take your goal body weight (in pounds) multiplied by 12. For example, if your goal body weight is 150 pounds, you should be consuming no more than 1800 calories per day. (150 x 12 = 1800)
Note: Your goal body weight is simply “what you might weigh at your leanest,” or when you have the healthiest amount of body fat. A guide like the BMI chart can actually be helpful here in knowing what this weight might be for you.
Keep in mind though, if you have a large amount of weight to lose, you may consider starting at a halfway point to your possible goal weight to avoid restricting your calorie intake too severely to start out. This will also give you a more realistic and sustainable plan.
And, if that sounds too simple…I promise you it’s only because this is the end result of the science of it all.
We’re skipping energy expenditures, thermic food effects, and metabolism 101 and just giving you the tried and true results-based equation.
You can keep track of your daily intake of calories with apps like MyFitnessPal, Lose It, and MyPlate.
Something you will quickly notice when restricting calories:
Processed and fried or fast foods and sugary sweets are very high in calories and they just don’t keep you full!
And, you’ll find that fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains are low calorie options that help you feel fantastic and satiate you.
But, what if you don’t want to actually count calories each day? No problem!
What we just left off with regarding counting calories is exactly where we’ll pick up here!
To restrict caloric intake without actually counting calories, try incorporating these tips and types of foods:
- Make sure your meal (no more than 3 times per day) fits onto one plate, and try these plate portions: ½ of your plate should be filled with vegetables, ¼ of the plate is protein, and ¼ carbohydrates and fats.
- Incorporate low calorie foods for snacks (try an apple for a sweet tooth fix instead of that afternoon chocolate chip cookie, or a handful of nuts instead of junk foods like chips).
- Drink ½ your weight in ounces of water each day (jazz it up by adding fresh squeezed lemon, sliced cucumber, or mint).
- Be mindful of additions like dressings and sauces which can pack on more calories than you anticipate.
- Skip calorie dense beverages (example: reach for a sparkling water instead of a soda)
- When you feel satisfied, stop eating.
- Avoid late night or “in front of the television” mindless eating.
- Be mindful of serving sizes.
And, even if you aren’t game for counting calories long term, consider tracking your calories for approximately 30 days to start out.
This will give you an idea of proper portion sizes, just how many calories you are consuming each day, and ideas for calorie ranges on healthy, nutritious foods versus calorie-laden processed foods.
A Lifestyle Change
Shedding excess body fat isn’t the only goal here. What good does it do to shed the weight/fat, rock a pair of “skinny” jeans, and then slay a half marathon if you cannot sustain the fat loss?
Why go to serious lengths and efforts if you’re unable to maintain the results?
The fact of the matter is, shedding excess body fat can be a journey. And, why is this word (journey) often incorporated in fat loss efforts?
Because, chances are your lifestyle is what has led to the excess fat compiling in/on your body, and thus a lifestyle change is what is needed to correct this.
But, don’t let that word intimidate you! It truly doesn’t have to be that hard. Consider this:
After you brush your teeth, do you think about where to put your toothbrush, or do you just instinctively place it back in its appropriate place in the holder?
When you shower, whether you realize it or not, you incorporate a routine. Some go straight for the loufa, some grab the shampoo first. Either way, you do this without thinking.
Or, what about when you walk inside your home, do you lock the door behind you? If so, do you have to think about this task?
Unfortunately, we also have some unhealthy habits:
Grabbing a spoon and a gallon of ice cream while watching television at night.
Reaching for a soda every time you’re thirsty. Or, piling extra sugar in your coffee.
Needlessly opting for supersized portions.
We often do those things out of habit, without thinking.
So, think of fat loss in this manner as well!!
Those who have the most success in losing fat and maintaining that loss do so with a complete lifestyle change.
Start small and build up for lasting change. Just consider the following:
Feel like half your body weight in ounces of water per day is too tall of a mountain to climb? Start by making it a habit to drink 16 ounces of water (add some lemon for flavor and health benefits) at the start of each and every day.
After doing this for a week, trade your lunchtime soda for a refreshing glass of H2O as well. Now, you’re 32 ounces a day towards your goal in only a little over a week’s time!
Keep challenging yourself in this manner and soon you’ll have created a new, healthy habit that your body will thank you for!!
What about fast food? Is the burger and fries just too much of a staple to completely forego??
That’s fine, don’t forego it, just make it at home.
Choose a lean ground beef or turkey (appropriately portioned to fit your caloric needs), a whole grain bun, add some fresh lettuce, a few slices of tomato. You like onions, add them! Dill pickles?? I mean, come on, even a Krabby Patty has dill pickles!
Lowering your calorie consumption and eating clean does NOT have to be boring!
Grab a few potatoes, or sweet potatoes (my favorite way to make homemade oven fries), wash and slice them (leave the peeling on or take it off, your choice), drizzle or spritz a little olive oil on those bad boys, season and throw them into the oven for delicious homemade fries!
In not much time at all, and with minimal effort, you can have a healthy, filling burger and fries at home!
Another tip, get in the habit of having at least one bowl of veggies daily to start out (grow in time).
Maybe that means a colorful salad at lunch each day. No…not rabbit food, compose a flavorful bowl of a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and/or seeds. And, throw some grilled chicken in there too for some protein.
Many people burn out on things like salad or lean meats and fresh, healthy vegetables because they forget one important component: creativity!
Look for low calorie dressings, go crazy with herbs and spices. Channel your inner Emeril and take it up “another notch!”
One last thing…
Perhaps the biggest key to sensible weight loss and a healthy lifestyle change: consistency.
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
Rocking the salad on Monday.
Drinking all the water on Tuesday. Feeling great, feeling motivated.
An amazing homemade burger and oven fries on Wednesday. You can do this!!
A healthy homemade pizza on Thursday that puts The Hut to shame on all accounts!
Friday, dinner out with friends, and you just had the margarita, because you’ve rocked this week! And…the chips and cheese dip too.
Saturday…well, I blew it on Friday, might as well have the donuts, and the fried chicken, and the cookies…screw it, I can’t do this!!
A secret from the trenches: You didn’t arrive at this point because of one margarita or one dinner of chips and dip. So, don’t let one margarita and one dinner of chips and dip ruin your progress or your motivation.
If you get off track for a meal, don’t let it ruin your day. Make healthy, calorie conscious choices for the rest of the day.
And, if you get off track for a day, don’t let it ruin your week. And so on…
Consistent healthy choices. That’s how it’s done. Life isn’t linear, and neither is sensible weight loss.
Pull a Dory…and just keep swimming. Fight through the ups and downs, and you’ll be able to look back in a month, in 3 months, in 6 months, so thankful that you kept pushing forward.
And if you’ve tried everything on this page and STILL aren’t seeing results,
Recent studies are now showing how a simple tweak to your bedtime ritual can have dramatic effects in shrinking fat tissue while reversing the signs of premature biological aging every time you fall asleep.
In fact, Lisa used this 2 minute hack to finally rid herself of 62 lbs of baby weight, which not only resulted in a reversal of Type 2 Diabetes, but also forced her to buy a whole new wardrobe!