Let me start by telling you that I’m no nutrition expert. Before going on a diet, I strongly advise you to agree with your doctor and visit a competent nutritionist. If you continue reading this post, it means that you are taking full responsibility of anything that could happen to you in case you follow the methods mentioned.
OK, that was the boring part. Now, the fun part begins. Yes, I have lost 16KG (35 pounds) in a year. I would like to share how.
First of all, some math. 1 KG of fat approximately contains 7.500 calories. If you want to burn 1 KG off your body, you need to burn 7.500 calories. To lose 16 KG, I had to burn 120.000 calories without ignoring my nutrition needs.
This is a lot. Considering how efficient the human body is designed, it is much more than one can reasonably burn with sport. My short cardio practice would burn around 250 calories, so it was obvious that I needed to lower my input as well.
Therefore, I got to know my body. Considering my job, life style, gender, age, weight, etc; a test told me that I need 1.800 calories per day. If I eat 2.000 calories, the excess 200 calories will probably turn into fat (weight gain). If I eat 1.500 calories, 300 calories will be burned off my fat (weight loss).
However, I was also informed about my critical lower limit; which was 1.200 calories per day. If I go below that limit, my body would do unpredictable things (like turning *everything* into fat) or my overall health could be damaged.
Every person would have different calorie values, those were mine.
So the idea was to eat about 1.200 calories per day, and never exceed 1.800 calories (except some rare cheat days). In case I did sports one day and burned 250 calories, I allowed myself to eat +250 calories too – so that I don’t fall under the critical limit of 1.200.
Following that calculation means that I would burn 600 calories daily. Considering that 1 KG of fat is worth 7.500 calories, I would lose about 2 KG per month.
And this is exactly what I did. I basically modified my shopping and eating habits and started counting calories. Following the idea that whatever enters the kitchen eventually enters your stomach, I stopped buying junk food & snacks completely. It took some discipline and planning too: I had to think about not starving on lunch & dinner when I was having my breakfast. You get the idea.
It was also important to make a distinction between an empty stomach and hunger. They are not the same thing. Your stomach may not be as full as you are used to be, but if you got all the nutrition you need (not *desire*), you are good. Getting used to an empty stomach is part of the game.
I also used a helpful app called My Fitness Pal, which counts your calorie input & outputs and tells you how much more you can eat that day. It also shows you that a chocolate bar equals 3 plates of boiled vegetables, so you start to prefer eating more and feeling relatively full over eating junk and feeling hungry.
Taking care of what you eat is as important as counting calories. I had to ensure that I’m getting enough fuel for my body. I also had to consider that some aliments (such as sugar) turn into fat easily so I had to cut them completely (source).
Well, it worked like a charm. I had cheat days, unfavourable weeks and whatnot; but at the end of the year, I burned 16 KGs. Losing weight over time also gives the body the necessary time to adjust.
I don’t know if this suits you or not, but that’s what I did.