As discussed in a previous post, one of my goals for 2021 is to lose 5kg of fat by June.
This is specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-bound – otherwise known as a S.M.A.R.T goal.
So I’m already doing well with the way that I’ve chosen and outlined this goal, but I still need a plan on how to get there.
My body and lifestyle is very good at keeping me at one weight, which is nice because my weight doesn’t shoot up easily, but makes loosing weight an effort.
Also, I want to specifically lose fat rather than just ‘weight’.
This might be a little bit of a confusing definition for some so let me break it down a little:
[General disclaimer – I’m not a professional in nutrition or health and fitness, this is what I have learnt and how I understand things and therefore how I intend to apply them to my own life. If you want to learn more about these subjects, I highly recommend you do your own research and consult with professionals.]
When we start dieting, the restriction of calories can make us lose fat but it also starts breaking down muscle and making us lose that as well. Muscle is a lot denser than fat, so a small amount of loss here can reflect as a bigger loss on the scale.
But muscle is really useful in a lot of ways, particularly for the types of activity I do, it also gives you a more ‘toned’ look and requires more calories to maintain (so having more muscle means you can eat more)
There are many ways to loose weight and/or get healthier – below is what I intend to do from the point that I am at, I am not starting from scratch and I already eat healthy a lot of the time. To talk about everything related to weight loss would be multiple posts, if you are interested in this then let me know and I can expand, but there are also a lot of fitness-specific bloggers out there to find the information from as well.
Step 1 – Determine where I am currently at
This is the relatively easy part – I can determine where my current weight and lifestyle is at with observation.
For the first two weeks of this process I have weighed myself on the same scales at the same time of day (first thing in the morning) under the same conditions (same clothing and amount of water drunk before) and tracked these measurements.
I have tracked the food that I have been eating (as best as I am able), trying to stay with what I would normally be eating.
Take a picture – I’m not planning to put on muscle but I am planning to keep it, which might have that effect anyway. So sometimes a picture or body measurements will work better than the scales as I could be losing fat while gaining muscle – the scale would stay the same but my waistline would not.
At the end of this I have an official ‘starting point’ I also know what the amount of calories I currently consume are and what impact that is having on my weight.
Please note: weight can fluctuate for reasons other than diet, particularly for women as some fluctuation is expected based on when in your menstrual cycle you are.
Step 2: Decide what changes I am going to make
There are many ways to diet – our culture seems to be full of people and products pushing dieting in our faces and demanding we do it their way.
I’ve always liked the advice of: ‘The best diet is the one that you can stick to’
If it doesn’t feel like a diet and isn’t a crazy amount of restriction, then it will be easy to stick to it and not immediately bounce back up to being heavier when you stop your ‘diet’
So the first thing that I intend to do – is make small changes in a way that I know I can manage, aimed at primarily making me mindful of what and when I eat.
I’m going to make sure there is some fruit or veg and a form of protein with every meal.
[I already drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and try to drink plenty throughout the day – if you are also looking to start living healthier and don’t already do this I recommend it, it’s good for your health and will make you feel more full.]
I’m going to reduce the amount of bread that I eat and instead get my carbs from other places (this isn’t anything against bread and I will still eat some, but bread is just a lot of very easy calories – I’ve found that when I have bread available I eat it quickly and without thought)
I’m going to make sure that I don’t snack mindlessly, and that sweet treats are restricted to a maximum of one a day.
I’m going to try and plan all meals at least a day before, so that I am eating what has been thought about rather than reacting when hungry.
Step 2b: Exercise
I’m putting this in it’s own little section because it’s linked but not really vital to the weight loss goal.
Needless to say, the more I exercise the more that will help with losing weight, but also, in order to keep as much muscle as possible I need to be using and training them.
I’ve been lax on exercising consistently since it has started getting cold and dark and all the gyms have been closed again in the UK.
I’ve found a calisthenic strength programme to follow and I’ve bought some winter running clothes and I intend to be more consistent with these and hold myself more accountable to getting up and getting moving.
Step 3: Track, adjust and improve
During all of this I should be tracking my weight and my calorie intake fairly regularly to ensure that I am moving in the right direction.
Then it’s just a matter of track and change as necessary for your body/circumstances:
Scale not changing? check if your overall calories have changed (be honest) and decrease them a little if not
Feeling tired or constantly hungry? check your calories haven’t decreased a lot (ideally you want a maximum decrease of 500 calories at a time, ideally 200) and you’re not losing weight really quickly – we’re aiming for a slow and steady approach remember!
If the calories and the scale are looking right but you’re still feeling tired or really hungry – try changing which food groups you get your calories from – some people need more carbs than others, some need more fat or protein – play around while paying attention to how you feel and find what works best for you.
Hopefully these are all small changes that I will be able to see a positive impact from. I guess we’ll see in June whether I manage to achieve my goal or not.