There is no excuse anymore – the party season is well and truly over and you’re trying to work out where to start! On top of the weight you’ve been struggling to lose since last year, you now have an extra half stone bulging uncomfortably over the top of your favourite jeans! No matter how hard you wish for it, you know you’re not going to wake up with a slim tummy and toned thighs. There’s only one solution – you’re going to have to go on a ‘diet’.
If this sounds familiar it’s time to set yourself some realistic slimming goals that are achievable and won’t completely disrupt your lifestyle along the way! But before doing anything, get the right slimming information. Use my ultimate Slimming Guide to get you started:
The Science Behind Slimming
How much do you need to restrict your food intake to lose a pound? How many calories are there in a pound of body fat? In order for you to get rid of 1lb of body fat, you will need to ‘lose’ 3,500 calories. That’s not actually as much as it initially sounds – it equates to around 500 calories per day. In order to do that you will have to make some tweaks to your diet and be a bit more active.
A simple swap to drop 500 calories from your daily intake might include exchanging your creamy chicken soup for a vegetable one or topping your jacket potato with cottage cheese rather than cheddar – not that difficult!
Understanding the ‘maths’ is crucial to slimming but it’s also essential to set realistic goals, both in terms of the total amount of weight you want to lose – and how long it will take you. So if your list of resolutions includes aims such as losing a stone in a couple of weeks or wearing a size-8 dress in the spring when you have 6 stone to shift, it’s time to rethink them and be more realistic.
Set a Weight Loss Goal
As a starting point, decide on a reasonable target weight for you. As a guideline, most slimming and weight loss professionals use keep it real the Body Mass Index (BMI), which looks at a person’s weight in relation to their height. A BMI of less than 18.5 is considered to be underweight, 18.5-24.9 indicates a healthy weight, 25-29.9 is overweight and 30 or more is obese. Quite simply, the higher your BMI, the greater your risk of health problems.
Ideally, you should aim for a target weight that gives you a BMI in the healthy weight range (18.5-24.9), but if you have a considerable amount of weight to lose, this may seem extremely daunting and unachievable. Instead, you might prefer to set an initial weight loss that moves you down a couple of BMI notches, or perhaps shifts you from the obese category (BMI more than 30) to the overweight category (BMI 25-29.9). Research shows that losing just 10 percent of excess weight will improve health – and you can always set yourself new goals along the way.
On the other hand, you might already be in the healthy weight range. But if your weight has gradually been increasing, now’s the time to take control of the situation and lose the extra pounds you’ve gained before you end up becoming medically overweight.
In addition, while many of us might like to slim down to the weight we were on our 18th birthday or on our wedding day, it’s important to be realistic about whether you can really achieve this. For most of us, it’s likely to be impractical. Instead, it’s better to focus on reaching a target weight that leaves you looking and feeling slim, fit and healthy.
Once you’ve decided on a realistic weight goal, you’ll be able to work out how long it will take you to reach this.
How Long Will It Take You To Reach Your Target
While it might be tempting to slash your calorie intake considerably in an effort to lose weight fast, you shouldn’t aim to shift ideal weight more than 2lb a week – although you may lose slightly more than this when you first start slimming as your body gets rid of water as well as fat. In the long term though, a weight loss of more than 2lb a week means you’ll have to cut calories excessively – and ultimately, this will make it even harder to shift those pounds. Effectively, very low calorie intakes simply push the body into ‘starvation mode’ so that it becomes super-efficient at making the most of the calories it actually gets from food and drink. It does this by protecting its fat stores and instead using lean tissue or muscle to provide it with some of the calories it needs to keep functioning. This leads to a loss of muscle, which in turn lowers metabolism so that the body needs fewer calories to keep ticking over and weight loss slows down – not ideal if you want to shift unwanted pounds!
Weight Loss Calculator
Here’s how long you can expect it to take you to lose weight…
On the left you it’s the Weight to lose and on the right hand side you will see the Number of weeks it will take you to lose weight at a rate of 1lb a week and 2lb a week.
Half a stone 5 3
1 stone 12 6
2 stone 26 13
3 stone 40 20
4 stone 54 27
5 stone 68 34
6 stone 82 41
7 stone 96 48
8 stone 110 55
9 stone 124 62
NB: This is based on losing an extra 2lb in the first few weeks of slimming and weight loss.
So now you’ve set yourself a realistic target weight and know roughly how long it will take to achieve this, you can start to devise a slimming plan that will work for you.
How to Find The Best Slimming Diet For You
Once you’ve done the groundwork, it’s time to devise a diet plan that will work for you. While ‘miracle’ slimming diets that claim they’ll help you lose weight fast might sound tempting, many will…
- Severely restrict your food intake
- Have you scouring the supermarket shelves for weird and wonderful ingredients
- Require you to make time-consuming meals
- Ban certain groups of foods such as carbs or dairy products as well as all your favourites
Meals will be boring and leave you feeling miserable or take too long to prepare so that you quickly give up. These diets may also leave you short on many nutrients if groups of foods are off limits, putting you at risk of a whole host of health problems ranging from anaemia and osteoporosis to constipation and lowered immunity.
Instead, it’s best to avoid fatty diets and devise your own reduced-calorie slimming diet based on what you currently eat, including some of your favourite foods.