If I had to guess, I’d say the most common goal in the diet and fitness world is weight loss. Nothing else even comes close.
That’s probably why there are thousands of weight loss tips, diets and methods, thousands of programs, plans and products designed for losing weight, and millions of books, websites and articles written about how to lose weight fast.
It’s enough to make you head explode. The worst part of all is that most of it is complete crap. I’m talking bad information, pointless methods, unproven gimmicks, and just plain old stupid nonsense.
The truth is, losing fat is actually pretty simple, and I’m going to explain exactly what you need to do to make it happen as effectively as possible… for FREE.
Here now are the only 5 weight loss tips you ever need to hear…
Tip #1: Eat Less Total Calories
Despite how complicated and confusing it all seems, there is literally only one thing you need to do to lose weight. Simply put, you just need to eat less total calories. That’s it.
No matter what you’ve heard or read or seen before, weight loss is and always will be about calories.
Sure, protein, fat, carbs, different types of foods, supplements, exercise and everything else plays a role to some degree. However, it’s all secondary to calories. This isn’t just an opinion or a guess or a fad… it’s a scientifically proven fact.
Eating less calories (therefore creating a caloric deficit) is the one and only requirement for losing weight. Got that? Good. No other weight loss tip matters if you fail to get this part right. Don’t ever forget that or let the other less important stuff get in your way of making this happen.
Why Are Calories The Key To Weight Loss?
Well, it works like this. There is a certain number of calories that you need to eat each day in order to maintain your current weight. This is known as your calorie maintenance level.
It’s the amount of calories your body burns each day through a combination of activity (walking, standing, moving, etc.) and keeping you alive and functioning (pumping blood, digesting food, breathing, etc.).
Why is this the most important aspect of how to lose weight? Simple…
- When you eat the same number of calories that you burn, your weight stays the same. This is your maintenance level.
- When you eat more calories than this amount, your body takes all of those left over calories that didn’t get burned and stores them all as body fat. This is how weight gain happens.
- However, if you eat less calories than this amount, something awesome happens. Your body realizes that it doesn’t have enough calories to burn for energy, so it burns your own stored body fat for energy instead. This is how weight loss happens.
So, losing weight is just a matter of consistently eating less calories than you burn. There’s honestly nothing more to it than that.
Which means, if you’re not losing weight now (or at any point in the future), you’re just eating too many calories. It’s not the type of foods, or the amount of carbs, or any other silly crap. It’s calories.
How Many Calories Should I Eat Per Day To Lose Weight?
This brings us to the most important question of all… how many calories do you need to eat per day to lose weight as fast as you realistically should? To answer this question, you just need to figure out what your calorie maintenance level is and then eat less than that amount each day.
There are quite a few ways to do this, but the easiest is to multiply your current body weight in pounds by 13 and 16. Somewhere between those 2 amounts will usually be your maintenance level.
Women, people who are less active, or people who think they have a slower metabolism should use the lower end of their range. Men, people who are more active, or people who think they have a faster metabolism should use the higher end of their range. People who are unsure should just pick a number in the middle.
In order to lose weight, you need to eat LESS calories than this amount.
How much less? Well, in most cases, you should eat 20% fewer calories per day.
So, whatever maintenance level you came up with, figure out what 20% of that amount is and then subtract it from the total. For example, if your estimated maintenance level was 2500 calories (just an example), you’d first calculate 20% of 2500 and get 500 (2500 x 0.20 = 500). Then just subtract that 500 from the 2500 total and get 2000.
In this example, this person would need to eat about 2000 calories per day to lose weight as fast as they should. How fast is that? Well…
How Fast Should I Lose Weight?
If your calorie intake is indeed accurate, most people should end up losing between 0.5-2 pounds per week.
This is the rate most often recommend by virtually every expert with half a brain. I personally recommend it, too.
Specifically, people with A LOT of weight to lose should end up losing closer to 2 pounds (or maybe more early on) per week. People with A LITTLE bit of weight to lose should end up losing closer to 0.5-1 pound per week. People with an AVERAGE amount of weight to lose should end up losing between 1-2 pounds per week.
To make sure this is happening correctly, weigh yourself at least once per week (always first thing in the morning on an empty stomach) and make sure weight loss is taking place as fast as it should be.
- If it is, then you’re perfect.
- If you’re losing slower than you should be (or just not at all), you need to reduce your calorie intake by 300 calories and see what your weight does then.
- If you’re losing faster than you should be, it would probably be best to add an additional 300 calories to your diet and see what your weight does then.
Basically, your goal is to make weight loss happen at the ideal rate I described. If it is, you’re perfect. If it’s not, then just make a small adjustment to your calorie intake, wait a week or two, and see what your weight does then. Is it decreasing at the ideal rate now? If so, keep eating that amount of calories. If not, adjust again until it is.
If you’ve ever been confused about how to lose weight, this is the point when you need to sit back and smile. You now know EXACTLY what you need to do.
The following weight loss tips will definitely be helpful too, but this first “tip” is one that matters most. Remember that.
Tip #2: Eat More Protein
Calories are always the most important aspect of losing weight, but after that… it’s protein.
As I’ve explained before (High Protein Diet), protein plays 3 very important roles in the weight loss process:
- Eating enough protein each day is the key to maintaining muscle while losing fat. We all call it “weight loss,” but we always want that weight to be ugly fat, not pretty muscle. Well, after a proper workout routine (more on that later), protein the key to preserving lean muscle tissue.
- Protein is the most filling macronutrient. Meaning, protein will fill you up and keep you fuller longer than carbs or fat. This makes protein key for keeping your hunger under control.
- Protein burns the most calories. All foods and nutrients burn calories while they are being digested, but protein burns the most of all.
So, how much protein should you eat to get these fat loss benefits? Well, this depends on whether or not you will be doing any form of exercise (weight training, cardio or both).
- If you WILL be working out, you should eat between 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. (A 200 pound person would eat between 160-240 grams of protein per day.)
- If you WON’T be working out, you should eat between 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. (A 200 pound person would eat between 140-200 grams of protein per day.)
(If you are significantly overweight, you should use your target body weight instead of your current body weight when calculating your protein intake. So, a 350lb person looking to get down to 250lbs would use 250lbs as their weight. If you have a more average amount of weight to lose, use your current weight.)
Common high protein foods include chicken, turkey, fish, lean cuts of meat, eggs and protein supplements.
Tip #3: Weight Training Is Better Than Cardio
When the question of how to lose weight comes up, exercise is almost always one of the first answers given.
The thing is, the type of exercise people usually talk about is cardio, not weight training. You know, stuff like like jogging or riding a bike.
Why? Because cardio is the form of exercise that burns the most calories. Remember the first weight loss tip on this list? You know… eat less calories? Well, another way of creating that same effect is by burning more calories.
For this reason, cardio can definitely be useful for losing weight. The problem is, people tend to grossly overestimate the amount calories they burn during cardio (it’s much less than people think), and it’s just so much quicker and easier to eat less calories than it is to get on a treadmill and burn that same amount of calories on a daily basis.
For this reason, cardio is completely optional for losing weight. I recommend making weight loss happen primarily through your diet, and then, if you want to (or just prefer to), use cardio as a secondary part of the overall picture. (Additional info here: Best Time To Do Cardio For Weight Loss)
On the other hand, I think weight training should be a requirement. Why? Well, there’s a few reasons:
- Weight training still burns calories, just a bit less than cardio does.
- Weight training builds muscle, and just having muscle on your body helps you naturally burn more calories each day.
- Weight training builds muscle, and muscle is the difference maker between losing weight and looking skinny, and losing weight and looking fit and lean.
- Weight training is an absolute requirement for maintaining muscle while losing fat. Earlier I mentioned that eating enough protein was crucial to ensuring the weight you lose is fat and not muscle. Well, weight training is even more important than protein for making this happen. So, if you want to preserve lean muscle while you lose fat, weight training is a requirement.
Convinced? You should be. Of course, now you’re probably wondering how to create the best weight training routine. It’s okay, I got you covered. My guide to Workout Routines is the best place to start.
Tip #4: Get The Rest Of Your Diet Right
Once again, the most important part of how to lose weight is your diet, and the most important part of your diet is calories. After that, it’s protein.
As for everything after that, here now are some additional weight loss tips for getting the rest of your diet right:
- Eat (mostly) higher quality carbs. For losing weight, the type of carbs you eat really doesn’t matter at all as long as your calorie intake is what it needs to be (seriously, it’s true). However, where the type of carbs does matter is controlling hunger. Lower glycemic, nutrient-rich, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, oats, sweet potatoes and brown rice are much more ideal for appetite control (and overall health) than higher glycemic, refined, processed foods like white bread, white rice, typical cereals, snack foods and other sugary useless junk.
- Get your essential fatty acids. While avoiding trans fat completely, keeping saturated fat to about 1/3 of your total fat intake, and getting the majority from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (nuts, olive oil, etc.) is ideal, the most important part of your fat intake is getting a sufficient amount of the essential fatty acids, especially omega-3. It will help with weight loss, maintaining muscle, and overall health. The best source of omega-3 are fish oil supplements, which I highly recommend taking.
- Eat as often as you want at whatever times you want. Ever hear that it’s bad to eat late at night? That’s bullshit. Ever hear that eating 6 smaller meals per day speeds up your metabolism and helps you lose weight? That’s also bullshit. The truth is, all that truly matters for weight loss (or any other goal for that matter) is just eating the right total amount of calories and nutrients (protein, fat, carbs) for the day. When and how you do it makes no difference whatsoever, and countless studies prove it. So, whatever is most enjoyable for you and most likely for you to stick to consistently… that’s what you should do.
- Avoid useless supplements and products. If I had to guess, I’d say that 95% of the fat loss supplements and weight loss products on the market are complete crap. Save your money.
- Take the few useful supplements. Not one single supplement is required for losing weight, but there are a few that can be beneficial for fat loss and your health in general. I personally use and recommend protein powder, fish oil, and a multivitamin.
- Drink plenty of water, and little of anything else. Drinking your calories is the quickest and easiest way to consume more calories than you should. For this reason, avoid regular soda, fruit juices, sports drinks and limit alcohol to some degree. Instead, drink plenty of water.
Tip #5: Get Everything Else Right, Too
Beyond all of the above, here are the only other weight loss tips truly worth mentioning…
- Get enough sleep. Research shows that a lack of sleep negatively impacts the hormones that control hunger. Meaning, not sleeping enough makes you hungry and increases food cravings. Try to get as much sleep as you can. If all else fails, take naps.
- Track your progress closely. Like I mentioned before, weighing yourself about once per week first thing in the morning is ideal for tracking your progress and ensuring you’re actually losing weight as fast as you should be. In addition, take measurements (waist, arms, chest, legs, etc.) every week or two, measure your body fat percentage if you can, and best of all, take a picture of yourself every few weeks. Scales and measurements are great, but nothing shows progress as accurately as pictures.
- Stay motivated, dedicated, and consistent. Weight loss doesn’t happen as fast as we all wish it could, and it takes significant amounts of effort and will power to make it happen. Stay strong, and don’t quit no matter how hard it may seem at times. (Have problems with will power? My article about food cravings might help.)
- Ignore the bullshit. There is an infinite amount of horrible weight loss information out there that does nothing but distract you from the important and proven tips I’ve explained throughout this article. It’s all bullshit. Ignore it.
Need A Fat Loss Program That’s Already Proven To Work BEST?
You now know exactly how to lose weight as effectively and (realistically) fast as possible. All that’s left for you to do now is put it all together perfectly and actually do it! Of course, for most people, that’s the hardest part.
What I mean is, you probably still have some additional questions about designing the weight loss diet and workout that will work as quickly and easily for you as possible. You may also just want some help doing it. Well, after nearly 10 years of people asking for it, I’ve finally created the solution.
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