As a professional personal trainer, I get asked this question very often: “How do I lose …”. I usually know where that question is leading to without hearing it in full as it always refers to body weight or getting rid of flab from a specific part of the body.
My answer? Eat less, exercise more. It seems an easy solution, but a mountain of a task to achieve. The mind is determined but the body is weak. We all want results, but rarely want to work for it.
Losing weight the right way is not rocket science.
The secret is putting in the effort and adhering to an exercise regime.
Eating less does not mean going on a diet.
Personal trainers refrain from using the word ‘diet’. Instead, they encourage a ‘proper eating plan’, which makes more sense.
Due to our sedentary lifestyles, people are actually eating too much. To put it simply, a reduction of 1kg of body fat requires a deficit of 7,700kcal. This means a person who wants to lose 1kg of body fat should “burn” 7,700kcals by reducing daily calorific intake and by exercising.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Portion control: take a smaller slice of cake
A proper eating plan need not be to the extreme of cutting out all of our favourite foods. Eating less simply means cutting down the amount of food or consuming food in smaller portions.
If you love chocolates and cakes, by all means don’t deprive yourself. Instead, have a smaller piece of chocolate or slice of cake. Or maybe, share the joy of eating by sharing the cake with others. The bigger the sacrifice, the bigger the gain, or in this context, the bigger the loss.
2. Substitute the Not-So-Great Stuff
An easier strategy to adopt would be to make better eating choices by substituting ‘sinful’ food items for healthier options.
If you are a coffee lover, try coffee of the day instead of café latte. That’s a 100kcals saved from omitting milk. Sensible eating is all about slowly weaning ourselves off unhealthy eating habits.
The third solution to the weight loss equation is the harder of the three to accomplish. People usually find it easier to eat less or even to refrain from eating sinful food. But when it comes to exercising, failure sets in simply because it is a harder task to perform and can be painful.
A 30-minute brisk walk may only result in an expenditure of 250kcals, which barely covers the total calories of a cup of coffee and a buttered kaya toast. And although walking daily seems easy, there are always excuses not to do it.
You have to be consistent. To ensure adherence, set a goal for yourself. Set targets with tangible results that can be attained. For example, a weight target goal or a waist measurement goal.
A method I use is aiming to fit into my favourite pair of pants. Periodically, I try it on and if it doesn’t fit me, I get down to business to make it fit.
The determination to achieve weight loss can only come about if you plan well. Management gurus say: “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”
Willing it alone won’t work. Plan what to eat, where to eat, the times to eat, how to exercise, its duration and intensity and plan the days to exercise. That is a lot of planning, which is why efforts to shed weight almost always fail.
So, back to the question I get asked most. Professionally, it would involve an hour of consultation to answer it. This would cover a road map of goals and plans. With the plans in hand, I would then require a written and verbal commitment from that person. Only when one is committed can one be successful.
Talking is only 1% of the process. The journey to fitness begins with action. Know what you need to achieve, stick to the plan and make each calorie count.
Let’s be fit!
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