What if I told you that there was actually a secret formula for weight loss. That by employing a couple techniques into your life you will be able to lose weight and keep it off. Sounds too good right? Afterall, there is an entire diet industry built around this principle. Offering a miracle cure for weight loss. Most of them work for a small time and then the weight comes back, often with more. It leaves us frustrated and doubtful of the next gimmick.
Well, I am here to tell you that there actually is a secret and it is one that you probably have overlooked, time and again. Stay tuned to the end and I will share the secret.
My journey into weight loss
If you have been reading my blog, you have already seen that my diagnosis with Cirrhosis has cause a lot of big changes in my life. The biggest was the need to lose weight and change my eating habits. People often forget or simply do not know or understand how much your liver does with digestion and fat deposition. Once you are diagnosed with cirrhosis, watching things like fat and sugars become a big focus. Simply put, I was overweight and needed to change that.
I didn’t know where or how to start.
This is where talking to my doctors and a dietitian came in handy. I needed to lower my weight. My doctor told me that ideally I need to weigh aroun 198 pounds, Having been 270 0 280 for most of my life, that seemed impossible. I remember telling my boyfriend that there would be no way I could mange that. At most, I might get down to 250 but i had no clue how to do it. I met with a dietician who looked at my diagnosis and what I, realistically, wanted to achieve and to come up with a plan.
When talking to my dietician, we looked at my goals, my health, and started working on the basis of what I needed. She came up with a target calorie intake per day, macronutrient intake, and exercise programs.This became the foundation for how I would achieve my goal.
Daily Calorie Intake
In the past, I wouldn’t have classified myself as a healthy eater. Being honest here, I drank three two liters of soda a week and my food intake consisted of a lot of over processed and fast foods. I was diluted in what I thought my sugar intake was per week and just how many bad carbs I was eating. I never tracked but if I had to guess, my daily caloric intake was well above 3500 calories. That had to change.
Talking with my dietician, she advised that I needed to cut back to a maximum of 2200 calories a day and realistically shoot for around 1800 – 1900 to get the process started. That meant needing to track my calories for everything I ate.
She advised that I needed to create a caloric deficit each day, burn more calories that I was in taking. This sounds really hard and I thought the same thing. The truth is, it is a little easier than you may think. What helps is learning how many calories your body burns daily, on its own. From there you can supplement exercise to help with the burn. This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR, this will involve some math.
How do you calculate your BMR? Like I said, it is a bit of math to figure out. For men, your BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.67 x age in years). For women, BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + 3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years). Now that you had horrific flashbacks to high school math, let’s move on. This formula will give you what your body burns on a daily basis, naturally. Your job is to add to that as much as possible to burn more than you are eating.Thankfully, tracking calories you intake is much easier, thanks to the many apps that are on the market.
Here is an eye opener, one pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories. That means if you want to burn one pound of fat a week you will have to burn 500 more calories than you eat each day, on top of what your body burns normally. And that is for a healthy burn rate. Realistically, your target shouldn’t be much more than about 1-3 pounds of fat per week. That is for a healthy burn rate and eating enough to keep your energy levels up.
We also discussed what macronutrients I needed to work on. Macronutrients are the nutrients that your body needs in large amounts and includes things like fats and carbs. The very things that we have been told are bad for us. She advised what I needed and to what levels.
Macronutrients may be a new word for you or you may have heard it and not fully understood what it encompassed, I wasnt sure either. What I knew was that I had to quickly become somewhat of an expert. Here is a short list of macronutrients and their importance.
- Protein – Protein is essential to many processes in the body. It is the basis of providing structure to the tissue that makes up your body, such as cell membranes, organs, muscle, bones, and many more. They are also essential to metabolic, hormonal and enzyme systems. The average person needs .8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
- Fat – For years we have been told how bad fat is but the truth is that fat is vital for the body as an energy reserve. It also provides insulation and protection for your organs and for the processing of fat-soluble vitamins. Striving for 0% body fat isn’t healthy, you need about 20-35% of your calories to come from fats. Only 10% of them should be saturated fats.
- Carbohydrates – Carbs have also been touted as bad, however they are present in everything. As a vegetarian, that is the most of what I consume. Carbs are the body’s primary fuel, that is energy for your muscles and nervous system. They are essential for movement and exercise. If you feel sluggish during yoru routine or tire easily, you aren’t getting enough. 45-65% of your calories should come from carbs, daily.
*As with all things, check with your doctor and levels can be subject to change based on your health goals and medical conditions.
Apps I used for help
I have to admit that I had a lot of help in achieving my goal of reducing my weight and getting healthier. For the sake of this article, I will only list the changes I made and any tech that was beneficial.
When it came to exercise, I knew that my chance of success was related to how easy it was going to be for me to implement it. This meant I knew buying a gym membership was out of the question, for now. At a gym, I would be surrounded by people in better stages of health than me and it would put me off of my goal. So I opted to work at home. I needed to buy somethings to help with it and use technology for assistance where I needed.
Things I purchased
My workout equipment was non-existent when I started, so I knew I would need clothes and some devices. I decided to start small. I purchased some dumbbells, a recumbent bike (less knee stress), clothing, small bench, and a yoga mat. Other than that, I used YouTube for videos.
I have arthritis and it was worse due to being overweight, so walking and a recumbent bike was where I started. Both are very low impact on your body and can do an immense amount of work in helping you change your weight. Each time I got more comfortable with where I was I increased the resistance or etc.
The key thing I needed to remember was that cardio exercise is great for the liver and helps to burn fat. But I also needed to work on strength training since muscle loss is common for cirrhosis patients.
Apps for the win
When it came to tracking my caloric burn and exercise, I used what I already had – my Apple Watch and the accompanying Health app. These two tools are excellent for tracking the amount of time you work out, heart rate and caloric burn. The Health app will allow you to see trends over time and what you did for each work out. It allowed me to steadily increase the intensity of what I was doing and know how hard I was pushing myself.
For tracking my caloric intake, I looked into using the app called LoseIt!. This has been my go to for tracking recipes, how many calories they had, and what I was eating each day. The app is really robust, you have the ability to enter your own recipes to see what their calories are and a really inclusive list of foods from users and places.
The big benefit is this app also tracks your exercise from the Health app and lets you know when you can add more calories to your day based on how much you are buying. It also goes a step further in allowing you to track your macronutrients. Each day you can see how much protein, carbs, fat, and etc you are taking in each day.
These two things were essential in my weight loss journey and are the biggest recommendations I can make to anyone. They are key but not the Secret to Weight Loss. You can find the Secret to Weight Loss below.
Well, you hung around this long, I guess its time to share The Secret to Weight Loss. You have probably searched the internet and YouTube for some information that would tell you exactly what to do to lose weight and get healthy. It always seems to leave us more confused than when we started our search. I have done a lot of research, myself, and with losing almost 100 pounds I think I may have just found The Secret to Weight Loss and I want to share it with you.
Are you ready for The Secret to Weight Loss? Here it is, two parts that will tell you exactly how to lose weight.
Here is the Secret to Weight Loss…
First, you need to get moving. Yes, It is that simple. Get out and move, whether that be go for a walk on a lunch break or after dinner, just move. Thirty minutes of moderate to heavy exercise a day will have an impact on your weight loss. Just remember to start simple and then you can move up to riding a bike, taking a jog, or maybe a hike. It doesn’t matter, movement is the key.
Second, burn more calories than you eat. This is fundamental to ensuring that you are burning off the fat you want to get rid of. What I won’t tell you is that there is some magic number you have to burn to get what you want because there isn’t.
There you have it, the secret to weight loss. Okay, so it isnt the super secret easy steps you were looking for, but it works. I started at almost 300 pounds in December 2020 and by August 2021 I had lost 60 pounds. Today I weigh 199, so the secret works