Losing Weight

In a USA Today study, 63% of people don’t know how many calories they should have to maintain their weight and 25% wouldn’t even guess. However, the calorie deficit is the main component to losing weight. Any diet you see, for example keto, low carb, or vegetarian don’t have any major effects on weight loss. In most of these diets, a calorie deficit is used which is the main factor in weight loss. Simply eating less calories than what you burn every day and knowing how much you eat every day is important to maintaining a calorie deficit.

The first step to weight loss is simply having enough motivation or willpower to stay at least 75% accountable. The most important thing when you’re losing weight isn’t to lose 10 pounds and then getting all the weight back or not see any progress. However, it is about consistent loss and it makes this approach more maintainable throughout your life. It’s OK to have cheat days or days where you don’t feel like you’re doing your best or days or you feel like you should’ve lost weight. Weight loss is a journey that takes months, not weeks or days, it takes hard work and consistency. You need to have the right mindset to know that you have to just stay accountable to yourself because you’re the only one that has control of your weight.

The second step is knowing what your calorie maintenance is or simply how many calories you need to maintain your weight. You could find this by using a website online and you could just type in “calorie intake calculator”. Then what you want to do is subtract 300 to 500 calories from this. This range allows you to lose weight most efficiently and not take too many calories off your diet.

The third step is you want to actually have an understanding of what you’re eating every day. You could do this by looking at the nutrition labels and calculate how many servings you had or you could use a calorie tracking app, like MyFitnessPal, until you develop a basic understanding, it could take 2-4 weeks of tracking, and then you will know what is going into your body. Knowing how many calories you’re eating is incredibly important for weight loss because when you’re thinking you’re going to eat a 700 calories meal when you’re actually having 1000 calories, it could easily mess up the calories deficit. It will take some time to adjust to track accurately, but once you do, it will make the calorie deficit easier.

The fourth step is you have to keep track of your weight 4-7 days of the week and log your weight in docs, notes, or an app. This helps you see your progress but don’t judge your weight by day to day, but instead by weekly loss or biweekly loss. Some days you will gain weight and you might stay the same, but at the end you should see your weight decrease at the end of the week or every other week. If after two weeks of eating in a deficit and not seeing any progress, you are either tracking inaccurately or eating more than you think, or you might need to go in a slightly bigger deficit.

The fifth step is you wanna find what works for you. You could keep eating your favorite foods or have something that you consider unhealthy every once in a while because it’s important to stick to your diet and if you completely take away the food you love, you’re going to stop dieting. It might seem tempting to see these online ads of how to lose 10 pounds or try this food and lose weight, however you have to know that the only real important thing is a calorie deficit. The National Institute of Health determined that a calorie deficit of 500 calories is enough to lose weight.

I first started my weight loss journey in mid December. I spoke to dietitians and they all told me that I just had to substitute the food I was eating for healthier options. However, I did not see much progress because what they said wasn’t the best advice to weight loss and I slowly started to do research on my own. I figured out what a calorie deficit is and I stayed with it since February all the way until now. I’ve had some days where I would gain weight and some when I didn’t see any progress. I see losing weight as a tool to help in your life especially in physical well being and I myself worked through the hardest times. I lost 40 pounds in five months. Following the steps stated above, I was able to achieve this goal of mine, it helped with my health. I hope that the reader can follow this lifestyle and improve themselves.

Common questions:

Is cardio important to weight loss?

Cardio is great for your health and you use it as a way to boost your health. However, using it as a weight loss tool isn’t the best way to look at it. An hour walk burns about 300 calories or 2 cups of whole milk, one glazed donut, or 2 cups of Honey Nut Cheerios. It isn’t much but it’s great for health and if you do cardio for multiple hours, the calories burned can add up.

Is eating healthy important to weight loss?

Again, eating less processed foods and getting vegetables and fruits is important for your health and to feel full. However, if you were to overeat on healthy foods, you will still gain weight because all foods have calories. Eating healthier foods allows you to feel full which can help lessen your cravings throughout the day.

Is how much I weigh affected by my genetics?

The short answer is no. Some people find it easy to get full off eating a light snack and don’t get cravings. These people usually find it hard to gain weight but this isn’t an excuse to why we shouldn’t lose weight. It is still dependent on your consistency with your weight loss.

Why does a calorie deficit work?

A pound of fat is about 3500 calories, meaning you need to eat 3500 calories less per week to lose that pound. This means you should subtract 300-500 calories depending on how much you want to lose. And it isn’t recommended that you go below this because then you can lose muscle, affect your mental state, and it makes it harder to stay consistent at a larger deficit.

Is weight loss linear or will I lose the same amount of weight at the start of my diet compared to the end?

Weight loss isn’t linear meaning you will lose more weight at the beginning of a calorie deficit. At the beginning you have more water weight and a faster metabolism. You lose water weight very quickly and over time your metabolism slows, this might make it harder to lose the same amount of weight. Don’t worry if in the first 3-4 weeks you are losing more weight than you should because it’s water weight and fat.

Samuel Cisneros – Saint Ignatius College Prep – DMSF Class of 2026

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