Not everyone has the money to dump into gym memberships or expensive exercise equipment. And not everyone has the money to pour into weight loss food programs where meals are delivered to your door. Luckily, wight loss isn’t really all that complicated or costly. In fact, you can start right now.
I can’t promise that you’ll lose “X” amount of pounds in a certain amount of time. In reality, nobody can. Too many variables come into play which makes everyone’s experience unique.
We all have different physical and mental needs when it comes to diet and fitness.
Here is how I lost more than 60 pounds without going above and beyond my budget or going on restrictive diets.
Understanding Weight Loss
For most people, losing weight isn’t all that difficult from a physical perspective. In many instances, it’s all a matter of will power and motivation. Unfortunately, not everyone exhibits these traits – including myself.
I know that some of you may be genetically predisposed to gain weight or have problems dropping it because of your specific physiological make up. All I can do is relay what has worked for me.
The only thing you lose by trying is time, and possibly some weight if you’re motivated enough.
Easy Weight Loss on the Cheap
So, let’s dive into it. The first thing you need to be aware of is the odds of shedding 20 or more pounds per week are slim. The average human can easily drop about three pounds without putting in much effort.
If you’re looking for a quick fix to your weight loss problem, this isn’t it. But let me try to simplify the process as much as possible.
Step 1: Sign Up with MyFitnessPal
I am not sponsored by MyFitnessPal…I am just a big fan of the product. It’s a free app that lets you track food intake, exercise and helps inspire you to reach goals. It’s simple, but it made a big impact on me the first two months.
The purpose of MyFitnessPal is to keep track of every morsel of food you eat. By monitoring the nutritional value of edibles, you can find patterns and realize where you need to put in effort to be more healthy and fit.
The first time I entered in my “normal” Taco Bell meal, I nearly had a heart attack – in more ways than one. It was insane to see how many carbs, calories and sodium I was consuming on a regular basis. Needless to say, I don’t spend nearly as much money at the drive-through window as I did in the past.
MyFitnessPal has a free app for most mobile devices. However, I started using it from the actual website. The app is quite handy while on the move, but you really don’t need it to get started with weight loss. In fact, I didn’t have the app for the first year.
Step 2: Establish a Realistic Goal
Next, you need to set a realistic goal for yourself. Don’t start by saying you want to lose 50 pounds this month. The odds are against you for accomplishing this without hurting yourself in some way.
Keep in mind that it’s OK to shift your goal as time goes on. You may find certain things to be unrealistic, and so changing the strategy is important.
I’ll go into more detail about that in a moment.
Start with something easy to focus on. For instance, three pounds a week is actually quite easy if you pay attention to your intake and output. This is where MyFitnessPal comes into play. Using the suggested goal will help you lose two, but I bet you can do three.
A realistic goal is important as it helps keep your mind focused. By accomplishing a small weekly goal, you reinforce a sense of confidence. This will play heavily into maintaining weight loss as you feel less inclined to give up because of frustration.
Be proud of losing anything during the week. Even a single pound is progress.
My ultimate goal is to weigh 180 pounds. Unfortunately, I probably won’t hit this goal simply because of my body type. Not to brag, but I am built more like Captain America…only with an extra 40 pounds of fat. Even Chris Evans weighed around 190 when filming Captain America, so I am not overly concerned by not making 180.
Step 3: Understand Portion Control
Portion control is vital to weight loss. Many of us are grossly overfed and often don’t realize it. For instance, most restaurants serve enough food to technically feed three people in one meal.
Portion sizes are actually quite easy to follow. Personally, I gauge how much I consume based on “Serving Size” information on a label. Instead of a whole row of cookies from a package, I now eat two. Instead of 3/4 of a medium pizza, I’ll have two slices.
The biggest impact you’ll make to your weight is consuming less. You need to gauge how much you burn versus how much you eat. If you’re overeating and don’t use the energy, it turns to fat.
Currently, I consume around 1,500 calories worth of various foods per day. I also burn more than 3,000 calories in various activities. Theoretically, I can lose nearly half a pound per day by maintaining this…and I have.
Feeding yourself proper portion sizes also impacts your grocery bill. You’ll find you spend less money throughout the week because you’re eating less food. You’ll also find you create less trash as well. So, proper portion sizes are good for finances and the environment.
These are facts I noticed since cutting down my intake.
Step 4: Add in Something Healthy
Remember to add something healthy into your daily routine. Keeping under a certain number of calories in MyFitnessPal doesn’t mean much if it’s nothing but cake and cookies.
The human body requires a certain level of nutrition to remain healthy. This means adding a few fruits and veggies to the mix helps maintain your physical and mental capacity.
I’m not saying you need to put yourself on a strict vegetable diet. But they will help in keeping yourself properly maintained and healthy. Besides, fruits and vegetables are a great way to fill the stomach on fewer calories for the day.
Step 5: Increase Physical Activity
It’s important that you get up and move yourself about. The more physical you are, the quicker you’ll burn through excess calories and fats. It’s all about using the energy you’re putting into yourself.
While many people will focus on intense exercise routines, I focus more on gamification. For instance, I play the Xbox Kinect every day to burn more than 12 calories per minute. Even mopping the kitchen floor can be a good workout if you vigorously attack it.
My point is you need to keep the body moving if you want to quickly lose weight. Anything to get the heart above 110 beats per minute is beneficial.
This is also another reason to use MyFitnessPal. You can track your activity and get a semi-accurate portrayal regarding how much you burn versus intake.
Personally, I sprung for a Fitbit Charge 2 which relays calorie burn to MyFitnessPal. However, you don’t need one as long as you’re dedicated in recording your exercise information.
Step 6: Improve Sleep Patterns
Sleep is another vital component for proper health which many people don’t realize. Not only does it help keep you physically motivated to do more, but it keeps the mind from suffering.
For example, you’re more prone to stress and anxiety when your mentally exhausted. The result is a lack of effort and concentration in any activity, including weight loss.
Sleep helps keep you more alert, reduces the risk for high blood pressure and keeps you from being too stressed out. The last thing you want during any kind of diet is to become irrational because of a lack of sleep.
I know getting sleep for some people is not all that easy. In fact, I often have a great deal of trouble myself most days. But it’s imperative that you find a way to maintain a decent amount of shuteye if you want to feel healthier.
Personally, I like the Sleepy Time teas to help wind down prior to bed. And I can tell you that they often keep me in bed for much longer.
One night, I had two bags of Sleepy Time tea and I woke up nearly 10 hours later. Considering I usually only get around 6 every night, this was a prominent step.
Step 7: Take Proper Measurements
A lot of people put too much emphasis on what the scale displays. While this is a helpful recording of weight, it shouldn’t be your only measurement. After all, the scale can be misleading.
A lot of things can affect the scale. Retaining water and irregular trips to the toilet are only a couple. The biggest factor you need to keep in mind is how muscle weighs more than fat. If you focus on weight training or toning your muscle mass, the scale may sit at a steady number.
When I weighed 240, I was getting frustrated as the scale sat at the same number for nearly a month. However, I had to tighten my pajama bottoms twice and my belt is now way too big for me. This shows I was still losing inches even though the scale remained at 240.
Use a measuring tape in addition to stepping on the scale. Personally, I like to take semi-regular pictures of myself to have a visual record of what I look like. There are many ways to gauge weight loss, so don’t be overly concerned with what a scale shows you.
Step 8: Don’t Expect Instant Results
You’re most likely not going to see a significant change in a short amount of time. Of course, this is dependent on your own personal physique. Some people simply lose weight faster than others quite easily.
My point is you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. Believing you’re going to lose 20 pounds in a week and then not accomplishing that goal can lead to frustration. At which point, many people give up.
This is where having realistic goals comes into play. Trying to lose 30 pounds before the weekend so you look good in a bathing suit is not realistic.
Depending how out of shape you are and your previous lack of activity, it may take weeks if not months to see and feel results. Then again, you may find yourself capable of doing things like lifting a 50 pound bag of dog food without effort after a month of exercising.
Everyone will have a different experience. So pay attention to your needs and how you feel overall. Be honest with yourself and keep focused.
Step 9: Constantly Evolve Your Strategy
Lastly, it’s OK to evolve your strategy for weight loss. I’ve changed my plans several times over the months to accommodate various life situations. It’s really impractical to assume you can maintain a specific diet plan or exercise routine over the long haul.
You will undoubtedly find foods and exercises you simply cannot handle. And that’s OK. As long as you’re willing to adapt to your own needs and keep active, you’ll still find yourself in far better shape than you are today.
Health and Fitness Doesn’t Happen Overnight
You’re not going to wake up one morning and have a miraculous change in appearance. There’s no magic wand, and even things like gastric bypass surgery requires a strict diet plan throughout the rest of your life. Don’t assume you’ll reach your goals instantly, but strive to make every day count towards your end-game.