Losing weight is straight-forward with a tool like Cronometer. This article will explain the basic steps to successful weight loss, and why a tool like Cronometer is invaluable in the process.
This approach isn’t based on any dieting fads or flaky ideas. It is all grounded in science.
First of all, studies have shown that food journaling is one of the most effective ways to lose weight . The act of logging every bit and nibble helps raise self-awareness of what you are eating throughout the day, and it helps encourage good behaviour.
The very first step is to educate yourself. Before you even begin dieting, you can start tracking the foods you eat, and learning what is in them. As your learn more about the calorie content and nutritional density of the foods you eat, you will start to make wiser more effective eating choices.
Losing weight can be boiled down to a simple equation. Your body requires a certain amount of calories per day to keep going. Even just lying in bed all day requires energy to keep you alive. Moving about (exercise) takes even more energy. If you consume less calories in a day than it took your body to keep alive and moving, the energy it used to keep you alive and moving had to come from your body. First your body will use up the readily available blood sugar, then move on to use up the glucose stored up in your liver. Lastly, it will metabolize your fat stores and muscles to get the energy it needs. This is weight loss.
If you follow these steps exactly, I can almost guarantee you will lose weight and most importantly, stay healthy at the same time.
1. Get a good quality kitchen scale
You need a good scale to weigh everything. If you don’t weigh the food you eat, you WILL underestimate the amount. People, especially when dieting, will almost always underestimate food portions. We have a built-in bias and the only way to counter it is to carefully weigh and measure the ingredients.
2. Track everything as carefully and as honestly as possible
Be honest. When dieting, it can be tempting to skip the little things, or round the values down. It’s self-sabotage, and your mind will rationalize anything to trick you into eating more when you’re on a low calorie diet. Remember – you’re only lying to yourself.
Track every little thing – it all adds up! If you nibble a french fry off of your friend’s plate, or put butter on that toast – track it! A cup of coffee with a shot of half & half? Track it! Not only will you know the real amount of calories you are consuming, but even that coffee with cream has nutritional value, and you’ll want to know about it.
3. Set your nutritional targets
Cronometer features a nutritional target wizard. Simply tell it your body details (age, weight, height, and gender), and it will automatically set recommended minimum daily values for all the vitamins and minerals your body requires to stay healthy.
You need at least the recommended daily amounts to keep from being malnourished. You should strive to get all your required nutrients. If your body is malnourished it can make you feel more hungry. Using Cronometer will help teach you which foods are nutrient dense. Over time you will learn to avoid poorer food choices.
Some nutrients are hard to get from your diet (for example, Vitamin D). After tracking for a few days you will start to see which specific nutrients you are not getting enough of. You can either shift your diet to foods that will help, or decide to take supplements.
4. Set your weight loss goal in Cronometer
You can also choose a weight loss goal. Cronometer will set your recommended daily calories to meet that goal. For example, if it calculates that your body requires 2500 calories per day to maintain your current weight, and you want to lose one pound per week, it will recommend your calorie target to be around 2000 calories. If you run this consistent 500 calorie deficit, you should burn roughly one pound of fat per week.
How you reach this daily average is up to you. You could eat 4000 calories one day and fast the next day – this would still be a 2000 calorie per day average. You could eat 2500 calories every day, but burn 500 calories with your daily exercise routine. Experiment with different strategies and find what works best for you – just make sure you hit your targets.
Don’t try and lose weight too quickly as it can be an unhealthy strain on your body. If you are very overweight, losing 2 pounds per week is ok. If you are leaner, you shouldn’t really lose more than 1 pound per week. Remember to re-adjust your targets as you lose weight.
5. Get daily exercise
When losing weight, exercise serves two important purposes. First, it burns calories, so can help provide some of your caloric deficit. But secondly, if you don’t exercise at all and run a caloric deficit your body may end up burning your muscle instead of your fat! A little bit of daily exercise should keep your muscles stimulated and prevent muscle loss.
6. Drink lots of water
Drinking a lot of water is important for a few reasons. When losing weight, your body releases a lot of toxins that were stored in your body fat. Drinking water helps flush them out. Drinking water also helps you feel less hungry .
7. Tips for dealing with hunger cravings
When you first start eating less calories than your body is used to, it will complain. Fortunately, there are many tricks to feeling less hungry. As previously mentioned, drinking a glass of water is often the cure for a snack-craving. Low-calorie veggies are also a great way to nibble on something substantial, with very few calories. Keep a bag of baby carrots in the fridge. If you are craving a snack, fill a coffee mug with baby carrots (roughly 150 grams) and munch away! Sliced cucumber, celery, sweet peppers, and broccoli also make great nutritional fillers.
One of the biggest challenges a dieter faces is eating out with friends and family. It can be very hard to resist the temptations of delicious high calorie foods when they are wafted in front of you, along with peer pressure to eat. If you are weak in this area, it can be best to avoid the situations until you have developed a good routine and feel disciplined enough to go out.
Another strategy is to drink a big glass of water and eat some veggies shortly before you go out for dinner. You will have an easier time ordering the soup & salad if you don’t have an empty stomach.
That’s it. Track your food, hit your targets. Educate yourself. Practice self-discipline. Be patient and the pounds will come off. You will rest assured in the knowledge that you are getting all the nutrition your body needs to stay healthy.
Best of luck!