Yes, one year, not one month. If you expect to lose 15 kilograms in one month and without any effort, then you may have to be over 150 kilograms. Even then you will find it struggling.
Having that out of the way, I want to start this article by saying that during 2019 I lost 15 kilograms and I could’ve lost more. But having consistency is where I struggle the most.
I didn’t lose weight every month (as I said, I lack consistency) and I experimented a bit with food and exercises because I wanted to discover the most efficient way to lose weight.
In short, I’ve discovered that you can lose weight without any exercise and it’s all about what you eat, how much you eat and when you eat. Counting calories is an important aspect of losing weight and, even more important than that is to understand that calories may be tricky.
At the beginning of 2019, I was having 92 kilograms
After quitting my job in the spring of 2018, I started working with a friend on some projects. That didn’t go well and, after three or four months of working with him, I was unemployed, with no clients for my freelance hustle and with almost no money.
It was late summer of 2018 and I was around 80 kilograms but with a strong depression. That made me drink one bottle of Coca-Cola every day, for almost half a year and eat junk food almost every day. There were days where I didn’t eat any proper food. Eventually, I ended up having 92 kilograms around the Christmas of 2018.
Until I decided to weigh myself, I wasn’t too conscious about it. But when I stepped on that weighing machine and saw my real weight, I was a little bit shocked.
92 kilograms was a bit too much. I’ve always been around 77-82 kilograms and having that much made me realize that I have to change something. So I started to do exercises every day for the first three months of 2019.
I lost 5 kilograms in 30 days
After seeing 92 kilograms on the screen of the weighing machine, I started eating less and less. But I wasn’t satisfied because I couldn’t measure my change. I was just eating less without measuring anything and that was a bit frustrating. By eating less, I went from having 92 kilograms to having 89 kilograms in like three weeks.
Therefore, because I wasn’t satisfied with how I was feeling, I decided to set myself some exercise routine I could do at home.
From 15th of January to 15th of February, this was my schedule:
- 10×2 chest liftings with two weights of 5 kilograms each;
- 10×2 liftings with one weight of 5 kilograms for triceps;
- 20 liftings with two weights of 5 kilograms each for biceps;
- 80 crunches;
- 10×2 squats.
I wasn’t doing it every day, but four days a week. During this period of 30 days, I didn’t eat any junk food and I was having only two meals per day. That’s when I lost 5 kilograms.
Next month I decided to keep the exercises. I even added one more repetition for everything. But I wanted to experiment and drank Coca-Cala again just to see what happens.
Guess what? I haven’t lost or gained any weight. I was still at 84 kilograms and it was frustrating!
Having to make that much effort without losing any weight demotivated me enough to not do any exercises after that. The only thing that I kept doing was eating less (two meals a day) and smaller amounts of junk food.
But that didn’t work.
I just checked the app that I was using and saw that I was having 86 kilograms when I decided to try something new, on the 21st of July 2019. So I went from 84 kilograms to 86 kilograms in a few months without tracking or measuring anything.
I was demotivated and skeptical about everything. Also, I was feeling like shit.
I remember that I tried to run and lose weight through running. But it didn’t work this time. It worked before but it didn’t work now.
I used to train for marathons and run them. I have run around 1500 kilometers in the last 6-7 years but I wasn’t finding running as motivating as before. I needed something new but I didn’t know what.
The three types of food
I’ve been thinking about what I eat and why I eat what I eat.
It’s clear to me that there are three types of food that I constantly consume and maybe you do it too.
There’s food for the brain. There’s food for the body. And there’s food for the soul.
Food for the brain – this is what you’ve been taught to eat by the big companies who want you to eat so they can make money.
While this sounds a bit extreme, the food for the brain is the junk food that your brain craves for. Maybe you want to eat from McDonald’s or KFC. Maybe you want to drink some Coca-Cola. Maybe you want to order one big fat pizza and eat it for two days in a row. This is what your brain wants you to eat but your body doesn’t really need it.
Food for the body – this is what your body needs for survival.
No, you don’t need McDonald’s to survive. You just need healthy food. No, you don’t need Coca-Cola to survive. You just need water.
Food for the soul – this is not represented by food but buy activities.
Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t feel hungry an entire day because you were busy doing something else? For example, if you are really passionate about something, let’s say painting, you can paint for 8 hours in a row and not feel hunger at all.
The food for the brain is harmful and I recommend you avoid it as much as possible. The food for the soul can be harmful too. While it has amazing benefits for your mental state, it will make you ignore the health of your organism. Not eating an entire day is not healthy.
I wanted to mention these three types of food before talking about calories and anything else. And I hope that it will help you realize what you are types of food you are eating and their importance.
Counting calories helped me lose 9 kilograms in 6 months
I remember wasting time on Facebook and checking the profiles of some old friends.
On some profile, I saw this video shared, with a guy saying that you can lose weight without too much effort and eating anything. I was so skeptical, I still don’t know how I checked that video. But I’m glad I did.
In short, if you want to lose weight, you have to burn a specific number of calories every day. On average, an adult woman burns from 1600 to 2400 calories every day and an adult man burns from 2000 to 3000 calories every day. And that’s happening without any exercises.
Let’s say you are a male, at 25 years old and you burn 2300 calories every day. In order to lose weight, you have to eat less than that. If you want to gain weight, you have to eat more than that.
Pretty simple, right?
That’s all, except for a little bit more information about calories, which I’ll explain later.
Before sharing more information about this, please take into consideration that I don’t have any medical background and the research I did is at its minimum. I’m just going to share with you what I did and what results I had.
Important thing to do before counting calories
MyFitnessPal is the app I used to count the calories. But before that, you need to know how many calories you have to burn in order to lose weight.
During my research, I’ve found this weight loss calculator from Precision Nutrition that provides you with the information you need in order to know how many calories you can eat.
Just click on the above link and it will take you to the calculator.
You’ll find there a few fields that you’ll have to fill in:
- Your weight;
- Your sex;
- Your age;
- Your height;
- Your physical activity level.
The physical activity level can go from 1.4 to 2.5 for this calculator. 1.4 is for sedentary and 2.5 is for very active people. 1.6 is for someone who is mostly working at a desk, not having too much physical activity at work, but has one day per week when they walk or cycle. In my case, I choose 1.8 because I am having two or three days a week where I am running a few kilometers.
Don’t click ‘Calculate’. You won’t have to click any ‘Calculate’ button. It will automatically generate the maximum calories number you can consume daily.
Then you go to SIMULATION OPTIONS and you type in your Goal Weight and the period of time you want to achieve your goal.
I recommend you not to set the goal for more than 60 days (especially if you haven’t done this before) and don’t set it for more than 3 kilograms a month.
Right after that, you’ll see generated the results:
- how much you should eat if you want to maintain your current weight;
- how much you should eat if you want to reach your goal;
- how much you should eat if you want to maintain your goal.
In my case, if I want to go from 78 kilograms (my current weight) to 75 kilograms in 30 days, then I’ll have to eat less than 2543 calories per day.
When you install the app in your smartphone, you’ll have to fill in some fields there too. The most important one is the daily goal of calories.
How to count calories
Everything you eat has calories. Except for water.
Yes, beer has calories too. If you want to quickly lose weight, this is the most important thing you can do: replace everything you drink with water – yes, even coffee or beer. Also, this will be the hardest thing to do.
So, how do you count calories?
First of all, I recommend you to buy a kitchen weighing scale. It will help you precisely calculate the calories you’re eating. But you can do just fine without it. The kitchen weighing scale helps you when you want to prepare yourself a bowl with milk and cereals. It will help you know exactly how many cereals and milk you have eaten.
Moving on, let’s say you have to eat less than 2200 calories per day to lose weight.
Let’s take mornings for example. If you decide to eat two eggs, how much calories you’re actually eating? It depends. Are you going to boil the eggs or are you going to fry them?
Keep in mind that oil has calories too (anything has calories except for water).
Two medium eggs have around 63 calories each. If you boil them, then there won’t be any more calories to add. If you fry them, then you’ll have to add another 50 to 100 calories.
Therefore, if you eat two fried eggs in the morning, you’ll already have eaten between 200 and 220 calories.
But how do I know how many calories each food has? It’s simple, you just have to check them in any food calorie database you’ll find. And there’s a lot of them on the Internet. The one I use is from CalorieKing. You just have to type in keywords like ‘egg’ or ‘beer’ and it will generate a number of products for you, from different brands.
MyFitnessPal products database
I’ve mentioned this app before. I use it to add the products there and the app will sum up the calories and track them for me.
Inside this app, you’ll find a database of products. They may not always be accurate but you can create your own products and relist them.
For example, if you’re eating two fried eggs a few days a week at breakfast, then you can save that meal and name it ‘Two fried eggs cooked at home’ and then reuse it every time you eat two fried eggs.
A calorie is not always a calorie
There are some types of foods that will make you lose weight faster than others.
For example, you may end up your days with 1600 calories eaten and you may think that you can drink 1000 ml of Coca-Cola (400 calories) and not get fat.
That’s wrong. And this is where the importance of carbohydrates comes in.
I’m now going to explain this in detail because I don’t know it well enough. But I’m going to recommend you this article: The Science of Fat-Loss: Why a Calorie Isn’t Always a Calorie.
In short, you’ll also have to check how many carbohydrates your food has. The lower carbohydrates a food has, the better.
For example, if you want to eat 100 grams of grapes, you’ll find there are 70 calories and 18 grams of carbs. But if you want to eat one medium pretzel (around 120 grams), you’ll find there are 388 calories and 80 grams of carbs.
To illustrate this in a different manner, you’ll gain weight eating one pretzel once every three days and you’ll lose weight eating 100 grams of grapes once every three days.
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Two things I’ve learned and are important
There are other things that you should be aware of.
First of all, realize that this is a big change.
If you’ve never lost more than 10 kilograms in a few months, then you will go through a change that your mind and body will try to reject.
A change starts in discomfort, is never easy, creates discomfort, creates doubt, leads to uncertainty, absorbs energy and resources. But the results of a change are amazing!
Second, make sure you know why you want to lose weight.
The first one or two weeks will be the toughest. You’ll crave for food and you’ll want to eat more than you usually eat. If you stay strong and eat fewer calories than your goal, then you’ll see results and you’ll be proud of yourself.
With love and optimism,