We hate to break it to you, but science says there is no magic pill to lose weight or keep it off. Stop looking, keep your money, and save yourself the heartbreak and frustration. It just doesn’t exist.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s explore the best way to lose weight without medication. The Huffington Post suggests the answer is pretty straightforward: sustainable weight loss is achieved through a lifestyle change of 75% smart dieting and 25% exercise.
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What Does This Mean For You?
The bad news is there are just no shortcuts here. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to work at it. The good news is we can help outline the things you need to do to successfully reach your weight loss goals.
In an analysis of over 700 weight loss studies, researchers at the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic found that people who dieted without exercising lost 23 pounds in 15 weeks. Whereas those who only exercised without eating smart, lost only 6 pounds over a period of 21 weeks.
That said, experts still recommend incorporating exercise into weight loss routines. As you lose fat through dieting, you also lose muscle and bone density. Lose too much of this and you’ll end up with an undefined, saggy, and very weak body.
The bottom line? While you can’t outrun a bad diet because cutting calories is easier than burning it, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise at all. In fact, this single sentence illustrates the three lifestyle changes you need to make for a successful weight loss journey: count calories, picky eating, and packing on weights.
In an article for Health Magazine, celebrity fitness trainer, Jillian Michaels said her number one weight loss tip for dieters is to stay away from fad diets. From zero-carb to non-fat diets, Michaels says these diets are not manageable for long-term weight-loss. This is due to the deprivation of essential food groups that your body actually needs to function optimally. Instead, the best way to get all the nutrients you need while dieting is to count your calories, and make sure those calories come from healthy foods.
Finding out how many calories you’re supposed to consume daily is usually a three-step process. This involves calculating for your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or the amount of calories your body needs to function at rest for an entire day, determining your daily activity level (this ranges from Sedentary to Very Active), and multiplying your BMR by the Activity Factor assigned to your activity level.
You can compute this manually, or you can also use this calorie calculator from Calculator.net to accurately determine your daily caloric needs.
When you enter the necessary information in the calculator above, you’ll find that five results come up. Of these five, you only need to pay attention to the results in red or the number of calories you should consume if you’re looking to lose weight.
You’ll notice these numbers are at least 500 calories less than your BMR. This is called your caloric deficit. Be sure to stay within this deficit. Go too low and you’ll slow down your metabolism, making weight loss more challenging. Too high and you’ll be packing on the pounds instead of losing them.
Be A Picky Eater
Now that you know the calorie deficit you need to maintain in order for you to lose weight, it’s time to choose the right kind of food to consume. It can get very confusing when there is an abundance of literature out there about what you should and shouldn’t eat when you’re trying to lose weight, but you really can’t go wrong if you follow the 3 week diet reviewed here.
To simplify things, MedicalDaily.com recommends sticking to two simple rules: (1) Keep sugars and starches to a minimum, and (2) Maximize protein and vegetables.
Cutting down on sugars and starches is important because eating these kinds of foods stimulates the secretion of insulin in the body. This, in turn, signals the body to keep storing fat because it can use the sugar and starch you just consumed.
By reducing your sugar and starch intake, you also lower the insulin levels in your body, resulting in your fat deposits being used as energy. Aside from this, a lowered insulin level signals your kidneys to retain less sodium and water, thereby reducing body fat and water weight.
Adding more protein and vegetables to your diet as you reduce the starches and sugars will help you meet your caloric needs and weight loss goals. Eating more vegetables allows you to consume the good carbs you still need in your diet. The fiber in vegetables also allows you to feel fuller faster, avoiding the cravings for starchy and sugary food. Nutritionists recommend filling your plate half-full with vegetables to reap their filling benefits.
Protein is also great for giving you the energy and feeling of satiety that you need while on a diet. The International Journal of Obesity found those on a calorie deficit diet who had eggs (a good source of protein) for breakfast instead of bagels, experienced 65% more weight loss! That’s a pretty astonishing number! According to calorie counting app, My Fitness Pal, this is because protein requires more of your stored energy to process, is fat burning, and promotes muscle repair and growth.
Pack On The Weights
As we said earlier, if you don’t want to look like and be as weak as a deflated balloon when you reach your goal weight, you need to supplement your smart dieting with exercise. There are just as many types of trendy exercise programs as there are fad diets.
If you get confused as to what you should be doing, there are again just two rules to follow: (1) Start strength training, and (2) Supplement with high intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio. A program like the Fat Diminisher System by Wesley Virgin can be a huge help for those who want step-by-step help and guidance.
Whatever your weight loss goals, having a strength training program as your main exercise regimen will greatly benefit your muscle definition, weight loss, and even your bone strength. If you have absolutely no background in strength training, you can start with simple bodyweight exercises.
As the name suggests, bodyweight training allows you to build strength by using your own bodyweight as resistance. What’s great about bodyweight exercises is you don’t even need to go to a gym to work out!
You can opt to buy the basic equipment or even use everyday objects as substitutes. NerdFitness.com recommends following this beginner bodyweight circuit to activate multiple muscle groups, get your heart rate up, and burn lots of calories.
When you get stronger, feel free to progress to more intense strength training programs. These can be anything from straightforward weight lifting programs to indoor or outdoor wall climbing (which still uses your bodyweight but with an elevated difficulty).
On your days off from strength training, Prevention.com recommends supplementing your exercise routine with HIIT cardio. HIIT refers to switching from high to low intensity cardio exercise within your allotted routine period.
For example, if you enjoy walking 30 minutes a day, add 30 second jogging bursts for every 5 minutes of walking. This technique triggers your metabolism to work at a higher rate while working out. Due to the high level, your metabolism will keep working even after you’re done working out.
Other Things To Remember If You Want To Lose Weight Without Medication
Keep Track of Everything
Keep a journal of everything you eat and the weight and inches you lose. This not only allows you to keep yourself honest throughout your weight loss journey, but it’s also a great reminder of what you’ve achieved as the weight comes off. A great tool for recording both caloric intake and weight loss is the My Fitness Pal website and app.
Just because we said you need to beef up on protein doesn’t mean you should be eating steaks all day, every day. You still need to think about the way food is prepared and if the food you’re going to eat fits with your caloric needs.
Also make sure you pay attention to your food when you’re eating instead of forking food into your mouth aimlessly. This allows you to eat slower and actually stop eating when you feel full. The timing of when you eat is also very important.
Make It Fun
With food, Jillian Michaels suggests eating 80% healthy food and 20% food that makes you happy while staying within your caloric deficits. This allows you to avoid feeling deprived and falling off the wagon.
With exercise, it’s important to find a routine that you actually have fun doing. Otherwise, you’ll have excuse after excuse of why you don’t want to exercise.
Make sure to take a break from exercising to allow your body to recuperate and grow stronger. If you plan on exercising 5 times a week, you can do strength training on Monday-Wednesday-Friday, practice cardio on Tuesdays-Thursdays, and completely rest your body on Saturday and Sunday.
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Studies show that those who lose 1-2 pounds per week at a gradual and steady pace are likely to reach their goals and keep the weight off. This is because your body has time to learn these new eating and fitness habits are normal and should be maintained. It is because of the abrupt changes brought about by diet pills that their effects never really stick.
Losing weight without pills and medications is never easy, but it isn’t impossible, even if it feels that way sometimes. Always remember the best way to lose weight without medication is through serious and disciplined lifestyle and dietary changes.
With focused work, commitment, and perseverance, you’ll look and feel the best you’ve ever felt in your life. That alone makes it all worth it!
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