How I Lost Two Stone by Doing One Thing
Re-understanding fat-loss allowed me to succeed with it for the first time ever.
I’ve always carried a couple of extra stones.
Being really tall, I usually get away with it and I have always managed to look fairly comfortable in most outfits.
However, following a prolonged illness I was left with both lockdown and medication weight, added to the couple of stone I was already concealing.
I knew that I was around three stones overweight and a test revealed my body fat to be upwards of 30%.
I did what I’ve always done when I pick up a few pounds; cut out my treats and favorite meals, sweat it out with as many cardio workouts as I could face, berate myself constantly for any tiny, chocolate-flavored slip-up…and in the end?
Pig out on tonnes of food after enduring several weeks of hunger pangs and arrive back where I began feeling pretty pap.
I decided that I needed help with weight loss.
I was clearly going really wrong somewhere. I turned to a fitness coach from my local area, who I’d seen friends recommending on social media-she helped me to understand weight loss in a way that I’d simply never done before.
The key to losing fat turned out to be achieving one single goal, and here it is:
Maintain a small calorie deficit over a prolonged period of time.
and that’s it!
This is the one thing that I did and I’ll go on to explain how I did that after I explain what it means.
Understanding calorie deficit
A deficit is when:
the amount spent is more than the amount received. Cambridge Dictionary
When applied to calories, this simply means that we use a little more than we consume in food.
What’s vital though, is that the deficit is small enough to be sustainable and doesn’t shock your body or set you up to fail with weekly binges.
The aim is not to eat as few calories as possible, but to eat at an optimum deficit.
You can calculate your caloric deficit easily using online tools that are free, or you can engage with a fitness professional to help you tailor this.
Once you have your ‘number,’ it’s a case of managing the food you eat within that allowance to ensure that you nourish your body and satisfy your emotional needs too. I used MyFitnessPal but there are plenty of free apps to help.
For me, I’d always failed in the past because I opted to over-restrict and cut-out entire food groups. This simply didn’t work — will-power alone wasn’t enough and I needed the odd treat.
Actually, I treat myself pretty regularly, but I keep the treats within the calorie allowance.
I dropped weight quickly initially, and have maintained a steady loss since.
Now let’s talk about the how.
1. Tweak your macros
Macronutrients are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Everything you eat falls within one of those groups.
I gradually tweaked my macros to include more protein and healthy fats; this meant that I stayed fuller for a lot longer and never felt hungry.
You don’t have to understand more than you want to about how this works, you can simply aim to include a protein source within each meal and as an occasional snack.
This was my approach and it helped me feel really full.
I turned mainly to:
- Protein yogurts
- Chickpeas & lentils
I crave that over-full feeling after a meal, and protein will definitely help with satiety.
2. Volume eat
Volume eating is where you consume loads of low-cal foods in order to feel full.
Low-cal foods are often the healthiest too, so you basically get the biggest bang for your buck.
I eat huge (and I mean huge) salads as snacks for around 100 calories. That’s the same as eating two Riesen chocolate chews or half a twinkie.
I also volumize within my meals. So if I’m eating fish and chips (I’m a Brit after all), I’ll go big on the side salad and enjoy a handful of low-fat chips, with a fillet of fish.
Adding the volume from the salad will stop me craving more of the chips.
Foods I turned to for volume eating:
- Baby spinach — my all-time fave.
- Mixed leaf salads
3. Switch out high-calorie foods
I have THE biggest sweet tooth.
I kid you not. I could live on donuts. I could skip a meal and just have a dessert. I only eat meals SO that I can have dessert.
My cravings are intense.
So going without sweet treats was simply not going to work for me…not never…not no-how.
So I switched out my sweet treats for the lowest calorie sweet treats that would still satisfy me. Here’re some things that I consume regularly to manage my sweet tooth:
- 10-cal jelly
- Sweet apple slices in Skinny Sauce
- Rice cakes with choccy coverings
- Chocolate fibre bars
- Chocolate protein bars
- Single wrap sweets
- Dark chocolate
- High-protein ice-cream
- Fanta Zero (or similar)
- Low-cal wine
I also switched out anything that had a low-cal alternative, and always picked up the reduced-fat options from the supermarket.
This all helped me to get the most enjoyment from my calorie allowance, thus making it sustainable over a longer period of time.
Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym
If you really want to lose fat, this one thing is what you need to do:
You need to maintain a small calorie deficit over a long period of time.
Weight loss is a gradual process. It’s also not likely that your weight will go down every week, but it will trend downwards in time.
This approach has worked so well for me because it wasn’t strict and authoritative like most commercial diets. I was still in charge and I managed my own needs within my allowance.
This approach also moved me massively towards a healthier diet and relationship with food. I want to feel full and healthy after a meal, so I gravitated towards volumizing veggies without ever being told what to do by a diet plan.
Introducing more movement (steps) and more exercise (growing muscles) will definitely support your fat-loss journey too and I will share my experiences of that in another story.
I lost two stone by doing one thing: I maintained a small caloric deficit over a prolonged period of time.
I did this by:
- Tweaking my macros
- Volume eating
- Switching out foods for low-cal alternatives
My results have been gradual but sustainable.
I’m still in my deficit as I tackle the final stone that is clinging on for dear life. I’m not intimidated by this final stone, nor am I worried that it won’t budge. I know that I’ll continue to lose fat at a steady rate until I achieve my goal.
My energy levels have improved. I’m physically stronger and have a better emotional relationship with food too.
I hope that my experience can support you in your own journey.