Trying to lose weight when you’re already over 200 pounds is frustrating enough to bring tears. You see a journey you’ve already tried multiple times without success.
Here’s the best strategy to lose weight if over 200 pounds, and struggling to shed body fat.
It’s Going To Take Time
When you’re 30-50 pounds overweight it’s important to accept the reality of the time investment needed to get the fat off. It took several months, and often years, to accumulate that much excess body fat and it will likely take an equal amount of time to get it off.
When you have a goal in mind, you want it to happen now. You want to see results, now. This impatience works against you, because of the time it takes for your body to adapt to new behavior and diet changes.
It can take 4-6 weeks of specific behavior to notice anything in the mirror. When you’re on a strict diet, exercising five times a week, not seeing results in the mirror can be frustrating enough to quit.
To compensate for this, you should not overburden yourself with new habits that you’re unlikely to continue because it’s too overwhelming. Instead, ease into your new lifestyle changes approaching your diet adjustments in phases.
Allowing each phase to become part of your life and daily routine over several weeks before moving to the next phase will make the transition seamless and less of a shock.
Diet Phase 1 – Healthier Habits
This phase is all about behavior changes that don’t reduce your total daily calories, or make substantial changes to the foods you normally eat. Think of this phase as “eating healthier”.
You’re not on a diet, and you’re not restricting calories yet. You’re just trying to find all the simple, small changes that put you on the path to a healthier diet.
– When you’re eating out, order your food without cheese.
– Skip the mayonnaise on burgers and sandwiches.
– Only use half as much butter as usual.
– Reduce or eliminate the creamer in coffee.
– If you’re a late night snacker, prepare a healthier snack than usual.
– Drink more water
– Exercise once a week
Diet Phase 2 – Diet Content Changes
After several weeks of healthier habits, you’re ready to move forward with more significant changes to your diet content. You don’t have to reduce your daily calorie total in this phase, you’re just going to focus on content.
The main staple of a weight loss diet will always be adding lean protein and fiber, while removing simple fast digesting carbohydrates. When you integrate those three factors into every meal, your body will begin to respond and make changes you’re not even aware of.
Protein and fiber will fill you up, making sure you don’t have hunger cravings between meals. Removing simple carbohyrates has multiple benefits to everyone on a diet:
– Sugar spikes insulin, which influences fat storage
– Elevated insulin also negates your ability to feel full
Remove as many fast digesting, sugary foods from your meals as possible. You’ll also want to exercise twice a week for 20-30 minutes each session.
Diet Phase 3 – Begin Calorie Restriction
You’ve made the simple, superficial changes and you’ve even made significant content changes to every meal. This is a good time to begin calorie restriction to start accelerating fat loss over the next few weeks.
Instead of slashing your daily calorie budget to the absolute bare minimum, you should adopt a more progressive restriction. Start by reducing your total daily calories by 200-300.
Your body will adjust, and you’ll soon notice several pounds have melted away over several weeks.
Why You Stop Losing Weight
Your body has an internal calculator of sorts, and has a maintenance calorie range it needs to sustain your current weight.
Example: You weigh 200 pounds and currently eat 3000-3500 calories each day. This is your maintenance range. As long as you consistently eat in this calorie range you will not gain or lose weight.
You decide to start a diet and reduce your calorie range to 2800-3300. Your body will lose a few pounds, and normalize so that 2800-3300 becomes your new maintenance calorie range.
You will maintain that weight, without gaining or losing, as long as you continue to eat 2800-3300 calories each day. You won’t resume your weight loss until you lower your calorie range another 200-300 calories.
The cycle then repeats. Your body will adjust, lose a few pounds, and normalize in the new range. If you want to lose more you will need to re-adjust your daily calorie intake.
During this calorie restriction phase you’ll want to begin exercising three or four times a week. When you combine calorie restriction with consistent cardio exercises every week your fat loss will begin to accelerate exponentially.
Trying to lose weight when you’re already over 200 pounds seems overwhelming but it’s not insurmountable. You just have to be smart, and plan your changes.
Set yourself up for success with a calculated progression of changes over several months instead of making too many changes at once that often result in diet failure.