Thannan's Weight Loss Guide

Thannan

Active Member
#1
Get Yourself Healthy – A Crash Course

When it comes to losing weight there’s tons of misconceptions, misunderstandings, myths, and flat out untruths. I would like to help, based on my research and experiences (went from obese BMI to healthy BMI in a year) y’all understand.

Section 1: The Science of Weight Loss

If you’re reading this it’s likely because you’ve tried and failed to diet many times. Or you haven’t, but want to know the right way to approach it. Thankfully, science is here to help.

If you read one thing here, this is the most important: you will only lose weight at a caloric deficit. To lose a pound, you’ll have to burn approximately 3,500 calories more than you consume. This can take place over a week, two weeks, or three weeks, but if you burn 3,500 more calories than you consume, you will lose a pound.

The first step to determining your caloric needs will be to find your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is your body’s absolute minimum calories burned per day if you were to, for instance, lie in bed for 24 hours. It will be different for everyone and constantly changing based on your weight, height, age, and gender. The below link is a great resource. For me, this number is 1931.8.

http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

Next, you’ll want to find your body’s total caloric needs based on your BMR and activity level. Through the Harris-Benedict Equation you can get a rough estimate of how many calories your body is burning each day. The link below will have the equation available for you. For me, with a BMR of 1931.8 and being moderately active, I will burn 2994.29 calories each day naturally.

http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/harris-benedict-equation/

Obviously having a higher rate of exercise will mean your body naturally burns more. That being said, this is something that takes weeks to months develop, so if you are just beginning a workout routine err on the side of sedentary.

A healthy, doctor-recommended weight loss schedule is around two pounds per week. This will mean you want to be burning 7,000 calories per week more than you consume – or 1,000 a day. Some nuances do go along with this – If you are 1,200 under one and and 800 under another day this does balance itself out over the course of a week. Based on my body’s ability to burn appx. 2,900 calories per day, a successful diet would have me consuming 1,900 calories daily to maintain a loss of 2 pounds per week. This brings us to…

Section 2: A Successful Diet

If you remember one thing from section 2 remember this: Weight loss is completed 100% in the kitchen.

This is, for most, going to be the most difficult part of losing weight: a maintainable, successful diet that does not feel restrictive. This is the reason there are so many weight loss products on the market – it seems easier to be able to drink a shake, take a pill, or cut out a specific food-type, etc. than it does to simply control portions. The first and foremost thing to remember when it comes to diet is: a calorie is a calorie, it doesn’t matter if it’s bacon or spinach – they all count the same. (The one small caveat for this rule is alcohol, which is a far more complex subject that I won’t bother going into, because for these intents and purposes, it will count like any others).

So knowing that a calorie is a calorie, you can determine what type of diet will be successful for you. I have personally tried paleo or low-carb diets, but the only thing that has been sustainable is calorie-counting. I believe, from experience, that this is the only diet that works. If you do branch out and attempt a paleo or no carb diet, etc. please remember that a calorie is still a calorie, even if you’re not consuming carbs.

Under the pretense that you’ll be working on a caloric restriction diet, here’s some tips that have helped me succeed:
  1. Download MyFitnessPal or a similar calorie tracking app
    1. Input everything you eat or drink into this app, for at least a month. Doing something for a month creates a habit.
    2. Input everything you eat or drink into this app. You will be surprised at how many calories you’re eating that you didn’t even know you were consuming.
    3. Set a goal in the app. It will automatically track your calorie consumption each day versus your calorie goal for each day. You can set it to lose anywhere from .5-2 pounds per week.
    4. Do not input exercise into this app, unless you’re doing 60+ minutes of cardio. Exercise should be looked at as something you do because it’s good for you, not because it lets you eat more (at least to begin with). If you do 30+minutes of cardio three times a week, this should help cover a cheat day should you decide to have one. Moreover, MFP is pretty garbage at estimating calories burned.
  2. Get a food scale
    1. For the first few months, until you learn to eyeball proportions correctly, use a food scale to measure out anything you possibly can. For most people, this will be portions of meat. Your portions of meat will look much smaller than expected or than you have been used to eating
    2. Also use a “drink scale” when making alcoholic drinks. A shot glass is 1.5 oz, a pint glass is 16 oz., and a wine glass is as big as your heart desires (just kidding, a standard pour is 5 oz.). Beers are not created equally – if you’re going to have an IPA enter an IPA into your app, not a Bud Light.
  3. Create a set of easy, go-to meals you can make quickly or on-the-go
    1. If you have healthy meals you have prepared or require very little preparation you are far less likely to choose to eat out or eat fast food.
    2. Input these meals into your “recipes” by ingredient measurements section of MyFitnessPal for easy repeated-use entering
    3. Having a routine makes creating a healthy habit easier and healthy habits create a healthy lifestyle, the ultimate goal
  4. Have a “typical day” lined up
    1. Again, having a routine will make your weight loss journey a habit then a lifestyle, which is much easier to maintain
    2. For a very long time, I would have the same breakfast and lunch and switch up my dinners – it is human nature to crave variety, so set yourself up for success by creating variety in one meal while maintaining a routine for your others
    3. If you are a “big meal” eater, have a healthy big meal you can fall back on. If you are a “snacker” (like me) have several very small meals throughout the day
  5. DRINK A TON OF WATER
    1. Being hydrated will allow your body to work at its fullest potential when it comes to metabolism and fitness
    2. Drinking a ton of water will also curb your appetite
    3. “You’re not hungry, you’re thirsty” is a great adage to live by
    4. Drinking a glass of water and waiting ten minutes after a meal is a wonderful way to force yourself into portion control
Following the above outlines you will find, through trial and error, what works for you so you can create your “typical day.” The following is what I would consider a typical day for me:

Breakfast: One packet oatmeal – 140 Calories

Breakfast 2: One packet oatmeal – 140 Calories

Snack 1 – String Cheese, pepper jack – 80 Calories

Lunch – Veggie Pita (Whole wheat pita, black bean hummus, spinach, shredded carrots) – 320 Calories

Snack 2 – Sweet Potato – 120 Calories

Snack 3 – A couple “bite-size” candies to settle sweet tooth – 100 calories

This will leave me appx. 800 calories to fill with whatever I’d like for dinner, which is typically a heavy vegetable-based meal with savory carbs like veggies, rice and beans or, if I’m feeling like a more standard meal, a veggie burger and sweet potato fries.

*Disclaimer: I am a vegetarian, which is a sacrifice I realize most people aren’t willing to make (although for me, it’s an environmental thing, not a weight loss thing). If you can, limiting your meat to one meal a day or limiting yourself to only white meats is a major advantage when it comes to weight loss.
 

Thannan

Active Member
#2
Section 3: Physical Fitness

As stated before, weight loss is created almost entirely in the kitchen. That being said, total health does entail physical fitness. Being physically fit also buys you many more precious calories to eat each day. Considering the goal here is weight loss and physical fitness goals are very personal, I won't go deep into this section - but I want to outline what will be successful for you during weight loss.

Do your best to complete at least 30 minutes of cardio at least 3 times a week. To start, this can be walking, jogging, running, playing a sport, etc. The important part is that you are exercising your heart. Cardio will burn the most calories and will be the most effective way to create an overall healthy body.

For weight loss, weightlifting is almost useless. You cannot build muscle at a caloric deficit. You will not get bigger muscles and lose weight at the same time. This is a very generalized statement, but unless you’re willing to spend hours per day in the gym along with an extremely controlled and hardcore diet schedule (bulk “days” on lifting days, extreme calorie cutting on off days), you won’t succeed at building muscle.

This isn’t to say weight lifting is useless. You can get somewhat stronger without building muscle. You can also definitely burn calories while lifting, but at a much lower rate than you would spending that time doing cardio – even if it’s just walking.

Like your eating routine, it will be good to have a typical day when it comes to physical fitness, with the goal being 30 minutes/3x weekly at a bare minimum. When I first started this meant a lot of walking. For me, I liked hiking because it was low impact, easy sustainable cardio that didn’t make me feel like I was dying. As I’ve lost weight, I’ve used all that walking as a basis to run appx. 8-12 miles weekly along with climbing 2-4 nights weekly.

A typical workout schedule when I first started, however, looked like this:

Monday/Wednesday/Friday – 30+ minutes walking/jogging interspersed as much as I could. Tuesday/Thursday – Rest, maintain diet.
Saturday – “Big day” of 60+ minute activity, even just walking.
Sunday – Rest day, “cheat day” with, running 500 calories over my limit (which is still a 500 deficit for the day).

Keep in mind – cardio will suck at first. You’re probably out of shape. Hell, I’m still not in the shape I want to be in despite working out 3-5 times weekly for close to a year. However IT IS WORTH IT. Your body will thank you later when you’re running miles (actually completing them), when you’re climbing a flight of stairs without being out of breath, and when you’re looking in the mirror noticing muscles you haven’t seen in years.

Section 4: Wrap-Up

Remember, weight loss is not an art form, it’s not something you cannot do – it is science first and foremost. It is extremely difficult. They say most people rebound, but you don’t have to. Try this for a week. Then another. Then a month. Then another. Once you’ve created a habit, you’ll create a lifestyle.

Once you’ve created a lifestyle you’ll be looking back at your heavier days reminiscing on how blissfully ignorant you were at the ease of weight loss. It is worth the effort. It is worth all the food weighing, calorie counting, miles walked and days spent saying “no” to shitty food. Looking in the mirror, seeing a different person, one who actually succeeded this time is worth every single second of it.

You can do this.
 
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Marcus

Guild Master
#3
I really love this guide. However, I do have one slight disagreement, a calorie is actually not just a calorie in some instances. Recent studies showed that 200 calories of almonds and 200 calories of soda make your body react much differently. Your body is a machine. It takes whatever you give it and turns it into sugar so that your brain and muscles can function. A fistful of almonds may be 200 calories, but how your body reacts to it compared to 200 calories of soda is completely opposite.

The almonds satiate you moreso than soda. And because of the proteins and nutrients, it takes your body much more energy to process them through your system than soda. In fact, highly refined sugars make your liver panic, and shoots fat straight to your system.
 

Thannan

Active Member
#4
Marcus, do you have a source on that? I'd be interested to read it. It's always been, from my understanding, for weight loss purposes, a calorie is a calorie.

Alcohol being slightly more complex because it's truly useless calories, which i could see soda being as well