By Martin Ebner
Sounds like some sort of weight loss wonder claim but trust me, it’s not. Admittedly, losing such a large amount of weight is never easy, but with the right attitude, proper planning and preparation, diet and exercise plan, it’s far from impossible!!
The truth is, as daunting as it seems, losing 50lbs over the course of a year is not nearly as unattainable as it first appears. The key when faced with any big task - whether it’s fitness, work or relationship related is to break it down into smaller more attainable goals.
To lose 50lbs in 1 year you would have to lose a tad over 4lbs per month. That’s 1 pound per week and just 142 grams per day. Not so ambitious after all then!
Whereas some extreme weight loss plans can be effective short term, they are often very restrictive and the results are temporary. Losing 1lb per week, on the other hand, is both a healthy and sustainable long-term weight loss solution. You can still live a full and happy life whilst enjoying some if not all of the foods you love in moderation.
Let's use Disney's the Tortoise and the Hare as a metaphor. Toby Tortoise represents slow and steady weight loss. Max Hare, on the other hand, represents erratic and unsustainable weight loss. Sure, the Hare gets off to speedy start but then gets cocky and distracted forcing him to stop and start. The Tortoise meanwhile moves at a constant and steady pace. We all know how the story ends but the point is, weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. You must be consistent and patient to make it to the end of the race.
Let’s now work out your daily calorie requirements. Take your weight in kilos and Xs it by 27. This figure is the number of calories it takes to simply maintain your current body weight.
In order to lose 1lb per week or 142g per day you would have to reduce the figure above by 500 calories through exercise, diet or a combination of both – the preferred choice! This means that if you can reduce the number of calories you consume from the above figure by just 250 whilst burning off 250 calories per day through exercise, you are well on your way to losing a whopping 50lbs in one year.
Note: as your weight decreases, so must your calorie consumption. It’s important to recalculate your calorie requirements every 4 – 6 weeks.
Now that we’ve established the short term goals and done the math, let’s look at some key factors to losing weight.
Whether you need to lose 2lbs or 50, you must first decide why you want to lose weight. This will act as motivation during times of weakness and uncertainty. Whether it’s a recent health scare, wanting to improve confidence or to live a healthier and happier life with more energy, write it down and use it as a constant reminder.
Consistency is the key when it comes to losing weight. It’s probable that over the course of the year, you’ll have a slight set back here and there but if you can consistently stick to your diet and workout plan, you stand a far greater chance of achieving your weight loss goal.
Note: there is little point starting a weight loss plan if you aren't ready or have little intent to stick to it consistently over the given duration. While dieting and exercising on and off does offer some short-term benefits, long term it will only lead to disappointment when you don’t reach your goals.
You will need to display a ton of willpower to lose 50lbs in a year. Any weight loss journey has its ups and downs so you must be physiologically prepared before you begin. Very few people will be sympathetic to your efforts so it's important to be strong and remember why you're doing this.
Refer to "motivation" when you're feeling tempted to cheat on your diet and exercise plan.
Burning 250 calories daily through exercise isn’t difficult. It does not require Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock’s strength or Bradley Wiggins’ stamina. In fact, you can probably burn off 250 calories just by cycling or briskly walking to and from work.
If you're new to exercise, start slowly. As anxious as you are to lose weight, it's best to start light and gradually increase the regularity, length and intensity of your workouts as your confidence and fitness level increase.
Regardless of the types of workouts you prefer, it’s important have an exercise plan or at the very least, a schedule to keep you on track.
Diet is the most important part of any weight loss plan. While exercise requires motivation, a can-do attitude and an hour max a day, diet demands planning, constant attention, and full commitment every single day.
When it comes to choosing your diet, be realistic. If you love wine, don’t kid yourself into thinking you’ll not touch a drop for an entire year. If you completely cut out the foods you love, you will suffer and inevitably crack during a moment of weakness.
Instead, choose a diet that includes the foods you enjoy in moderation. Don’t be tempted to overly restrict your calorie consumption and definitely don’t cut out entire food groups from your diet. Remember, 250 – 500 calories (depending on exercise) is enough to create a calorie deficit large enough to lose 1 pound per week and 50 pounds over the course of year.
It’s really important to track your progress. Without some sort of measurement, it’s really difficult to gauge results.
Whether you monitor your progress on an app, the scales, in the mirror, with before and after photos or by the feel of your clothes against your body, looking back at all you’ve achieved will act as great encouragement to see it through to the end.
Work out your calorie requirements using the equation above. Decide why you want to lose weight, choose a start date, create a workout and diet plan and stick to it! I wish you all the luck in the world!