4 Steps to Weight Loss

And 3 reasons you’re going about weight loss the wrong way.

Step #1 – Track your calories for weight loss.

Whenever I have a nutrition consult with a client about weight loss, this is the first thing I bring up.

The reason for this is because it works.  It’s as simple as that.

Anybody that properly tracks their calories starts their weight loss journey one step ahead.

Weight loss only happens if you’re burning of more calories than you’re putting into your body.


The simple equation for weight loss is below:

What you eat – what you burn = Weight loss or weight gain.

  • If you end up in the positive you will eventually gain weight.
  • If you end up in the negative you will eventually lose weight.

Your body burns of a certain number of calories each and every day.

This is just for you to lay around all day and do nothing.

We call this your BMR, or basal metabolic rate.

Weight loss is largely dependent on how high your BMR is.

However, we still have to go one step further.

Next we have to factor in exercise.

The easiest way to do this is to go by the number of hours you work out each week.  We call this your lifestyle factor, or exercise factor.

  • 1-3 hours of exercise per week = 1.2
  • 4-6 hours of exercise per week = 1.35
  • 6+ hours of exercise per week = 1.5

We take these factors and multiply it by your BMR depending on how active you are.

You can find a BMR calculator pretty much anywhere online.

  • So let’s say your BMR is 1,500 calories and you work out 5 hours per week.
  • We would take 1,500 and multiply it by 1.35 to get 2,025 calories.
  • This should be the amount of calories you need to eat to maintain your weight.

2,025 is for weight maintenance, not weight loss.


Now the magic number is 3,500 calories.

This is equal to one pound of fat.  We need to hit negative 3,500 calories for a weight loss of one pound.

Generally we spread these 3,500 calories over 7 days which comes out to 500 calories per day.

We then take out this 500 calories from what you burn.

2,025 – 500 = 1,525.

If you eat 1,525 calories and you burn 2,025 = -500 for the day.

If you multiply that -500 by 7 days you get -3,500 calories for the week.  This will result, mathematically, in one pound of weight loss.


Step #2 – Eat more vegetables.

If you eat more vegetables you will drastically cut down your overall calorie intake.

This happens for two reasons:

  1. Vegetables are very low in calories.
  2. They also contain a lot of fiber and water which will fill you up and keep you from getting hungry.

Not to mention that vegetables are chalked full of vitamins and minerals to make sure your body is working the way you’re supposed to.

You should add vegetables to most, if not all, of your meals.  If your body is working properly and you’re feeding it the right amount of nutrients, then weight loss will be easier than you think.


Step #3 – Eat protein with every meal to help with weight loss and lean muscle gain.

You always hear about it.  More protein, more protein, more protein.

Protein alone won’t get you the weight loss you need, but it will help.

Protein not only fills you up, but it takes more energy for the body to process it.

This means that if you eat protein, your body will burn a certain number of calories just trying to break it down.  That rate is almost two times as much as carbohydrates or fat.

Protein also provides your body with the building blocks for building lean muscle, which are amino acids.

If you’re working out, you’re going to be breaking down muscle fibers.  You need protein to help aide in the recovery of your muscles.  The more muscle you have on the body, the higher your metabolism will be.  The higher the metabolism, the better your weight loss will be.

Some high protein food sources:

  • Lean meats (chicken breast, lean ground turkey, lean ground beef, bison)
  • Seafood (salmon, tuna, shrimp)
  • Dairy (cottage cheese, Greek yogurt)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, pistachios, peanut butter, flax seeds)
  • Protein powders
  • Edamame


Step #4 – Remove any calories that you consume from drinks.

This is an absolute must for everyone.  Calories from drinks are a huge factor in weight loss.  If you’re sitting there and drinking:

  • Sweet tea
  • Sodas
  • Fruit juices

All of these contain calories, and lots of them.

Try removing, or at least reducing, the amount of drinks you intake that contain calories.

Opt for drinks that are zero calories to help your weight loss.

But you should understand that even drinks that are sugar free and zero calories have a negative effect on you if they’re artificially sweetened.

Research shows that people who drink diet sodas versus regular sodas put on the same amount of weight.

This happens because your body expects nutrients but doesn’t get any.  In return, your body will cause you to have hunger cravings.

So you may end up eating more food every time you consume these zero calorie drinks that are artificially sweetened.


Reason #1 – You think weight loss from cardio is best.

Weight loss that comes solely from cardio exercise may be the worst type of weight loss possible.

If you only use cardio as a weight loss tool, then you’ll end up losing a lot of muscle mass in the process.

Muscle mass is the only thing that really burns calories, even when you’re at rest.

So why would you want to get rid of that?

Cardio is a great addition if you’re looking to lose weight, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you’re doing.

When you lose weight from cardio, the weight loss comes from about 50% fat and 50% muscle.

Now when you lift weights and perform cardio as part of your weight loss regimen, the weight that you lose is mostly fat.

When you lose weight you will lose some muscle mass, it’s just how the body works.  But what you want to do is minimize the amount of weight loss from your muscle stores.

The best way to go about this is to perform higher intensity cardio versus the hour long runs every day.  Moderation is key with cardio.  A couple of days of higher intensity cardio, and a couple of days of longer steady-state cardio should do the trick.


Reason #2 – You’re not being consistent.

The worst thing you can do is start and stop from week-to-week when you’re looking to lose weight.

Since weight loss is all about the calories in versus calories out, you have to make sure you keep up with your workout routine.

You should be exercising at a minimum of four days a week in order to see some results.  You really should be exercising around 6 days a week, with at least one day of rest or active recovery each week.

If you stay consistent and work out most days of the week, weight loss will happen.

Some tips to keep consistency with your weight loss:

  • Find a workout partner to go to the gym with.
  • Hire a personal trainer to keep you accountable.
  • Keep track of all your workouts in a notebook or on your phone.
  • Increase the difficulty or intensity of your workouts as you become more fit.


Reason #3 – You think weight loss is going to happen overnight.

We all have to come to the realization that weight loss isn’t something that will be done after a few days of hard work.

If the weight didn’t come on in two weeks, then how can we expect that it will come off in the same amount of time or even less?

Weight loss has to become a lifestyle for you, especially if you want to maintain it and stay healthy.

A lot of people start going to the gym with high hopes of losing weight quickly.

Sometimes they even think it’s going to happen without changing any of the bad habits that got them there in the first place.

Your weight loss is directly related to the amount of work you put in.

If you’re only working out a couple of times a week and keep eating all the same foods, you’re not going to see the results you desire.

  • Take your time and slowly increase the amount you work out each week.
  • Make small daily changes to your eating habits.
  • Don’t go all out in your first week and be so sore that you don’t want to ever go back to the gym.

The weight will come off, and it isn’t, then you may need to tweak your eating or your workouts a bit.


There isn’t any magical formula to weight loss:

  • Track your calories
  • Progressively make your workouts harder
  • And be consistent

That’s all you really need to stick to in order to keep the weight loss journey going.

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