First up, I’m no dietician or a doctor, so if you have any concerns about any of the things I’ll be mentioning here, please get some professional advice. This is what worked for me, and what did not work for me as well. So you’ll get that this is a process.
What didn’t work for me and why?
A couple of years ago I tried to go to the gym, where I continuously went for like 3 months until the bombings happened and everything went absolute shitsickles since then. This is what happens, we don’t like exerting ourselves and we find some excuse to get out of it. And so did I.
Another reason being, the assistance I got from the gym was not technically targeted for losing weight, but for building muscle. Where yes, I was losing fat, but gaining muscle at the same time so the weight loss I was seeing was quite minimal. And I was quite tired after workouts, so I went home and pigged out even more. Counterproductive to the max.
So if you’re adamant about going to the gym, great! But get proper assistance, invest in some personal training, or at least watch some qualified assistant’s videos on YouTube before you burn yourself out. If not, you definitely will.
It’s hella easy to get motivated by someone’s post of their progress and you dive right in, and you push yourself to the max, and just like before, it’ll die down. We’re quite Newtonian in this aspect. We don’t like to change the current state we are in. Don’t burn yourself out.
So what worked for me? It’s Intermittent Fasting paired with Jogging/Running/Walking.
Intermittent fasting was the biggest change that helped me. But as we all are quite busy creatures, we tend to go off the rails with schedules. So you will need small assistance with this. For this purpose, I use the Zero app. I’m going to leave the links below for it.
Of course, you’re free to use any other app or, screw it, use a notepad to write down your progress and achievements. But that’s the important part, you have to log in, the progress, the milestones. Each time you do this is an amazing achievement, so don’t forget to celebrate it! (Not with cake!)
Here are some screenshots of the Zero App: https://screenlane.com/post/ios/zero/
I started with the free version of the app, which was quite helpful, doesn’t have any ads or anything. It gets the job done. But the paid version had more insights, more articles/videos to help you along, also, challenges. The challenges actually helped me to focus more and achieve them, it’s actually fun. Gamifying the tedious process helps. And the stats that show your improvements over time? Even more so.
That’s why I recommend using an app or something to help you through the process. An app like this will help you track the fasts, your goals, and milestones and will urge you to step your game up.
I started with the smallest level. 13 hours fast. 11-hour eating window.
Tip 1: Target your fasts to your sleeping hours. If you’re sleeping, you’re not hungry!
This is important. So let’s say you sleep around 10 PM? Let’s try to start the fast around 8 PM. So by the time you wake up, most of the time allocated for the fast will be accumulated. Tada!
Tip 2: Start early as possible.
This is self-explanatory. If you start your fast early, it’ll end early too.
Tip 3: Space out your meals in the eating window.
If it’s an 11-hour window, eat in the first hour, and in the last hour before you begin the fast. It really helps to sort out your cravings and urges.
Each couple of weeks, try to push yourself to the next level of fasting. 13-11 hour fast? Let’s try to switch it up to a 16-8 hour fast. If after a day or two you feel like you’re not ready yet, you can always switch back. The idea is to build, slow but actually doing it.
On average we burn like 1600 - 2400 calories a day. Of course, this differs from person to person, and your profession will be taken into account as well. I’m in IT, so my ass is always parked in front of some piece of tech I’m involved with and my movement is minimal. If you’re doing something more active, your average should be way higher. Either way, if we are intaking more than our average burn rate, of course, that shit is going to be stored as fat.
So for myself, I consider I burn 1400 calories on average naturally. So in the beginning, I planned my meals lesser in calorie total than that. It’s quite easy to do, you can find the calorie data for food on Google, and most packed food items come with nutritional values on the label. Look at that shit.
So plan your meals and try to take in a little less than that during the meal hours.
I reduced my carb intake and increased my proteins. Since I like my meat (no pun intended), this change was quite easy for me. I usually eat Green Gram, Chick Peas, Kidney Beans, Eggs, Beef, Chicken. And if you have an Air Fryer, even better.
Fat isn’t bad. It actually helps more than pure carbs. But you have to find good fats. So using some neutral oils in cooking, and having some cashews, peanuts really helps.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth like me, then cutting off some sugars will be easy too. If you do have a sweet tooth, try switching the sugar to a minimum or replace it with bee’s honey. Trust me that shit helps.
Tip 4: If you get a sweet craving, have a tablespoon of honey. Or cashew. Anything under 50 calories won’t break your fast.
In the beginning, this will come in handy a lot. Obviously, you get small pangs of hunger and cravings here and there, so try to circumvent them with these.
I follow items from this: https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition-pictures/snacks-under-100-calories.aspx
Tip 5: Water intake! Oh, this is very important, I almost forgot.
Try to drink at least 3 litres per day. And use a small bottle. So you have to go refill and pee! More physical activity!
Here are some links on making some healthy meals:
Cheat day is important. Because throughout the week, courtesy of social media and urges you’ve gotten, you should have something that really will break the calorie barrier. So have a day of the week where you don’t give a damn and eat everything you want.
For me it’s Friday. Since that’s the day I usually have a drink, it made sense for me. That day I pig out like there’s no tomorrow. No calorie checks. And you shouldn’t check your weight after this day. Trust me, don’t!
But plan this day according to your social life, what you usually do in a week. And yes, the day can fluctuate occasionally according to your need, but try to limit it to one day per week.
Let’s get physical.
This is the part where most of us will have problems. Maybe it’s because of your profession, age or you’re a lazy ass like I am. Whatever it is, we have to get over this hump.
Again, start small. Over-exerting yourself, you’re just going to burn yourself out. Let yourself grow into the activity so you can expand the variety or intensity.
If you’re trying to lose weight, the best exercises are cardio-based. That doesn’t mean weight exercises won’t do the same but since it’ll build skeletal muscles along the way, the weight reductions won’t be that visible on the scale. If you really insist on this, try to get a Body Composition Scale. I’ll tell you more about this in the next section.
I started with a 30-minute walk. It doesn’t matter the distance, I walked for 30 minutes. As my stamina grew, I changed it to cover 3km in the shortest time. This is a constant challenge for me so I exert at it every day and my competition is myself.
The speed of your jog isn’t important at first, first build your stamina. So set a goal for distance or time, and cover that. If it’s distance, try each day to reduce the time to cover that distance or vice-versa.
If you have a fitness tracker, it’ll help you track your stats, and motivated you more. The Mi Band is a good cheap option. Or if you have an Apple Watch I don’t know why you aren’t using it already. Go run dammit, fill those rings!
Either way, keep your progress of the physical activity too. Each milestone you hit in that is quite important as well.
If you’re not into running/jogging, you can try Yoga. My mom started this weight loss process alongside me and now she’s in better shape than me. And she does yoga. She follows this program on Haritha TV, too damn cringy for my taste but you get the gist of it. Do some physical activity outside your normal routine for more than half an hour.
To calculate the calorie burn manually, I use this: https://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1350959101
This will push your calorie burn to a new higher average, and if your burn is higher than intake, the body obviously has to burn your fat to support you. And in turn, you’ll lose weight.
Adding this since someone asked me, in the beginning, I only did the exercises 3-4 times a week. Just get started, that’s the point.
This is hella important. Get yourself a scale. Seeing your progress is vital to this process and a weekly weigh-in is crucial for this. I use this very simple bathroom scale and I weigh myself every Friday at 7 PM (Why? Because that’s the day I pig out and I try to fast a little more on that day and after the weigh-in, the feast begins!).
So set yourself a date to weigh in, and do it only once a week in the beginning. Because you will have a lot of fluctuations in weight over the week. Don’t get yourself discouraged in the