I know the struggle… Trust me, I do. You have tried everything but nothing seems to work. And everywhere you look it seems everyone is getting it but you. It sucks! I know this!
See, I was sitting in a plateau for a year. Subconsciously, I had accepted it and given up on trying harder. It felt like nothing else was working but because I didn’t give up, I was constantly trying something new till I hit jackpot.
Like it or not, this weight loss thing is like trial and error especially if you’re doing it on your own but the good thing now is that there are a lot of people going through this same journey and sharing their knowledge, information, and experience on the internet to help you. If you feel like you have tried all but not seeing any results, don’t give up yet. You may have tried many but not all or you’re probably doing it the wrong way. Here, I’ll share 7 things you should try before you think of letting go. And talking of trying, I mean giving it your best. Not doing it half and slouching half. Remember great things never come out of comfort zones.
These tips might be tried on their own or even mixed up. Like try 2, 3 or more of them together. In fact, let me give you my own quick story. I lost the hardest part of my weight (you know the last kg to your goal is usually the hardest) combining intermittent fasting, meal logging, fasted cardio, and weight lifting plus tea rituals. It seems like a lot but did it get me to where I wanted to be? Definitely yes! Yoruba people will say “Ona kan o woja” meaning “there are many roads that lead to the market” and believe me, it applies to weight loss.
The list is in no particular order. You can ask questions by posting them in the comment box and I’ll be sure to answer.
- Intermittent Fasting
I love intermittent fasting. I stumbled upon it by mistake and here’s how. I’ll wake up and go to the gym. I usually leave the gym around 10a.m. so by the time I get home and prepare my breakfast, it’s already 11a.m. Meanwhile, I always have green tea and moringa tea while making breakfast and breakfast can be anything -oatmeal, pan-fried plantains, omelette, moi-moi- I’ll eat and drink green tea again during the day and eat dinner before 7p.m. Once it’s 7pm, I’m no longer eating food but drinking just water and tea and the cycle continues. I lost weight and even broke my plateau by just doing that.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It’s more like a rule for when to eat. There are different types of intermittent fasting but the most common one is the 16/8 window. There are 24 hours in a day and the 16/8 method involves restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours i.e., eating within 8 hours and fasting for the remaining 16 hours, using my experience as an example, from 11am to 7pm. Then I “fast” for 16 hours i.e., 7p.m to 11a.m.
- Calorie Counting
This is a lot more different and easier than macro counting (IIFYM). It is similar to it because it is sub macro counting. It involves measuring your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) which is the amount of calories you burn while doing nothing for 24hrs, and your TDEE (Total Daily Expenditure) which is the number of calories you burn in a day when you scale your BMR to your level of activity. Then you identify how much calories you should cut or should be eating on a daily basis in respect to what you want to achieve.
- Meal Logging
I’m a big believer of logging your meals. Meal logging is one of the greatest tools to weight loss. It discourages mindless eating, and allows you know what goes into your mouth. When something goes wrong and you’re not seeing results, it’s easier to go back and check what you did wrong, where, and when. Logging meals is really simple. All you have to do is get a book, rule your lines, label it and start logging. Log every single thing you eat including that chicken binge or spoon of ice cream. Write out your bad foods in red and believe me, the last thing you’ll want to see is too many red pens in your book and with time, you’ll even not want to see one in a day so it encourages you to fight the cravings and be good. Also, rate yourself for the day and write out what you did well, how you feel and what you can do better. Trust me, it works. You should log your water intake too.
**It’s more fun when you draw out a meal plan for the week and you have to tick which one you obeyed and cross which one you did not. Besides, it lets you know what to eat before hand.
There are apps that have been set up for the sole purpose of meal logging but for me, I prefer the old traditional way of logging into a book because it entails more commitment and you can do it your own way. Your log book should be your best friend. Carry it about so you can write in it every time rather than leave it at home. Leaving it at home makes you lazy to log for the day besides you forget some of the things you ate.
- Weight Lifting
There’s a myth around lifting weights that’s blocking a lot of people’s thoughts and indirectly blocking their progress to dropping the weight and it may include you too. Are you lifting weight? And I’m not saying some olympics kind of weight. I’m talking weights for the purpose of your goal.
If want to lose weight and you’re doing only cardio, you should consider adding weight lifting to your routine or sessions. Lifting weight helps you to build muscles and muscles require more energy to be maintained than fat. This allows the body to use more calories and stored energy when there’s a depletion.
You’re not lifting everyday and you don’t have testosterone, so there’s no looking like a man. If you’re still unsure, go heavy with lower reps or go for average weights and increase your reps. Weight lifting will do a lot for you than you can ever imagine.
- Fasted Cardio
This is more than running when on an empty stomach. It is running in a fasted state i.e. after 8hrs or more of eating. You know those times when you have an early dinner and go for a run when you wake up in the morning. When the body is in a fasted state, there is glycogen depletion and insulin levels are low. Insulin impairs the breakdown of fatty acids so the lower your insulin levels, the higher your body is going to use fat for energy i.e. fat oxidation. Low to moderate intensity exercises for longer duration (45 – 60 minutes) utilizes fatty acids as an energy substitute.
- Cutting Hidden or Unnecessary Calories
More often than not, the way we cook our food impairs our progress. That extra salad dressing, that extra spoon of oil, that assorted meat or fish in your soup etc contains calories and they count. Use less oil, cut down the amount of orishirishi (plenty things) that you put in your soup. Avoid topping your salad dressing. All these little things make a difference.
You should cut down on salt and bouillon cube (maggi and co) use too as they contain a high level of sodium and sodium causes water retention.
- Get Professional Help
Yes, before you let go, you should get professional help. Health coaches and weight loss experts have a lot to offer you. I know there are a ton of them outside especially on social media but if you get a good one, go for it.
I’m sure if you try these tips, they’ll work. If not, then go and beg your village people lol. Jokes aside, these tips will work if you are committed and put your all into it. Keep trying and never give up.
What did I miss? What have you tried that worked for you? Please share in the comment box.
Quitters never win and winners never quit.