In order to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit. There are countless different strategies that will create a calorie deficit. The trick is to figure out which one works for you and your lifestyle.
I’m going to discuss 6 strategies that do not require you to restrict specific foods or food groups. Unless you have a legitimate health condition, disease, or allergy, I don’t recommend restricting food groups. Most people that restrict food groups for the sake of losing weight typically are unable to maintain it for long.
The strategies are listed from easiest to hardest to implement. Again, reflect on which strategy you think would work for you and your lifestyle, then experiment for at least a month.
1 – Healthy habit change
To implement a healthy habit change, record your intake for a week to see where you can make some healthy changes. Pick one super-easy habit to implement for 1-2 weeks, such as adding a serving of protein to all meals. After 1-2 weeks, add another easy habit, such as drinking ½ your bodyweight of water in ounces.
2 – Intermittent fasting
In order for this strategy to work, you cannot replace the calories you skip. So, if you fast through breakfast, you cannot add in those calories later in the day.
There are several ways to execute this strategy, but I recommend starting with 16:8 approach. This means you will fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8 hours. The timeframe is up to you. When I fast, I usually do it from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. and I eat from 12:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
3 – Meal plans
I know many professionals balk at using meals plans, but if it works for you then great. I have several clients that like the structure of eating from a meal plan. It takes out some of the decision making and stress other strategies can cause.
4 – Calorie and protein tracking
Calorie and protein tracking is a good strategy for individuals that like a mix of flexibility and structure with their intake. This is a great plan of action for individuals that are transitioning from meal plans to eventually intuitive eating.
5 – Macro tracking
Macro tracking is great for people that want complete flexibility in their food intake. This method requires people to track all three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This strategy is also great for individuals that don’t mind tracking every detail of their food/drink intake.
6 – Intuitive eating
Intuitive eating is the most difficult for someone to apply in a calorie deficit unless they have a complete understanding of nutrition and portion control. They would also need to completely be in tuned with their body’s signals.
I created this post after reading Alan Aragon’s AARR June/17 issue. The AARR article goes into more detail and even lists pros/cons of each strategy.
Which strategy have you used in the past?