Breaking Down “Eat Less, Move More”

Ask anyone how to lose weight, and they’ll tell you, “Eat less and move more.” But why does this simple advice require so much discussion? And why, when the task is so straightforward, do so many of us find it hard to lose weight?

The first problem lies in how to eat less. Does it mean less food on your plate? Low fat? Low carb? How many meals should you eat? Will you gain more fat if you eat late at night? Should you eat “clean”? Gluten-free? Vegetarian? Paleo?

All of the diets you’ve ever heard of work because they have the same purpose: your energy expenditure exceeds your energy intake. In plain English, you eat fewer calories than your body burns. Still, any one of these diets can and will fail if you find them hard to stick to. If you are counting down the days until your next “cheat” day, the end of your 30-day challenge, or until you can otherwise resume your regular eating habits, I can almost guarantee that the weight you lose will come back.

Losing weight is, in theory, easy. It’s hard in practice because life happens, and the restrictions that we impose upon ourselves make it hard to stay consistent. No alcohol, no ice cream...what kind of a life is that? That’s why it’s so easy to go into panic mode when a birthday, a wedding, or even a date night happens. Successful dieters remain flexible, and dieting shouldn’t make you miserable.

If you’re just starting a weight loss program, worry about your caloric intake. That’s it. The only way to guarantee long-term success is to eat in a way that is sustainable for you. Your mindset surrounding “your diet” needs to shift from it being a temporary regimen into the eating habits you maintain on a daily basis, without feeling deprived, hungry, or guilty. The keyword is eating habits: the best weight loss diet is the one that you will stick to after you reach your goal.

So, how do you know how many calories you’re consuming? And how do you know how many calories you should be consuming in order to lose weight? There are many calorie calculators and calorie trackers available. How fast you should be losing weight depends on how much you have to lose (and a few other factors). Have more questions? Email me, and I’ll answer you personally as soon as I can.

Whether you decide to track your meals or not, the two easiest things you can do to start manipulating your diet are: add more protein, and add more fibrous vegetables. These will help fill you up, and keep you full, so that your overall caloric intake is lower. Seriously, it’s as easy as that. You can start with your next meal.

Here are some places you can get some more protein in:

  • Greek yogurt

  • Cottage cheese

  • Cheese

  • Eggs

  • Ground beef

  • Steak

  • Chicken

  • Turkey

  • Fish

  • Whey or casein powder

With most those options, you’re going to want to be mindful of how much fat you’re getting as well. Yogurt and cottage cheese have full-fat, low-fat, and non-fat options, certain cuts of steak are fattier than others, egg whites are non-fat vs. whole eggs, etc.

And here are some fibrous vegetable ideas:

  • Asparagus

  • Green beans

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Kale

  • Spinach

  • Cabbage

  • Bok choy

Successful weight loss is not going to come from starting a diet, even a diet with a name. It’s going to come from making small, sustainable changes to your current eating habits. Before you close this page, think about what you can start doing. Are you going to add a serving of vegetables to your diet each day? Throw a little extra turkey on your sandwich instead of avocado? Don’t forget that I’m always here to answer your questions.