Lose weight without fucking up your body

If you follow us on the reg, you know that we are all about empowering women and body neutrality. We often talk about the detrimental effects of diet culture and how women shouldn’t feel the pressures of needing to fit any “ideals” dictated by society and the media.

However, there is also nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, when it is for the right reasons. 

What are the right reasons? 

You might want to lose weight to assist performance in your sport, or if you need to compete in a weight class. You might want to lose weight to improve your health, or you might want to lose weight simply because it will make you feel more confident.

The only reason you shouldn’t be losing weight is to make anyone else happy, because you feel as though you need to, because that’s “what women do”, because you think it will make you more worthy of acceptance, or if you believe that losing weight is the key to your happiness and success.

Repeat after me: the way I look has nothing to do with my worth as a person. I’m already fucking amazing!

So, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here is a 5 step guide on how to lose weight in a healthy way, without fucking up your body in the process.

Step 1: Make sure you are already a basic healthy bitch

We published an article a little while back that you should definitely go read HERE if you have not already.

Sometimes, losing weight can be as simple as making sure you’re doing all of the basic health things.

However, if you’re already a basic healthy bitch and you’re ready for the next step...

Step 2: Know how to maintain your weight

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy your body expends during rest.

You can work out your BMR using the Harris Benedict formula:

BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) - (5 x age in years) - 161

*note: this is a formula for women, the men’s formula differs slightly

So now we know how many calories you need to keep your body alive if you were sleeping beauty, passed out in a comfy bed all day.

But we also move around a shit tonne during the day and therefore need to take our daily movement into account.

We can calculate the amount of energy you require each day by multiplying your BMR by the appropriate activity level:

Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2

Lightly active (little exercise/sport 1-3 x per week): BMR x 1.375

Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 x per week): BMR x 1.55

Very active (hard exercise/ sports 6-7 x per week): BMR x 1.725

Extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job, training 2x each day): BMR x 1.9

If you’re currently thinking, holy shit balls that’s a lot of calories! Are you sure I need to eat that much?! 

I sure am! Congratulations, you get to eat that much EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY. 

Shockingly, we are actually meant to be adequately fuelling our daily movement and activities. Our bodies require energy and nourishment to function optimally. Who would have thought.

At the same time, this is just as estimate, a starting point. Everyone will vary slightly and activity level can be hard to calculate accurately. Understand that this will be a process of trial and error.

Now, if you have not previously tracked your macros and have no idea how much you are currently eating, I encourage you to track for a week (without making any changes yet) just to see whether you are eating similarly, less or more than your maintenance level.

If you have been eating LESS, I would recommend spending some time building your way up to your maintenance level of calories to bring your body into a healthy starting position before trying to lose weight.

If you have been eating MORE, then you may even get results from simply meeting your maintenance calories for the next 4-6 weeks, you lucky duck.

Knowing and having spent time following your maintenance calories is important, it will give you an exit strategy for once you have finished your calorie deficit. 

Quite often people will have success in losing weight, however have no idea how to maintain their results once they have achieved their desired result. 

They can either continue dieting forever (echo, echo, echo) or more often than not, they go the other direction and return to their previous eating habits, creating a viscous never ending cycle of gaining weight and dieting. And honestly, who wants to live like that.

Note: because the BMR calculation is based on your weight, once you have lost weight you will need to recalculate a new BMR based on your new weight.

Step 3: Calculate a small calorie deficit 

Another way in which people go wrong is by calculating a deficit that is waaaay too extreme.

Compliance and consistency over time is where people struggle the most, so make sure you choose a deficit that you can commit to and maintain, a conservative approach to begin is a smart strategy, you can always adjust down the track.

Starting with a small deficit also gives you room to lower your deficit further if you plateau without making it too painful for yourself. If you start with an aggressive deficit and then stop getting results down the track, you’ve created a very miserable situation for yourself my friend.

REMEMBER that we want to cause the most minimal amount of stress to your body (and your brain) possible while working towards your goal. Yes, this means it’s going to take longer than 2/4/6 weeks and you need to be patient. 

Repeat after me: I will not fuck up my body because I am impatient.

STEP 4: Decide what to eat

Yes, YOU decide! 

While every woman and their adorable dog will tell you about their success with “XYZ diet” and how only eating boiled eggs for two weeks, or drinking a glass of lemon water before each meal is  the best way to lose weight, for the most part it doesn’t really matter what you eat.

The rule is simply: maintain your calorie deficit, consistently over a period of time.

Whether you prefer a high fat or high carb diet, whether you skip breakfast or eat from 5am to 9pm, the calorie deficit is the common winning factor in everyone’s success story.

A couple of key principles we have found that help in maintaining adherence:

1. Eat protein with every meal. Weight loss doesn’t always mean fat loss, eating a high amount of lean protein will help you retain muscle mass while you lose fat mass. Protein also increases satiety, meaning it will help you feel fuller for longer. 

2. Eating high volume, low calorie foods like fruit and veg will also help keep you fuller for longer, and conversely, calorie dense foods such as nut butters, may leave you feeling hungrier.

3. Don’t cut out food groups unless you have a medical reason to do so. Feeling restricted can lead to overindulging and a stop/start mentality to dieting. Eat the foods you love, in amounts that fit within your calorie goal.

4. Use an app such as Fitness Pal or Cronometer (our fav) to help you track the foods you’re eating. Weighing meats and higher calorie ingredients (i.e. you don’t need to weigh vegetables) is much more accurate than eyeballing foods and guesstimating their weight/size.

5. Do NOT weigh yourself every day, if you even weigh yourself at all, because you don’t have to. Understand that female bodies are tricky and depending on where you are in your cycle, your hunger levels, body confidence and weight will fluctuate across the month.

Final takeaway:

You don’t have to lose weight, not at all. Your weight is not a determinant of your value or your success. The amount you weigh has nothing to do with how amazing you are and how much the people in your life love and care about you. 

There is also nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, just don’t be a dick to your body and do it in a healthy way.

Disclaimer:

This advice is general only and does not take into account any personal circumstances. If you are looking for more specific, individualised advice please seek a nutritionist.

JADE X

Melanie Corlett