Whether you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey or you’re already close to your target weight, there is always more to learn about the process. For many people, losing weight is an ongoing struggle that often results in frustration and confusion, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
As you learn more about the mechanics of weight loss, you’ll have an insight into how your body sheds the pounds and what you can do to achieve your goals. With this in mind, take a look at these four things you need to know when you’re losing weight:
1. Weight Loss Doesn’t Equal Fat Loss
If you want to look trimmer and leaner, your priority needs to be fat loss, not weight loss. Many people assume that weight and fat loss are the same thing but, surprisingly, they’re not. Your total body weight consists of your skeleton, organs, muscles, water, fat and much more.
Even if you’re losing weight, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be losing fat. A very restricted diet might mean that you loose muscle volume, for example, which will show as weight loss on the scales. If you want to achieve fat loss, combine aerobic exercise with strength training to maintain muscle mass while you shed the pounds.
2. You Need a Certain Number of Calories to Function
If you want to lose weight healthily, it’s important not to restrict your calorie intake too much. Your body needs a certain number of calories each day in order to function, so you could negatively impact your health if you eat too little. Of course, the number of calories your body needs depends on your lifestyle. If you have a sedentary job, for example, you’ll probably need fewer calories than someone who is one their feet all day.
To find out how many calories you need to function every day, calculate your total daily energy expenditure online. With an easy-to-use TDEE calculator, you can find out what calories you need and, therefore, how many calories you can drop to lose fat.
3. Weight Loss is Rarely Linear
For most people, weight loss isn’t a straight line from A to B. If you start off at 250lbs, you might lose 2lbs in the first week, 1lb in the second and then gain 1lb, for example. This can be frustrating, particularly if you’re eating an appropriate number of calories and performing the same fitness routine.
However, there are many things that can affect your weight, including the amount of water in your body and your hormones. Due to this, it’s common for the scales to fluctuate, even when you’re sticking to the same regime.
If you’re regularly seeing a loss, with some infrequent gains, don’t worry too much. Instead, trust the process and keep putting the effort in, safe in the knowledge that you’ll continue to lose weight in the long-term.
4. Good Sleep is Essential for Weight Loss
When people want to lose weight, they often try to increase their activity levels and exercise more often. Although this is important, the amount of rest your body gets is critical too. In fact, good sleep is essential for weight loss.
Poor quality sleep can affect your body’s neurotransmitters, which, in turn, can increase your appetite. As a result, you’re likely to eat more throughout the day if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep. Furthermore, decreased energy due to poor sleep can make it harder to be active throughout the day, which means you won’t be burning as many calories.
In addition to this, your body repairs itself when you’re asleep, so, if you’re working out and doing more exercise, your body will be busy repairing muscle tissue while you’re snoozing. If you’re aiming to increase your strength, getting a good night’s rest can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and enable you to train more often.
How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight?
When people decide to embrace a new fitness routine, they want to see results quickly. However, losing weight too quickly often leads to people gaining it back. In contrast, making sustainable lifestyle changes might mean that you’re lose weight a little more slowly, but it also increases the likelihood of you maintaining that weight loss.
While weight loss can be a good goal to have, particularly if you’re carrying a few extra pounds, focusing on improved health and increased mobility can be a more helpful way to approach your journey. This encourages you to prioritizes the benefits you’re already noticing and motivates you to keep going.