Laying the Foundation of Success for my Weight Loss Journey

Laying the Foundation of Success for my Weight Loss Journey

In my previous post, I discussed the challenges of finding an acceptable work/life balance, and announced my plan to take on the challenge of completing my 3rd Ironman 70.3 event during the second half of 2023. I outlined four key strategies (two related to exercise, and two related to nutrition) which would be implemented in order to prepare for the race. Read the full post here.

 

Today, I am going talk about my strategy to reduce my body weight whilst still maintaining muscle tone and strength. I have been involved in the fitness industry for nearly 20 years, and in that time have done plenty of research, and tried many nutritional plans. Over these years of research and experimenting, these are the key points which I have found the most useful:

 

  • We are all unique, and what works for you wont necessary work for me! This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. There are so many strategies out there, and if one does not work for you, try another until you find one that works
  • Weight loss is about energy balance. You must expend more calories than you consume. If you are not loosing weight as you expected, then either your consumption or expenditure calculation is off, and you need to revisit these with a critical eye!
  • Ensure that your workout plan has a balance of resistance training and cardio. Each will benefit your weight loss journey in a unique way, and neither should be neglected in the process.
  • Have a goal in mind, and write it down. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you will not have the motivation to put in the effort to get there.

 

So how am I going to go about achieving my desired weight for race day? Well firstly I suggest that if the following discussion creates some confusion, you read our blog post about the fundamentals of structuring your diet for weight loss here, since I unpack some of the concepts which I will be touching on now in a little more detail.

 

Now, onto the good stuff! In my years of experience, I have figured out that my maintenance calories are approximately 2500 calories. This will fluctuate depending on my level of activity and body composition (increased lean muscle mass will increase metabolic activity), but I have always found success when calculating my calorie deficit from this starting point, and then adjusting as I progress on the journey. I also know that I am capable of a prolonged period of consuming approximately 2000-2200 calories per day, giving me a calorie deficit of 300-500 per day. I am going to aim for middle ground here, and start off with a 400 calorie deficit, which equates to 1.33kg weight loss per month. Now this does not sound like much, but trust me, this is far more sustainable than a crash diet where you loose plenty of weight in the first two months, just to put it all back on and them some when you fall off the band wagon because you can not bear to see one more cucumber stick or lettuce leaf, and end up stuffing your face with every pizza and pastry you can get your hands on! With a 2100 calorie daily allowance, I can eat well, and enjoy the occasional culinary delight, without sabotaging my progress. This will allow me to sustain this process for a prolonged period of time and achieve my goal.

 

Ok, with the deficit and monthly loss goal set, I can now set up a chart to track the goal and actual weights, in order for me to easily track my progress and make adjustments to the nutrition plan. To make this work, I will log my weight daily. This will help me to study the trend, and track the weekly average. When you embark on your own journey, do expect the following:

 

  • Expect a significant drop on the scale during the first two weeks. This is usually your body purging excess water retention and poop. So when you are wondering why you are peeing so much on some days at the beginning, remember this comment!
  • Do not get too excited about this initial steep drop, this “honeymoon” phase does not last long. The real work and effort starts once the body has concluded this purge.
  • For women, remember that hormonal shift can cause an unusual spike in weight (water retention etc). Do not be discouraged. Log it and forget about it, only study the weekly averages, and take hormonal shifts into account when you are making decisions about changing your calorie intake.

 

As the weeks progress, I will populate my tracking chart, review the trajectory of the weight loss, and make dietary adjustments as necessary, in order to achieve my desired weight. And what might that be? Well, in the next instalment, I will share the chart, discuss my starting and goal weight, explain how I split my week’s total calorie allowance over each day, and introduce my Macronutrient breakdown.

 

Disclaimer: This content is for information and educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal or medical advice. We recommend that you consult a doctor or dietitian to structure a meal plan tailored to your individual needs and goals.
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