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Ultimate Guide to Weight Loss (5 Steps for Success)

fitness Oct 18, 2020


Are you struggling to lose weight?

Have you tried every diet in the book with no luck?

Well in this blog post, I’ll be sharing the 5 step guide to lose weight and keep it off!

Weight loss can be very complex. Diets can be very confusing.

You might be wondering if you have to starve, take out major food groups, or suffer in order to reach your weight loss goals.

Through years and years of trial and error in my own fitness journey, as well as having helped hundreds of women get fit and lose weight through my programs and challenges, I’ve learned that weight loss and achieving your ultimate fitness goals really comes down to 5 steps.

Before diving into the 5 steps, you need to first set a SMART GOAL.

What are SMART Goals?

Simply saying you want to lose weight isn’t good enough. Do you want to lose 1 pound? 10 pounds? Or 100 pounds? How fast do you want to lose it? What actions are you going to take to achieve it?

You need to make sure your goals follow SMART principles.

By creating a SMART goal, you turn your goal from invisible to VISIBLE. When you create a SMART goal, you create a GAMEPLAN and strategy for success.

Your weight loss goal needs to be:

  • SPECIFIC: How much weight do you want to lose? How much body fat percentage do you want to reduce? How many inches around your waist? Figure out a specific measurement you want to achieve.
  • MEASURABLE: How will you measure this? By weighing yourself on a scale? Progress pics? How many push-ups you can do? You need to make your measurements TANGIBLE. Having numbers helps you to figure out whether your actions are helping or hurting.
  • ACTIONABLE: What action(s) are you going to take to achieve it? Will you add in more exercise? Reduce your food intake? Include one veggie in your meal? List out all of the things you can do.
  • REALISTIC: Do you want to lose 10 pounds in 10 days? Or 10 pounds in 10 weeks? 10 pounds in 10 days is NOT realistic so I highly discourage you to set a goal like that! 10 pounds in 10 weeks, though, allows for 1 pound of bodyweight per week which is definitely reasonable. If you have more weight to lose, you might even see 3-4lbs per week. You have to make sure it’s realistic for where you’re starting.
  • TIME-BOUND: When’s your deadline? When do you HAVE to achieve this goal? Set a target date and make sure that everything you want to do is realistic and fits within this timeframe.

Now that you’ve figured out a SMART GOAL for yourself, now we can get into the 5 steps for weight loss.

5 Steps to Lose Weight


STEP 1: Figure out your baseline or maintenance calories

Every body is different, and every body has a different metabolism. Some people have very fast metabolisms and some have very slow metabolisms.

Our metabolism is responsible for a bunch of different things such as making sure our heart and lungs are working properly, how many calories we burn in our workouts, how many calories we use up just for day-to-day chores and errands, etc.

The amount of food required to keep up all of these things is different for every person.

You can think of it like how different cars need a different amount of gas to fill their tank. A Prius can fit in maybe 11 gallons, whereas a huge pick-up truck can fit in maybe 16 gallons. Sometimes two trucks of the exact same size and model can hold a different amount of gas in their tank.

The same is true for our bodies and how much food we need.

Some people need only 1,400 calories. Others need 3,000 calories. And two people of the same weight can require different amounts of food!

That’s why the FIRST STEP to weight loss is figuring out YOUR unique metabolism - how much food you need to simply MAINTAIN YOUR CURRENT WEIGHT.

The best way to do this is by tracking your food intake for at least 7 days in an app like My Fitness Pal.

Try your best to be as specific and detailed as possible. Include all of the cooking oils you use, all of the morsels of food you eat throughout the day, and the extra handfuls of popcorn you ate while binge watching Netflix. ALL OF IT - including beverages and alcohol!

Once you record your baseline calories, figure out the average amount of calories consumed.

So if you eat 1,400 calories of food Monday through Friday, but eat 2,500 calories on Saturday and Sunday, your BASELINE would average about 1,714 calories per day.


STEP 2: Add in REAL food

Now before doing anything like reducing calories or working out for hours a day, make sure that you’re eating a MAJORITY of REAL FOOD.

I call it clean eating.

Clean eating is eating whole, real food as much as possible. It means choosing foods that are in its most natural source with little to no processing.

Think all vegetables and fruits, protein like fish, chicken, beef, turkey, etc, carbohydrates like whole grain bread, plain oatmeal, rice, potatoes, etc, and fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds.

Take a look at your 7-day food log and put a star next to everything that’s isn’t considered clean.

The best way to figure this out is to ask yourself:

  • Does this food come from a tree or the Earth?
  • Has this food been highly processed to become what it is now?
  • Can I understand ALL of the ingredients in this food?

If you’re unsure, it’s probably a processed food.


STEP 3: Reduce CRAP

This is where we’ll want to start a diet makeover.

CRAP stands for:

Chemicals and Carbonated Sodas
Refined Sugars
Artificial Ingredients & Alcohol
Processed Food & Preservatives

These 4 things are usually found in most highly processed foods like your chips, pizza, muffins, cupcakes, and hotdogs. They’re in your fast food meals and convenience store snack shelves. They’re usually found in the middle aisles of your grocery store.

Start reducing the amount of CRAP you have in your diet and replace it with healthier alternatives!

For example:

  • Instead of a candy bar, eat dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao (dark chocolate is actually good for you!)
  • Instead of french fries from McDonald’s, eat home-baked sweet potato fries
  • Instead of soda, drink infused water with lemon and strawberries or even get flavored carbonated water


STEP 4: Create a calorie deficit

Just doing Step 2 and 3 alone will help you start losing weight immediately.

Because REAL FOOD is nutrient dense and lower calories than processed foods, you’ll naturally eat less. Your body will start to feel better. You’ll gain more energy. You might even notice changes in your body without changing a thing with your workouts.

But let’s say you’re eating about 80% REAL FOOD and 20% allowing for treats or splurges (I’m all about balance), and not seeing results.

This is when you can consider creating a CALORIC DEFICIT.

Please note: It’s very important you do STEPS 1-5 in this order. Don’t go to Step 4 unless you have Step 2 and 3 down. I promise you, it’s harder that way. You should be eating at least 80% clean before tackling Step 4.

A calorie deficit is when you eat LESS than what your body burns throughout the day, including exercise.

Because you’ve figured out your baseline calories from Step 1, you roughly know that you need 1,700 calories (taking the example above) to MAINTAIN your weight.

In order to create a calorie deficit, you either must reduce your calories from food, or increase your calorie burn from exercise, or BOTH. Doing both is more effective.

It’s important to take this step SLOW.

When we create a calorie deficit that’s too drastic, it can lead to binge eating and many unhealthy behavioral patterns that aren’t sustainable.

The trick for sustainable weight loss is SLOWING DOWN your pace.

You don’t want to lose weight QUICK, then realize that what you did to get to your goal isn’t maintainable, then go back to your normal eating patterns and gain all the weight back (and then some).

About a 1-2 pound weight loss each week is a pretty reasonable pace.

If you have more weight to lose (if you’re highly overweight or obese), you might be able to lose more weight than that per week. (It’s easier to lose weight when you have more to lose, it’s harder to lose weight when you have less to lose.)

So how do we do this? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Take a look at your food log and figure out where you can reduce your portion sizes or eliminate some ingredients all together
  2. These foods can pack a ton of calories if you’re not careful with your portion sizes:
    • Nut butters
    • Granola
    • Cooking oils
    • Trail mix
    • Energy bars
  3. Consider adding more calorie burn in your exercise.
  4. Add more intensity, consider strength training, or add more workout days to your weekly routine.

The important thing here is to make sure that it’s not too drastic.

You might feel a sense of slight hunger, but you should never feel starving and ravenous to where you feel like you might kill someone! (only kidding!)


Step 5: Review and reassess

Doing Steps 1-4 should help you lose weight, but sometimes you can hit a weight loss plateau.

This is where you’ll want to take a look at all of your actions and weekly measurements, then figure out where you can tighten up a few things.

  • Maybe your stress levels are too high?
  • Not getting enough sleep?
  • Not moving around enough during the day?
  • Can you add more veggies to your diet?
  • Can you reduce the amount of drinks on the weekend?

There are so many things that can affect your weight loss journey, so practice forgiveness and compassion in the process.

I hope this helps you on your weight loss journey!


- Jenny

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