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How to Start Lifestyle Changing Weight Loss Journey

How can one live a life that’s healthy and clean? Check out this article, it shares tips and tricks to transform life bit by bit!

Starting out on a weight loss journey can feel overwhelming and not without reason. Although the fundamentals sound easy enough, eat less calories that the body burns, lasting change will require us to chart the waters of chemistry, biology and not the least psychology.

Most important of all, we need to do a bit of soul searching and recognize that we are at a point in our life because of the actions we made in the past. This, of course, sounds obvious when speaking out loud, but few of us can pinpoint in time when their sugar addiction has started or when we started to use food to calm our nerves.

These actions may have been conscious actions, chosen by our ignorant self or forced upon us unconsciously by outside factors, such as family, friends, or society as a whole, but we arrived here because of a long and steady journey.

We haven’t suddenly become sugar addicts, emotional eaters or obese, but during a long and repeated process that has been continuously reinforced through the habit loop many times, sometimes through decades.

Once we realize the length of the process, we’ve been through and seen the depth we needed to reach to get to the opposite direction, the possibilities of shedding weight overnight turns bleak. In many cases, the enormity of the task can be so overwhelming that it burns out even our fight or flight reflexes and all we can do is eat our sorrow away while binging on a streaming service.

Fun fact, that such procrastination is rooted in the fight or flight reflex’s, rather infamous third possibility, the play dead option.

When we neither face nor run from our problem, we simply don’t acknowledge them being there. Of course, such behavior rarely does us any good but when stress hormones overwhelm our senses, we either default on previously learnt behavior, or if there is none, we end up playing dead on the sofa.

Solving problems that enormity, freezes our brain, such as getting rid of half of our weight, kicking sugar addiction, or just reaching 10.000 steps a day, although seem unfathomable task at first, once we divide it into sub-tasks with reachable, bite-size goals, the chance for success exponentially increases.

Since matter doesn’t just magically appear and disappear in our Universe, but changes from one state into another, the basic science behind losing weight is simple.

To lose weight the body needs to burn more calories than it consumes.

This simple equation can be achieved by either eating less calories or burning more by moving.

Despite the ages long adage that to lose weight we need to start moving, losing weight -at this era we live in where high calorie food is in abundance and we work in offices- is 90% decided in the kitchen.

Although exercising has countless health benefits for our body and mental health, due to the enormous number of available calories around us, the meager amount of moving we associate with exercise has fairly limited impact on a weight loss journey.

If we want to move for the sole reason of burning more calories and couldn’t care less about gym membership, then knowing that an hour walking burns off more calories than an hour-long halfhearted gym session may be a relief.

Sure, if someone is into the gym atmosphere or finds walking mentally taxing then we always welcome to a closed space sweat session. Not to mention that the elevated heart rate entices additional health benefits, extra happiness, and longer life, but for a pure calorie burning perspective exercises aren’t necessarily the best answer.

In any case, a fitness band or watch is highly recommended investment before we jump into calorie counting so we can have a much clearer picture about what exactly we need to offset to reach our goals efficiently in the shortest time possible.

But let’s not get so ahead of us, yet.

Although the process of getting into a life transforming lifestyle change doesn’t set in stone, there are some crucial elements that will make the process less painful and easier to adapt to. With every change we make in our life, we have to ensure that it will help or at least not hinder our efforts to make the change more difficult than it should be.

Since most of the things in our daily life are connected, adjusting one habit will have direct consequence on the other which can easily go awry if we aren’t prepared to correct it.

  1. Sleep

Nowadays sleep is not just underappreciated but frowned upon by many as a waste of time. It is seen by some as a sign of laziness and shunned as a weakness, even though it does completely the opposite.

Sleep is a crucial life process that is required for our brain to eliminate waste products, sort out newly acquired information and work on alternative solutions for difficult problems. (This time is also crucial for repairing body damage, like the ones are suffered through targeted resistant trainings and such, but let’s just stick to the mind for now.)

Although it’s tempting to think that a couple of hours of sleep is enough, and we can ride out the rest of the day on highly addictive stimulating substances like caffeine, their underlying mechanism is all just smokes and mirrors and doesn’t actually do much but offset the inevitable, until it  is crushing down on us. Check out: How coffee works

So, even though this may seem like a fair trade off, making decisions when we are physically tired, even so we don’t really feel it, is not always to our benefit. We may trick ourselves of not being tired but unfortunately, we can’t trick the subconscious brain about it. The worst news is that our subconscious brain always gets what it wants, influencing all of our decisions until thoroughly satisfied.

The real-life consequences can be far reaching, affecting not just our life but others around us too.

  • We are less patient and much snappier about spilled drinks or falling pieces of food around the house.
  • Negotiations wear us down quickly, forcing us to make hastier decisions than otherwise, just to get over with things.
  • The last thing we want to do when tired is to fight with ourselves over a bar of chocolate, we’ve just come across while shopping for something to eat.

Therefore, to ensure that our body and mind can operate at peak performance reliably or at least adequately, we have to make sure it gets the right amount of sleep consistently. Although exact hours are varied on an individual basis, between 6 to 8 hours of sleep is generally considered necessary for the human body. We won’t get into how being a night owl or morning lark affects our life but according to research such thing (although response to training) is coded into our DNA, hence if we don’t want to lose sleep over it, all we can do about it, is to choose a lifestyle that accommodates our body.

  1. Nutrition

Once we have determined the hours when our body will rest, we can start thinking about how and when we’ll provide the necessary nutrition for it.

First, we need to determine what exactly are our body’s needs.

There are many nutrition the body needs, but to start out, we only need to focus on the one that regulates physical hunger levels and is crucial for our body to heal itself.

Nitrogen can be found abundantly in Earth’s atmosphere but the only way the human body can use it is through eating it in the form of amino acid AKA protein.

Depending on the activity level the human body needs 0.8g – 1.6g protein per each kg of lean body weight daily. There are studies that examine the possibility to push the upper limit between 1.8g – 2.5g/kg but the benefits in terms of muscle growth are negligible over 1.8g/kg and we are here to lose weight effectively not to maximize muscle growth yet.

This means if someone is 132lbs / 60kg (or overweight but wants to be 132lbs / 60kg) and moderately active (takes the stairs every now and again), then about 60g of protein each day will be required to maintain the body’s muscle mass and do some repairs if necessary.

It’s important to note that we are talking about lean body weight when we calculate the necessary amount of protein and not the overall overweight body mass.

  1. Mealtimes

Unfortunately, the body can’t store protein anywhere else but in the muscles. Hence, if the body needs some reparations and it doesn’t have available protein floating around, it will break down some muscles to do the job required for maintaining the integrity of the body. If that wouldn’t be enough, there are limitations on how much protein can be digested at once.

Depending on the body and activity level, we can absorb between 20 – 30g of protein at one sitting while the rest, if any, may get converted into energy, fat or goes right out putting extra pressure on the renal system.

Depending on the type of food we eat, the body needs 2 – 3 hours between two meals to be able to properly metabolize protein and not to put it to other use. Hence the reason body builders or anyone building muscles, optimally eats 5 – 6 times a day.

Coming back to our previous example of 132lbs / 60kg target weight which we set a requirement of 60g protein each day, this means that if we eat three meals a day each meal must have 20g of protein separated by at least 2 – 3 hours.

We can also have four meals which leaves us with 15g protein for each meal but still we have to maintain the 2 – 3 hours between meals which can be easily done allowing us breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a snack somewhere in between.

It’s interesting to note that the hunger hormone (ghrelin) level, that is regulated by protein, starts to increase about 40 – 20 minutes before regular mealtimes, letting the body and the brain know that the stomach is ready for digestion. This is when we get hungry and if we don’t have anything cooked up by this time, all we can think of is fat soaked carbs and free sugars. Interestingly, apart from protein, a cup of water could also help decrease the level so does time if we are the patient type.

  1. Calorie restriction

Once we have our protein target, all we need to do, is to figure out our calorie target. The most efficient way to lose weight is to leave as little things to guesswork as possible. Getting a fitness band or watch will greatly aid our efforts, determining our calorie expenditure, hence allows us to tailor our calorie limits to our body.

When it comes to calorie counting, there are two types of calories, we count. The first is called maintenance calories that our body needs to digest food, think, breathe, pump blood so basically to function adequately. It’s mostly constant and it changes depending on our actual body weight. The more mass we carry around, the more our maintenance calories will be, which also means that once we start losing weight, less calories we need for maintenance.

The active calories are the ones we burn when we do more than just stare through our eyelids, like walk to the kitchen, conquer the stairs or anything that requires constant movements and elevates our heart rate.

Since height is a crucial factor when determining the body’s energy needs, there is no hard-set limit, but to provide a body the essential daily nutrition we shouldn’t really go under about 1000kcal a day.

Also if we try to push our limits and severely restrict our calorie intake the body will respond by  overeating in calories when it has the chance essentially thwarting our efforts for effective weight loss.

(There is such thing as “famine mode” where the body slows down metabolism to save energy but for that the body needs to be severely malnourished and burning up its last reserves.)

It is generally recommended that going under 500cal under our maintenance level is safe place to start which means if a 5’7” female with little to no active daily calorie expenditure whose maintenance calories are around 1700kcal daily can start experimenting at about 1200kcal.

Considering that 1kg body fat is about 7700kcal (1lbs fat is 3500kcal) we can expect to see progress in about 2 – 4 weeks.

Adding exercises or even just walk increases the body’s calorie expenditure and with that, our options to include more variety into our daily diet.

  1. Diets

Once we combine our protein requirement with our calorie target our meals are pretty much set. It’s not like we can’t eat things anymore, because anything is allowed as long as they fit into the calorie credit, but many times we just don’t want to because that means severely restricting our possibilities. Since the basic science behind every weight loss is calorie deficit, we can pick any diet we like to achieve that, and we’ll see success.

We can even go totally off the rails and forgo protein and see weight loss results. We can pick any fad diet, keto, paleo, sugar free, watermelon or churros diet, it doesn’t matter as long as we burn more calories than we consume, we’ll lose weight. The drawbacks of some of these diets is that we may be hungry and lose muscle mass, due to protein regulates hunger hormone levels and provides essential nitrogen for the body.

When we do the calculations right though, we’ll end up with something that’s been advocated for years by health professionals and known as the Mediterranean diet.

It consists of plenty of green vegetables and leans heavily on legumes to provide protein. Meat isn’t shunned  but not overly relied upon either. Whole grains are welcomed with some nuts dispersed along the way. Fruits are cherished but treated much like desserts and used accordingly, not obsessively replacing meals but part of them.

Yet, we don’t have to stick to one diet or anything at all. Managing weight is about balance which doesn’t imply monotony. We can go off the rails once in a while as long as we can balance it out and we can stick to our overall goals. Things will be fine.

For example, if our daily calorie target is 1500kcal, it means that our weekly calorie target is 10500kcal.

If one day we go over our limit and eat 3000kcal then on the next 6 days we restrict our intake to 1250kcal, we still reach the same weekly goal without problem.

  1. Exercise


Although its penetration into common knowledge is far reaching, and whole business empires have been built upon the notion, exercise isn’t required to lose weight.

Exercise is good though. It provides us with a lot of health benefits, just as well to the body as to the mind. Elongated lifespan, positive mood, or better illness resistance are just a few of the many, so building it into our daily or at least weekly routine, is essential for a wholesome life, but not for weight loss.

Yet, if we move more, we can eat more and still lose weight or at worst maintain it, so if for nothing else, just for this single reason, it’s worth considering it.

Since training burns calories, the more we move the more wiggling space we have when setting up our meal plans. The most interesting thing is that not all movements have the same calorie requirements and probably contrary to common sense, low impact exercises such as walking can burn just as much if not more calories than a halfhearted gym session.

So, if we want to effectively incorporate exercises into our weight loss journey, getting a fitness tracker to track the body calorie expenditure through exercises, and choose those that yield the best results will aid our efforts greatly.

  1. Habits

Once we’ve got all the plans, it’s time to put them into practice and turn them into habits. Although some habits can be created even after their first try, those that have no instant positive feedback such as going to bed early, eating healthy or exercising, need a lot more repetition to stick in our life. A lot can happen between those 15 –  254 days but one thing will sure be gone by then, and that’s motivation.

The reason, we don’t notice the creation and more importantly the reinforcement of bad habits, is that we are continuously rewarded by our unconscious brain about it, hence motivated to do so again and again. This positive reinforcement counterintuitively lacking in a self-induced change that nudges us towards a healthy life, hence jeopardizing any long-term goals we strive for.

Starting out small, for example 5 minutes exercise a day or drink three cans of soda and a bottle of water instead of four sodas, starts building habits without putting too much opposing pressure.

The introduction of new desired actions and repeating them until become habits is more important than doing everything right from the beginning.

Just like when planting a seed, start small, then help it grow.


  • For peak performance, the human body and mind needs 6 – 8 hours’ sleep every night.
  • Protein controls hunger and essential building block of the human body.
  • Regular mealtimes help control hunger and are essential to optimally metabolize protein.
  • Excessively low-calorie intake slows down metabolism hindering the weight loss process.
  • Calorie deficit is the underlying process behind any weight loss regardless of diet.
  • Moving burns more calories than not moving but it’s a bonus for weight loss not a requirement.
  • Creating healthy habits is more important than doing everything right for lasting change.