‘How to start losing weight for beginners,’ this is a question that many people looking to change up their lifestyles for a healthier and fitter life will often search for. If this is you and you are looking for tips for weight loss as well as a workout plan to lose weight, then you are in the right place.
In this article, we are going to give you the best tips and tricks on how to lose weight for beginners. We will be looking into issues such as the best diets for women, the best diets for men, workout tips and generally all you can do to ensure that you achieve long-term and sustainable weight loss.
The Best Tips On How To Start Losing Weight For Beginners
Whether you are wondering ‘how to start losing weight for beginners women’ or ‘how to start losing weight for beginners men’ the first thing to realize is that fat loss and weight loss are not gender-specific.
While we cannot ignore the fact that women generally have a higher percentage of body fat than men, and that they tend to store fat in their hips and buttock areas while men store it in the abdominal area (10), at the end of the day, fat is just fat. The baseline of tips used for men for weight loss is basically the same as for women.
Food Choices: Why Your Food Choices Matter In Weight Loss
While on a weight loss journey, before taking out your running shoes for a quick run or paying for a gym membership, you must first take a critical look at what you eat and how much of it you consume. Working out without making positive changes to your eating habits is not a good weight loss strategy. It interferes with the recommended caloric deficit and if you eat more calories than you burn, then your gym efforts are wasted (19).
To counter this dieting culture has become quite popular with many outlets claiming to have the answer to the best diets for women and the best diets for men to help with quick weight loss. When you search for the best diets that work for women you are bound to come across suggestions such as ‘the Keto diet,’ ‘the Atkins Diet,’, ‘the Volumetrics Diet,’ ‘the Biggest Loser Diet,’ ‘the Weight Watchers Diet,’ and ‘the Jenny Craig Diet,’ among many others (14, 15, 1).
Carbohydrates, Fats, And Proteins
Looking through the rules and regulations for any of the above-mentioned diets can be time-consuming, tiring, and frustrating. Sometimes, even some of these diets prove to not be as effective and sustainable as touted to be. What if there was a simpler way to make the choice easier? Well, there is.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a good weight loss diet has to have a mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. This conclusion was arrived at in part after looking through the results of a 4-year study involving 21 overweight and obese adults. The participants were divided into 3 groups with each group consuming a different diet namely a low-fat diet, a low-glycemic index diet, and thirdly, a very-low-carbohydrate similar to the Atkins diet.
At the end of the study, researchers found that a low-glycemic index diet seemed to be more sustainable as it did not cut out entire classes of food (9). The Harvard School of Public Health further simplifies matters for us. According to them, the best advice for weight control is simply to eat less and exercise more (3).
How To Start Losing Weight For Beginners: Dietary Changes To Make Your Journey That Much Easier
If you are wondering ‘how to start losing weight’ follow the following dietary tips and watch the pounds drop off
Eat more protein
Some of the best diets for women for weight loss are those that are higher in protein. Upping your protein intake means that you are able to stay fuller for longer, thus effectively cutting down on how much you snack in a day. When you eat less, you keep your caloric intake down, thus helping you lose weight.
When consumed, protein has a higher thermic effect, meaning that the body has to spend more calories to metabolize and store protein than it does either fats or carbs (13). This macronutrient also helps you build and maintain muscle mass. 1 pound of muscle burns six to seven more calories a day than a pound of fat (16).
Diets that work for men and women for weight loss will include healthy protein sources like beans and lentils, eggs, lean meats, fish, poultry, seeds, and nuts.
Watch your calorie intake
To some, counting calories is the bane of their existence. However, as much as it irritates them, they understand that counting calories not only helps them eat at a calorie deficit, but it also helps them understand their food choices better.
According to the MayoClinic, for you to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you have to be at a calorie deficit of 3500 to 7000 calories a week. This means a daily caloric deficit of 500 to 1000 cals a day (7). A fact to remember is that calorie needs are determined by different factors such as a person’s age, sex, height, weight, and level of physical activity.
Harvard Medical School advises that women should not consume less than 1200 calories a day, while the best diets for men should not go below 1500 calories a day (6). For a beginner, it is hard for you to determine, and stick to your recommended food energy deficit without diligently keeping track of your food energy intake everyday. Be sure to pick a trusted calorie counting app like the BetterMe Calorie Tracker app to help you do this.
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Ditch the fast foods and alcohol
Let’s not lie, the thought of a slice of pizza dripping with cheese and your favorite toppings is enough to make your mouth water. Burgers, hot dogs, croissants, ice-cream, and soda; these are some among the tops most loved fast foods. However, despite all their yummy goodness they are bad for weight loss because they are high in sugar, salt, saturated fat and trans fats, processed ingredients, and calories, and low in antioxidants, fiber, and many other important nutrients (20).
In short they are empty calories that do nothing for your body and health. To make matters worse, they are usually digested quickly and the little energy they provide is used in a short time, thus making you feel hungry faster than if you had consumed a wholesome meal. This ups your recommended calorie intake which leads to gaining weight. In relation to alcohol, it is full of empty calories that many of us do not notice that we are consuming.
When we are inebriated, we are more likely to make poor dietary choices, picking unhealthy foods full of trans and saturated fats and sugar over more wholesome foods. Alcohol also derails your metabolism and leads to poor sleep, all factors that can mess up your weight loss plans (2). If you are serious about how to start losing weight for beginners women and men but cannot give up your alcohol, you can switch to low-calorie options like vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila, and brandy. However, be sure to stick to 1 standard serving which is about 1.5 ounces (12). Also make sure you are drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Consume more whole grains
In recent years, many food plans that are considered as best diets for men and women are often very low in carbohydrates or fully cut out carbs completely. This, however, is terrible advice. Carbs are not the enemy of weight loss. In truth, carbohydrate quality is much more important than carbohydrate quantity. You can consume carbs at every meal and still lose weight.
Whole grains such as barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers, and popcorn are considered as good foods for weight loss as they are high in fiber. Fiber takes longer to digest thus it keeps you fuller for longer. They also have other important nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium and magnesium, which help prevent diseases like cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, and some cancers (21).
Consume more vegetables
Consuming more vegetables is one of the best tips for weight loss. They are low in calories meaning that you can consume a large amount of them at each meal without the risk of going over your daily recommended calorie intake. Dark leafy greens are especially recommended as they also have many nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Dark leafy greens include arugula, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens, kale, spinach, micro greens and lettuce. Cruciferous vegetables are also great food options for losing 100 pounds (or whatever other amount of weight). They are low in calories and high in vitamins, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals (11). Cruciferous vegetables have been linked with having incredible benefits toward cardiovascular diseases and some cancers (8, 18). They include broccoli, cauliflower, radish, kale, brussels sprouts, watercress and cabbage.
- Avoid sugary drinks. Like refined carbs and alcohol, they are high in calories and sugar which all increase your risk of weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Nuts and seeds. They are full of healthy fats which are good for weight loss and your overall health. Examples of nuts include walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews, etc. Seeds include pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame, sunflower, and flaxseeds.
Other Tips For Weight Loss For Beginners
Other than fixing your diet, here are some other things that you can do:
Weigh yourself regularly
While many people do not like stepping on the scale, and some experts even recommend against it, a review done in 2008 revealed that regular self-weighing may help boost your weight loss efforts. However, you should be cautious about this because it can cause negative psychological consequences if you do not see the results you are hoping for (17).
Incorporate exercise to your routine
While improving your eating habits goes a long way in how to start losing weight for beginners, working out can help you push these results even further. When trying to make a workout plan to lose weight, many beginners try pushing themselves to working out five to seven days a week. This is not a good idea as it may lead to overtraining. Instead, pace yourself and try keeping your routine to 2 to 3 exercise days a week.
Your workout plan to lose weight should include both cardio and strength training exercises. Here are some examples of cardiovascular exercises that you can do and the amount of calories a 185-pound person would burn in 30 minutes (5):
- Walking at about 4mph – 200 calories
- Disco dancing – 244 calories
- Ballet – 266 calories
- Running at 5 mph – 355 calories
- Bicycling at about 14 to 15.9 mph – 444 cals
- Jump rope – 444 cals
- Swimming butterfly – 488 calories
- Kickboxing. Kickboxing is a great ‘how to lose weight for women’ workout. Not only is this a cardio exercise, but it also combines strength training. If you hate running, cannot be bothered to go hiking, or do not know how to swim then this exercise is for you. Women can burn 350 to 450 calories in a one-hour kickboxing class (4).
Strength training workouts can include free weights, weight machines, and body weight if you do not have access to the former. Strength training can involve isolation and compound exercises. Compound exercises are better for weight loss as they workout multiple muscles at the same time. Not only do they burn more calories, but they also lead to more muscle growth.
Best Strength Training Exercise
Some of the best strength training exercise to add to your workout plan to lose weight include:
They target the muscles in your hips, glutes, and hamstrings, and the upper body, including your shoulders and lats.
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart as you hold a kettlebell in front of your body with both hands, arms straight.
- With a slight bend in your knees and a flat back, hinge at your hips and swing the kettlebell back through your legs.
- Use that momentum to stand and swing the kettlebell out in front of your body, up to shoulder height. Thrust your hips forward, and engage your glutes and core as you stand up straight.
- When the kettlebell hits shoulder height, your knees should be straight, and glutes contracted in a full hip extension.
- Allow the kettlebell to swing back down through your legs.
- Begin in a traditional plank position with your shoulders directly over your hands and wrists.
- Be sure to keep your back flat and your butt down, maintaining a neutral spine – do not curve your back or sag your hips.
- Engage your core and lift up your right knee, bringing it toward your elbow (or as far as you can). Return the right knee back to the starting position as you simultaneously drive your left knee up toward your left elbow.
- Return to the starting position and continue switching legs as you pick up the pace. It should feel like you are running in place in a plank position.
Medicine Ball Slams
Like mountain climbers, they are a full body workout that burns a lot of calories in a short time. They engage your core, shoulders, triceps, back, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
- To start, stand tall with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, your knees and hips slightly bent, holding a medicine ball in both hands at your torso.
- Engage your core and keep your back straight.
- Reach both arms overhead, fully extending your body. Slam the ball forward and down toward the ground.
- Extend your arms toward the ground as you slam and don’t be afraid to bend your knees as you hinge over. Squat to pick the ball up and then stand back up.
- Do this up to 8 to 12 times for one set.
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They can be used as a warm-up or as part of a full routine and they target the core, delts, chest, hamstrings, and glutes.
- Stand tall, with your feet roughly hip-distance apart and your core engaged.
- Take a breath in, then as you exhale, look down at the ground and start reaching your hands toward the floor in front of your feet, allowing your back to bend forward, rolling down one vertebra at a time. Allow your knees to bend slightly, as needed, to enable your hands to reach the ground.
- Place your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Inhale and walk your hands forward, one at a time, allowing your heels to lift off the floor as your body begins to straighten. Stop once your hands are directly under your shoulders. This should put you in plank position with your core, chest, quads, triceps, and shoulders engaged. Keep your body in a straight line. Do not sag or arch your back.
- Keeping your legs relatively straight, begin walking your feet forward, one at a time, toward your hands, lifting the hips toward the ceiling. Exhale with each step.
- Stop when your feet are as close to your hands as you can comfortably bring them. Remember, you can bend your knees slightly to ease the stretch on your hamstrings, but try to keep them as straight as possible.
- Return to standing by slowly rolling your back up from the hips, straightening one vertebra at a time. Inhale as you go.
- Repeat this 10 to 12 times.
Here is an example of a simple workout plan to lose weight:
- Monday – cardio
- Wednesday – 10 minutes of cardio as a warm-up with 20 minutes of strength training – kettlebell swings, squats, and mountain climbers
- Friday – strength training
How To Lose 100 Pounds?
Losing 100 pounds may be a daunting affair but it is not impossible. The same tips relating to how to start losing weight for beginners apply to this. You should:
- Reduce and track your caloric intake.
- Eat more fiber. As it keeps you fuller for longer and may reduce the production of hunger hormones, such as ghrelin, and increase the production of fullness hormone, leptin.
- Increase your protein intake. As we have seen above, protein boosts your metabolism, curbs your appetite, and helps preserve muscle mass.
- Cut down on refined carbs, alcohol, and sugary drinks.
- Eat more vegetables.
- Do more cardio and strength training exercises.
The Bottom Line
The secret to how to start losing weight for beginners lies in improving your diet and working out. When you eat the right foods, in the right way, cut down your calorie intake, and start exercising you will start losing weight. Another point to note is that you should always speak to a doctor before working out and a dietitian so you can better understand how to adjust your eating habits.
Sticking to a healthy diet based on your health needs, allergies and preferences is a great idea, however when combined with a workout plan that meets your goals, it might bring you significant benefits. Better mood, stronger muscles and endurance are just some. Check out the 20 Minute Full Body Workout at Home below.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 22 Weight Loss Diets Reviewed & Debunked by the Experts: Eat Well, Not Less (2020, womenshealthmag.com)
- Alcohol and weight loss: What to know (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Beyond Willpower: Diet Quality and Quantity Matter (n.d., hsph.harvard.edu)
- Calories Burned in a Kickboxing Class (2018, livestrong.com)
- Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights (2018, health.harvard.edu)
- Calorie counting made easy (n.d., health.harvard.edu)
- Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Crucial facts about health benefits of popular cruciferous vegetables (2012, sciencedirect.com)
- Food Choice May Affect Ability to Keep Weight Off (2012, nih.gov)
- Gender differences in fat metabolism (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Health Benefits of Dark Green Vegetables (2020, verywellfit.com)
- How Does Alcohol Affect Weight Loss? (2018, healthline.com)
- How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally (2017, healthline.com)
- The 9 Best Diets for Fast Weight Loss (2020, health.usnews.com)
- The 10 Best Diets for Men (And What They Have In Common) (n.d., mensjournal.com)
- The Amount of Calories Muscles Burn (2020, verywellfit.com)
- The impact of regular self-weighing on weight management: a systematic literature review (2008, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Super-Veggies: Cruciferous Vegetables (2007, webmd.com)
- Weight Loss: Can You Do It With Exercise Alone? (2020, health.clevelandclinic.org)
- What happens when you eat fast food? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Whole Grains (n.d., hsph.harvard.edu)