After I shared this fact on my Instagram profile, a few of you had messaged and asked me how I lost 4 Kgs. or 9 pounds in 8 weeks. Hence, I decided that I will do a post on this topic. Please note that fat loss is something that is different for different people and here are some general guidelines based on my experience that helped me lose fat and become more toned and fit.
This is the step-by-step approach that I took to lose fat systematically. You notice that I say lose fat and not weight. This is because I made a huge effort to retain the muscle mass in my body and not try out unscientific ways that adversely impacted my muscle mass. I will share more as to how exactly I went about doing it:
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1.Calorie Deficit in Diet:
It is common knowledge that in order to lose weight, one has to consume fewer calories than one burns. No matter how much exercise you do, you will not lose weight unless you keep a handle on what you eat. Hence meticulously measure how many Calories you consume and create a deficit on a daily basis.
To lose 1 pound or about 0.5 kilo of weight per week (which is considered safe weight loss), you need to have a deficit of about 500 Calories daily.
For eg. I am 5’4” and weighed 137 lbs. (62 kgs.) when I started. I aimed for a 1250-1300 Calorie diet daily coupled with 45 minutes to 1 hour of intensive workout 6 days a week.
Diet and exercise go hand in hand. Yet, diet is of more consequence because even with strenuous strength training or cardio, you will only burn about 200-250 Cal in an hour. Hence, creating a deficit in the Calories you consume is of utmost important.
I mostly did strength training or lifted weights 4 times a week with heavy duty cardio or Yoga on the remaining 2 days. I broke the strength training down by parts. Hence, if I did upper body and core on 1 day. The next day was lower body. Never do the same body parts on consecutive days as muscles need a day of recovery. I used home fitness videos which are free of cost.
Pro-Tip: Before starting weight training, please learn from a trained instructor. Else, you have higher chances of injury and the danger of not learning the exercises currently. Once you have learnt how to do it properly, you can do it by yourself.
Additional Reading: 9 Beginner Tips for Women Starting Strength Training
6 Reasons Why Women Must Lift Weights
3. Food Diary:
In order to maintain a calorie deficit daily in your diet, you will need to monitor and document your diet. You can use apps like MyFitnessPal. I used the free version of its App to document my daily diet.
Typically, my breakfast was about 300 Calories, lunch was 400 Calories and dinner about 300 Calories. The remaining Calories was in snacks and protein shake.
Once you allocate Calories in this manner, you can plan your meals to keep within these ranges. Fruits and salads make for excellent snacks.
4. Meal Planning:
Once I knew the Calories for each meal, I went about doing meal planning. Portion control was of great importance. And weighing your food to arrive at that portion size.
Make sure that you buy an inexpensive kitchen scale like this one that I personally use to initially weigh every item you eat. This is important to get your meal Calorie calculation correctly. I know it seems tedious but gets easier with each passing day.
My Fitness Diary app gives you the Calorie breakup of most food including Indian meals. I found it very useful to accurately document my food intake.
I also increased the amount of protein I had daily especially since I was doing strength training and muscles require more protein for recovery.
This is the whey protein shake I personally have used for years now. Since I was on a vegetarian diet, I increased my consumption of beans, legumes, soy etc. Homemade soups, fruits, veggies, sprouts provided filling meal options that were low Calorie yet satiating.
My meal breakup was 40% protein, 30% to 35% carbohydrates and about 25% to 30% fats.
Additional Reading: 7 Reasons Why You Must Start Meal Planning
While eating clean is generally recommended, I did eat my slice of pizza, my squares of chocolate, even an occasional burger. Let's face it we all crave certain foods.
And if we don't satiate ourselves then we may end up with a huge craving that may wreck our healthy eating plan. Best is to build it in to your meal plan by adding it there and accounting for its Calories in your meal plan.
6. Eating out and Parties:
While one cannot fully do away with eating out or attending a party, it is best to keep them to the minimum. But bear in mind that eating out in a healthier outlet also will contribute a lot to your Calories much more than you allocated.
Hence the best thing to do before going to a party is eating some salad or something healthy from home so that you don't eat too much of the heavy Calorie food outside.
7. Slipping up:
Let’s face it. It happens to all of us. It happened with me too. All I did was that while I was disappointed, I did not beat myself up too much or go about starving or overexercising,
I just went back to doing the healthy thing from next meal onwards. I may have missed my weekly goal for a week or two but went back right to the overall target.
Also, when I started out, I lost about 2 pounds per week for 2 weeks. You will see that happen that you lose more in one week and don’t lose anything in the next. This gave me a buffer for the odd bad week.
Besides, it is no competition if I stretch my goal post by a couple of weeks.
8. Will Power:
This is the most important part of the fat loss journey. Don’t compare yourself with others. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall sick, miss your workout or screw up your diet once in a while.
Try to keep the slip ups to the minimum and stick to your plan as much as possible.
But remember that you can only do this if you are committed to getting healthier and losing extra fat. The calorie-deficit diet and exercise regimen along with all the planning and discipline is only possible if you are really committed to it.
Healthy Eating Tips:
- Take smaller plates when eating food.
- Take small portions and add more only if hungry.
- Eat slowly. Chew and eat. Look at your food while eating. Register what you are eating. Don't be on mobile or watching TV.
- Drink lots of water through the day at least 10 glasses.
- Recognise your triggers like stress or boredom that cause you to reach for that unhealthy treat.
- Remove all the unhealthy/junk/processed food from your house. That way you will have less temptation to give in to.
- Increase protein in your diet. An easy benchmark is 1g. of protein per Kg. of bodyweight.
- Get regular 6-8 hours of sleep daily. This is important for weight loss.
- Skip heavy duty sauces, dips and condiments. Make your own salad dressing. Cut down on add-ons like mayo, sour cream etc. Every teaspoon counts.
- Be honest when documenting your food intake. Don't miss out anything.
Hope you find these pointers useful. If you have any questions, I will be glad to help.
Diet and lifestyle changes are for life. If you aim to get into better shape by adopting a healthier lifestyle, then remember that this is for life. You can get off Calorie-deficit diet after you have lost your goal weight, but if you go back to unhealthy lifestyle, you will pile back the pounds.
So, aim for a healthier life with a gift of health and an energetic body when you go about this fat loss plan.
P.S. I have maintained this weight since then as I continue to eat healthy and exercise the same way.
Follow me on Instagram here where I will share my meal plan daily all through December along with healthy eating tips and recipes. I will also have an exciting giveaway in December.
Disclaimer: I am currently pursuing a certification course in Nutrition as well as meal planning. None of this is considered as professional opinion. I would recommend that you consult your doctor/certified professional before starting a new exercise and diet regimen. This post is only meant to share my own experience and general guidelines.
I also have a few affiliate links in the article. This means that if you buy using those links, I make a small income at no extra cost to you. I thank you for your support.
Shilpa Gupte says
Thank you so much Rachna for this very informative post.
I am 5 ft 2, and weigh 54 kg now. I feel I need to lose at least a couple of kgs. I walk everyday for 45 mins and it's a brisk walk. My yoga sessions aren't as regular as they were earlier and I intend to work on that. I take care of my diet too and have reduced sugar and junk. I am sharing this with you coz I need to start taking extra care of my health and writing It down here, sharing it with someone will keep me accountable...to myself! Will check the fitness app for calories you shared here. Hope it helps.
Wish me luck, dearie!
Thanks once again!
I am so sorry that you are being more accountable towards your health, Shilpa!
So inspirational! My weight is accurate for my height and yet I would love to lose at least seven kilos. I'll follow this plan step by step and see how it works. We'll talk more about this when we meet 😀
Mine too. My weight was fine for my height but I have a slim structure and I had gained this weight due to my injury. So I just felt happier losing it. Let's speak more when we meet next.
I absolutely love your meal stories. They are like my reminders to include proteins and more vegetables in my diet. These are solid points to a healthier lifestyle and keeping the weight in check. But then weight is subjective and depends on body type. I love fitness blender workout videos. The cardio ones are killing. I can hardly complete them. Keep inspiring us. ?
Thanks Raj! Glad that you find the meal stories useful. I think all of us need small, non-intrusive reminders to eat healthy. I totally agree about weight being subjective. These extra kilos I had gained due to my lack of exercise when I had the injury hence I wanted to shed them in a systematic manner else I am not really chasing a particular weight.
This is such a wonderful reminder of all things I know but don't practice. I really really need to get my diet act together. Of late the toughest bit is giving up carbs at night. I crave my roti at dinner. And there was a time a few years ago when I routinely had soups and salads. Thank you for this post. I'm hoping it'll help me get back. Thanks to you guys on twitter, at least my exercise is in some kind of order. We need to have a daily what-are-you-eating thread there too.
I totally get you, Tulika. Yes, I like our twitter group and how we keep checking on each other. BTW, I am sharing my meal plans daily on Instagram. Why don't you join in and share too?
Lata Sunil says
These are great tips and surely motivating. I am working with a dietitian to lose weight and all your tips match what she is doing for me. I put in 30 mins of daily exercise either yoga or cardio or walking. I am worried about keeping the weight off. It really needs a steely will power to keep off. What and where is the nutrition certification course?
Balle Cannon says
Amazing article. Couldn't be written much better!