What to eat for weight loss
If you typed that into google you’d find about 1,000,000 pages of results come up & where to start is like oh my word.
Weight loss & achieving the body shape you want can seem like a completely confusing, overwhelming & quite frankly rocket science level task. When you’re first getting started there is so much information out there it’s so hard to know where to start.
Weight loss & maintaining a healthy weight is important. It’s important so that you keep your body in a healthy state & you have longevity. If you want to be the best rider & help your horse it’s important you maintain a healthy weight for him so you’re not too heavy. If you carry too much weight your joints, muscles & heart are all going to be put under extra pressure & in the end that won’t bode well for long-term health & wellness.
Obesity in the UK affects 1 in 4 adults & it’s a serious topic if you actually want to be around to see your grandkids grow up & be riding when you are 80. Might sound harsh but it is true. We all know after the pandemic how being overweight can put your life at risk so if that’s not given you a wake-up call I’m not sure what will!
Amongst the Equestrian community there are often debates around rider weight & what’s a suitable sized pony/horse for your weight but more than anything you want to be at a healthy weight where riding & exercise feels easy, you know you look good in your jods, you have confidence & you feel energised & full of life each day.
When you’re working to lose weight 90% of your result is going to be down to nutrition-it does not matter if you train 6 days a week & hit 12,000 steps a day. If your diet is poor & you’re overconsuming calories you’re not going to lose weight. Simples.
A calorie deficit is required to lose weight, what this means is making sure your body is in a negative energy balance.
So you’re on a seesaw, you need to make sure that you are consuming fewer calories than you are expending. Calories consumed come from food & drink & calories expended come from activity & exercise. So in simple move more & eat less right?
Well sort of. That’s a very basic & quite narrow-minded way to look at things as there are lots of other areas like stress, sleep & lifestyle that can affect weight loss. My approach would be to keep activity & movement nice & high so that you can keep your calories on the higher side. This will make it seem easier to stick to the calorie deficit therefore you’ll find the approach relatively enjoyable & it will be a sustainable method to get you to your goal.
It’s really easy to sit there & say I need to lose 2 stone. When you have a big goal or a large amount of weight to lose it can seem like your climbing a never-ending mountain. Try to focus on hitting the small wins along the way, focusing on one kg at a time rather than fixating on that eventual goal. There is no correct rate of progress the most important thing is that you move the needle in the right direction & get consistent change. The more aggressive you are with your approach & the faster you lose weight you will find it harder to stick to & the chances of you maintaining that loss in the long term will be slim.
There is no certain food or one diet that works for weight loss. There are no exercises that will help you to achieve weight loss either-it simply comes down to a calorie deficit.
FADS & diets like Slimming World or Keto are just methods of putting you in a calorie deficit whether that is through removing carbohydrates, therefore eating less calories or telling you to eat 10 syns a day, less calories. What you’ll find is that these methods are just far more aggressive, so yes you’ll probably lose weight (the majority of that will be water weight BTW) but you’ll find it incredibly hard to stick to & in the long run sustain the changes & you'll probably find the weight comes piling back on.
Focus on being in a calorie deficit & basing your meals around your 3 main macronutrients;
Try to aim to get 80% of your food from whole, unprocessed foods to provide your body with all the goodness & nutrients it needs but allow yourself 20% room for the foods you like & enjoy. They might be higher in calories as they are the more highly palatable foods but including them in your diet is key for balance. Restriction in the long run does not work, yes to begin with weight loss requires a degree of restriction as you need to restrict calories slightly but not eradicating whole food groups.
We often hear that carbs are bad or fats make you fat. What makes you overweight or gain weight is consuming too many calories through foods.
For most of us, we are far more sedentary than our Grandparents would have been so it’s worth considering how your lifestyle & daily movement is affecting your weight too. When losing weight the scales & taking measurements are good markers of progress but I would always suggest you take photos too along the way. Feeling how clothes fit differently or going up a hole on your belt loop are all great markers of progress along the way too, we can be our own worst critics & sometimes you may look in the mirror & think nope no change there but then if you looked back at your photos I bet you’d notice a big change. That's why it's important to take photos, see the progress & keep your drive alive.
Remember that when you’re on a weight loss journey you’ll either be losing water weight, fat, or muscle mass. Keeping protein high is important as you don’t want to lose muscle; when we talk about looking toned we are dropping the body fat covering our muscle so we want to keep that. Water weight should be considered too, certain foods or alcohol can lead you to hold more water & this is where you can have big drops but also sometimes big jumps on the scale. Don’t panic if this happens; I’d suggest weighing in 3-4 times a week & then you can start to understand where your average is at.
Losing weight isn’t complicated it’s very simple but all too often we forget to do the basic things well & get completely caught up in the latest trend or gimmick. The simple boring stuff applied with consistency is what works & what gives you results that are sustainable.
To calculate your calories you can use the below formula;
I hope this helps you to understand how weight loss works & what you want to focus on to get results.
Good luck with your journey,