Weight loss has never been an easy thing to do. The number of people who start and give up halfway through says it all. However, do you know that the journey does not have to be as bad, hard and confusing as you deem it? Armed with the right weight loss tips for beginners, you may find it much easier to make a plan, stick to it and eventually reach your goals.
In this article, we are going to give you some healthy weight loss tips for beginners, give you tricks on how to start losing weight, and tell you how to lose weight at home if you do not have access to or do not wish to go to a gym. We shall also suggest some diet tips and workouts that can help make your journey that much bearable for you.
How To Lose Weight At Home: Simple Steps To Help Shed Those Extra Pounds Once And For All
One of the best weight loss tips for beginners is to start making positive changes right from your home and carry said changes into other parts of your life. If you are unsure about how to start losing weight at home, here are some good weight loss tips for beginners for you to try:
Count Your Calories
While some people do not believe in counting calories as a weight loss tip, and it may not be a good strategy for everyone, we believe that it is one of the most useful weight loss tips for beginners. The reasoning behind this is that counting your food energy intake per day helps you with ‘calories in calories out’ rule.
When you eat more calories than you burn, it leads to weight gain but when you do the opposite, you begin to see the changes in your weight and fat pocket. Counting calories helps you determine how much fewer calories to consume per day/week to lose weight.
Count Your Macros
While counting calories is something that many of us know about, counting macros seems to be something left for athletes, nutritionists, bodybuilders, and gym rats. However, beginners in fitness could also benefit from doing this. Like counting calories, macronutrient counting helps with weight loss and can promote healthier eating and improved diet quality. Ps. your macronutrients are your carbs, proteins, and fats.
The amount of macronutrients you require a day, like calorie requirement, depends on your age, weight and level of physical activity. The Institute of Medicine recommends the following intake (6):
- Carbs: 45 – 65% of total calories
- Fats: 20 – 35% of total calories
- Proteins: 10 -35% of total calories
That being said some experts recommend the following ratios (10):
- 30% protein, 30% fat, 40% carbs – for those who workout for an hour or less a day
- 30% protein, 25% fat, 45% carbs – for anyone who exercises for one to two hours a day
How do you calculate macros manually? Well the process can be a little complicated. You have to remember how much calories per gram each macronutrient has. I.e. carbs provide 4 calories per gram, proteins 4 calories per gram, and fats provide 9 calories per gram,- then you have to take this and work it out and make sure that your intake stays within the recommended calorie intake and ratios/percentages.
This sounds complicated and could put anyone off macronutrient counting. Instead of doing it like so, choose the easier way out by using reputable apps that will calculate your recommended intake for you and update your intake every time you log in a meal.
Try Meal Prepping
Meal or food prepping does not only save time, money and energy but it also helps prevent food waste. In terms of tips for weight loss for beginners, it can help with calorie counting. If you prepare and portion your food ahead of time, you can ensure that each meal and snack is as healthy as can be and fits perfectly within your recommended calorie intake. It also prevents you from making unhealthy food choices when you are too busy, tired or unmotivated to make something (13).
Apply The ‘Half Plate Rule’
The ‘half-plate’ rule requires you to fill up half your plate with fruits and vegetables, leaving the other half split between protein and complex carbs. Some believe that this strategy works even better than counting calories as weight loss tips for beginners as it is not as restrictive and is much simpler (15). Vegetables are good for you and are fantastic for weight loss because you can eat a lot of vegetables without adding too much calories to your daily intake.
Add More Protein To Your Meals
Irrespective of whatever diet you are following, be sure to eat as much protein as you can; have a high quality protein source at each meal if possible. Eating more protein is among the good weight loss tips for beginners as it boosts your metabolism.
Your body uses more energy when digesting protein than it does when breaking down either carbs or fats. This can lead to you burning 80 to 100 more calories in a day. Having more protein also helps you feel fuller throughout the day and can help reduce your appetite, leading you to eat less calories in a day (8). Protein is also important for building and maintaining muscle.
Try Probiotic For Weight Loss
A few studies have shown that some strains of probiotics can help with burning belly fat and losing weight in general, however the evidence is limited and dietary supplements are largely unregulated (19). For weight loss tips for beginners on where to find these probiotic strains, you can easily find them in fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented or raw cheeses, raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother), kimchi (fermented cabbage), natto, miso, or tempeh.
Several studies have shown that sleep has a close correlation with weight loss or weight gain. In 2010, a controlled trial showed that sleeping 5.5 hours each night over a two-week period while on a calorie-restricted diet resulted in less fat loss when compared to sleeping 8.5 hours each night (12).
Years later in 2018, another study looked at the effects of sleep restriction on weight. For eight weeks, some of the participants were asked to sleep for one hour less than they normally would for five days a week and increase their sleep times on the weekends. At the end of the study, the researchers found that while all participants lost weight, those who slept less 5 nights per week lost less fat than those who had no changes in their sleep patterns (11).
Drink More Water
Drinking more water aids in weight loss because it is a natural appetite suppressant. Whenever you feel like eating or looking for a snack, choose to have a drink of water first; you may realize that you were only thirsty and not hungry. If it turns out you were hungry, though, you do need to eat. Don’t starve yourself by replacing food with water.
Water also boosts your metabolism. One study in 2014, showed that drinking 500 mL of cold and room temperature water increases energy expenditure. The participants burned approximately 2% to 3% more calories in the 90 minutes after drinking it (5).
Practice Mindful Eating
This is the practice of paying attention to the food you eat. Mindful eating does not only begin when the food is on a plate in front of you. It starts by you paying attention to (3):
- The types of food you eat.
- How you prepare your meals and what ingredients you are using, what cooking methods you are using etc.
- How you serve your meals. We often eat with our eyes long before tasting it. Does your food look appetizing to you? How much food is on your plate? What kind of food is on your plate?
- How you consume your food. Always try to savour your meals instead of shoving them into your mouth and wolfing them down.
Always listen to how your body reacts to certain foods, try setting the table before eating, consume foods that are nutritionally healthy, and remove any and all distractions during meal times.
What Is The Best Fat Loss Diet?
One of the best weight loss tips for beginners is to always watch what and how you eat. As mentioned above, for you to effectively lose weight and keep it off, you need to eat at a calorie deficit. But which exact diet is best for you?
Consuming a well-balanced diet is one way to ensure that you lose those stubborn pounds. A balanced diet. A balanced diet is one that not only provides us with enough energy to keep up with bodily functions and our day to day activities, but it is also one that helps maintain or improve overall health.
A balanced diet also contains the five major food groups which are namely (17):
- Fruits and vegetables
- Starchy foods, i.e. whole grains
- Protein which consists of lean meats and poultry, fatty fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
- Healthy fats
- Dairy or dairy-free milk alternatives from plants and nuts
Consuming such foods at a calorie deficit will help you lose the extra weight and achieve your healthy goals.
However, what if you are looking for a specifically curated eating plan to help you lose fat? If this is your concern, here are some options for the best fat loss diet that you can incorporate in your day-to-day (2).
This has been considered to be top among the best weight loss diets for a couple of years now. A Mediterranean diet is an eating plan based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea; countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The rules of this diet are as follows:
- Eat plenty of beans, fruit, leafy greens, whole grains, and other vegetables daily.
- Weekly consumption of healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish.
- Limited intake of red meat (maybe once or twice a week).
- Observing moderation in the consumption of dairy and dairy products.
- Wine is also allowed, albeit in moderation because alcohol can be harmful to your health.
Apart from helping with weight and fat loss, this eating plan has other health benefits such as (18):
- Protecting your heart from illnesses and stroke
- Reducing the risk of muscle loss in elderly people
- Reducing the risk of neurological deterioration diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Protecting against type II diabetes
- Increasing your lifespan. The Mediterranean diet is said to increase your lifespan by up to 20% as it reduces the risk of life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
The Vegan Diet
If you are willing and able to give up meat for weight loss then this diet is for you. Veganism is a plant-based diet that restricts the consumption of all animal products. You are not allowed to consume beef and any other kinds of meat, poultry and fish, as well as animal derived products such as honey, dairy (and dairy products), gelatin, whey, casein, and albumin.
For you to effectively lose weight, you must aim to consume high-quality vegan-friendly foods such as:
- Whole grains
- Plant-based protein like nuts and seeds as well as tofu and other soy based products
- Healthy fats from avocados, olive oil, as well as nuts and seeds
- Legumes and lentils. They are made up of complex carbs and also a vegan-friendly source of protein
- Vegetables. Leafy greens, starchy and non-starchy vegetables are also acceptable.
A vegan diet is not only good for weight loss for women and men, but it also helps lower blood sugar and improve kidney function, protect against certain cancers, lower the risk of heart disease and Type II diabetes, and more (21).
This is not a diet. Instead it is an eating plan that works between fasting hours and a feeding window. During the fasting window, you are only allowed to have water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages in order to not break your fast (20).
During the feeding window, the eating plan does not restrict any foods allowing people to consume whatever they want. However, for the best results in weight loss for men or women, it is advised that you consume high-quality foods and remain in your recommended calorie deficit.
While you can still lose weight from this plan even when consuming unhealthy and high calorie foods, chances are that the process will take longer and could leave you frustrated. One of the best tips for weight loss concerning a diet, meal plan or eating plan is to always eat wholesome healthy foods and eat on a calorie deficit. This will make your weight loss goals that much more achievable.
While there are many intermittent fasting schedules (1) available for you to try, as a beginner, we would suggest that you try the 16/8 method. This means that you fast for 16 hours (including time spent asleep at night) and eat during an eight-hour feeding window. This method is not as extreme as some and can help you space out your meals which keeps you from eating too much during a very short window. Keep in mind that intermittent fasting is not safe for everyone, and you should discuss it with your healthcare provider before starting a regimen.
While veganism is classified as a plant-based/vegetarian diet and has impressive benefits, it can be quite restrictive. Here is where other kinds of vegetarianism come in. If you are not willing to become a vegan but are looking to live majorly plant-based lifestyle, here are some options for you:
1. Lacto-vegetarian. Like veganism this diet excludes meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. However, lacto-vegetarians are allowed to consume dairy and dairy products.
2. Ovo-vegetarian. This variation only allows eggs and excludes all other animal meats and products.
3. Lacto-ovo vegetarian. A combination of the two above it allows dairy products and eggs while excluding all other animal products.
4. Pescatarian. The eating plan only allows the consumption of fish. Meat and poultry, dairy, as well as eggs are forbidden.
Like the other best fat loss diets mentioned above, it helps with weight loss, is good for your heart health, reduces your risk of cancer and prevents type II diabetes. Vegetarianism is also said to help promote bone health, lower blood pressure, decrease asthma symptoms (16), and like veganism, it is good for the environment.
How Much Exercise To Lose Weight?
Working out is another one of the important weight loss tips for beginners. However, how much exercise do you need to lose weight? What kinds of exercises are best for weight and fat loss? According to the MayoClinic, it is recommended that you do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week (7).
The American College of Sports Medicine advises that you should aim to get 150 and 250 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week to lose weight. Studies have found that 250 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity leads to more substantial weight loss (4).
Some types of workouts to do for weight loss include:
- Resistance training. Also known as strength training or weight lifting, it is a form of workout that involves using your own bodyweight or tools such as gym machines, free weights, and resistance bands to build muscle mass, strength, and endurance.
Not only does weight lifting aid in weight loss, but it also improves balance and coordination, preserves and improves bone density, and slows down the progression of chronic illnesses (14). Some types of resistance training exercises include lunges, squats, planks, pushups, hip extensions and more.
- Aerobic exercises. They are also known as endurance or cardio vascular exercises. These are the types of workouts that many of us turn to when looking to lose weight. Aerobic workouts are great for weight loss, lowering your blood pressure, and for increasing your strength, stamina, and fitness level.
For the best weight loss results, it is recommended that you combine both strength training and aerobic workouts. You should also add flexibility and balance exercises to your routine.
The Bottom Line
Weight loss tips for beginners are not as complicated as one might think. With the proper knowledge of diet and exercise you will be able to shed those extra unwanted pounds in no time. Before embarking on any fitness or weight loss journey, please be sure to first consult your doctor. You can also enlist the guidance of a trainer and nutritionist to help you better understand your workout regimen and improve your eating habits, respectively.