Trying to lose weight can be overwhelming. This section explains some free resources for losing weight simply. Cheap is always a good place to start, and for anyone on a tight budget, it is essential for weight loss to minimise stress, as stress triggers processes in the body that make it harder to lose weight. Starting with a simple free approach can eliminate financial worries and get you in touch with your body's response to your daily food intake. If the free way doesn’t work, there are plenty of programs and products available at a various price-points, and you can always move on to try some of these later.
My own research into the weight loss market led me to this free and simple way to lose weight.
Know The Daily Energy Intake That Your Body "Allows"
To calculate you daily energy requirement, you can do this here at this free Australian government website. After entering some details, it tells you how many KJ you can eat per day. From my experiences, here are a few tips:
1. Don’t just know how many KJ you can eat per day. Also convert that to calories. Many food labels and food-energy lists use calories, so it is useful to know how many calories you can eat per day. To convert KJ to calories, divide the KJ amount by 4.2. This will give you your daily calorie intake.
2. When you enter your details into the above website, and you are currently overweight, you may wish to put in your ideal weight, instead of your current weight. Or if there is a big gap between your current weight and your ideal weight, then consider entering a weight somewhere in between, maybe halfway. This is because, if you enter your current weight, the website will tell you how many KJ to eat, to maintain your current weight. Since you are trying to lose weight, you want to take in a lower energy intake. You want to know your daily intake for your ideal weight, and work your way toward that.
3. When you enter your details into the above website, select ‘sedentary’ lifestyle for the question ‘what is your level of activity’. In my experience, any other category generates too high of a daily calorie intake. I found this out through trial and error, and so I am passing that advice on; however use your own judgement.
Track you Daily Energy Intake
Find a way to track your daily energy intake (in KJ or calories) that is easy and suitable for you. To keep a record of your daily energy intake, record the calories from each meal and snack in a notebook or a smart phone or tape voice memos for yourself. Use any method that is easy for you. At each meal, look up the calorie on the food label, from the recipe book, or if you are eating fruit or other unlabelled food, look it up on the web, using a calorie counter database. These are usually free, to look up the calorie count of groceries and common foods. They also offer paid services, but you just need to open a free account to access the database of food calories. Www.calorieking.com.au is one example but if you run a Google search for free calorie counter databases there are many other options.
Do not underestimate how easy it is to rack up calories in today’s society.
If you eat just one hamburger, even at a healthy burger chain like Grill’d, you eat approximately 2500 KJ, which is about 600 calories. A chocolate bar, can be 500 calories. If you ate both of those, and your daily energy intake is only 1600 calories, then you only have 500 left for the rest of the day. That means you can only eat a banana, a cappuccino, and 2 pieces of toast with butter or jam only, for the rest of the day.
It is really easy to rack up calories, so try to plan your meals each evening for the next day, or if you don’t have time for that, do stop and think before each meal and each snack, about how many calorie you want to ‘use up’ in this moment. Be wise and creative, before each meal and snack, and enjoy the five or ten minutes beforehand whilst you search for food that is tasty, healthy and meets you calorie-intake goal. It is like a bank account. For example, if you decide you want to use up 150 calories for breakfast, you can eat a small banana and a small piece of cheese; but many other combinations of foods, including a small bowl of yoghurt and a handful of almonds will also fit the bill.
Trying to eat out less and cook at home more is important. Whilst you are trying to lose weight, I suggest you use one or two good cookbooks that meet 2 criteria: 1) easy to cook, satisfying meals, and 2) the calories are listed beside each recipe (not all cookbooks report this; look inside the pages for this before you buy).
A focus on reducing fructose sugars (which, importantly, mess with your own body's internal signals, so that you don't feel full when you would normally, and the hormone that helps you to stop eating does not get released) will help. You should try to eat healthy foods as much as possible, and search for any free healthy eating guides on the web will help.
Adjust your Daily Energy Intake Over 4 to 6 Weeks
The bottom line is, if you are not losing weight on a weekly basis, then you are eating too many calories per day / per week.
It helps to weigh yourself on a scale several times per week (consider having one at home and at the office).
If you notice that you are not regularly losing weight each week, decrease your daily energy intake in that case - until you see yourself losing a little bit of weight each and every week.
As you lose weight, remember that you will also have to decrease your daily energy intake to continue losing weight.
Don't Stop When You Reach Your Target Weight
When you reach your ideal weight, continue to weigh yourself a few times per week for another month or two, so that you know how many calories you are able to eat to maintain your weight. You will get a sense over two months, when you gain a little weight, that you need to decrease your calories a little downward. By the end of two months, you should know exactly what calorie intake works for you. For example, if I eat 1700 calories per day, I remain at my ideal weight. That may need to decrease as I age, but for now that works for me.
Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy
Some days you may eat 900 calories more than you know you should be eating! I should be eating 1700 calories per day, and I eat 2600 some days. Remember that each day is a new day, and you can compensate over the week for days on which you have overeaten. Eat only a handful of nuts or one piece of toast for lunch, a few times during the week, after a day on which you have eaten a lot. It isn't always easy, but do what you can do, and good luck!