Weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated. If there’s no other variables like medical conditions or other things that require a more specialized approach, a few simple action items can start guide you towards your weight loss goals.
- Stop (or reduce) drinking alcohol – sorry to be a buzzkill but if you’re having a couple of beers everyday, or going for drinks with friends every weekend, your weight loss efforts will be hindered. Alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, which translates into 100-150 calories per 12oz beer bottle (depending on the beer) and between 50 up to over 100 calories per ounce of hard liquor (depending on the liquor). That’s without counting the calories from the side of fries, nachos, and alcapurrias you eat while drinking (Come on! You and I know that’s how it goes! 😆). If you drink one beer every night with dinner lets say, you can drink up to 1,000 calories per week. That’s just not gonna help you lose weight. And there’s the fact on how your body metabolize alcohol – when consumed, your body will prioritize using those calories from alcohol before the ones from stored fat calories. So, reducing or just stopping drinking alcohol will result in a caloric deficit that will help you start moving the needle on the scale to the left.
- Stop (or reduce) eating and drinking sugar – kind of the same approach as with alcohol. Sugar is a carbohydrate – all carbs contain about 4 calories per gram. But the problem here is not sugar per se, since not all sugars are the same, but added sugars. But for the sake of simplicity, know this: If you stop eating donuts and drinking coca-cola with each meal, you’ll be saving A LOT of calories. Same if you switch your pumpkin spice latte for another kind of coffee. A 12oz can of regular coke has 140 calories (39 grams of sugar). A medium size donut will fall anywhere between 100 to 300 calories depending on how it’s made. The pumpkin spice latte? About 420 calories with regular milk and whipped cream (50 grams of sugar!). 🤯 But what about coke zero? Not using the best sugar substitute – aspartame. That’s a WHOLE different discussion and blog publication. So, the solution here is look at the nutrition facts of these sugary items you consume. Under Total Carbohydrates, look for how many grams of sugar are in it. Look also at the Ingredients; anything like high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, fructose, etc. is indication of added sugars during the manufacturing process of the product you’re about to eat. Your best switch here is to eat fruits and vegetables that although they also contain sugar, the fiber found in them changes the glycemic impact in your body, and also provide with other beneficial micronutrients.
- Eat quality foods – notice I’m not suggesting you clean up your entire diet, just start switching some of your meals for better quality ones. Going on a full diet overhaul can be frustrating and most likely will end up failing. Just take small steps here, for example: if you’re constantly eating out, start switching one of those meals for a home cooked one based on lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats. Then keep doing that more often, maybe from Monday to Friday, and take it easy on your jangueo during the weekends. If cooking is not your thing, I know a really good meal prep company that focus just on that! 😉 By the way: Don’t go too crazy on super strict diets based on lechuga con pollo soso. That sh*t gets boring quicker than you’ll expect and you’ll be back to burgers, pizza, pasta, and arroz blanco con habichuelas guisadas, aguacate y chuletas kan-kan in no time! (Nothing wrong with the rice, beans and avocado though. It’s about the quantity there – but that’s information for my next blog.)
- Start moving more – being sedentary is the biggest enemy of your belly. As the Newton’s First Law of Motion states: “…a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it…”. In this case, the outside force is your willingness to change. If you have a desk job, I highly suggest you spare at least 30 minutes to 1 hour daily of any sort of physical activity (trust me, I know by own experience). Go jogging/running, join a sports league (avoiding the post game drinks – refer to #1 above), go bike around your neighborhood with your kids, join a gym and lift weights (preferably with the help of a knowledgeable coach). Whatever you do, that physical activity will help you burn calories and keep you mobile in the long run. If you’re on the west coast of Puerto Rico, I know of a really good gym in Rincón with a superb community and awesome coaches ready to help you achieve your fitness goals. 💪🏼
So, there you have it. Four action items you can work on to start achieving your weight loss goals. Start slowly, just one at the time and see how it goes. Then add another one, and so on until you’re 100% sure that you’re doing all the right choices towards your goals.
If you are already doing all of this and find yourself still struggling, that could be an indication that it’s time to turn it up to 11. Here’s when we need to get more strategical and maybe start looking at your macros and energy consumption/expenditure (aka: calorie counting). And that’s exactly what we are going to talk about in my next blog post, so stay tuned! 🤓