Weight Loss Tips That Work In 2021
[The Essential Guide For Nutrition & Exercise Advice]
Created by: Zack Mathews
Getting accurate weight loss advice can be confusing with all the latest fad diets, dubious magazine headlines, and sleazy coaches trying to make a quick buck.
One week you read about how great Keto is for you, and then the next you read an article that Keto is bad for you. It leaves you feeling confused, hopeless, and not knowing where to start.
Luckily for you, it doesn't have to be that complicated and I am here to help.
I want to give you the best weight loss tips that have worked for hundreds of my online and in person clients. The best part is that they are easy to understand, you can implement them right away, and with some practice, patience, and consistency, they will get you results.
Here are some of my awesome clients who have used the principles that you will learn today!
I think it's about time to get started. What do you think?
This post will be broken down into two parts, nutrition and exercise. The nutrition portion will breakdown everything you need to know about weight loss, and the exercise portion will discuss the importance of lifting weights and how cardio can affect your weight loss.
Part 1: Nutrition
- What Really Works For Weight Loss? All About Energy Balance.
- How To Eat In A Calorie Deficit.
- The Role Of Protein For Fat Loss.
- Can I Eat Carbs And Still Lose Weight?
- The Role Of Fats In Your Diet.
- Alcohol And Weight Loss.
- Cheat Meals While Still Getting Results.
- How Many Meals A Day You Should Be Eating.
- Rate Of Weight Loss That Will Be Sustainable Long Term.
- Where Do You Lose Weight First?
- How To Reduce Hunger.
Part 2: Exercise
- The Benefits Of Strength Training For Weight Loss.
- Lower Body Exercises.
- Upper Body Movements.
- Core Exercises.
- Free Workout Program.
- How Often Should You Workout For Weight Loss?
- Is Cardio Necessary For Weight Loss?
Part 3: Weight Loss Tips Action Plan
If you have heard of or been on any diet in the past, there is one thing that all of them have in common, you are lowering your calorie intake. If you lose weight on any diet, it's because you are in a calorie deficit.
Sometimes you might be eating less carbs, others might have you eating fewer meals, but at the end of the day they are all helping you eat less calories and that is how you lose weight.
Everybody has a certain amount of calories they can consume and their body weight will stay the SAME. This is called your maintenance calories and this means your energy balance is equal.
Your incoming energy (in the form of food) is equal to the energy your body is using on a daily basis (workouts, basic body functions, digesting food, fidgeting, etc).
If you are trying to lose weight, you have to be in a calorie deficit.
You have to bring in less energy (in the form of food) than your body burns on a daily basis, thus resulting in a calorie deficit and ultimately weight loss.
If you are trying to gain weight, you have to be in a calorie surplus.
You are bringing in more energy (in the form of food) than your body is using on a daily basis, resulting in your body holding onto those extra calories and turning them into fat or muscle.
The perfect diet to get into a calorie deficit does not exist. You need to find what is realistic and sustainable to follow.
To lose weight, you're going to need to eat less calories than you currently are. It's up to you how you want to go about that.
Some techniques that have worked for my clients include:
- Learning how many calories you need to eat for a calorie deficit. Most people can lose weight by multiplying their weight by 10 - 12 and eating in that range. To learn all about tracking your calories, check out my guide on Macros For Weight Loss.
- Replacing one meal a day with a protein shake.
- Building your plates around protein and vegetables.
- Limit snacking between meals.
- Avoid liquid calories and stick to water.
- Eat mainly unprocessed foods.
- Stop eating when you feel 80% full.
- Learning to be ok with being slightly hungry.
As you can see, there are so many habits and techniques you can implement to help with your weight loss. Try different things and see what works for you!
Anytime you eat something, whether it's a vegetable, steak, or a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos (guilty), it can be made up of one or multiple macronutrients.
The 3 macronutrients are proteins, carbs, and fats.
One of the best weight loss tips I can give you is that protein is the most important macronutrient and you should make sure to eat an adequate amount of it each day.
Let's talk about why it's so important. Protein will:
- Help keep you full longer than any other macronutrient. That's important when you are cutting calories.
- Help build muscle for a more lean, defined look.
- Not only can it help build muscle, but it will also preserve your muscle while cutting calories, allowing your body to lose fat and not muscle.
- Burn more calories digesting that carbs and fats.
When you are lifting weights, you are essentially “tearing” your muscles apart, and they need to be repaired through protein consumption. Not only does it repair muscle, but it will also help those muscles grow.
As you begin to lose weight and gain muscle, you will be amazed at how much better you look with more muscle on your body. It gives you that toned, confident look that we are all after! Another interesting fact about protein is how dense it is compared to fat.
Here (Click Me) is a picture of 5 pounds of fat vs 5 pounds of muscle. Look how much smaller 5 pounds of muscle looks.
Imagine if you would lose some of your fat and replace it with muscle. You can weight the exact same and look way different!
I know what you are thinking...
How much protein should I eat? A good rule of thumb is to try and eat at least 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. If you have a lot of weight to lose, calculate your lean body mass and eat around 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.
Yes, you can eat carbs and still lose weight! You will always lose weight, regardless of macronutrient breakdown, when you are in a calorie deficit.
There was a study done on weight loss with two groups, one eating a high carb diet while the other ate a low carb diet.
At the end of the study, the low carb diet lost less than half of a pound more than the high carb group, making them essentially the same (your body holds onto more water when you eat carbs so that was most likely why they ended slightly lower).
What this study shows is that it’s not the amount of carbs you eat that will help you lose weight, but TOTAL CALORIES.
Calories are king and will be what allows you to lose or gain weight.
Now as for your carb consumption, I am not saying go out there and load up on cake and pasta everyday.
It’s important to make protein your priority in your meals, load up on vegetables, and then make room for some carbs.
A sweet potato, brown rice, and fruit are all great, highly nutritious carbs that you can add to your meals, but just make sure your portions are in check.
The Role Of Fats In Your Diet
The last of the weight loss tips for macronutrients to discuss are fats.
Healthy fats, such as avocado, salmon, nuts, and olive oil can help improve cholesterol levels, control blood sugar, and help regulate hormones.
There is nothing wrong with adding these healthy fats into your diet and they should be consumed in moderation.
When I say in moderation, there is a distinct difference between fats vs carbs and proteins, and that is the amount of calories in a gram of each.
For proteins and carbohydrates, 1 gram of each is equal to 4 calories. When you consume fats, 1 gram is equal to 9 calories. That is twice as much!
This is why you want to make sure you are aware of what types of food you are eating.
Here is a cheatsheet for you to screenshot to remember the breakdown of all the macronutrients.
Weight loss can still occur if you drink alcohol as long as you are in a calorie deficit. Most of the calories from alcohol do not nourish your body so it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet if you like to enjoy alcohol from time to time.
We're all adults so I am not going to tell you what you can and cannot do, but as you can see from the picture above, 1 gram of alcohol is 7 calories so it's very easy to over consume your calories through alcohol.
Let's not forget about the late night meal you get after a night of drinking...that was always Mexican food for me...yum..
The calories from a night of drinking plus the extra food you might consume can easily take you out of a calorie deficit, even if you are good the rest of the week.
Enjoy yourself, be smart about your consumption, and remember that you still can lose weight while drinking.
You now know that in order to see results, you need to eat in a calorie deficit, load up on protein, and eat your veggies (our parents have been saying this to us forever!).
Well, what about if you are going out with friends, or have a big family event?
This is where some people say they use their “cheat meal”.
A “cheat meal” is basically you going off your regular meals to treat yourself with something "bad" for you, whether it’s a burger, ice cream, pizza, etc.
Personally, I HATE the word “cheat meal”.
You worked hard in the gym all week, you ate healthy, and now you want to go have a nice meal with your loved ones, but it’s going to be cheating?
No, I say be proud of the work you did that week and go enjoy that meal, just be smart about it!
For example, say you want to have a date night with your significant other and want to go to a new Italian restaurant for great pasta and wine.
To save your calories for that big meal, focus on eating protein and veggies during the day, which will be very low in calories, leaving plenty for the evening to go and enjoy yourself.
There is nothing wrong with having a meal outside of your diet and you should never feel bad about it.
Now if that one meal turns into two, then turns into multiple days, then it will be time to reconsider things.
Ever heard these before?
- You need to eat at least 5 times a day to speed up your metabolism.
- Don’t skip breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day.
- Eating after 8pm will make you gain weight.
None of those are true.
The truth is the timing of your meals and how many meals you eat each day doesn't affect weight loss. At the end of the day, the most important factor is still calorie control.
Not only do you have a goal of losing weight, but you should also have a goal of MAINTAINING that weight loss.
Too many people try and lose the weight as fast as they can, without thinking big picture. They will restrict their calories to a dangerous level, workout 7 times a week, and ignore their body's alarm going off that this is unsustainable.
What happens at first?
They get some awesome results.
But as time passes, it always catches up to them, and for most people, they gain all the weight back, and more.
Seriously, half a pound of fat loss a week is great, so celebrate it!
If you have a lot of weight to lose, increasing that range up to 2 pounds a week is totally normal and is still a good rate of weight loss.
Once you start drifting above that amount, you are veering towards a rate that is unsustainable, and you are increasing the chance that you are losing muscle along with fat.
In a world of shake weights and ab machines to give you "toned arms" and 6 pack abs, the truth is you cannot pick and choose where your body will lose fat. Consistency and patience will eventually lead to fat loss in the areas you want.
The idea that you can pick where to lose fat or exercise a certain muscle to make the fat go away in that area is called spot reduction. It's a marketing ploy for companies to try and make money off of people's insecurities.
Think about why companies create products that normally are for your arms or abs. Most people are self conscious of those areas and that's what they are going after.
I might sound like a broken record by now, but be patient and consistent with your calorie deficit and results will come.
Being able to manage your hunger cues is going to be one of the more challenging aspects of losing weight so be prepared by trying some of these techniques.
- Make sure you are consuming lots of protein. Remember, protein is the macronutrient that will keep you the fullest.
- Eat lots of vegetables. Adding vegetables to your meals will create more volume and help fill you up.
- Drink lots of water (seltzer water is totally fine) to fill your stomach.
- Chew gum.
- Accept that it's ok to be hungry.
The last one is probably the most important. In a world where we quickly satisfy any hunger we have, it's hard to accept that it's ok to go without food for a period of time. If you are hungry and you don't eat anything right away, you are going to be fine.
Be smart about how you feel when you are hungry. If you are lightheaded and dizzy then you are under eating and should eat something. If you feel good but are hungry, that's totally normal and usually a good sign that you are in the process of losing weight!
Your weight loss tips will now transition over to exercise, specifically resistance training.
Don’t be intimidated by the name, it just means lifting weights.
Lifting weights and getting stronger is one of the greatest things you can do for your body!
Side note: if you are a woman reading this and are concerned about getting “bulky” from lifting weights, don't be. Woman don’t produce the same amount of testosterone than men do so it's very unlikely to get bulky from lifting. If you lift weights and eat like a pig, well now that’s a different story.
Resistance training is beneficial because it will help build & preserve muscle mass, increase your metabolism, give your body more definition, and make you stronger.
When you add muscle to your body it will help increase your resting metabolic rate, which will cause your body to burn more calories throughout the day.
Just by adding muscle to your body it will help you burn more calories, who wouldn't want that?
Additionally, adding more definition to your body will make you look amazing!
If you were to compare two people who weigh the exact same, but one does only cardio, while the other does weights and cardio, most of the time you will see a more defined figure with the weights and cardio.
Fat takes up more space than muscle in the body so you could technically weight the exact same but look completely different!
Although there are many more benefits to lifting weights, I have to leave you with these important facts.
Getting stronger makes you feel better, more confidence, and in my opinion the most important benefit, you will become the official spaghetti jar opener. Now that’s a title I know you all want!
Let's talk about some of the main movements you should be doing in your workout routine.
Onward we go!
Lower body movements give you a huge bang for your buck!
Your lower body makes up a large percentage of your bodies total muscle (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, aka your butt) and you want to strengthen these to help you gain and preserve muscle while you are working on losing weight.
There are lots of different lower body exercises out there, but if you can focus and perfect variations of squats, deadlifts, and lunges, you are going to be in a good spot.
The squat is a compound exercise, which means it works multiple muscles, making it one of the best exercises you can do to maximize your results. There are many different variations of squats and as you progress with your training, you will try harder and harder variations.
Here are some squat progressions you can work on.
The next movement is a hip hinge.
which is the movement used in deadlifts and many kettlebell exercises. Whereas squats are primarily working your quadriceps and glutes, the hip hinge exercises will be working your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
Any easy way to remember how to do these correctly is to know that with squats you will be bending at your knees, while deadlifts you are bending at the hips, as if you were folding yourself in half.
When performed correctly, you should feel a great stretch in the back of your leg, the hamstring.
I tell many of my clients to practice these in the mirror so you can see how your back looks as you go down.
The last movement pattern is the lunge.
The lunge is a great exercise because it will be working multiple muscles like the previous two, but it also tests your balance and core strength since you are not standing with your two feet planted. Lunges are known as a unilateral movement.
Upper body exercises can be broken into two categories, push and pull. Each push and pull can be categorized as vertical or horizontal.
Examples of push exercises would be overhead shoulder press (vertical), pushups (horizontal), chest presses (horizontal), and tricep pushdowns (vertical). Examples of pull exercises are pull ups (vertical), lat pulldowns (vertical), TRX rows (horizontal), and seated rows (horizontal).
If you don’t know what some of those exercises are, it’s no big deal because I've got videos for you!
Your core is made up of many more muscles besides those six hard abs that most people see. Your lower back, obliques (side of your abs), and glutes (butt) are all important muscles that need to be trained.
It’s important to train your core since you are practically using it in everything you do!
A well trained core will make you stronger, can help alleviate back pain, and can help your stability and balance.
If you were to do 1000 crunches a day for 30 days will you have abs? The answer is maybe.
That's because it depends on how much body fat you have over your stomach. The same concept of spot reduction, which was discussed earlier, can be applied to your core.
If you are overweight and do 1000 crunches, you most likely will not see any results.
You need to be burning calories through strength training and cardio, and eating in a calorie deficit to lose the body fat to where your abs will eventually start showing.
These three exercises will target all different parts of your core and might make your abs a bit sore!
Those videos will be helpful for you to work on technique, but you will also need a plan going forward.
Here's a free workout program for you to follow for 3 - 4 weeks that will work your full body 3 times a week.
Videos are provided for each video so you can continue to see my beautiful face!
|Workout #1 - Lower Body|
|Exercise||Sets and Reps||Rest Time|
|Incline DB Chest Press||3 x 6- 8||2 minutes|
|Bulgarian Split Squats||3 x 6 - 8/side||90 seconds|
|TRX Rows||3 x 6- 10||90 seconds|
|Split Stance One Arm Shoulder Press||2 x 10 - 12/side||60 - 90 seconds|
|Goblet Squats||2 x 10 - 12||60 - 90 seconds|
|DB Bicep Curls||2 x 12||1 minute|
|Bench Dips||2 x 12||1 minute|
|Band Pullaparts||2 x 20||1 minute|
|Side Planks||2 x 30 - 45sec/ side||1 minute|
|Workout #2 - Full Body|
|Exercise||Sets and Reps||Rest Time|
|KB Deadlifts||3 x 10 - 12||2 minutes|
|DB Chest Press||3 x 6 - 8||60 - 90 seconds|
|Reverse Lunges||3 x 8- 10/leg||60 - 90 seconds|
|Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press||2 x 10 - 12||60 - 90 seconds|
|DB Rows||2 x 10 - 12/side||1 minute|
|DB Shrugs||2 x 12||1 minute|
|DB Overhead Tricep Extension||2 x 12||1 minute|
|Face Pulls||2 x 20||1 minute|
|Russian Twists||2 x 8 - 10/side||1 minute|
|Workout #3 - Full Body|
|Exercise||Sets and Reps||Rest Time|
|Weighted Step Ups||3 x 8 - 10/leg||2 minutes|
|Seated DB Shoulder Variations||3 x 8 - 10||60 - 90 seconds|
|Posture Pushups||3 x 10 - 12||60 - 90 seconds|
|Split Stance One Arm Pulldowns||2 x 10 - 12||60 - 90 seconds|
|DB deadlifts||2 x 10 - 12||60 - 90 seconds|
|Barbell Bicep Curls||2 x 12||1 minute|
|Barbell Skullcrushers||2 x 12||1 minute|
|Bent Over Rear Delt Flys||2 x 20||1 minute|
|Isometric Plank||2 x 30 -60 seconds||1 minute|
Depending on experience, 2 - 5 weight lifting workout a week where you do 10 - 20 total sets for your main muscles will be adequate to build/maintain muscle and get you stronger.
That allows you to do workouts that will target all your muscle groups at least twice a week.
For cardio, which we discuss next, try and do a form of cardio you enjoy 1 - 2 times a week.
The remaining days of the week will be for you to recover.
Since weight loss is dictated by being in a calorie deficit, you don't have to do cardio if you want to lose weight. You should do cardio, not because you want to burn calories (that's an added bonus), but because you want to improve your cardiovascular health, gain mental clarity, and because you enjoy it.
Cardio can come in many different forms and different types of machines, with the two versions of these workouts being HIIT and LISS.
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and LISS stands for low intensity steady state.
For HIIT training, you are going all out by getting your heart rate up to the 80% max capacity.
LISS, on the other hand, will be keeping your heart rate much lower, but allows you to sustain a pace for longer. So which is better?
If you are lifting weights 3 - 4 times a week, exerting a lot of energy, a low intensity run or hike will be a great workout for you to burn calories and destress from the week.
On the other hand, if you want to optimize your calories burned in a short period of time, doing a HIIT workout is much better.
When deciding on what type of cardio to do, listen to your body.
Constantly doing HIIT cardio and lifting heavy weights can be a lot of stress on your body and eventually could lead to you falling off your plan.
Some great options for cardio would be:
- Riding a bike
- Playing sports
- Jump rope
Everyone is different so find what type of cardio you enjoy, and what you can fit into your schedule that will be realistic to follow.
Learning these weight loss tips for how to see results through your nutrition and exercise will help put you on the right path.
Gaining knowledge of the correct information is a good start, and now it's time to put what you have learned into action.
- Figure out how you want to get yourself into a calorie deficit and be consistent for 3 - 4 weeks with that method. Again, if you want to track your calories, follow the Macros For Weight Loss guide to find your correct numbers.
- Calculate how much protein you should be eating daily to help keep you full and for your body to prioritize fat loss over muscle loss.
- Based on your schedule, find a weight lifting program that fits your experience level and will be realistic to follow. If you believe you can lift weights 3x/week follow the workout program above.
- Determine the type of cardio you want to do to pair with your weight lifting program. Between the two types of exercise, 3 - 5 workouts a week is ideal.
- Take your initial progress measurements. Read How To Track Your Weight Loss Progress for the best ways to do this.
- Enjoy the process and have fun!