I know that at some point all of us have wondered if we would have to starve ourselves in order to get those extra pounds off. I have my master’s degree in Kinesiology /Physical Education, and I have also lost approximately 150 pounds on my own through diet and exercise. I am here to tell you from experience that starving yourself is actually the opposite of what your body needs to lose weight. According to weight loss clinic Houston, the best thing to do for your body is eat less, but eat more often. This keeps your metabolism from dropping. Getting advice from the best weight loss clinic can be very helpful.

Your body has a set point. That means that your body has a set amount of fat percentage/ body weight that it wants to hang on to. You set point, therefore determines how many calories you need in order to maintain your current fat percentage/body weight. Now if you start to starve yourself, (or severely limit your caloric intake) then your body will adjust that set point. For example: If you are currently eating 2,000 calories per day and your body is maintaining your body weight of 165 pounds, then if you drop your calories down to 800 a day (Restricting your calories to this low of a number is unhealthy.) your set point will adjust by slowing down your metabolism. This will keep those 800 calories from being burned, thus being stored as fat. This keeps your weight the same (or may even cause your weight to increase) even though you have severely restricted your calories. The last thing you want is to slow down your metabolism. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you will burn throughout the day. There are two very healthy ways to boost your metabolism: eat small meals frequently throughout the day and strength train.

Eating small meals throughout the day keeps your metabolism revving. Now you want to keep your caloric intake low, but eat healthier foods that keep your body full for longer. The lowest caloric intake that a woman should restrict to is 1200 calories per day. The lowest for a man is 1500 calories per day. Let’s say you are going to start by restricting your calories to 1200 per day down from 2000. This is a great goal. What I recommend doing is keeping a notebook where you record the calories of your meals and snacks. Make sure that you are evenly dividing your calories throughout the day. When you have used up all your calories, then stop eating.

Strength training is essential to weight loss; because the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be. This means that you will burn more calories even while you are sitting still.

So now you are probably thinking, “How am I going to survive on 800 less calories a day?”The answer is that you have to eat better. While you can eat anything you want as long as you are only eating that 1200 calories per day, you will want to eat foods that have fewer calories. For example: You don’t want to eat a meal of pizza and cake for lunch, because then you would have used up almost all of your calories on one meal. Pizza is approximately 220 calories per slice. Cake is approximately 350 calories per slice. So if you eat three slices of pizza and one piece of cake, you have consumed 1010 calories. That doesn’t include breakfast, dinner, or any snacks. This can make for a miserable evening.

Great things to eat to stay full while consuming 1200-1500 calories are fruits, veggies, lean soups, and lean meats. You must also be very vigilant about keeping track of serving sizes. This means reading the labels on your food and seeing how many servings each can or package contains. Stick to one or two servings of each food per meal/snack. For example: Most lean soup cans contain 2 servings of soup. You need to actually take a measuring cup, and measure out 1 serving (usually one cup) of soup for yourself to eat. Be very careful of how many servings you are getting from one container of food or drink. Sodas are a great example of how vigilant you will need to be. The average 20 ounce bottle of soda contains 120 calories per serving not per bottle. Most of these bottles contain 2.5 servings of soda. Therefore, you are not getting 120 calories from a bottle but 300!

Another great tip is to stop drinking your calories away. Don’t spend all your calories on cappuccino, frappuccino, milkshakes, or sodas. These drinks can range from 120 calories per serving (soda) to 450 calories per serving (frappuccino). This will also leave you hungry at the end of the day, if all of your calories are used up on drinking.

I know we all need our caffeine throughout the day, but there are low calorie alternatives. Coffee is approximately 5 calories per serving (1 cup) without adding milk, creamer, or sugar to it. You can add a zero calorie sugar alternative to sweeten up your coffee, while maintaining 5 calories per cup. You could also drink a diet soda which typically has 0 calories per serving (1 cup). However, I do want to point out some drinks with a higher caloric content that are healthy for you.

Two good examples of healthy drinks containing calories are milk and juice. Both of these provide your body with needed nutrients and are much lower in calories than cappuccino, frappuccino, milkshakes, and sodas. I recommend having 3 servings of dairy a day. Research is beginning to show that this can aid in weight loss. Just make sure that you are drinking low fat milk with approximately 80 calories per serving (1 cup), if this is the dairy product you choose. Milk also provides calcium which helps to prevent osteoporosis. Juice can provide your body needed nutrients. However, the juice you are drinking needs to be 100% real juice.

If you take my advice to strength train, eat healthier foods, stop drinking so many calories, and remain in the 1200-1500 calorie range; then you can remain full all day on a 1200-1500 calorie diet. You will also speed your metabolism thus losing weight and keeping it off. You will never need to starve yourself to reach your goals. Just don’t forget to add in cardiovascular exercise to help you achieve even better results.