A Simple Formula for Weight Loss

DenaOctober 19, 2022

If you haven’t read my post, The Simple Equation for Fitness, read that before you read this one. In that post I talked about the fundamentals of weight loss and gain, as well as my personal history with the topic. It is a critical precursor to today’s post.

In this post I will share a personal conversation that is specific to how I have lost weight throughout my life. This may not work for everyone. This is just what has worked for me. I have had 3 episodes of substantial weight loss. At 21, I lost 70 pounds after being overweight most of my young life. After my first 2 pregnancies and divorce, at 32, I lost about 60 pounds. Now, at 38, I am in the process of losing the 30 pounds that I gained during and after my twin pregnancy.

I have already lost 10 of those 30 pounds. Because I am in a mentally healthy place and I am following a simple program that has worked remarkably well for me twice before, this weight loss is happening fairly easily. But before I move on, let me dissect that last sentence for a minute because it is loaded.

/ Because I am in a mentally healthy place /
I touched on the subject of trauma and fitness in my last post, but it is a conversation that I will explore in more depth in the future. For now, suffice to say that if you are not in a mentally healthy place, simple weight loss may not be possible for you right now. Many people that struggle with weight have a history of personal trauma. Unresolved trauma leads to unhealthy coping mechanisms, mental illness and addiction. Binge eating is an unhealthy coping mechanism. Comfort/emotional eating (in excess) is an unhealthy coping mechanism. Junk food (and drinks) can be an addiction.

It’s easy to see how unresolved trauma could make it difficult to lose weight. This is why I said in my previous post that losing weight can be simple, however if you are not also working on healing your personal trauma, no change will be lasting. You will do more harm than good if you prioritize fitness over true, holistic healing.

/ I am following a simple program that has worked remarkably well for me twice before /
I cannot overstate the simplicity of what I have been doing. The reality of this season of my life is that I do not have time for complexity. I have a husband who is in end-stage renal failure. I have 6 children, including one-year-old twins. I have certainly had seasons of life where I had time for my wellness routines to be complex. I am not in one of those times right now. I only have time for simple and that is what this plan is, as easy as it gets for me.

/ this weight loss is happening fairly easily /
Again, the only reason that this is happening fairly easily is because 1. I have already spent the last 4 years in deep holistic healing. 2. I already have built a deep body of knowledge on weight loss and what works for me. And 3. I keep it simple and effective because that is all that I have the bandwidth for right now.

My Simple Program for Weight Loss

Finally, without further ado, I will share my simple 4-part program for weight loss with you. The 4 parts are: 1. Counting Calories, 2. Mindful Movement, 3. Hydration and 4. Hormones. Let’s dive in.

Counting Calories

Counting calories and eating at a calorie deficit is the most effective method to lose weight. More than anything else, the number of calories that you consume each day will determine whether you lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current weight.

First, use a calorie calculator to determine how many calories you should be eating in a day. Then you will figure out what your calorie deficit should be for weight loss.

To lose a pound of fat, you’ll need to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume in a week. In other words, to drop one pound a week, you must have a deficit of 500 calories a day.

The average woman needs about 2,000 calories a day. Therefore, when I am in a period of weight loss, I eat 1,500 calories a day. This is how I am able to easily lose a pound a week.

To be certain of how many calories I consume each day, when I am in a weight loss period, I eat packaged food and fresh vegetables. You have to be careful with packaged food because there is a lot of dangerous packaged food full of chemical preservatives out there. However, there are also good brands that are healthy. These are the brands that I rotate:

Red’s All Natural
Tattooed Chef
Good Food Made Simple

All of these brands offer healthy, organic options. You can get them at most grocery stores, Target, Whole Foods, etc. I always shop around and wait until things go on sale and then I stock up. I also buy portioned snacks, like potato chips and healthy bars for variety.

Packaged food eliminates all guess work. Things are labeled and you know exactly how many calories you are consuming. To make things even easier, I use an app called LifeSum to track my calories. You just scan the bar code of the package and it keeps track of your calories for you. It’s so easy.

As far as calories go, stay within your daily goal, maintain your deficit, and you lose weight. As far as ease, it doesn’t get easier than popping something in the microwave or opening a package.

Of course meal planning and eating fresh, organic food is a wonderful option. But in this season of my life, ease is important. Gratefully there are packaged options available today that make this possible.

Mindful Movement

If you cut calories, you will lose weight. It is inevitable. However, to be healthy, that isn’t enough. Movement is incredibly important to wellness. No matter my weight loss goal, I always incorporate mindful movement into my plan.

I walk about 9-12 miles each week. If you currently aren’t exercising, I would recommend starting with a very simple walking routine. Start off by walking 1 mile, 3 times per week. I use an app called Map My Walk to track my walking distance. I absolutely love to see how far I go, how many calories I burn, and to try to beat my best times. It’s a great motivator.

If you want to go further and feel even better, add stretching into your routine. Search for “yoga for beginners” or “stretching for beginners” on YouTube. There are so many free, easy to follow videos. Begin by stretching for 5-10 minutes on the days that you don’t go for a walk. Personally, I find yoga to be the best method of stretching. I am hoping to return to yoga class this winter, when the weather will make long walks more difficult. Just find whatever feels good for you.

Implementing these simple movement practices–walking and stretching–will change your life if you stay consistent.


Healthy digestion is critical to weight loss and adequate hydration is critical to healthy digestion. I drink 112 ounces of water and 1 or 2 8-ounce cups of green tea and/or herbal tea each day. This comes out to about a gallon of fluid daily and it’s important.

In order to keep up with my water intake, I use this stainless steel tumbler with a straw and I absolutely love it. It is 28 ounces so I know that I need to fill and drink it 4 times each day. I also cut a lemon into 4 slices each morning and add one slice to each refill, this helps me keep count.

It’s simple and I am always hydrated. If I get dehydrated, I don’t lose weight and I feel terrible. Drinking water is such an easy win! I also don’t waste calories on drinks like soda, juice, sports drinks, alcohol, etc. All of those things are empty calories and are actually dehydrating. Stick with water!


All days are not created equal for women. Hormones play a big role in weight loss and gain. My periods and hormonal disruption are less intense when I am eating well and exercising. However, there are still changes that happen every month. For me, the week before my period begins is challenging emotionally.

I have heightened anxious and depressed feelings at this time. If I lose control of my emotions, I am prone to stress eating. I mitigate this by practicing increased mindfulness and self-care. I am also more lenient with my calorie intake during this time. If I trend toward 2,000 calories rather than 1,500 for the hardest days of my cycle, I don’t beat myself up over it. I also keep dark chocolate covered almonds on hand at this time. They satisfy my cravings and keep me from going completely off the rails.

A big help for me as far as hormones go is tracking my cycle. I use an app called Period Tracker to track my cycle. I have been doing this for years now and it helps me to be very in tune with my body. Observing the patterns that my body goes through each month is truly empowering and helps me to understand what is happening and why. It allows me to take care of myself the way that my body needs me to. This is an empowering practice for all women, regardless of fitness goals.

And that is it! Those are the 4 simple steps that have allowed me to lose a lot of weight a few times. I wanted to keep this post as concise as possible, but I would be more than happy to dive further into any of these areas. If you want to know more or have any questions, please let me know! xo

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