How to Actually Lose Weight

How do you lose weight?

Before we get into it – here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, especially if you’re doing it to be healthy, increase energy, and feel better. Losing weight doesn’t mean you don’t like the way you look, it might just mean you want a change. It becomes dangerous when you’re losing weight the wrong way – which can lead to body dysmorphia, messed up metabolism, and other long-term health issues. That’s why before doing anything, I always establish my WHY. When you have a strong why, then you will have a better journey. So, if you’re in this boat, let’s talk about it.

So, why does a simple question like “how to lose weight” feel so hard to find an answer to?! There’s always controversy about the BEST way to lose weight. Is counting calories the best way? Orrrr is fasting the secret? Maybe it’s keto?!

There are soooo many trendy crash diets, special teas, expensive supplements, elimination diets, workouts, etc. It’s exhausting!

Is losing weight REALLY so complicated? 

Yes and no.

You can thank diet culture for the confusion. It pushes you to go to the extreme and spend money on unnecessary (sometimes dangerous) products. It takes a serious toll on your mental health. It turns simple, healthy weight loss into something that is anything BUT healthy.

I’m here to tell you that you CAN lose weight without making yourself miserable and depriving yourself. I’m here to simplify it for you. But before I get into this too far, I want to be clear that losing weight isn’t TOTALLY black and white. That’s because things like sleep, stress, and hormones play into weight loss too, and all of us are different! So it’s definitely a good idea to consult with your doctor before making any big changes.

Ok. I’m gonna share everything I’ve learned after years of my own experience with damaging diets, obsession and basically just doing everything wrong. If you’re feeling lost in your journey, I’ve got you! If you feel like going to the extreme is necessary to reach your goals – Listen up. It’s NOT.

And if weight loss ISN’T part of your journey? TOTALLY OKAY TOO.

90 day journey meal plan eggs veggies

“Dieting” isn’t necessary, but working on your diet IS.

Does that sound confusing? Let me explain.

Going on a diet isn’t the way to lose weight. Crash diets won’t do you any good in the long run. Starving yourself is NOT THE WAY.

But improving your diet IS.

There’s really no getting around it. You have to take a good, hard look at what you’re eating if you want to lose weight.

You have to nourish your body.

That means eating enough and making the quality of your food a priority. Starving yourself may give a satisfying result of losing a few pounds quickly, but it won’t give you long term results. Yes, being in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume) is important for weight loss. BUT you still need to make sure you’re eating enough. Eating too little interferes with the way your body makes and uses energy and how it builds muscle. It makes you grumpy and it slows you down.

So before you do anything, I want you to learn how to calculate what your body needs based on your goals. A calculator like this one is a good place to start! Keep in mind this will only give you an estimate! But at least you’ll have a starting point to decide on a safe and manageable calorie deficit (300 – 500 calories per day is most often recommended).

And it’s okay if calorie counting isn’t your thing. In fact, it’s not really my thing anymore either. During my own journey, I fell in love with focusing on the QUALITY of the food I ate. I really started seeing changes when I committed to eating mostly whole foods – veggies, lean protein, and fruit. Putting my energy towards what I was eating vs. how much helped me learn to eat more intuitively and make choices based on what was best for my body. If you need some guidance in this area, you can explore my 90 Day Journey Meal Plans. I worked with Registered Dietitian Breanna Woods to develop a healthy and good-for-you meal plan for those who need it!

I have a much more in-depth post on calorie-counting here. Ultimately, you have to decide if this method works for YOU.


Movement is key! 

We all know that exercise is the other piece to the puzzle. This is where you burn calories, build muscle and lose fat. 100% necessary to change your body composition (AKA get that flat belly, firm booty and/or tone legs, etc).

But do you have to push yourself to the limit every day to lose a few pounds? Nope. Do you have to force yourself to do workouts you don’t even enjoy? Also nope. Should you feel guilty for skipping a workout or dreading a workout? Hard nope.

It is sooooo important to find exercise that you enjoy. THAT is the movement you’re going to stick with and turn into a lifestyle. It shouldn’t feel like a job that you dread and it definitely shouldn’t make you feel stressed.

Obviously we all have days where we feel unmotivated or lazy for various reasons. And exercise can totally help lift your spirits if you push through and get it done! But it’s important to listen to your body. If you truly need rest, then that’s important too. Recovery may not SEEM productive, but it’s actually a big part of weight loss too.

So – you have to move to burn calories and lose weight, but find movement that brings you joy! 

Take it one step at a time

If someone says they want to climb Mt. Everest, do they just take off and start climbing the day they decide to do it?

No, they don’t. That would be dangerous, right?! They train for months to get stronger and build their endurance for that climb. They set small goals that build up to the big goal.

We can use this process for weight loss too. Don’t you dare wake up tomorrow saying you’re going to lose 20 pounds this month. Like climbing Everest with no prior training, this is dangerous. And guess what? Chances are pretty good you won’t meet that goal.


Instead of “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this month,” break it down into goals like:

  • I’m going to meal prep lunch on work days
  • I’m going to exercise at least 3 days a week
  • I’m going to walk 10,000 steps per day
  • I’m going to eat a veggie with every meal

Keep it simple and achievable. Every achievement will motivate you to keep going and eventually, you’ll see the “big picture” changes.

blogilates popflex 2021 calendar planner

Know it’s going to take time

Weight loss can happen super slowly. Actually, IT SHOULD happen slowly.

Like, 1 to 2 pounds per week, MAX. Sometimes less. Losing weight too quickly leads to yo-yoing, which is suuuuuper damaging to your body. So let’s agree to take this process nice and slow, mmkay?

And guess what? It’s totally normal for your weight to fluctuate each day, or even throughout the day! So take it from someone who used to obsess over the scale and STOP WEIGHING YOURSELF EVERY DAY.

Just accept that changing your body takes time. If you have big goals, they’re not going to happen at the snap of a finger. Plateaus are normal and life happens.

Be kind to yourself, and get help if you need! 

If you’re stuck, please PLEASE get extra support from your doctor or a dietitian. They’re the pros that can guide you based on your unique circumstances.

And also remember…


There is soooo much more to your health than those little numbers on a scale or measuring tape. These things don’t tell the whole story, which is why I always recommend journaling throughout the process. I promise if you do, you’ll find a lot more to celebrate than weight.

And those little things are WORTH CELEBRATING! Notice you’re eating more veggies than ever before and loving them? That’s great! Suddenly feeling less stressed because you’re moving your body every day? Sounds like a huge win to me.

So there you have it. Those are the basics for how to lose weight. Before you set off on your journey, put some thought into why you want to lose weight. Let that be your motivation along the way. And enjoy the process! Even if the numbers aren’t changing on the scale like you want, know that change is still happening in your body. Give yourself some love for making healthy changes, and keep going! YOU GOT THIS.

21 thoughts on “How to Actually Lose Weight”

There are 21 comments posted by our users.

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  1. Bree says:

    I certainly do not want to lose weight in an unhealthy way. However, it is important that I do lose weight and maintain that weight. My diet and mental health is my biggest issue. However, now that my mental health is doing better, I am stuck with the weight that I currently gain. I do have seizures. I am about to meet with a dietitian because there is a diet called the Ketogenic diet for seizures. This diet helps lessons seizures. Not many people at my age precede this diet because it’s way too strict, however, I am in need of change. I am also in need of change with my digestive system and weight. So, I am hoping that while I am on this diet, it will help me lose weight. I am in desperate mode about weight loss. So, I am willing to go over and beyond fixing this issue. Although, I am not willing to pay, as I am already in a pit with my medical bills. So, I am seeking out free guidance. Thank you so much!

  2. Panagiota says:

    I dont want to lose weight in general so far i have achieved this..but the problem is that i want to lose weight in a specific part, my arms, because when i lost my kilos I wasnt doing any workouts …now i started seeing you and I feel like I want to tell you a big thanks..I love them. I just wanted to ask, in order to lose the weight in my arms, is it ok for me to keep doing those arm workouts?or do I need to do something else?

  3. Hillary says:

    Maam, can you help me? Ive been doing workouts for a month or 2 and ive notived that whenever i finished a workout, the day after that, my legs get bloated? Or puffy?

    1. Jenna says:

      I am not a doctor, but that doesn’t sound ok. I would consult with your family physician as soon as possible.

  4. Alzbeta says:

    Again and again, you are on spot! I think thousands of girls and women are disappointed that their commitment in January did not bring the expected results. Me including. Your post helped me relax, evaluate what I did and give myself a hug for what actually went right in the last month. Helped me accept that the weight loss is not some two seconds miracle. Thank you, you are a true inspiration and online mentor for me.

  5. Vivi says:

    Love it! 🙂

  6. Carrie H says:

    This is written with support and reality in all your advice. Thank you Cassey!

  7. Shan says:

    I’ve been following you for years and I’ve got to say— I’m so proud of you for the 90 day journey. I know you probably got a lot of lash back, but it’s been a huge motivation for me too. I’ve never been overweight, but still had more fat and less muscle than I would have liked. I counted calories (in a healthy way), ate right and worked out. Now, you can almost see my abs and I feel more confident and energetic than ever. I was hoping to get your advice about something now that I’ve reached my goal weight. Can I go back to eating 2000 calories? Will I gain it back? The last few were the hardest to lose. Do let me know if you have any recommendations for once you’ve achieved your ideal body form!

  8. I really enjoyed the post, Cassey. The line “Dieting isn’t necessary but working on your diet is” Was a great way to look at it. I appreciate the common sense approach to eating better forever.

    1. blogilates says:

      Glad it resonated!!

  9. eve says:

    i need this so much. “Quarantine 15” was for me quarantine 20 this COVID thing did so much for my mental and physical wellbeing. Thanks for a great article, yet again!👌😉🤙🏽

  10. Hattie says:

    Thank you for all you do! I have had a huge success in my health last year (loosing 50 pounds working with a coach/nutritionist). Now since November I’ve been struggling and having a lot of self dislike and feelings of failure. Your posts and videos have been helping me remember the fun I can have (and had) becoming healthier and stronger, for myself and my kiddos. You’re the best!

  11. Stefanie says:

    This is such a refreshing article to read! Last year I weighed in about 53 kgs. From university to working life I gained 5kgs which made me feel so bad on the inside.
    But just as the article said, small steps! So instead of eating out for breakfast, I ate simple oatmeals and fruit. My snacks were just fruit and occassional sandwich. I even cooked my own meals and got used to exercising right after work! And i did lose 3 kilograms.
    My progress is still on going and I don’t intend to stop. Sometimes I do get discouraged, but reading this really made me motivated again! Thank you Cassey!

    1. Yuna says:

      I weighed 53kg as well, but I got there because I lost weight due to not eating enough while working out a lot in the corona time. I just wasn’t used to preparing 3 meals a day. Now of the 3kgs I lost (I was at 56kg before corona) I got 1.5 back, and I hope I will get them all back. 56 to 58kg is the best weight for me imo. I’m 5’7″, so this might seem little, but it’s still in the BMI range of what is normal for my height and also my bones are structured in a way that makes me kinda petite, so most people would need more weight than me at my height.
      Gaining weight is tough too imo. I eat a bit unhealthier now because that way I get calories more easily. I can’t eat enough to gain weight with only great food, but since I still feel good, my diet can’t be too bad.

  12. Kelsey Rangel says:

    Dear Cassey,
    Your suggestion for making small goals is so totally on point. I wasn’t exercising consistently and when I did get into a rhythm even the smallest disruption would throw me off. At the beginning of December, I started thinking about how to get myself to move more (since my job is just sitting at a desk). Then I realized when I was a kid I walked a mile every day for PE. Why can’t I do that now? So I started walking. I wasn’t consistent with my pace but at least there was movement. I walked for the full month of December and into January. Doing my walks and now adding your 21 day tone workouts right before dinner has changed my mental health. I feel more complete and mentally clear. I am making myself a priority and it feels great. Thank you. Please keep doing what you are doing. It is truly inspiring. Oh and I love your vegan suede mats and dumbbells.

  13. Bimala says:

    Dear Cassey,
    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts.
    In my opinion, though we know that we have to avoid bad habits but we keep on cheating with our body.
    Then, there is YOU CESSY, you stink( in other words MOTIVE) in our mind saying NO! NO! NO! to bad habits and encourage us to workout and love our body.
    Everyone bodies are different from one another in that way exercises and diet foods result comes out different according to body structure. But the main point to be conscious of current phase is BUILT UP YOUR IMMUNITY POWER GUYS which is very essential learning from these pandemic.
    So Yes, Cessy I promise my body to take care and love her and protect her with exercises along with healthy food.
    Good day
    Love from Nepal

  14. Rebecka says:

    Hi cassey!
    I missed the last part of the 21 day tone because of an injury and I’m so sad I missed like 7 days! I hope your new challenge is coming soon!

    1. blogilates says:

      You can start the 21 day tone again any time! Hope you’re feeling better!


    Dear Cassey,
    I love Pop Pilates and it helped me get into fitness. I have taken such a liking to fitness that I want to become a bodybuilder but I don’t know where to start.
    I wanted to ask you for advice because I know you used to train for bikini competitions and also pushing your body so hard all the time comes with it challenges to overcome.
    I want to be so strong that people will notice me. Do I need to quit Pilates? I do the workout calendar and then I lift weights afterwards. Is it possible to do both?
    How does one begin on the path to train for these types of competitions?