The overview of losing weight…
Weight loss should not be as confusing as everyone makes out. It’s not about cutting out the carbs. It’s not about doing ‘hit and miss’ intermittent fasting. These are short-term methods that can potentially have negative long-term effects. They can even inhibit weight gain due to the effects of your digestive system. You have to ask yourself, firstly, how do I lose the initial extra pounds? And then how do I keep the weight off in a sustainable way? The backbone of the answer is simple. You must burn more calories than you consume.
Its a numbers game
Your daily activities such as breathing, talking and walking can burn up to 750 calories a day, depending on various factors like height and weight. This process is known as Resting Energy Expenditure (REE). Try not to allow this to be your sole focus however. This is because REE isn’t enough to achieve weight loss.
To work out just how many calories you need to burn for weight loss, you will need to work out your Body Mass Index (BMI). This is where you find out just how many calories you as an individual burn across one day. Taking into account your height, weight and how active you are. Stay under this given number with the calories that you are putting into your body and you are well on your way to weight loss heaven.
You will also need to have the belief in yourself to do so, realistic goals and a thorough plan of action that will align you with your goals. Following these principles will lead you to those well deserved results.
Where to begin
One of the single hardest parts of the journey is the ever changing starting point. The first thing to note is that waiting for the ‘perfect time to start’ will have you pushing your results further and further away. So start now and your future self will thank you. The four cornerstones of your weight loss journey are as follows;
You must take a step back and honestly evaluate yourself on these four aspects of life. How would you score yourself on each one?
Diet is essential when it comes down to weight loss. It is even more vital than exercise. Although exercise is a huge player, it accounts for just 20% of your overall weight loss pie chart. You must bring everything back to basics when is comes to what you eat. Be aware of exactly what you are eating. This is where you are able to build your foundation and begin to structure your calories, exercise and timings to suit your everyday life.
The meal skipping fallacy
The myth that eating less calories means skipping meals will only lead you down a dangerous path to long term weight gain. The short lasting initial weight loss of this method is a clever trick that will only further lead you down the yellow brick road to disappointment. The science behind this goes back to caveman times when starvation was a prominent threat. Whereby the body did not know where the next meal would come from and would therefore slow its own metabolism down. Holding onto all the food it was given, for warmth and protection of organs. However the evolution of food is one that has vastly surpassed the evolution of the human body. Meaning we are lucky to know when our next meal will be, unfortunately the body cannot know this and will hold on to almost every calorie in the only way it knows how, as fat.
Most people are also unaware of how to optimise the calories they are using to last them the day. The main source of energy comes from carbohydrates. So these need to be at the forefront of the energy wave. However many people will graze as they skip meals and turn to what we call ‘simple carbs’ like biscuits and crisps. ‘Simple’ carbs are used by the body extremely fast and will leave you feeling hungry after no time at all. Whereas if we used meals with ‘complex’ carbs like sweet potato and basmati rice. We will feel fuller for longer, as they take much more time for the body to break down.
The importance of exercise...
How essential is exercise to weight loss?
Exercise is the best way to accelerate the process of weight loss. However if you have a poor diet then the act of exercising is near enough pointless as they both depend on each other to achieve your overall goals. The perception of exercise being a one hour stint on the treadmill is one that needs to be eradicated as soon as possible. It is important that, like your diet, you have a balance of different types of exercise to make your body the best it can possibly be. These types will include;
By including these into your routine you will not only burn many more calories than usual, you will also inhibit quicker weight loss and build more muscle. The production of muscle has two positive effects. One of which is that it increases your metabolism, therefore burning more calories during everyday life. The second is that it keeps your body firm and strong leaving you with a nice toned physique.
It is also essential to add that this increase in muscle will mean that the number you look down on upon the weighing scales may be a shock to you. Remembering that muscle does weigh more than fat, this is a completely normal occurrence. Therefore it is very advisable to not use the weighing scales as your association to progress. It is much more effective and satisfying to use methods like tape measurements, clothing and overall feeling.
The water fountain
Water should not just be used to aid weight loss but should certainly be used to live a better life in general. Although it plays a huge part in your weight loss journey it also has a multitude of other benefits. Which include;
- Boosting your metabolism
- Cleansing your body of waste products
- Acts as an appetite suppressant
- Helps your body to release water retention
The recommendation is that you consume 8 glasses of water per day in order for weight loss to occur and to also maintain your ideal weight. However what some people do not realise is that caffeinated drinks can counteract the process and move your body towards dehydration. Therefore if you are prone to the odd coffee or tea throughout the day then you will need to up your water intake. A good rule of thumb to have is to allow two glasses of water per caffeinated drink you consume.
The treats cupboard
Contrary to popular discussion, we are not advocates of completely banning ‘unhealthy’ foods. Moderation is key and the phrase ‘a little bit of everything and not too much of anything’ can be one to live by daily. It is also not a clever move to dramatically change your whole diet in one single day, weight loss is a gradual process. All good things come to those who are patient. When you take something away from your body that it has grown accustomed to, like sugar, it will wonder where it has gone and withdrawal symptoms will kick in. Therefore it is smart to cut down your intake of sugary substances as a gentle progression towards minimal intake. It is important to remember to enjoy life and so long as the majority of your diet is clean then you should treat yourself with odd biscuit or donut.
Cravings can be a monkey on your shoulder. However the average craving may only last 15-20 minutes, which is not a herculean amount of time to overcome. If you are victim of your cravings then the best thing to do is to not buy them in the first place. Meaning the temptation is never there to begin with.
Fail to prepare then prepare to fail
The importance of a good routine is paramount to your weight loss success. You are able to make work your routine so why not make being more healthy part of that system as well. You must remember that your previous routine has not got you where you want to be, otherwise you would not be reading this. This means that you must make a change and make time to enable the adjustment in order for a positive difference to occur within your body. You must take one day out the week to know what you are going to eat, when you are going to eat and how you are going to train. Having this solid intention before the week starts and holding yourself accountable means you go into each week with the best of your ability.
This technique takes no skill at all, just the consistency and determination to get what you want. As you set sail with a strong routine you will grow from strength to strength each week and snowball to weight loss success. A change in your lifestyle will not change your body, but it will also change the way you see life and will create a much more positive mind-set for yourself. We are humans after all so an occasional cheat meal will be on our mind, but only have it when you know you deserve it.
Get yourself to where you want to be.
Let people around you help.
Tell yourself that you can do it!
The colour wheel conundrum
Food labels and the traffic light system is on pretty much everything we find in the supermarkets these days. Most of us are quite familiar with their general meanings;
- Green – healthy
- Yellow – moderately healthy
- Red – the danger zone
However, it is vital to not only know the general meanings but to also know the details. This is because the numbers within the system are more important than the colours themselves. One of the key numbers though lies outside of the the chart itself and that is the ‘per 100ml’ component. As this indicates how many grams of each substance are within that particular number. This number though is usually just a small fraction of the total number within the product. So what seemed at first just a small amount of sugar, for example, now turns into a rather alarming one after the true additions are made. What a wonderful way for large companies to reel you in.
The Coca Cola trick
If you are on a diet, you would be no fool to eye up the Diet Coke over the Classic Coke because you will both be matching with the word ‘diet’. Unfortunately though the clever wording and the angelic green colouring on the label does not necessarily mean it is a supporter of your diet. You may have become a victim of clever marketing gurus who are paid a lot of money to trick innocent people looking to become more healthy. It is true that there may be a zero amount of fats, salt and sugar, so the label is not lying. What you may ask though is – “why does it taste so damn good?” The answer is that they are able to replace these three with less known but often more dangerous than the originals themselves. Here are some of the most common culprits;
- Carbonated water – Most fizzy drinks are made by dissolving carbon dioxide into water under pressure.
- Sweeteners – Such as aspartame, saccharin or sucralose which are 200-13,000 times sweeter than regular sugar
- Acid – Citric, malic and phosphoric acid are used to add tartness.
- Colouring – Carotenoids, anthocyanins and caramels.
- Flavours – Many different kinds of natural juices and artificial flavours are used.
- Preservatives – These make the product last longer.
- Vitamins and minerals – Added for labelling purposes only and are usually more than your body is even able to use.
- Caffeine – One can of Diet Coke contains 46 mg of caffeine – that’s stronger than a cup of coffee.
The artificial sweeteners in so-called ‘diet’ drinks are heavily linked to weight gain due to the nature of the ingredients. They can stimulate your hunger hormones, increasing your appetite, alter your sweet taste receptors and trigger dopamine responses in your brain. This borders on the definition of an addictive substance.
Within one can of normal coke there is 39g of sugar which is the equivalent to having 15 digestive biscuits.
The achievability of weight loss
Weight loss comes down to several points that you will need to scrutinise within yourself;
- Having the right mindset.
- Being ready to make a change.
- The willingness to make a commitment to yourself.
- Having the self discipline to take control.
The last element is one that is of utmost priority because once your discipline fails you, even in the smallest way, your progress and hard work will all be at risk. The questions you must repeatedly ask yourself are “how much do I want it?” and “why did I start?”. Keeping your vision in tact will mean your discipline will remain.
The enjoyment of alcohol
A lot of the time alcohol can be a downfall to people’s progress. As you may not want to seem like the anti-social member of your friendship circle when an occasion arises, the calories within alcoholic drinks can really add up;
- Wine (175ml) – 126 calories, equivalent to 1 Cadbury’s mini roll.
- Pint of beer – 215 calories, equivalent to a pack of McCoys crisps.
- Cream Liqueur (50ml) – 118 calories, equivalent to a Milky Bar.
Alcohol is made from natural starch and sugars. It is fermented and distilled for certain drinks. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, nearly as much as one gram of fat. Once you add mixers into the equation you are only piling on the calories.
Here are several tips to avoid gaining weight from excessive alcohol consumption;
- Drink less than 14 units a week – the equivalent to 6 pints or 10 small glasses of wine.
- Have a glass of water with each alcoholic beverage to avoid dehydration.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
- Buy your own drink, drinking in rounds will lead to more consumption.
- Cut down drinking alongside a friend, it will make it easier for the both of you.
- Eat a healthy meal before drinking so you don’t have the urge of having something that is deemed unhealthy alongside your drink.
- Avoid binge drinking – don’t use the entire advised amount all in one sitting.
These tips will really help you avoid weight gain when drinking alcohol. Be strong and cut down, or if you can, just say no.
When it comes to weight loss the only person who can make the change is you. If you are not willing to banish the excuses and blame no one but yourself, you will always be chasing your ideal physique. Therefore in a sense always falling short of something that can enhance your quality of life. However if you are consistent, determined, self-disciplined and ready to make the investment in yourself, then your dream physique is just around the corner. Although the engine must come from you, it would be silly not to use the tools around you along the way. These include the people around you and the vast expanse of information available to you, just like the bible you have consumed today. All of the points made here are ones that are easy to apply and ones that you can incorporate today. So what are you waiting for?