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In the past, only the privileged had the chance of gaining a few extra pounds due to their social status.
Unlike common people who had just enough food to survive and had to do some strenuous physical job for eight hours or even more, the upper class was overwhelmed with all sorts of food.
Nowadays, however, seeing an overweight or obese person in the streets comes as no surprise.
Unlike in the past, obesity is frowned upon and many people would do anything to shed a pound or two.
However, most of these people do not have a clue as to how and where to begin.
Let’s first explain the term “obesity”.
Obesity is a medical condition that is characterized by an excessive amount of body fat (1).
People are generally considered obese if their body mass index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the squared number of the person’s height, is over 30 kg/m2.
But we will talk more about medical issues later on.
Obesity has fallen under the category of medical condition because it has become so widespread that the number of people suffering from obesity reaches millions.
Unfortunately, this number is increasing and the causes are mainly the same for most patients.
Excessive food intake, lack of physical activity and genetic susceptibility are the three main causes of obesity.
In most cases, these three causes are inter-dependable and highly influential for each other.
In this article, we will try to explain this modern large-scale affliction and potential solutions for it.
Why You Get Fat
The first reason for getting fat is a surplus of energy.
Namely, if the number of calories you take in overreaches the number of calories you use, you gain weight, i.e. fat: a surplus of energy = fat gain.
Let’s go back to the past once again.
A renowned German pathologist named Carl von Noorden was the first scientist to come up with the calorie thesis.
He applied the first law of Thermodynamics to the human body, which is as follows:”In any given system, the energy of the system is equal to the energy supplied to the system, i.e. the energy expended by the system”.
This completely holds true in the case of gaining weight.
To put it simply, if a bathtub is overflowing with water, it is because more water has entered the bathtub than left it.
To have a clear look on fat accumulation, you need to look for the answers on a cellular level.
First, you need to understand how your hormones and enzymes regulate fat tissue.
Hormones are little chemical messengers inside your body that allow the transmission between your cells.
These hormones compose a highly complicated system that is illustrated by four aspects:
- All hormones in your body are completely independent. A change in one hormone causes the change in another.
- All hormones have different agendas and a class system, meaning some hormones can trump others.
- They can be disrupted by different things in our environment.
- All hormones in your body are constantly changing.
Due to their complex nature, it is often challenging to monitor and understand their functioning.
But when it comes to fat accumulation, one hormone is of a great importance. That’s insulin.
As you know, one of the three macronutrients are carbohydrates.
These carbohydrates need to be broken down into smaller carbs in order to enter the blood stream in the form of glucose, which is sugar, also known as blood sugar.
As your body stores glucose, it also starts producing insulin, which is responsible for removing glucose from the blood and storing it as fat.
In conclusion, in order to lose weight, you need to consume fewer carbohydrates to produce less insulin to store less fat.
- Too many carbs = Blood sugar
- Too much blood sugar = Insulin
- Too much insulin = Fat storage
Another point that has to be explained is breaking down fat and how it is done.
Hormone-Sensitive Lipase (HSL) is an enzyme found in fat cells.
What are enzymes?
Enzymes are molecules inside the body that act as a catalyst to help biochemical reactions occur.
HSL that is found inside fat cells is responsible for breaking down triglycerides (the storage form of fat) into fatty acids (the move-around-the-body form of fat).
Fatty acids are then either used directly as energy or further broken down to create glucose.
When insulin levels are increased, HSL is down-regulated.
In this case, HSL breaks down fat, but insulin cuts the breaks.
The insulin levels are increased when blood sugar levels are increased.
Therefore, your body has no need of mobilizing fat tissue when it is full of energy.
Consequently, eating more carbs means breaking down less fat.
Another point to consider is various types of carbs.
Namely, there are different carbs that affect your insulin levels in different ways.
The composition of carbs varies.
Some are packed with vitamins and minerals; others are packed with pH balancing benefits, fibers and phytonutrients, whereas very few have insulin-affecting calories.
Most of the benefits mentioned in the previous sentence are to be found in vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Vegetables are essential for the human body and you should never limit your vegetable intake for this reason.
Health Problems Linked to Obesity
In case you weigh more than 20% compared to a normal weight for your height, you can be placed into the category of obese people.
In such case, you might suffer from various diseases, but not all people who are obese suffer from all of them (4).
The risk of the health problems linked to obesity increases if you are genetically susceptible to them.
Also, it is important to consider the areas of your body where you have accumulated fat the most.
For example, being overweight around your hips and buttocks (the pear shape) is more harmful to your body than being overweight around your stomach (the apple shape).
Here is a list of the seven conditions that come along with obesity.
Heart Disease and Stroke
Overweight people have an increased risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
These two conditions often lead to heart disease or stroke.
Fortunately, losing just a few pounds can substantially reduce chances of heart disease or stroke.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is very common for people who are overweight or obese.
Cutting your risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be pursued by losing weight, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and exercising more.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by fluctuating blood sugar levels.
You will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and the need for diabetes medication by controlling your blood sugar levels, losing weight, and becoming physically active (7).
Different cancer types such as breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, and kidney cancer are associated with obesity.
Gallbladder disease and gallstones are more common for overweight and obese people.
Ironically, losing weight rapidly is more likely to cause you problems with gallstones.
On the other hand, losing weight progressively and at a rate of about 1 pound per week is less likely to cause gallstones (9).
Osteoarthritis is a joint condition that affects the knee, hip, or back.
Having extra pounds places extra pressure on the joints and wears away the cartilage, which is a tissue that cushions and normally protects the joints.
Gout is a disease that affects the joints, but unlike osteoarthritis, it is caused by too much uric acid in your blood.
The extra uric acid can form crystals, which eventually deposit in the joints.
Gout is more common in overweight people and the risk rate of gout increases with your weight.
Sudden and short-term weight changes may lead to a flare-up of gout.
For this reason, it is advisable that you check with your doctor and hear about the best ways to lose weight (13).
Sleep apnea is a breathing condition that is associated with obesity.
The symptoms of sleep apnea are heavy breathing and snoring, which cause a person to briefly stop breathing during sleep.
Sleep apnea may lead to daytime sleepiness and the increased chances of heart disease and stroke.
How to Lose Weight
As difficult as it may sound, there are many different ways to lose weight fast.
However, most of them will not keep you satiated and you will constantly feel hungry and unsatisfied.
In case you are not armed with iron willpower, you will give up on your dieting plans quickly.
We will offer you a step-by-step plan that will result in:
- Significantly reduced appetite
- Losing more weight without being hungry
- Improving your metabolic health at the same time
- Feeling more healthy and satisfied in general
All of this is supported by scientific studies.
Cut Sugars, Carbohydrates, and Start Dieting
As mentioned in the introductory part, a surplus of calories you consume will not bring you weight loss effects.
Therefore, it is important to cut back on sugars and carbohydrates.
These nutrients stimulate secretion of insulin, which means you will need more energy to burn fat.
You might be surprised with the results at first.
Sometimes, you might lose up to 10 pounds or even more of both body fat and water weight in the first week of your diet program.
In the graph below, you may see the results of a study comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in overweight/obese women (18).
The low-carb group is eating until fullness, whereas the low-fat group is calorie-restricted and hungry.
The results are as follows: cut the carbs, therefore, lower your insulin, and you will consume fewer calories without being hungry all the time (19).
In other words, lowering your insulin will automatically trigger fat loss, which will be on “autopilot”.
In order to lose weight at a healthy, yet quick and sustainable rate, you need to know the minimum amount of calories that your body needs to function properly.
Individual calorie needs vary from person to person depending on age, gender, height, and activity level.
You may want to use online calculators that will help you determine the number of calories you should be eating on a daily basis.
If it is hard for you to figure out how much you should be eating daily, you should visit a dietitian to discuss your weight loss goals, current eating habits, special dietary needs, and potential areas for improvement.
You can also count calories in an easier way by developing a meal plan.
Make sure you fill your dinner plate with a healthy balance of vegetables, fruits, good fats, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Turn to the internet and search for diets and meal plans of some renowned dietitians and clinics such as the DASH diet, the TLC diet, the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Weight Watchers Diet and Volumetrics.
Stop Drinking Soda
Instead of drinking juice energy drinks, soft drinks, flavored coffees and martinis, sip on water, tea, or black coffee.
If you simply replaced high-calorie drinks with adequate substitutions, you would see how much easier it is to drop weight.
For instance, a tall latte may pack up to 500 calories.
Since a pound of body fat is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories, turning to black coffee instead of that rich beverage will help you lose a pound per week.
Switching to water instead of juice, alcohol, soda, and coffee will save you from consuming hundreds of excess calories per day.
Moreover, increased water intake will help your body efficiently use nutrients, preserve energy, feel satiated, and get the most out of your exercise routine.
If you are prepared and willing to replace other drinks with water just for a week, be ready to witness faster weight loss and dramatic improvements in energy levels as well as physical appearance.
Stop Eating “Bad” Carbohydrates
There are two types of carbohydrates based on their chemical makeup: simple (“bad”) carbohydrates and complex (“good”) carbohydrates.
Your pursuit is losing weight, and one of the obstacles to your goal is simple carbohydrates.
So, we are going to discuss these simple-to-digest nutrients.
Namely, these simple carbs are mostly composed of basic sugars with little or no real benefit to your body.
This is the reason why they were named “empty calories”.
The lower in fiber and higher in sugar, the worse the carbohydrate is for you both in terms of health and weight loss.
Though fruits and vegetables are also simple carbohydrates composed of basic sugars, they are drastically different from foods such as cakes and snacks.
Due to the high fiber content in fruits and vegetables, your body is capable of processing sugars and slowing down their digestion, almost turning them into complex carbohydrates.
Therefore, in order to lose some weight, avoid eating or, at least, limit eating simple carbohydrates.
- Artificial syrups
- White rice, white bread, and white pasta
- Potatoes (technically a complex carbohydrate, but is absorbed as a simple carbohydrate in the body)
- Pastries and desserts
However dedicated you are to follow your diet program, you can afford to enjoy simple carbohydrates occasionally.
You might not want to have simple carbs as your primary source of carbs.
Nevertheless, always make sure to choose healthier sources of simple carbohydrates such as a baked potato, regular pasta, or white pasta.
We have elaborated on one classification of carbohydrates, but nutritionists claim that there is another concept that provides a detailed idea about carbohydrates.
This concept is called the glycemic index (GI) (20).
The glycemic index is a number associated with a particular type of food that indicates the food’s effect on a person’s blood sugar level.
Foods lower in GI are healthier and will keep you satiated for a longer period of time.
Most complex carbohydrates fall into the category of low glycemic index foods.
It is easy to find lists of food classified by their glycemic index.
In these lists, you will have an insight into the glycemic index of certain simple and complex carbohydrates such as:
- Whole wheat spaghetti, 37
- White spaghetti, 44
- White rice, 64
- Brown rice, 55
- Corn flakes, 81
- Whole grain cereal, 38
Another concept that you should consider is the glycemic load (GL) of a food and its correlation with GI (21).
The glycemic load estimates the glycemic index of a food as well as the number of carbohydrates found in a food.
A food can contain a small number of carbohydrates, and yet have a high GI.
In this case, this food does not have much of an impact.
For instance, a food that has a high GI but a low GI is watermelon.
Though it tastes sweet, it is mostly water.
The bottom line is that it is important to choose the right carbohydrates.
Avoid low-nutrient foods, take into consideration the levels of fiber and sugar in carbs, and focus on healthy sources that will energize your body throughout the entire day.
Stop Eating Junk Food
“Junk food” generally refers to foods that have little nutritional value but are high in calories.
Nevertheless, junk food has very low satiating value, thus, it should be avoided if you are on a weight loss diet.
Most people tend to replace more nutritional foods with junk food.
When you say junk food, you often think of chips, cheese puffs, cookies, candy bars, snack cakes, pizza, hamburgers and many more.
But people seem to forget that even some “healthy” products such as breakfast cereals are full of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup and white flour or milled corn.
Besides the fact that it contains “empty calories”, junk food stimulates overeating and gorging due to the several factors.
Junk food is:
- Low in fiber
- High in fat
- High in calories in small volume
- High in sugar in liquid form
- High in palatability (it tastes good)
Incorporating more healthy food into your diet and cutting down on junk food is essential both for your health and a leaner body look.
Here are some tips:
- Opt for fast-food restaurants that offer healthy food. Never overlook the importance of nutrients. Where there are calories, there should be nutrients, as well. Instead of soda or donuts, have organic orange juice or a whole-wheat bagel. Avoid sweetened beverages, tortilla chips, processed cheese sauce, French fries.
- Avoid products that are high in sugar, milled grains, hydrogenated oils, and high-fructose corn syrup. Turn to a 100% whole-wheat cracker made with canola oil instead.
- It is scientifically proven that TV viewing and commercials promoting junk food encourage children to eat more. For this reason, you should limit TV viewing both for yourself and your children.
Watch Your Portion Sizes
Appropriate portion sizes are what you should pay special attention to.
For example, you might be having a healthy snack of almonds and dried cranberries.
Though extremely healthy, this snack can easily turn to a huge calorie source if you overlook the quantity.
- Make sure to prepare pre-apportioned healthy snacks that will help you avoid overeating. This will be a guarantee of eating a supposed quantity of your snack, plus it is easier and more convenient to help yourself with this kind of serving.
- Before actually preparing a meal, make a list of ingredients that you will need for the meal. Once you go to the grocery store, do not lose track of your list and only buy stuff you really need. Also, take a look at market circulars, which will eventually give you some ideas and help you cut costs by buying sale items and seasonal produce.
- Use strong flavors and you will control portion sizes. For instance, dark beer or dark chocolate are extremely satisfying in small amounts, but also difficult to consume rapidly.
Start Eating Healthy and Nutritious Food
The meal on your dinner plate has to be a mixture of a protein source, a fat source, and low-carb vegetables in order to be healthy and nutritious.
Your meal, in such proportions, will result in your carbohydrates intake being within the recommended range of 20-50 grams per day.
- Meat – Lamb, bacon, pork, chicken, beef etc.
- Fish and Seafood – Salmon, lobster, shrimp, trout etc.
- Eggs – Omega-3 eggs are best.
Eating a lot of protein is important and should not be overlooked.
High-protein diets have proved to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, diminish the desire for night snacking by half, and make you satiated, causing you to eat 441 fewer calories per day (25, 26).
- Swiss Chard
- Brussels Sprouts
You should never limit low-carb vegetable intake.
Loading your plate with these powerful nutrient foods will not do you any harm.
As for weight loss, you can eat big amounts of them without overreaching the amount of 20-50 net carbs per day.
A diet that is based on vegetables and meat contains all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
There is no physiological need to incorporate grains into the diet.
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
Eat two to three meals per day.
If you are feeling hungry in the afternoon, add a fourth meal.
It is a misconception that you should avoid consuming fat on a large scale.
A low-carb AND low-fat diet is doomed to fail. You will never feel satiated that way, which will make you give up on the plan in no time.
That is why you should turn to using cooking fat, i.e. coconut oil, if possible. It is packed with fats called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs).
List of Great, Nutritious Foods
If you want to look great, you have to eat great.
Getting in shape is based on proper nutrition.
Some think avoiding eating is the key to success, but starving will only cause a counter effect.
To avoid improper nutrition, make sure to list and select all the right foods that will satisfy your daily needs for nutrients without eating extra calories.
Here are a few weight loss foods that will definitely be great for a clean start.
According to a study published in Nutritional Journal, consuming half of a medium-sized avocado daily improves overall diet quality, lowers the risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 50%, lowers body mass index (BMI) and provides slimmer waist circumference (31).
In one more study published in Nutritional Journal, participants who ate half of a fresh avocado during lunch, reported a 40% reduction in their appetite.
Two tablespoons of guacamole have 60 calories and can give you the same satiety benefit with more flavor (32).
Though a high-calorie food, over two-thirds of calories in avocado are from monounsaturated oleic acid, which is, unlike saturated fat, used up as a slow-burning energy source.
Moreover, avocado is a rich source of Omega-9 fatty acids, which reduce bad cholesterol while raising the good cholesterol.
Salmon & Tuna
High-protein content in both tuna and salmon is great for weight loss because protein is difficult to digest and has a high thermic effect, thus, bolstering metabolism.
Your body burns more calories while digesting protein compared to fats and carbohydrates.
It also provides amino acids that support muscle development.
One study has found that people, who increased their protein intake by up to 30% felt more satiated, satisfied, and lost body weight and fat (33).
Salmon and tuna are also known to be rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
These fats have been reported to decrease the risk of obesity and improve your insulin response (34).
It also stimulates the production of Leptin, a hormone that regulates food intake and the body’s metabolism.
Both tuna and salmon have a GI rating of zero, are low in fat and calories, and are a perfect food choice for people who struggle with obesity.
Pineapple is low in calories, very filling, and rich in insoluble fiber – the type of fiber that does not dissolve in water and adds bulk to your digestion.
It does not directly help you lose weight, but it will help you feel more satiated, which is beneficial for people trying to shed pounds.
Pineapple is considered a “low-energy density” food due to its few calories considering its weight.
Pineapple is 86% water, which is the reason for the increased satiety feeling.
Eating pineapple also prevents dehydration because of its watery content.
A very distinctive compound found in pineapple is called Bromelain and is believed to reduce inflammation and support digestion.
One of the main causes of weight gain is chronic and excessive inflammation because it has negative effects on the action of Leptin, a hormone responsible for weight control (35).
A medium-sized apple is packed with 95 calories and 4 grams of soluble fiber, which makes it a filling fruit.
Due to its very a low-calorie content, it can satisfy hunger and help you with your weight loss diet.
It is also a good source of Vitamin C, providing 14% of the recommended value.
In one study, it has been found that patients who consumed apples had a reduced risk of Diabetes Mellitus type 2 because of the component called quercetin that is found in apple peels (36).
In Brazil, a study conducted on 400 middle-aged, overweight women found that apple and pear intake promotes weight loss of 1.21 kg after 12 weeks (37).
Green tea is packed with some powerful nutrients, among which is caffeine, a natural stimulant that promotes fat burning and improves physical performance.
One more notable antioxidant is the Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which can bolster metabolism (41).
Green tea is believed to help move fat from fat cells.
Before burning it, fat has to be broken down on the cellular level and moved into the bloodstream.
EGCG is responsible for inhibiting the enzyme that helps break down Norepinephrine, a hormone that functions as a signal for the fat cells.
As the level of hormone norepinephrine increases, the signal that is being transmitted to the fat cells to break down more fats is getting stronger.
Eat Foods and Use Techniques that Suppress Hunger
Foods that are high in water and fiber like fruits and vegetables will provide you with low-calorie nutrition.
They are called high-volume foods for their ability to add bulk to your meals and help you feel satiated.
Filling your stomach with these foods will help you suppress your appetite and overeating.
Research conducted at Pennsylvania State University found that the Volumetrics program is the best weight loss diet program because people tended to eat less when they were given foods that are high in volume, yet low in density (calories) (42).
Foods that contain water, fiber and air have fewer calories than other foods and cause the stomach to stretch and empty slowly.
Also, seeing a large amount of food like a big salad will help you feel more satisfied on a psychological level.
Choosing foods that are low in caloric density but high in volume will help you shed pounds without feeling like you are on a restrictive diet.
Another nutrient that has proved to suppress hunger is lean protein.
There is enough evidence that foods such as lean meat, eggs, fish, soybeans, and poultry help with satiety and weight loss.
You are likely to feel full after eating protein, rather than other nutrients including fiber, because calories from higher-protein diets are more satiating, according to one study.
The participants took in about 30% of their calories from lean protein, which made them feel fuller and also helped them maintain muscle mass better than the groups that ate less protein.
Also, drinking liquids is the complete opposite of eating what we call “foods that suppress hunger”.
Beverages that are high in water do not last as long in the stomach as solid foods.
Therefore, you will not feel less hungry if you drink a soda.
If you are looking for a meal replacement, turn to eating a candy rather than drinking your favorite juice.
In order to feel full, you have to eat slowly and mindfully.
Your stomach has to send a signal to the brain that it is full.
To help the stomach function properly, you should concentrate on eating without engaging in multitasking.
Reading emails or watching television should be avoided while eating.
The following foods will keep you satiated for hours:
- Leafy greens
- Dark chocolate
- Spicy foods
Make a Food Plan
The first thing to do when creating a food plan is to identify your food triggers.
Food triggers are the activities that belong to your daily routine and make you want to eat or snack.
These food triggers vary from person to person, but the most common action is sitting down and watching TV.
For some, it is studying late at night, while for others it is the desire for food after a hard day at work.
Once you have identified what triggers you to eat, you can create a healthy food plan and fill your house with healthy foods.
Also, keep in mind not sabotaging your diet.
It is most likely that you will do so when you purchase unhealthy foods and have them on hand.
Also, make sure not to skip meals, especially breakfast.
Eating a healthy breakfast will increase your rest metabolic rate in the morning, keep your energy levels high, and keep you away from the urge of high-calorie snacks throughout the day.
Create a food plan that will involve eating a small snack or meal every two to four hours, which will keep your metabolism active.
A regular eating regimen also keeps your blood sugar levels stable and reduces the risk of unhealthy calorie binges and deviations.
Keep a Food Diary
After creating a daily food plan, get on keeping a food diary that will help you keep track of the meals and quantities for an entire week, month, or year.
Writing down what you consume helps you remain mindful of your body and the food you put into yourself.
It is also a great motivator to stay healthy and keep moving forward.
In addition to writing down your meals, include the number of calories that go along with each meal.
Moreover, make sure to include condiments and other additions to your daily diet.
Start Working Out
It is not obligatory to work out in order to lose weight, but it is highly recommended.
Going to the gym three to four times a week is the best option.
Do a warm up, then do cardio or lift weights, and, finally, stretch.
If you are not experienced in lifting weights and are completely new to the gym, ask a trainer for some advice.
Most people that try to lose weight have their metabolism slowed down.
Physical exercise is a guarantee of burning more calories and boosting your metabolism.
In some studies, people on low-carb diets were found to gain some muscle while losing substantial amounts of body fat (46).
Do a Lot of Cardio
There is no doubt that a combination of resistance and cardio training are going to get you some results, especially when it comes to reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (47).
However, you will best shed pounds with cardiovascular training.
Though resistance and weight training will not bring you instant weight loss results, this combination will certainly trigger and boost your metabolism, thus causing you to use energy more efficiently.
The number of calories that your body burns (energy output) has to be bigger than the number of calories you eat (energy input) in order to lose weight.
Cardiovascular exercise is just one form of exercise that contributes to this “energy output”.
There are many different types of cardio, and some of the most popular are walking, jogging, and sprinting.
These certain types of cardio exercise differ depending on your fitness goals.
Since your fitness goal is weight loss, LISS (Low-intensity steady state) is a perfect choice.
Walking is the best for weight loss, for this reason.
Therefore, being a LISS type of exercise, jogging will burn more fat per calorie compared to jogging and sprinting.
In other words, fat requires oxygen in order to be metabolized (broken down) for energy.
The lower the intensity, the more oxygen is at your disposal meaning that the body will use other energy sources for energy like carbohydrates.
Nonetheless, you should not overdo LISS types of exercise.
Your body is prone to adapting. Going for walks too often might slow down your progress.
For best results, you should consider including both moderate and high-intensity aerobic exercise, i.e. jogging and sprinting.
Regardless of the intensity, cardiovascular exercise is great for reducing the risk of various coronary diseases, anxiety and depression, and increasing fitness levels, building stamina, as well as losing weight (48).
Change Your Workout Routine
Our bodies are good at adapting to new conditions.
Relying on the same workout routine will get you results, but not as good as the ones you wanted.
That is why variety is the key to success.
Not only will you get better results, but it will also be more fun to workout keeping you motivated along the way.
Doing the same workout routine for weeks will put you at an increased risk of getting injured.
Also, doing something over and over again will bore you after some time, which will make it harder for you to perform the exercise properly.
Your body needs time both to recover and adapt.
Whereas the recovery time from physical stress is much shorter (approximately 24 hours), the adaptation time lasts longer, meaning you should typically change your workout routine every four to six weeks.
The FITT principle (frequency, intensity, time, and type) will keep your scale moving in the right direction.
Therefore, while at the gym, switch between machines (type), change reps (frequency), weights (intensity) and total time of your workout routine schedule.
Let’s take one example.
You can perform a workout routine using the same weight you typically use but with more reps or sets.
Moreover, you can perform the same number of reps with more weight, or you can simply switch up the number of reps and sets.
To include more variety in your routine, you could complete your training with some kind of finisher.
Running slowly on the treadmill one day and running sprints on the treadmill another day might be that finisher.
It is up to you. Use your imagination.
The key to weight loss is incorporating both aerobic and weight training to boost calorie burn significantly.
Make Sure You Work Out Your Whole Body
A full body workout means exercising your entire body with all muscles being stimulated in one workout.
As opposed to a full body workout, a split routine means separating your muscle groups or movement patterns on different days.
For instance, if you work out 3 days per week, you probably work out chest and back on day one, legs on day two, and shoulders and arms the third day.
This means you do a split routine.
But when it comes to weight loss, full body workout is at a great advantage.
When trying to lose weight, it is ideal to train with full body workouts two to three times per week.
Exercises that include all of your muscles require more energy, thus, they burn more calories.
For example, running on the treadmill will certainly burn more calories than biceps curls for the simple reason of more muscles that you use while running.
In addition to losing weight, you will also build more muscle because a full body workout creates a more powerful hormonal response that stimulates muscle growth.
On the other hand, it is harder to stimulate individual muscle growth with this type of exercise.
Another benefit of working out your entire body is that you can afford to miss a workout without any significant consequences.
You have already worked out all your muscle groups with just one workout.
Isolating muscle groups and missing a workout means that you have to compensate that missed workout.
What’s more, you will be able to build a well-balanced body by stimulating all muscle groups in a single workout.
Splitting up the body exercises each workout may not make functional sense and may lead to the unnatural appearance of your body.
Do Not Overdo and Let Your Body Rest
When you got started on a workout, your goal was to keep on working out as much as you could for as long as you could and as hard as you could.
But this is more likely to get you injured than get you results.
In order to function properly, your body needs regular rest.
This is as important as working out.
Every time you work out, your muscles get damaged.
Resting your body allows these tiny injuries to heal themselves.
If you do not get enough rest between workouts, these tiny injuries can add up into a more serious injury.
Your muscles build themselves while resting; therefore, you will not see any significant improvement without adequate rest.
Also, along with adequate rests between each individual workout, you should also have a much lighter week approximately every six weeks.
Apart from taking a break between workouts, you also have to get adequate sleep at night.
Sleep helps you rest and relax your brain, and allows you to relax and repair your body.
Sleep deprivation will leave you sluggish and, eventually, ill.
You will not be at your peak performance, either.
In addition, sleep deprivation has been linked with weight gain (49).
Namely, one study showed that sleep deprivation in patients increased their preferences for high-calorie foods and their overall calorie intake (50).
In another study, the results showed that the quantity and quality of sleep may contribute to weight loss in obese and overweight women (51).
The explanation for this might be the link between sleep duration and the hormones that regulate hunger.
These are ghrelin and leptin. If these hormones are affected by sleep deprivation, they stimulate the appetite.
Also, another contributing factor may be exhaustion and less physical activity caused by sleep deprivation.
It is recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. However, you should remember that each person is different.
While some need only around three hours of sleep to function properly, others may need up to nine or ten to feel refreshed and ready for the next day.
Also, bear in mind to keep yourself stress-free throughout the day.
A workout produces stress to your body, but stressing out mentally and emotionally adds up to physical stress, as well.
If you are feeling constantly stressed out, your body will not relax and heal.
To heal yourself, try adding yoga or meditation to your routine.
It might truly relax your body and mind.
One of the indicators of excessive physical stress is having a hard time getting up in the morning.
If you do not feel like getting out of bed, it is likely you over-trained.
So, remember, working out harder is not always better.
Take enough time to relax and rest so that your body is prepared for its next challenge.
Don’t Follow Fad and Crash Diets
Fad and crash diets include extreme changes in food consumption and rapid weight loss.
Consequently, this means that you have cut calories below 1050-1200 per day, which is not only counter-productive, but also unhealthy.
When you eat fewer calories, you lose fat, but you also lose muscle.
Losing muscle slows your metabolism and reduces exercise intensity or duration.
Depriving you of what you like and enjoy eating will bring you back where you started.
Fad and crash diets are the road to food deprivation and discontent.
For this reason, turn to healthier ways of losing weight.
What Are Fad Diets?
First, let’s introduce you to the term “Fad Diet”.
There are different types of fad diets, but what all of them have in common is that they are the most restrictive means of weight loss out there.
They usually involve severely cutting back on calories, leaving only 1,000 or even 500 calories per day.
They are often paired with other so-called quick fixes such as juice cleanses, diet pills, or diuretics.
While the length of time varies from diet to diet, fad diets are meant to be quick, short-term weight loss diets.
How Do They Work?
Fad diets shock the body, putting it into the starvation mode.
The significant restriction in calories often appears to be working after only a few days.
Nonetheless, despite the rapid weight loss, the body does not just burn fat as energy source.
First, it utilizes the stored supply of carbohydrates that are in the form of glycogen.
Along with utilizing glycogen, your body uses water, which may seem like a significant weight loss within the first few days of dieting.
Why Fad Dieting Is Bad
Fad dieting is bad for your health for three main reasons: nutritional deficiency, the yo-yo effect, and emotional side effects.
Low-calorie diets such as fad diets are very restrictive in nutrients; therefore, you will not be able to absorb some of the essentials for your optimal health during fad dieting.
If nutritional deficiency persists on a long-term basis, you may experience a number of things, including leaching minerals from your bones.
This can lead to osteoporosis and fractures, or the leaching of iron from the blood, which can lead to anemia.
What’s more, low-calorie diets can lead to deficiencies in particular nutrients like sodium and potassium.
These electrolytes are essential for nerve and muscle function, and heart beat regulation.
Low levels of sodium and potassium can lead to a higher risk of heart attack.
The Yo-Yo Effect
When your body is deprived of its nutritional needs for extended periods of time, it enters starvation mode to conserve energy until adequate nutrition is restored.
In an effort to conserve as much energy as possible, the body’s metabolism will slow down to burn fewer calories, thus preserving fat supplies.
This leads to eventually hitting a weight loss plateau, during which time it will gradually become more and more difficult to lose weight.
The plateau is followed by a period of weight gain for the majority of fad dieters.
Fad dieters often find themselves in a position of constantly gaining weight while being on the diet.
This is why it is called the yo-yo effect.
Emotional Side Effects
Fad diets can not only impact your physical health and well-being, but they can also have strong effects on your mental and emotional health.
When your body is not getting enough nutrients that it needs to make and use energy, it sends signals to your brain making you feel irritable, tired, and lethargic.
Therefore, fad dieting has been reported to lead to more serious emotional consequences; namely eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, and mental disorders such as depression.
Whatever your goal is, you should never turn to methods such as fad and crash diets.
You should bear in mind that there is no quick fix for weight loss.
It requires a lot of hard work and dedication.
Only by finding a method of gradual weight loss will you be able to achieve your long-term weight loss goals.
Plus, you will not be experiencing negative impacts on your health, thus feeling nothing like crashed or fad.
Do Not Use “Miracle Pills”
“Lose 30 pounds in 30 days with this pill!”
Whether you are reading through your favorite magazine, scanning the aisles of a health store, or watching a TV show, you are bound to see slogans that advertise “miracle pills” designed to help you lose weight.
Advertising is supposed to astonish you with some sensational results; this is how it works.
But it is up to you whether you are going to fall for it or not.
The only thing that you will lose by purchasing the latest “miracle diet products” is, probably, money.
Diet scams are a big business nowadays because of how many people struggle with obesity.
It has been claimed that Americans spend nearly $35 billion each year on weight-loss products and programs.
Not only are you going to be scammed, but you may also end up with some serious health consequences.
According to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations, these pills can cause serious harm because they contain hidden active ingredients that are highly unsafe or have not been adequately studied in humans.
How These Pills Work
The only natural way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in.
However, some people are looking for an easier way to lose weight.
For this reason, most of them turn to the most popular diet scams that are based on herbal ingredients, but which are not regulated as drugs by the FDA.
The most popular diet scams are pills that promise to boost your metabolism, thus helping you burn calories or fat faster.
These pills are based on herbal ingredients which are stated to be efficient in weight loss and dieting programs.
The producers of these pills usually play a trump card, stating that buyers are not that interested in the ingredients and their actual potency.
What buyers really want to see and hear is that they can lose weight rapidly and without any significant effort.
This is why they usually overlook whether a product is FDA-monitored or not.
Therefore, these pills are usually ineffective.
However, unfortunately, once in a while, they are dangerous.
There are also so-called fat-and-carb-blocking pills that claim to block your body’s absorption of fat and carbohydrates.
Sometimes these pills can be plain unpleasant, but, in some cases, they can even cause dangerous effects.
Why You Should Not Use These Pills
Different pills, different side effects.
Xenical, a fat blocker that removes excess fats via the intestines may cause uncomfortable cramps, gas, and diarrhea.
Furthermore, Xenical is also known to reduce the body’s absorption of essential vitamins and nutrients, so people who take this drug should also take multivitamin supplements.
Meridia is an appetite suppressant which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system that can raise blood pressure and heart rate.
By taking this drug, you increase the risk of heart attack and cardiac arrest, particularly if you are already suffering from high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, or heart disease.
Between February 1998 and March 2003, the FDA received reports of 49 deaths that were related to using Meridia.
There have also been reports on ephedra and kava, and their side effects.
Namely, ephedra has been banned in February 2004 by the FDA due to the risk of illness or injury.
This herb is closely related to methamphetamine and can cause high blood pressure, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures, nervousness, heart attacks, strokes, and even death.
Supplements containing the herbal ingredient called kava have been linked to severe liver injury.
Some minor side effects include headache, dry mouth, constipation, and insomnia (the chemicals in these drugs dysregulate sleep patterns).
Pills that are based on herbal ingredients, although “natural”, may potentially cause dangerous consequences, depending upon their ingredients. “Herbal” does not necessarily mean “safe to use”.
Weight Loss Tips
Here are some tips to lose weight even faster:
Drink More Water
According to one study, drinking water half an hour before meals will help you eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight.
Drink Coffee or Tea
If you think of yourself as a coffee or tea drinker, then you should drink as much as you want because both coffee and tea can raise your metabolism (55).
Eat a High-Protein Breakfast
Studies show that replacing a grain-based breakfast with high protein foods such as eggs will make you feel more satiated for the next 36 hours after intake and cause weight loss of up to 65% (56, 57).
Eat Viscous Fiber
Viscous fiber supplements such as glucomannan can help you with weight loss, particularly around the belly area (58).
Choose Weight Loss-Friendly Foods
Some foods are significantly useful for losing fat. Consider opting for them.
Use Smaller Plates
Psychology plays an important role when it comes to weight loss.
Studies have proven that people automatically eat less when using smaller plates.
Strange as it may sound, this actually works (59).
Sleep-deprived people have an increased risk of gaining weight and obesity.
Carb Re-Feed Once Per Week
You can have a “cheat day” per week where you eat your favorite foods; this is Saturday for many people.
On this day, you would try to eat more carbs.
Although this your “day off” from your diet program, it is essential that you eat carbs from healthier sources like oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, fruits etc.
Make sure that this higher-carb day occurs only once per week; having it more often will not bring you much success on your healthy plan.
This day is supposed to allow you to have a cheat meal or eat something unhealthy.
You will certainly gain some weight during the cheat day, but most of that weight will be water weight.
Have no worries because you will lose it again in the next couple of days.
You Do Not Have to Starve Yourself
You do not have to keep yourself away from your refrigerator to lose weight.
All you have to do is control your carbohydrates intake.
By reducing the number of carbs you eat and lowering your insulin levels, you change the hormonal environment, thus making your body and brain “want” to lose weight.
This will bring you to the drastically reduced appetite and hunger, and help you with eliminating the main reason why most people fail to conventionally lose weight.
Another great benefit for those who are impatient enough to see a big difference on the scale is the initial drop in water weight.
What you can expect in the first week of dieting is losing five to ten pounds of weight (sometimes more), after which you will be losing weight on a consistent basis.
If you are completely new to dieting, then losing weight will probably happen quickly.
The more weight you are to lose, the faster you will lose it.
You might feel a bit strange for the first few days.
Adding sodium to your diet can help you with this.
Try dissolving a bouillon cube in a cup of hot water and drinking it.
After drinking it, most people report that the feeling is great, positive, and energetic.
Despite the decades of anti-fat propaganda and hysteria, the low-carb diet also improves your health in many other ways:
- Blood sugar levels are drastically increased with low-carb diets (67, 68).
- Blood pressure is improved significantly (69, 70).
- Triglycerides tend to go down (71, 72).
- LDL-cholesterol levels go down (73, 74).
- HDL-cholesterol levels go up (75).
- To top it all off, low-carb diets have proved to be easier to follow than low-fat diets.
You need to take some precautions to prevent yourself from doing any physical damage to your body in the process of losing weight.
Here are three most common precautions you have to take:
Do Not Overtrain
Do not exercise for more than two to three times per day.
Otherwise, you might end up burning out and feeling too exhausted to work out the next day.
Take Care with Certain Exercises
You should be doing those exercises that do not cause you any physical injury.
Pay special attention while doing exercises with your neck and with your shoulders because these body parts are most prone to injury.
Avoid Skipping Meals
You need to avoid skipping meals in order to burn more calories in your body.
While you can afford skipping meals late at night, you should definitely not miss out on your breakfast and lunch.
Skipping meals is a pathway to anorexia.
Being anorexic will make you vulnerable to numerous illnesses.
Keeping the above-mentioned points in mind will keep your process of losing weight healthy and harmless to you.
After reading a whole bunch of information related to weight loss, you may come to think the process of losing weight is something very complicated and difficult to do.
It is actually very simple.
All you have to do is keep your calorie input lower than your calorie output, exercise on a regular basis, and stay motivated.
Nourish your body with healthy food and nutrients and make this a primary goal.
It will be much easier rather than focusing only on losing weight.
Eat to become a healthier, happier, fitter person — not just to lose weight.