Want to get Slim fast? Have you tried the new miracle weight loss diet yet? It really works!
How many times have you come across such fad diet claims? Maybe you have even tried some of them and failed.
In today’s world, we want everything quick and easy. We are always looking for a quick fix to our every problem.
Do you really think there is a quick fix for the amount of fat you have accumulated over several years?
Some of you may have an extraordinary willpower and lose a few pounds by severely restricting yourself from eating food. However, you won’t be able to sustain this weight loss in long-term. You will gain it all back or may even more.
Look at the biggest losers. 9 out of 10 people fail to keep their weight off permanently.
There is no magic pill to lose excess body fat. Unfortunately, many people are still looking for one.
When we become desperate for something, we become impulsive. Companies or people marketing these diets or pills use our desperate state of mind to their advantage.
It’s time to shut your eyes and ears to all fad diet programs forever. They are not worth your time and money.
Science behind losing Weight to look slim and lean
If you want to lose weight and become healthy, you can’t do it overnight.
Have you ever stopped and ask yourself a question – Is there a shortcut to anything in this world? Is there a shortcut to success? The simple answer is no.
Weight loss like any other goals in our life requires hard work, patience, and discipline.
Everyone is different…
We all live in different environments, eat different food and do different jobs. The programs and diets that work for one person, may or may not work for other people. However, there are certain basic principles/concepts when it comes to losing fat. All we need to do is to successfully apply these principles to ourselves.
This is where things get challenging…
It’s difficult for most people to understand these principles. If you try to copy dozens of weight loss diets available online without understanding them, more than likely your efforts will go in vain.
Make sure you cover the basics before you continue reading further.
The greedy body…
We consume food to provide our body with the required energy to support day to day functions. Storing energy as fat is a natural process for our body. It’s a survival mechanism.
Today food is available in excess. We are always surrounded by some form of food (mostly junk foods).
Thousands of years back food was scarce and our forefathers had to hunt for food to survive.
They could only eat food when it was available. And when it was available, it was a feast. A feast always results in eating more than what the body actually needs.
The excess food was stored as fat. This fat was later used by the body to fight famine during winter.
Carbs..Carbs.. and more carbs…
Thousands of years have gone by and today we don’t have to fight famine like our forefathers. But, our body hasn’t evolved much from a biological standpoint. We still store fat in the same way (when we eat more) and burn it off (when we eat less).
There is one thing that has changed though. Our food has become carbohydrate dominant. Sugar and starch find their way into almost everything we eat. Whether you are eating simple or complex carbohydrates, they will eventually get converted into sugar (glucose) in your body.
Our body can only process a certain amount of sugar at any time – about 1 teaspoon. This is easily 2-3 times or maybe even more than what you consume in one sitting.
What do you think happens to the excess sugar? Yes, you guessed it right. It gets stored as fat.
Sugar, in turn, increase your cravings and makes you eat more. Eating more food than what you can burn off results in fat getting stored in buttocks, thighs, abdomen and hips. It is this unwanted fat that we need to get rid off.
Weight loss basics
The imbalance between energy availability and energy expenditure is one of the key factors to consider when trying to lose weight.
Energy availability is the amount of food that we consume in the course of the day.
Energy expenditure is the amount of energy that we are able to burn off while sleeping and while performing various daily tasks.
Now let’s look at the 3 different situations:
- Energy Availability is more than Energy Expenditure (Energy Surplus) – This means eating more food than one can burn off. This is the situation that results in the body storing excess food as fat which leads to weight gain. If this continues for a while, people continue to get fatter and become obese.
Obesity is a term that has been coined in the recent years to describe severely overweight individuals who are the risk of various diseases like diabetes and heart attack.
- Energy Availability = Energy Expenditure – This means you are able to burn off all the food that you are consuming. This is an ideal situation which doesn’t result in the body storing food as fat – provided there is no underlining health situation causing the weight gain.
- Energy Availability is less than Energy Expenditure (Energy Deficit) – This means you are eating less than what the body’s energy demands are. At this stage, you are not storing fat, on the contrary, you are burning off the excess fat that was stored by the body. Stored fat can be used by your body as efficiently as carbohydrates. This is the situation that people who are looking to lose weight need to get into.
How to get into energy deficit?
For a start, cut down on simple carbohydrates like sugar and foods containing refined wheat flour. You would need to start taking a closer look at the ingredient list whenever you pick something from a grocery store or super-smart. Anything that has more than 3-4 ingredients doesn’t need to be in your shopping basket. Ideally, your meals should mainly consist of whole foods with a focus on green vegetables.
Nutrition is the King…
While your mind will tell you to eat the most tempting foods around that smell and taste good, your body only cares about nutrition. Unfortunately, this nutrition is missing from all the processed and fast foods.
You need to decide whether you want to satisfy your mind by doping yourself in sugary and processed foods or feed your body with what it needs to survive and thrive.
There is no better way to provide your body with nutrition other than whole foods. Whole foods are very satiating and unlike processed foods, it’s very difficult to overeat them.
Though processed foods have small portion size, they are very calorie dense and can easily fill your quota for calories for the day in just one meal.
If you are really serious about losing weight and want to see yourself slim or lean, you need to change the way you think about food.
Green Vegetables, complex carbohydrates, eggs, fish, beans, lean meat and healthy fats should form a major part of all your meals. Believe me, you will not only feel satiated and satisfied but you will experience a sudden spark of energy (through nutrition).
Consumption of fruits should be limited when you are trying to lose weight. Fruits though rich in vitamins and minerals have fructose (a form of sugar when taken in excess gets directly stored as fat).
If you get sugar cravings at night, get a slice of dark chocolate (80% or higher), cottage cheese or a cup of yogurt. This will subside the cravings and satisfy your brain. After a few days, your sugar cravings will go away and leave you to wonder why you had them in the first place. 🙂
Bonus Tip 1: Try to push out your breakfast by starting your day with a gallon of water followed by a cup of black coffee or green tea. Delaying the first meal allows your body to tap into the fat reserves, so you burn fat right from the start of the day.
Bonus Tip 2: For cooking use a teaspoon of either olive or coconut oil instead of refined oil. Both have numerous health benefits. Coconut oil is known to boost metabolism too.
Bonus Tip 3: Use apple cider vinegar for dressing your salads. This not only helps to cut down on calories but also boost the fat loss as apple cider vinegar creates a favorable environment for your body to tap into fat cells.
Your nutrition contributes to almost 80% of how you look and feel.
Do I need to workout?
If you are mostly sitting all day with very little physical activity, you need to start moving around. Try to invest at least 30 minutes in some form of sports or strength training routine.
This doesn’t need to be an everyday affair. If you can commit at least 3 days a week, you can easily prime your body to burn more fat.
Make subtle changes in your lifestyle. You should consider walking whenever you get an opportunity. Also, try to take stairs instead of elevators.
My office is on the 8th floor but I still use stairs. It helps me to increase the blood flow and keeps me in fat burning mode.
Excercise can supplement your weight loss. However, if your nutrition is way off, it won’t do you any good. You can’t outrun a bad diet.
What about hormones?
If you have switched to whole foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, insulin and other metabolic hormones will return to normal levels in a matter of weeks.
Believe me, nutrition has the power to fix almost any health disorder. The reason we develop metabolic syndrome or hormonal imbalance in the first place is that our food lacks nutrition.
Women with hypothyroid and PCOS may have to take professional medical help along with calorie restriction to see sustainable weight loss. Some level of physical activity is also advisable.
How fast can I lose?
Initially, you will lose weight pretty fast. Weigh lost in the first couple of weeks is mainly water weight.
Carbohydrates are notorious for retaining water in our body. When you cut down on processed and packaged food, you automatically cut down a lot of carbs from your daily calorie intake. Your body will not be storing as much water as before.
You can lose about 1-2 lbs/ 1kg per week by maintaining an energy deficit of only 15%.
Anything more than that can slow down your metabolism, making it extremely difficult to lose weight at a later stage.
Our body still thinks that there might be a famine anytime and tries to hold on to its fat reserves.
You will not be able to lose weight in a linear progression. You might trick your body for few days by eating less. But it’s smart. It will fight back at a certain stage. This is what many call weight loss plateau.
When you hit a plateau, do not cut down on your calories further. This should go away in a week or two. If the scale is not going down, then check your waist measure.
If you are engaged in some strength training program, it is quite possible that you are gaining muscle, at the same time losing fat.
Nah…still not losing…
Our body has a certain set point and a settling point. This is different for everyone.
The setpoint is a body fat percentage at which the body will be at it’s best defense to sustain its current weight.
The leaner or slimmer you get, the more difficult it becomes to lose fat. Once you hit your “set point”, you will have to introduce some extreme measures to continue losing fat. Few of them are:
- Fasted cardio
- HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
- Increase workout frequency
Settling point is the body fat percentage range, where the body prefers to be. This is influenced by environmental factors like quality of food and it’s availability. Also, habits like eating constantly throughout the day can dictate your body’s settling point.
Today food is available in abundance like never before. If food is easily available and you don’t have to work hard to get it, your body fat percentage will “settle” at a higher point.
There are 2 ways to change the settling point for our body.
- Restricting calories (eating less in each meal)
- Decreasing eating frequency (eating fewer meals – intermittent fasting)
What about cheat day?
Every two weeks or so, it’s perfectly fine to treat yourself to something that you desperately crave for.
Losing weight is very stressful both physiologically and psychologically. Having cheat meals breaks this stressful cycle and helps to restore body’s leptin levels. Leptin hormone is particularly important to regulate both our food intake and metabolism.
Stepping stone towards better health…
These small changes in your lifestyle will not only help you, to achieve your weight loss goals but will also make you healthier and happier. The results will not be as immediate as advertised by most weight loss programs but will be sustaining.
Once you are able to reach your goal, the perception towards food is going to change forever.
Many people are able to lose weight but are unable to keep it off. This mainly happens because they do not make any changes to their food habits and lifestyle.
It would be far more difficult to lose weight again if you regain it. As long as you follow the advice given here, your weight will never bounce back.
At the end, no matter which diet protocol you chose, the principles of energy balance applies in each of them. Doesn’t matter who tells what. I have tried every diet protocol during my weight loss journey, and I can tell you this with absolute certainty.