- Diet & Weight Loss
10 Fundamental Tips To Help You Lose Weight
Weight loss is a topic of interest for many people. And quite ironically, even though it is a central quest for the majority of the fitness market, a lot of individuals seem to struggle with proper weight loss. They either struggle with achieving the results they were expecting and give up early in the process or they have no idea what they are doing so they just copy of a workout/diet plan they found on the internet and believe that it's going to change their lives (and I yes, I can sense the irony in that sentence).
The point is, weight loss is legitimately not that hard, not at all to be honest. It just takes a little bit of know-how and you are set for life. The problem is that there are a lot of, I am afraid of using the word scam artists, liars out there that proclaim themselves as fitness gurus or weight loss experts. They promise you great results and in the end you are left with nothing more but a short-term success story, because the so-called "fitness guru" told you to run a mile every single day and to jump on a rope to lose those extra pounds.
It is without doubt that weight loss is more than just common sense and more than just following the advices of random people from the internet. Let's not forget the fundamental lesson that everybody needs to know (especially beginners) - what works for some, might not work for you. It all comes down to genetics.
This is why the point of this article is not to tell you what I believe will work for you just because it worked for me, but rather give you 10 little tips that will definitely change your weight loss game and help you lose extra pounds of stored body fat, because these 10 tips are basically "gym science" (not an actual term).
1. Consume less calories than you use
This is basically common sense, but there is actually a solid reason why I am putting this here! It is to dispose of any nonsense that you may come across on the internet of people trying to sell you their products.
Drink this pill and you will lose 10 pounds of fat in a month; Put this belt around your waist to burn off those extra pounds; Buy this crazy contraption that will help you burn a ton of fat; Consume these herbs as they are an organic source of blah blah blah. No matter what you do, no matter what you buy, no matter what crazy stuff you buy from the internet that are "proven to work on others" you will not lose any body fat unless you do something about your calorie consumption.
This is the main lesson that you need to know in order to lose weight - you need to be on a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. In other words, eat fewer calories than your body requires to maintain your current weight. For example, if you currently weigh about 150 pounds and your body requires from you 2200 calories to maintain your current weight of 150lbs then that means that in order to lose body fat and drop down to, let's say, 145lbs you need to lower down your calorie consumption.
This way your body is forced to use its secondary source of energy (stored fats). Keep in mind that you must not exaggerate with this. Do not go crazy and start lowering your calorie intake with 500-700 calories. You need to start small - 50-100 calories will do the job in the beginning, then work your way up and increase the amount by which you lower your daily calorie intake. And use the scale to tell you when do you have to lower again - if your scale is not showing you any changes and you are staying at the same weight then that means that you need to change your diet a little bit and lower some calories. Go for a maximum of 300 calories lower than what your body needs. If you go anywhere lower than that you are increasing the chances of your body burning muscle mass and leaving you with nothing more but a bony-looking body.
2. Manipulate your insulin levels
Insulin is the hormone in your body responsible for the metabolization of carbohydrates in the organism. Once insulin is activated then that means that there is glycogen (your primary source of energy) running through your blood stream and going to your muscles.
Manipulation of insulin levels involves the notion that there are times in the day when your body requires less carbohydrates (night time) and times in the day when it requires more (early in the morning, before your workout, after your workout). By consuming less or more carbohydrates you are manipulating your insulin levels, which will help you lose more weight in the long run.
Late at night is when your body's metabolic rate is at its slowest rate - meaning that it's the perfect time to gain extra pounds, which is exactly what you are trying to avoid. Meaning that at this point of the day you have to make sure that your insulin levels will be low, thus preventing you from gaining any extra stored body fat. Not only that, night time is the time when your body releases HGH (human growth hormone) - a hormone responsible for the proper growth and evolution of your body. And this body cannot co-exist with insulin, meaning that if there is insulin in your bloodstream, there is no HGH. You would want to make sure that you benefit from HGH as it will help you develop an aesthetic and physically appealing body.
Early in the morning is the time when your body is at its lowest glycogen storages. The last time you consume a carbohydrate was probably about 4-5 hours before going to bed (or at least that is the recommended time span if you are hoping for goods results, consume protein and fats to make sure you do not cause catabolism) and you have spent the next 8-9 hours sleeping. This means that your body has been without a proper source of glycogen for about 12-14 hours (half of your day). In order to restore those levels of glycogen in your muscles you must make sure that you consume enough carbohydrates to fill up your muscles and avoid catabolism.
Something important worth mentioning - mornings is the time when you would like to consume BCAAs in order to prevent muscle loss. Even though your breakfast is packed in carbs it still takes time for the body to fully digest it and can go up to 2-3 hours until your body has digested the carbohydrates (considering you had a healthy breakfast). This is bad as you will be for far too long without any proper carb supply to the muscles increasing the chances of catabolism striking.
I think it's pretty obvious why your body needs more carbs before and after you workout, but it's still worth mentioning it. Before your workout so that you can use your carbs during your workout and increase your performance when at the gym and after your workout is due to the same reason as for early in the morning - depleted glycogen levels in the muscle.
3. Add fat-burning foods to your diet
These foods are shown to have a positive effect on your body that leads you losing more body fat. They are a perfect addition that will help you improve your results. But again, they are worth nothing if you are not on a caloric deficit.
They are foods packed with important macronutrients and micronutrients that will completely change your weight loss game.
At the bottom of the article I will provide you with a long list of fat-burning foods that you can use to make your diet more powerful so that you can create a weight loss environment where you accelerate your body fat reduction.
4. Eat more times throughout your day
You have probably seen many famous fitness models sharing their eating plans on the internet that consist of 6-8 meals throughout their day. I love the expressions of surprise on the faces of the people whom I advise to eat about 6 times a day. Most of the times their reactions are: "You do know I am trying to lose weight, not gain weight, right?". For many it is confusing - you eat more to lose more, but how ?
Well again, it's common sense. Your body's metabolism needs to be maintained at higher rates in order to boost your weight loss. And how is your metabolic rate elevated? That's right, eating!
Every time you consume a macronutrient be it carbohydrate, protein or fat, your body's metabolic rate goes up because it is using energy to digest those foods. This is why complex carbohydrates (carbs coming from foods rich of fiber) are your prime choice. By maintaining an elevated metabolic rate you are literally burning body fat as you are just sitting around and eating.
But it's not just your metabolic rate. By consuming more meals you are properly spreading your macronutrients throughout your day. See, if you eat only 2 or 3 times you are putting too much on your plate at once - your body needs time to digest foods and those that it cannot digest in a fixed amount of time it will store as body fat so it can use it later as a secondary source of energy.
By eating 5-7 times a day you allow your body to have enough time to properly digest all of the nutrients and for all of the nutrients to come into use and NOT get stored as body fat.
5. Consume more fiber
As I briefly mentioned in the last point, dietary fiber increases your metabolic rate as it makes your body "try harder" to digest those foods that are higher in fiber.
There are even cases where your body will burn more calories digest the food than the food itself gives in return. Apples are one of those foods.
Foods that are high on fiber are also with a lower glycemic index meaning that you are going to maintain normal blood sugar and not get any insulin spikes, thus maintain a low level of insulin.
Furthermore, foods that are high in fiber are also the reason for satiety - the feeling of fullness. This will not specifically target weight loss, but it will help you as it will make sure you feel less hungry and you crave less for food (especially junk-food).
6. Hydrate yourself
Drinking water is essential if you are hoping to lose those extra pounds. Interestingly enough, approximately 75% of US citizens suffer from what is referred to as "chronic mild-dehydration". Knowing that 2% drop in body water can lead to small but yet noticeable shrinkage of the brain and lead to problems with concentration and slow down thinking, I would advise for you to pay more attention to your water consumption!
Considering that we are here to talk about weight loss it would be silly to not mention how exactly does water affect your performance.
Studies have shown that by drinking two cups of cold water a day you boost your body's metabolic rate with approximately 30 percent! It has also been roughly estimated that by drinking two cups of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for year can burn up to 17,500 extra calories - roughly 5 pounds of body fat.
Water also helps your body filtrate itself from any harmful toxins that may have a negative effect on your weight loss. Toxins are usually associated with their ability to hinder your metabolic rate, to increase cortisol (stress hormone) levels, to increase fat storages, to increase catabolism, and many other negative effects. By filtrating your body of these toxins you boost your weight loss.
7. Cheat meals
Whenever I talk about the positive effects that cheat meals have on the body's ability to lose weight most people tend to think I am crazy for even referring it in the first place.
There is a simple rule in fitness that applies for pretty much everything - quantity over quality. I know that this sounds odd, but yes quantity wins over quality this time.
The idea is that more time you can last under the influence of your diet the better results you will be able to achieve in the long-run. Because self-improvement and body transformations take time. They are not processes that occur over a week or so, they take a solid amount of time. And following common sense - the longer you stay the better results you will be able to achieve. Judge for yourself, what sounds better:
- You follow a flawless diet and a flawless training program for two months. You give up because you cannot deal with the constant cravings of junk foods.
- You follow a really goods diet and workout program, with small cheat meals involved in the process where you allow yourself to eat whatever you want. You end up training for 4 years now and you are still going.
In which scenario do you believe that the individual will end up with the better looking body?
Furthermore, there is a scientific side of why cheat meals are so important for you. I am not going to go into too much detail as this post will end up being 10,000 words long, but in to briefly explain - due to the fact that cheat meals have a higher calories and contain more carbohydrates they cause your leptin (a protein produced by fat tissue that affects appetite and regulates energy balance in the body) levels to go up and your ghrelin (peptide hormone produced by the stomach is an appetite stimulant) levels to fall down.
8. Use higher intensity
Cardio is an important element that should never be overlooked. It will surely bring changes and improve your weight loss. However you must make sure that you have chosen the right type of cardio, otherwise you might end up with poor results.
There are two types of cardio - low intensity cardio and high intensity cardio.
- Low intensity cardio is where you keep your body in movement for a longer period of time (usually about 30-60 minutes). These would involve exercises such as jogging and slow cycling.
- High intensity cardio is where you push your body to its limits. It usually involves fast bursts of energy in short periods of time (roughly 5-10 minutes). Sprints, swimming sprints, cycling sprints.
Always make sure that you have a high intensity cardio in your training regime. Low intensity cardio can help you, but it will not really improve much. Your cardio will only be elevated during the cardio session, once you stop being in movement it falls down to its normal state. High intensity on the other hand will keep your metabolic rate increased for a longer period of time (3-6 hours). Meaning that you are constantly using energy during that time.
Do not overdo it! Have one or maximum two high intensity sessions in your week. If you do too much of it then you may harm yourself.
Also, it's always good to combine HI with LI. Do high intensity training first to release fatty acids into your blood stream and then implement low intensity to use those fatty acids as energy. This can also be implemented with a weight resistance training and LI.
9. Train before breakfast
This is considered by some as a myth and by others as a religion. I personally believe that it's a good way to shed down some extra pounds of body fat. Make sure, however, that you do use BCAA supplementation to ensure that you do not harm your muscle mass in the process.
The idea here is quite straightforward - your body's at a low glycemic storage at breakfast time. This means that if it's going to use energy it will go for your secondary source - body fat storage. By using LI exercises (make sure it's LI and not HI as exercises that are higher in intensity tend to target carbohydrates and considering that you have non early in the morning then you are going to lose a lot more muscle that way) you target those fats as a source of energy.
1g of fat is equal to 9 calories, meaning that if you burn 200 calories during your before-breakfast-training you have burned 20g of fat. For some this may not seem like a lot but believe me when I tell you, it is.
This method is also primarily used to lower those last, hard to remove pounds of body fat, not really used for large amounts.
Do not overuse this method. I would recommend doing it once a week at different points of the week, change it up to make sure that your body never gets accustomed to your regime. And make sure that you have consumed BCAA to prevent catabolism.
10. Be patient
I know that this may not seem as much of an advise, but trust me I wish I had somebody to tell me this when I was starting off.
Remember that weight loss takes time. By implementing all of the points I have given you in this post you will improve your results, but it takes time. All of those famous fitness models look like that because they have been training and eating properly for years now! Do not expect miracles and be realistic about your results.
And as time passes you will notice your results coming into play!
Following these tips will definitely change and improve your weight loss results. However, keep in mind that they are not magic. They will not cause your body to go into some impressive states where you lose 5 pounds a week and within a month you have the body of a fitness model. No.
These tips are as I like to call them "gym science". They are proven facts, if you will, that will work and help you no matter what. They work on different people in different ways as everything comes down to genetics. If you have good genetics you may end up losing more than a person who has not as good of a genetic structure as you do and vice versa.
They most important tip that I can give, consider it as a bonus tip, is to be consistent. Focus on the long-run not on the short-term results. With the proper set of motivation and perception you will able to achieve an astonishing body as time is the only thing that is separating you from it - the question is not whether you will have a good body, the question is when will you.
I hope you enjoyed this brief article and that I have managed to help you out somehow. Thank you for reading!