Are you trying to lose weight? Good news! You are not alone. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2 out of 3 American adults are considered overweight or obese. What’s surprising is the fact that more than $65 billion is spent by Americans to lose weight, and this figure is steadily increasing every year. However, we always associate losing weight to unhealthy diets as well as vigorous workout routines. That’s no longer the case my friend. Allow me to share with you some healthier and safer means on how to lose weight fast.
1. Stay Away from Sweet Foods
The Science of Sugar
Sugar is the primary antagonist if you want to lose weight. Why? Let us go a little scientific here but not too technical. Your body needs sugar as it is one of your primary sources of energy. However, the Independent publication explains that once your body has more sugar than what it can burn, it converts that into fats and stores them for future use. The most common regions where fats are usually stored are belly, hips, butt and breasts – the reason why you gain weight.
Why It’s Hard to Stay Away From Sweets?
So are you wondering why it’s hard to resist if something sweet is in front of you? It all started when you were still a baby. A study in Washington University posted in BBC website shows that newborns have a distinct preference for sweet flavors. When we eat sugar, a neurotransmitter called dopamine is released, and our brain interprets it as something pleasurable. Furthermore, the human body is naturally programmed to crave for high-energy food sources like sugars.
Sugar and Diet Mathematics
Now we’re almost screwed! Our body is programmed to take in sugar, but it causes weight gain. What should we do? Let us do the math. Take note that only remaining sugar turns into fat. Therefore, you need to take in just enough sugar that your body can digest. The same article from BBC reports that a study NHS says sugar should not take more than 10% of the energy you get from all foods and beverages. This figure is about 70g a day for men and 50 g per day.
2. Reduce Your Carbohydrate Intake
The Journey of Carbohydrates in the Human Body
Carbohydrates, like sugar, is one of the body’s mains source of energy. Diabetes UK explains what happens to carbs inside our body. Once you take in carbohydrates, it is quickly digested and converted into glucose in your bloodstream (Yes, carbs turns into sugar). Your body is so fascinating that once it detects glucose in the blood. It instructs your pancreas to produce more insulin. This is a hormone in charge of storing fats. With an elevated amount of insulin circulating in your bloodstream, more carbohydrates are stored by your body in the form of fats.
Just like sugars, moderation in your carbohydrate intake is the primary ingredient to reduce weight. Carbohydrates are also one of the key sources of energy. Riva Greenberg, a diabetes advocate, recommended in a Huffington Post article to look for healthier sources of carbohydrates. She said that some sources of carbohydrates like nuts, legumes, and sweet potatoes that contain a low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a ranking on how carbs can easily affect your blood sugar level. Therefore, lower the glycemic level, healthier the carbs.
One of the best ways to control carb intake is self-regulation. You need to watch how much carbs are you taking in every day. If you feel like you have eaten too much than what you need, balance it out by being more active during the day. Nobody knows your body more than you do.
3. Eat Fiber-Rich Foods
If there’s one thing that you are allowed to eat more to weigh less, it’s dietary fiber. Dietary Fibers are actually part of the food that we can’t digest. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported about a study in Annals of Internal Medicine showing that people who were allowed to consume 30 grams of fiber daily lost a significant amount of weight compared to those who didn’t.
Dietary Fibers at Work
So how exactly do dietary fibers help you lose weight? Fibers are divided into two classifications – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers flush away excess sugars and cholesterol reducing them to the normal levels. Insoluble fibers, on the other hand, are not digested and are not dissolved by water. CNN Health website explains that insoluble fibers absorb water to bulk them up and remove all wastes from your gastrointestinal track. Insoluble fibers are associated with the feeling of being full thereby reducing your calorie intake resulting in weight loss.
Too Much Fiber – Not Good
As with any other vitamins and minerals, excessive intake of fiber will do your body harm. UCSF Health says that dietary fiber intake must be between 25-30 grams per day. If you are not huge on fiber before, allow your body to adjust by taking in just a few grams a day until you reach the recommended amount. Side effects of having too much fiber are abdominal cramps, gas, bloating and constipation. It can be remedied by simply drinking at least 2 liters of water a day.
4. Drink Lots of Water
They don’t call water the universal solvent for nothing. In almost all articles about losing weight, drinking water will always be an item. In a study conducted on 48 obese men and women published in CNN, participants who drank 16 ounces of water lost 15.5 pounds in three months. The weight loss was not only effective but almost long lasting.
How Water Helps You Reduce Weight?
So how exactly does drinking water reduces your weight? Dr. Brenda Davy, Ph.D., the head of the same study says that they cannot determine precisely the connection of drinking more water to weight loss. However, they are able to come up with the following possibilities:
- Water makes you feel full consequently preventing you from eating more
- Water has zero calories
- Water attracts a 30% increase in metabolic rate according to National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Furthermore, water reduces your appetite and cravings for sweets
- Water dilutes the sugar level in your blood preventing insulin spikes as a result
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Health experts are in unison in saying that drinking approximately two liters of water is the recommended amount. However, this volume is especially affected by a person’s sex, age and activities. For example, a fitness junkie should be drinking more water than an office manager as he is expected to sweat more.
If you are postponing your first day in the gym, you need to think twice. Weight gain happens when what you put inside your body is more than what you shed off. If suppressing appetite or controlling cravings is not for you, then you probably need to sweat more. According to a study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted in Statistic Brain, your body can only burn 350 calories, it’s the regular stuff. This number is tiny when compared to 1800 to 2000 recommended daily calorie intake. Hence, they recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
Kinds of Exercises
Although there are hundreds of exercise routines that you can perform, they are classified into two:
1. Aerobic or Cardiovascular
These types of exercise are those that will require you to use more oxygen. It also benefits your cardiovascular health by keeping your heart beat faster.
Examples of cardiovascular exercises include:
2. Anaerobic Exercises
These routines require strength and power. They help to build muscle mass and bone density as a result. Compared to cardio, anaerobic exercises are usually performed at high intensities but shorter durations. Examples of anaerobic routines include:
- High-intensity training
Other Benefits of Exercise:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists a host of advantages you could avail through exercise and other physical activities:
- Reduces the risks of heart attacks
- Lowers cholesterol level in the blood
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces the risks of diabetes
- Improves skeletal system
- Reduces stress and depression
6. Count Your Calories
We need to eat and drink to support bodily functions and have energy. These foods are measured in terms of calories (a unit of energy) which you can see in the nutrition facts of every product’s label. To ensure that you burn what you eat, it is important to keep track of the number of calories you consume every day. It will give you an idea if you need to stay longer in the gym to compensate excessive calorie intake.
How Calories and Weight Loss is Related?
According to CDC, calorie balance is the ultimate way to maintaining your weight. To put into something that you can easily understand, a pound of body fat is approximately 3500 calories. It means that if you want to trim your flabby belly, you need to consume fewer calories than what your body needs. If your calories deplete but your body still needs more to perform its tasks, it will start burning body fats where most energy is stored.
A Modern Way to Track Your Calories
The wonders of technology are now allowing us to be healthier than ever. There are available applications online that help you track the number of calories you have consumed. You can also input your goal weight, and it will let you know how much calories should you limit yourself to achieve the target on time. Download an application and start counting up to the last calorie. Meanwhile, here’s a link to a tutorial video on how to keep track of your calorie intake:
7. Never Skip Meals
Contrary to common belief, skipping meals can make you gain instead of losing weight. Cutting the number of meals in a day is usually a part of fad and crash diets which experts don’t recommend. Forbes reports that the American Journal of Epidemiology found out that people who skip meals are 4.5 times more likely to be obese. When you skip a meal, your metabolism slows down, and your body switches to starving mode as a result. Hence, it reduces the consumption of fats to a minimum so that it will never run out of resources.
Eat More Times and Lose Weight
You’ve read it right. NIDDK suggests that eating more than three times a day in small portions will help you burn calories. You are consequently tricking your body’s metabolism not to stop as more foods are coming in. You also help regulate the amount of sugar in your blood avoiding sudden spikes resulting to weight gain.
Eating the Right Food At the Right Time
Losing weight is not just about the frequency eating and the volume of food. It’s also about quality and timing. Eat more in the morning and less as the day ends with healthy snacks in between. It might be the best eating habit that you need to develop. You also need to be clever about food swaps. Learn to replace a high-calorie food with a healthier version such as honey for sugar or Greek yogurt for a sour cream.
8. Build More Muscle Mass
Furthermore, you may think that building muscles help you lose weight because you are sweating (burning fats) in doing high-intensity routines. It’s also true, but we’re not referring to the apparent reason. So what exactly are we talking about here? Not everyone knows that the body burns more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than a pound of fat. Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., of Elements Behavioral Health told GQ Magazine that the more muscles you grow, the more “extra” calories you burn.
Growing More Muscles
Building stronger muscles is possible in the following ways:
- Doing a variety of high-intensity routines
- Progressive bodybuilding
- High-protein diet
- Stay away from vices
- Stick to your workout plan and avoid cheating
In addition, here’s a link to a video showing how to build muscle mass the old school way:
Do not Rush Things Up
You might be keen to build those biceps and well-toned abs while burning more calories but hold your horses for a while. Telegraph reiterates that rest is an essential component of building muscle mass. You might be tempted to over-train to see results quickly, but it’s bad. Lifting weights actually “tears” your muscles and taking some rest is a great opportunity for repair and development. More importantly, always seek your doctor’s approval to avoid any injuries.
9. Tweak Your Metabolism
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is frequently mentioned when weight loss is the subject of the conversation. But not everyone knows what exactly metabolism is all about. It’s a chemical process that happens inside your body continuously. It is the reason why your body can perform its essential functions like keeping your heart beat, secreting hormones and more. For these processes to take place, energy is required. The Basal Metabolic Rate is the rate your body consumes energy (in the form of calories from the food you eat) to carry on with its tasks.
How Metabolism and Weight are Related?
Tweaking Your Metabolism
If there’s someone who can tell if your metabolism is slowing down, it’s you. The Huffington Post shares the good news that metabolism can be tweaked to a rate that you prefer. If losing weight is your goal, speeding up your metabolism is the best way to go. Here are some tips on how to speed up your body’s fat-burning process:
- Drink water before every meal
- Stretch every once in awhile
- Replace sweet beverages with tea
- Eat small healthy snacks
- Eat fiber-rich foods and
- Eat spicy foods
10. Cheat On Your Diet
It may sound absurd but believe it or not cheating on your diet helps you lose weight. Ramona Josephson, a Vancouver-based registered dietitian, expounds the importance of cheating in keeping you on track. She says in Reader’s Digest’s Best Health that eating foods that you’ve deprived yourself will foster sustainable diet. It minimizes the craving tendencies that can lead to overeating.
We need to be clear about what we meant by cheating. It does not give you the liberty to eat your heart and pamper yourself with unimaginable indulgence. Breena Fretz, a public health dietitian at Brant County Health Unit in Ontario has a better plan. She suggests eating small amounts of “sinful” foods amounting to 100 calories. This amount is just enough not to affect the diet you have protected for the whole week. Also, limit cheating to a meal instead of a day.
Plan Your Cheating
When you cheat, you still need to account the number of calories you take. Avoid going way beyond your normal calorie count. The best way to control your cheat meal is through proportions. You may take as many kinds of food as you want but ensure you’re getting the appropriate serving size – Forbes reports.
11 .Stay Away from Stress
According to American Psychological Association, 44% of Americans say that their stress level has increased over the past year. It may not be directly related, but stress affects your weight significantly. Some may claim that they lost weight due to stress. However, for some people, the effect of stress is different. They develop cravings and reduces their interest to embrace a healthy lifestyle.
Effects of Stress on the Human Body
When your brain feels the presence of pressure and threat, it releases hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. Once the effect of adrenaline subsides, cortisol or the stress hormone stays on your system triggering your mind to replenish through food. When you are stressed and pressured, Psychology Today tells us that we tend to favor easy to prepare and comfort foods. The only problem is that none of them are healthy. Stress can also cause sleepless nights. The longer you stay awake, the more you are prone to eating and adding up more calories.
How to Fight Stress?
We can never completely get rid of stress. What we can do is manage it. The way we handle stress differs from one people to another. Try these simple ways in managing stress that could save you a few hours in the gym:
- Exercise: A morning jog or brisk walking can significantly reduce cortisol level and promotes good mood aside from speeding up your metabolism.
- Treat Yourself: A simple visit to the salon for foot spa is a better way to handle stress compared to enjoying a buffet lunch.
- Meditation: Meditation can relax your mind and body. It is an effective stress reliever and energy booster
- Get Enough Sleep: Your Body rejuvenates and resets back to its optimum capacity when your sleep is enough.
Losing weight is never an easy thing to do. Some take drastic measures such as taking supplements just to lose weight. It’s not the safe
Did you enjoy this article? Do you have other ways of losing weight without compromising your health? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends. You’ll never know how many lives you can change by sharing this information.