The clever and stupid ways to lose weight.
Losing weight is one thing people crave and will go to many lengths to achieve. This article outlines the good and the bad ways to do this.
Cutting calories and stopping eating.
The classic thought process is that if you stop eating you will lose weight. In reality successful weight loss is best achieved when the body knows that food is easily available yet you are eating less than what you need. This is because you possess a powerful famine response survival mechanism. This would have served to keep you alive thousands of years ago when we were Hunter-Gathers.
The body’s famine response works by increasing the amount of fat storing enzymes and increasing your hunger during times of food shortage. It also shuts down your metabolic rate so you burn less calories per day. It does this so any food you do eat is stored as fat until your next meal and the increased hunger makes it more likely you would go out and catch some food.
Today, in the West we are not in a famine. However, eating irregularly or drastically cutting calories tricks the body into sensing a famine and employing its survival response. This makes you better at storing fat and increases your appetite. At this point losing weight is very difficult as food becomes more tempting and metabolic rate slows. You will still lose fat if you can stick to it but almost no one ever does.
This is perhaps the most unhealthy way to lose weight as starving yourself thin depletes the body of vital nutrients. To react to this your body will lower its metabolic rate and stop performing non essential health functions in an attempt to survive. This means that even if you lose weight it doesn’t mean you are getting healthier.
It can also results in large losses of muscle tissue which for any athlete or rugby player will undermine their performance potential.
Taking a slimming pill or similar product.
There is no one product that can achieve weight loss. To lose weight effectively it is about changing the energy balance of the body so that you begin to use up fat stores. A slimming pill just acts like a drug temporarily raising the metabolic rate but increases are minimal. Many estimate it to be just 3% which is less 75 calories for the average person. That is not even a third of a chocolate bar. While some claim bigger gains even the most outrageous claim is still no more than a chocolate bar’s worth of calories. A higher metabolic rate will also bring stronger hunger which is not overly helpful when dieting and there are also numerous health issues involved as side effects of the products. NO supplement can match the effect of a good exercise session. If these worked then why wouldn’t they be given out by every doctor?
Following a diet.
Most people cannot follow rigid diets. The trend these days are for either low to no carb, low fat or vegetarian based diets. All of these mean you are too low on one of the macro nutrients your body needs. The result is almost every diet will fail the majority of people. The wise option if following a diet is to select a diet plan than will not take you low in any specific nutrient for what your body needs.
Going Exercise Crazy
Another common method is to play the numbers game once more and flog yourself on the exercise machines for one or more hours. On the one hand this is a good thing but people run into problems if they exercise at the expense of addressing food or if in combination with too strict a diet they are greatly under consuming calories or macro nutrients, the result is the inevitable binge and falling off the diet only to not get back on. If your diet is in place though this approach is powerful for results.
Build your health and fitness
For many they take a clean diet approach to build their health which is great but many complain that they do not see body fat losses. This is because even though you can eat more clean food than dirty food before you gain fat you can still get fat eating good foods. This is where the health vs fat loss approach run into each other. There is no one diet that can otimise both these elements. It could be you could eat 3000 calories of clean food before you gain fat. However, for fat loss that same diet may need to be of 2200 calories not 3000. The reality is you need to manipulate some of the variable to at different points of the year to get both optimal sports and health performance as well as optimised fat loss.
The best method to lose fat is to sensibly control your eating, ensure you roughly hit your ideal macro nutrients and move every day. While none of these individual days will be overly spectacular, if you run 30 of them together you get a huge change. If you put 90 together you have created a ridiculous body transformation.