Today we discuss the best and worst ways to lose weight. Here’s what you should be doing, and what you should avoid on the way to reaching your goals.
You’ve decided to hit the ground running – you’re on a mission. You’re ready to shed the pounds and get to a leaner, healthier you. Today there is so much competing info on what really works, that it’s hard to wade through it.
Day one – you’re feeling pretty good. You’ve got your eye on the prize and you’re going strong.
Day two – still going strong. A few cravings here and there but you’re working past them.
Day three – getting harder now. The cravings are getting stronger and you’re not feeling so strong anymore. Where’s that motivation when you need it most.
Day four – what diet?
Between the cravings, the mood swings, the loss in muscle…it’s no surprise a lot of people struggle to lose weight. And all of these harmful feelings come about when you’re not doing the right things to get rid of those extra pounds. We’re all looking for those secret weight loss tips.
It’s an easy trap to fall into fad diets and quick fix pills– there are countless professionals and experts all across the world who tell you to do these crazy things. While there are some supplements that really help with weight loss, and some weight loss quick fixes, often we’re too eager for an immediate solution. Weight loss is about changing the way we live, eat and move; not fad diets and pills.
We assume because they have a fitness book or a great body that they must know exactly what they’re talking about. So we do what they say. Well we’re here to set the record straight and set down some facts that will help you beat your weight loss plateau and reach your goals.
Let’s talk about the best and worst ways you can lose weight. We’ll explain what’s wrong with some popular methods and what we recommend.
Weight Loss Tips: Understanding Caloric Deficit
When people want to lose weight fast (as in right this second) they slash their calorie intake. And by severely restricting their calories, they’re opening up to a world of harmful, unhealthy possibilities. There’s a smart way to do this, and a reckless way. Let’s get started.
Calories are the reason your body has energy. That’s what calories are – energy.
So when you go into a severe calorie restriction, your body is basically going into shock.
Weight Loss Tips to Remember: Not all calories are equal; but surplus will result in weight gain whether these are “healthy” calories or not.
When you start consuming less than 70% of the energy your body burns in a day, the problems are going to start. After all, creating a caloric deficit over about 30% is going to hurt.
And here’s the even worse news – the lower you go, the worse problems you’re going to deal with.
Here’s what you’re looking at. A woman who weighs about 140 pounds and exercises anywhere from three to five times on a weekly basis will probably burn about 1,600 to 1,700 calories each day.
So if a woman is getting less than 1,100 calories a day, she’s going to start dealing with some issues.
For the guys, we’ll look at a 200-pound man that exercises the same amount during the weight. He should be amazing for 2,500 to 2,600 calories each day. So if he starts taking in anything less than 1,900 calories, he’s going to be under-eating as well.
These so-called diets are actually starvation methods. Anything where you eat 30-50% of the energy you burn each day is going to qualify as a severe caloric restriction. If you’re trying to build muscle while cutting fat, this level of caloric deficit will severely hinder your performance.
So sure, if you starve yourself you’re going to lose weight quickly. But here’s why it’s a bad idea.
Weight Loss Tips: Why Losing Weight Too Quickly Is Unhealthy
First of all, most of the weight that you lose is going to be water. Keep in mind that water weight goes away quickly, meaning it also comes back pretty quickly. It’s really helpful to understand how water weight works.
Think back to your friend who lost 6 pounds in one week. At the very least, 50% of that was water. At the most, 75 to 80% of that was water. So odds are, your friend is going to gain that weight back in a matter of days. Our guess – we give it 1 to 2 days and that weight (plus some extra) will be right back on.
The fact is, water weight causes fluctuations in your body weight; this is normal.
Another reason why losing weight too fast is unhealthy: when you eat less than what your body needs to support muscle, you’re going to lose your muscle tone. Do you know how much protein you need every day? And while you’re losing muscle, you aren’t going to have the look you want.
Nobody has the goal of achieving a state of so-called skinny fat syndrome.
Your body’s metabolism is going to slow down majorly, as the overall health of your bones decreases and your rise of various kinds of diseases goes up.
One of the biggest reasons why excessive caloric deficits are counterproductive – you’re going to feel underfed and possibly sick. And it’s only going to get worse. You won’t have any energy, so forget about any workout sessions or time at the gym. Your body is going to give off some intense cravings, more than anything you’ve ever felt with any diet. You’ll find yourself feeling stressed out and unhappy, and unable to focus for long periods of time.
Obviously, majorly cutting back on calories helps you lose weight quickly…. But it’s a bad idea when you’re not properly fueling your body.
The better solution? Keep a moderate intake of calories every day and focus on the quality of those calories. High value foods provide high protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates without adding unnecessary calories to your intake–allowing you to maintain a slight deficit to burn fat, but still support muscle.
Aim for about 20% and eat around 80% of what your body burns each day. It’s a good starting place, especially if you want to continue this long term.
With this kind of healthy, moderate cutback in calories, you can expect to lose about 1 to 2 pounds of fat each week. Plus, you aren’t going to deal with any nasty side effects like you are if you cut your calories in half. You’ll still have high levels of energy, a good mood, mental clarity, and your metabolic health will actually increase.
Weight Loss Tips: Is Consistent Prolonged Caloric Deficit Safe?
Sure, it’s common sense that the longer you stay in your caloric deficit, the more weight you’re going to lose. But guess what else it can mean?
It means your metabolism is going to slow down majorly. This means you’re going to see a big decrease in muscle tone. It also means your body is going to enter a state of stress. And your anabolic hormones are going to decline as well.
A lot of people stay in a caloric deficit for way too long. Because these people haven’t been eating enough calories, their bodies have since adapted to this lower amount.
Guess what that means? They are hardly eating every day and they aren’t losing weight anymore.
So now, these people have to decide if they want to cut calories even more (if possible) or if they need to double up on their exercise. Both of these solutions are only going to prolong the issues they’re already dealing with. They’ve managed to shove themselves between a rock and a hard place.
Luckily there are some tips for improving your metabolism.
Obviously, these people want to increase their caloric intake, while giving their metabolism the repairs and attention it needs. Restricting calories to cause more weight loss is an unhealthy and, let’s be honest, unrealistic solution. There’s going to come a time when they physically aren’t able to cut back on calories anymore, leaving them stranded high and dry. Odds are, they will switch back to a normal (or higher than normal) diet and gain all the weight back. And there’s a pretty high chance that these people will gain even more weight back. So it’s an endless cycle they’re stuck in.
The only way to avoid this problem is by not getting sucked into it in the first place.
Weight Loss Tips: Setting a Realistic Timeline
If you’re looking to lose weight, your diet should be for about 10 to 12 weeks at one time. After this time, increase your calories to a more doable level (aka eating 100% of the amount of energy your body is going to burn each day). Keep this up for 2 to 3 weeks.
When you follow this type of pattern, you’re boosting your metabolism with the force it needs to speed back up. Plus, your cortisol levels are going to go back down and your overall hormone profile is going to improve. Basically, your body has the time it needs to go back to normal from the negative side effects of enforcing a calorie restriction.
If you decide after following the cycle (10 to 12 weeks of weight loss, followed by the 2 to 3 weeks of just maintenance) that you still have some weight you want to lose, go for another 10-12 weeks! In fact, you can keep this cycle up for as long as you want to lose weight or until you reach your goal.
Weight Loss Tips: Don’t Skimp On Protein
Getting involved in a diet that’s lower in problem is going to do one thing – accelerate the loss in muscles, especially while you’re in a caloric deficit.
Diets that are high in protein are actually really effective when it comes to cutting down on body fat, especially in the belly area. It can also help you lock-in lean mass levels and increase your overall satiety. This is a big one, because it’s going to prevent annoying hunger cravings and pangs that come along with being hungry.
If you don’t believe us, take a look for yourself! There are so many different case studies and research available that shows diets high in protein are the best at losing weight. This effort is even better if you’re exercising on top of it.
But the question that comes to mind is this – how much protein should you be eating on a daily basis?
Lots of research proves that protein should make up about 30% of the calories you take in during the day. But bumping that number up to 40% or even 50% is also acceptable.
In regards to most people, this is going to come out to about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein for every pound of bodyweight. So what’s the best way to reach your daily protein requirements for a fit body? Easy: keep a fresh supply of clean filtered whey protein powder. After workouts and in between meals, a protein shake is your friend whether you’re looking to lose or gain weight, and support healthy muscle throughout either path.
Weight Loss Tips: Resistance Training Beats Steady Cardio and Drives Body Recomposition
A lot of people think that resistance training while on a diet is counteractive. But to be honest, this type of specified training doesn’t just help you preserve lean mass. It can even help you build it. And that’s exactly why you should include it in your current regimen.
Even if you aren’t really focused on building muscles, it can still do a lot for you. After all, you want to preserve the muscles you already have, but get rid of some of the fat. The ideal way to do this is by incorporating resistance training with a moderate caloric deficit, as well as a higher-protein diet.
When it comes to losing fat, did you know that steady cardio fails you?
A lot of people are still stuck on this outdated equation:
WEIGHT LOSS = CARDIO
Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. Though cardio does aid in burning calories and therefore, fat, it’s a big mistake to do extreme amounts of cardio on top of dieting in order to lose weight.
Sure, the more cardio you do, the more weight you’re going to lose. But there are two big reasons why this is a bad idea.
First of all, your body is already feeling the stress because you’re cutting back on your calories. This means it’s a lot easier to overtrain yourself when you’re doing mass amounts of cardio and you are cutting calories.
Overtraining can be felt in a number of different ways, including extreme fatigue, burning yourself out, decreasing your immunity, feeling depressed, etc. Get the picture?
And there’s a ton of research that proves partaking in hardcore, prolonged endurance exercise is going to be the trigger for overtraining.
Secondly, you are a lot more likely to develop a huge metabolic slowdown. Not only does this suck, but it’s going to keep sucking, because it tends to stick around, even after your weight loss journey has stopped.
This slowdown in the metabolic rate is one of the biggest reasons why people struggle to keep their new weight after they lose huge amounts of fat.
Since their metabolisms have slowed down a lot, they can’t eat as much as they once could. If they do, they’re going to gain some serious weight.
So although cardio can be effective when it comes to weight loss, doing it for long periods of time isn’t the best route.
Instead, one of our best weight loss tips that also builds muscle, is to focus on HIIT (high intensity interval training). This is when you do shorter, but higher intensity levels of exercise and use the time resting one group of muscles as the working time of another. This is much more effective than staying in a steady state of cardio. HIIT actually creates an afterburn effect that keeps your body melting fat for up to 12 hours after your workout ends.
Aim for 25-minute long sessions about 4 times a week to see the best results. The best way to put interval training to work for your body is to combine both cardio movement and resistance training into the same workouts.
So, our final and best weight loss tips are to combine caloric deficit, high value foods, ample protein, high intensity interval training and a balanced approach that seeks gradual, healthy weight loss. Focusing on body recomposition will displace the unwanted fat with the chiseled figure you’ve been building from the inside out. Above all else, your commitment and honesty with yourself will come to be the biggest determinants in your success. Eat clean, train hard and stick with it. Remember, how you choose to act and respond to the tough days, when you want to quit, is it what will build character and keep you winning.
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