We’re larger than we have ever been before. While this in itself significantly increases our likelihood of developing a number of diseases and illnesses, it also tends to leave us unhappy with ourselves and those around us.
It is for this reason that we invest large portions of our income on gym memberships, supplements, juicers, and whatever other new and improved weight loss ‘fad’ that has just hit the market. We fork out our hard earned money to lose weight and improve ourselves.
Unfortunately, we rarely approach weight loss with the correct mindset. As a result, more often than not we don’t implement the correct actions.
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Rather than look at weight loss as a long term problem that needs to be corrected with a long term solution, most people try to attack it with detoxes, juice cleanses, and extremely restrictive, short-term diets. In other words, short-cuts. And, the result is predictable.
It is important to realize that weight loss is often the result of years of poor dietary habits and a lack of physical activity, and subsequently needs to be treated as such. Rather than trying to promote weight loss through radical (and unsustainable) lifestyle changes, we need to implement long-lasting, manageable, alterations to our diet and exercise regime.
By making small, manageable, and effective changes to our lifestyle we significantly increase our ability to adhere to those changes. This allows us to promote weight loss over a longer period of time without the negative associations with strict dieting, while also eliminating the likelihood of our weight ‘rebounding’.
The following changes are relatively small and simple to implement in the grand scheme of things, but they can have lasting effects on weight management – and when they are used correctly they will lead to a substantial amount of weight loss over time!
Participate in Weight Training 2-3 Times Per Week
When people think of lifting weights, they think of large muscular gym junkies who live in the gym. Unfortunately this image tends to put people off the weight room.
I say unfortunately because lifting weights and participating in weight training regularly can actually be one of the most effective methods of promoting long lasting changes in weight.
This is for two key reasons.
First, lifting weights is a form of high intensity physical activity. As a result it can provide a fantastic form of exercise that burns a huge amount of energy both during the session, and after the session is completed (when our body is recovering from our workout). By increasing our energy expenditure over a given week, we can promote continual weight loss over time.
Second, weight training does build muscle mass. Muscle tissue is actually known as active tissue, because it requires energy to function (in comparison to say, fat tissue, which does not). By increasing the amount of muscle mass we have on our body, even slightly, we can see large increases in our metabolism.
This leads to an increased daily energy expenditure irrespective of exercise (ultimately increasing the amount of energy our body needs to perform ANY activity), and can lead to increased weight loss over time.
Full body training sessions prioritizing compound movements (think squats, dead-lifts, presses, and rows), using heavy kettle-bells, barbells, and dumbbells will be your best option in this scenario.
Build Meals Around Lean Protein
While telling you to eat more of something may seem like a very poor way to promote weight loss, just hear me out. This works.
It could be debated that protein is the most important macro-nutrient we eat. Protein is essential to the physical recovery and development of tissue after exercise. It is integral to the body’s recovery processes.
There’s another important reason. Protein has additional key qualities that help promote weight loss.
Of the three main macro-nutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates), protein has the highest satiety rating. This means that per calorie, protein makes us ‘feel’ fuller, relative to any other macro-nutrient.
This increases our satisfaction after a meal, and reduces our hunger cravings throughout the day’s duration. As a result, by increasing our protein intake, we can limit our snacking throughout the day and subsequently reduce our daily energy intake without the hunger cravings associated with traditional dieting.
Protein also has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF) of the macro-nutrients. TEF describes the energy required to breakdown and digest food once it enters our gut.
Protein is a fairly complex macro-nutrient, and as such can require quite a bit of work to digest. As a result a massive 20% of the energy contained in the protein we eat is used to digest itself.
These two effects can lead to a substantial reduction in our daily energy intake, which is essential to promoting weight loss. As such, we should try and consume lean sources of protein with every meal.
Drink More Coffee
Coffee is one of the most regularly consumed beverages on the planet, frequently applauded for its stimulant like effects, where it improves alertness and mental clarity. But what is less known is that caffeine can also help promote weight loss through.
This occurs through two mechanisms.
Firstly, caffeine increases the rate at which fats are broken down and moved into the blood, increasing their availability to be used for energy. This allows our body to prioritize the use of fat for fuel, increasing our ability to burn fat.
Secondly, caffeine directly stimulates the central nervous system. This in turn causes an immediate and lasting increase in our metabolic rate (the amount of energy we burn at rest). This increases our energy expenditure over a given day, improving he rate at which we are likely to lose fat – regardless of our exercise levels.
Combined these two key effects create a great environment for fat loss, increasing our ability to burn fat while also increasing the amount of energy we need to function.
It is important to note that while caffeine’s positive effects are profound, we can consume too much of it, which can lead to potential side effects such as headaches, jitteriness, and a reduced sleep quality. As such, we should try and limit ourselves to 3-4 cups of coffee per day.
Fat loss does not have to be difficult, and it certainly doesn’t require extremely intervention. By making small, manageable, and sustainable lifestyle changes we can promote sustained weight loss over a longer period of time. This can help us achieve our weight loss goals without the negative effects associated with strict diets such as weight regain, and nasty hunger cravings!
Luke Cafferty is a fitness junkie, personal trainer, and blogger. He’s passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a strong and well-rounded physique. Check out more of his work at Strength Authority or follow him on Facebook & Twitter.
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