Weight loss can be defined as a decrease in bodyweight. That’s simple enough to understand but bodyweight consists mostly of muscle, fat, bones and water. So when you go on a diet what do you actually lose? Short term restrictive diets (low calorie/ missing food groups) that promise you rapid weight loss may well do just that, but does it mean the weight loss is all fat?
Unfortunately not, most of the weight lost is likely to be water considering that your body consists of 45-65% of it and levels deplete much quicker than muscle and fat stores. At the same time you can’t carry on with the diet as it’s only recommend for a short period of time, any longer and you’re likely to increase the risk of severe dehydration so you stop the diet and soon put the weight back on.
I assume that what most people are trying to achieve when attempting to lose weight is losing body FAT! But actually the opposite can occur as calorie restriction encourages the body to conserve energy (calories) by slowing down its functions which slows your metabolism down. What does this mean? Instead of burning calories your body stores them (as fat), it’s a physiological response due to the lack of food intake which acts as a survival mechanism.
So how do you actually lose fat?
As I’ve said time and time again it’s a mixture of healthy eating and regular physical activity. The truth is it’s likely to stay that way as it’s the healthiest, safest and natural method for weight management.
*Aim for a diet rich in a variety in colours (different fruits/vegetables), this gives you a wider spectrum of nutrients compared to eating the same fruit & veg all the time.
*The more natural the better so that means reduce the amount of refined foods and prepacked ready meals.
*Always have breakfast, after an overnight fast your body needs fuel (food) for the day (energy drinks do not count).
*If you energy dips midday then try eating a handful of nuts, a yogurt, piece of fruit or even rice cakes to keep you going rather than heading for the choco bars.
* Consistency is key, you should aim to be active on a regular basis a few times a week (rather than ‘saving it all for the weekend’).
* Your body adapts quickly to new activities so it’s useful to introduce change every 6-8weeks.
* Going for a brisk walk (15 minutes) before a main meal helps to stimulate your metabolism, meaning you’ll burn more calories.
* If you have more muscle you’ll burn more calories, so add strength based exercises to your workouts.
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