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When we talk about weight loss, most people want quick results. While speedy weight loss can be possible through a healthy and safe routine, the amount of promising yo-yo diets available online send a wrong message to the masses. Following these crash diets can lead to short term weight loss but it is highly unlikely to lose fat this way, and most people are only able to lose water weight which comes back on quite fast once you are off the diet. So how do we make sure that the routine you opt for is safe and will guarantee long term results? The answer might be simpler than you think. We are here to help you on your weight loss journey with some amazing science backed weight loss tips that is guaranteed to help you lose weight fast and in a healthy way, so that you can maintain it for the rest of your life.
The Math of Weight Loss
When we step on the scale, we think that we are measuring the amount of fat in our body. This is a completely wrong concept and misleading as it not only discourages you, it also gives rise to self-loathing and body dysmorphia. To lose weight, you need to understand what your body weight actually represents when you finally muster up the courage to step on that scale.
The human body weight doesn’t only signify the amount of fat, but also represents muscle mass, organs, fluids (including water weight, blood and lymphatics), bones, partly digested food and waste, and glycogen that’s stored in the muscles and liver to be used for energy and fuel when needed. If your weight fluctuates, it doesn’t necessarily have to be fat gain, it could be a variation in the water content, perhaps you ate something high in salt and it caused bloating that can easily go away in a day. It could be due to a large meal or due to constipation as well, or due to the stored glycogen in the liver and muscles.
So the first step towards a healthy weight loss is to get rid of the misconception that a gain in weight has to be just due to fats. Secondly, sometimes during our journey of weight loss, we end up gaining some weight. This could be due to strength training and a high protein diet, so that the amount of fat you lose is replaced by equally or more weight gained by an increase in muscle mass. This is quite healthy as a single pound of muscle is much leaner as compared to the same amount of fat, and also allows you to burn more calories and appear fit, but the numbers on the scale don’t change at all, and can even increase! So if you are working hard and doing everything the right and healthy weight, you shouldn’t lose heart by seeing an unexpected number on the scale, and stay motivated and hopeful.
Here are some tips to get rid of that stubborn fat.
Losing the Bad Fats
Yes, fats are also good and bad. There are some fats that are much needed by the body. For instance, fat is present in the brain to protect it and also help in its healthy function. A healthy layer of fat under the skin helps in the insulation and temperature regulation of our body in changing weathers. It also protects against diseases and keeps you healthy and strong. Here are some interesting facts about fats.
To lose fat, you must understand what fat is and what kind of fats are present in the human body. ‘White fat’ is the subcutaneous fat and visceral fat that is felt under the skin. You can feel it, poke at it and pinch it. For example, the fat around your breasts, hips, thighs and belly is all white fat. When it is present in the right proportions, it gives the body a nice curvy look. The functional benefits of this white fat are manifold. It is one of the biggest source of energy in our body, and as mentioned above, it also regulated the body temperature. It keeps the organs safe as well, and provides a certain degree of cushioning to prevent injuries and accidents of low impact. As it is an energy reserve, it is also easy to gain this white fat by eating more calories than you consume in a day. The extra energy that is not put to use is stored in the body, and as the body is completely wired to hang on to it, it becomes a form of stubborn fat that’s difficult to lose.
Visceral fat is often hidden under this subcutaneous fat so that it’s not that evident. Although it protects and cushions the organs, too much of it can also push and suffocate the organs, causing inflammation and a multitude of health risks. These include many hormonal problems leading to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and even cancer in some cases. Women with belly circumference of over 35 inches can have a number of gynecological issues, as it signifies an excess of unhealthy visceral fat that’s bad for the organs.
Now we come to brown fat. You’ll be surprised to know that this is the kind of fat you actually want more of in your body. Brown fat is the type of body fat that aids in high metabolism and burning of calories rather than storing it in the body. While exercising, the body releases a hormone called irisin. With the help of this hormone, you can gain brown fat and also activate it to help in the process of healthy weight loss.
Like the leaves change colors in fall, so does the body fat. No, not particularly in fall, but with the changing seasons of our body! With a healthy workout routine and vigorous exercising, the white fat in the body can temporarily be converted to a certain type of brown fat, which is also called beige fat. This also helps in weight loss and an accelerated rate of calorie burn.
The human body is quite picky when it comes to weight loss. When you are doing a light physical activity, like typing or walking or sweating under the sun, the low intensity labor taps in to the stored fat for energy. But when you are doing something rigorous at the gym, your body starts using the stored glycogen aka carbohydrates for calories burn. There are many ways to actually trick your body into using fat as the main source of calories burn.
One of these ways is keto diet where you limit the amount of carbs so that your body mostly runs on fat for energy. Also, high intensity interval training can also tap into that stubborn fat. Any physical activity will ultimately yield fat lose when you continue it for over 30 minutes. They help to power muscles and give you the energy to put in your best efforts and crush it in the gym.
Vitamin D is Your Friend
Low levels of vitamin D can cause lethargy, depression, weight gain and swelling in the body. Our body cannot naturally produce vitamin D and we need it from outside sources to maintain steady levels in our body. Some studies prove that taking vitamin D through natural sources or via supplements can increase your chances of weight loss significantly. One of the reasons for this is that vitamin D can help lift up your mood and spirits which gives you a good perspective and motivation.
It also boosts the effectiveness of the hormone ‘leptin’ in our body. Leptin is responsible for the heightened feeling of satiety in the body by signaling the brain that the body is full. This prevents mindless eating and frequent snacking, or even craving for unhealthy meals. So make sure you are getting enough sun, and load up on some vitamin D rich healthy foods like fatty fishes (mackerel, tuna, and salmon), beef liver, egg yolks, cheese, and items fortified with Vitamin D like juices, milks and breakfast cereals.
Sensible Eating Habits
You can drop fat by making healthier and smart eating choices. Most diets urge you to have low carb meals. While this can help with weight loss for a temporary period, it can also make you exercise less as you don’t have your main source of energy! It also causes cravings that are hard to control. Carb is not the enemy, there are many healthy carbs that you can load up on, and kill it at the gym while easily controlling your portions, as healthy carbs have low glycemic index and take their sweet time to metabolize, keeping you full for longer. There are many healthy fats that in no way add to the stored fat in the body, rather help in losing it. These include fatty fishes, avocados, and a variety of nuts, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconuts. Keep your splurges and unhealthy habits in check by going for healthier alternatives of carbs and fats instead of trying to cut them off.
These healthy choices won’t come easy. Our body is wired to crave for rich and high carb meals like ice cream, cupcakes, French fries and cheeseburgers. It is similar to having an addiction, and as food is linked to comfort since birth when babies make their very first bond of affection and comfort with their mothers via milk, it is normal to have this link as a grown up too and search for this comfort in food. We won’t judge you if you’ve had an orgasmic experience while eating a triple layered chocolate cake. Here’s where your determination and focus comes to play. It may not come easy, and you are allowed to give yourself small treats every now and then, but it is possible and you can do it by keeping yourself active and aware of your caloric intake.
Slowing Down and Enjoying your Meal
How many of us literally inhale our food in one sitting? Hey, life is busy, we get it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but most of us don’t have time to really sit and have a healthy and large breakfast, or to even take our time with it. By being mindful of what you are eating, taking your time with it and chewing slowly with each bite in your mouth, you can burn more calories while consuming food, and even end up feeling full much earlier than you usually do and in this way, being more successful in portion control.
Don’t put on Netflix every time you sit down with a meal. Allow yourself to count the amount of times you chew your food. The science behind it is that the body produces less amount of the hormone ‘ghrelin’ when you chew slowly. High amounts of ghrelin boosts appetite so you crave more food. By chewing less, you can also release more peptide hormones that curbs hunger and makes you feel satiated. Effective chewing also properly breaks down the food so the body can efficiently absorb the nutrients released by it.
Connect with Nature
Embrace nature in every way and form! This includes choosing to go for a hike in the morning instead of the same lousy treadmill. It’s the simpler things in life that are not only for free, but are good for your mental health as much as your physical wellbeing. When the mental health is good, the body responds positively to it as well. Surrounding yourself with positive energy, nature and greenery and more outside air and sun can help with stress levels, and boost metabolism, ultimately leading to a loss of fat.
When it comes to nature, it’s not only about what you surround yourself with, but also what you put inside your body. The natural herbs and spices, plant based ingredients and organically grown produce can all lead to weight loss and a faster metabolism. Detox tea and green tea is an excellent source of plant based vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. It helps in the naturally detoxification and cleansing process of the body, while giving you a much needed surge of energy to enjoy for the rest of the day. It also contains a number of active compounds such as polyphenols and catechins which help with the metabolizing and burning of fat to be consumed as energy.
No, it’s not just about exercising and spending every waking hour in the gym. Staying active is much more than just workout, although it can greatly help in it by giving you more energy throughout the day. The physical act of laying down or sitting for too long without much movements contribute towards the production and storage of fat in the body. You are actively exerting high pressure on your cells, making them stretch out and generate flab. It also gives rise to cellulite and lowers metabolism.
There are very simple solutions to this problem. First of all, keeping yourself hydrate is great for these stressed out body cells. By simply moving your legs, doing some simple core movements or walking around every half an hour can help the body feel active and prevent this production of fat.
You can even make a game out of it! While enjoying your favorite TV shows or movies, you can get up and lunge when someone kisses on screen, or do 10 jumping jacks if a particularly gloomy character breaks down and cries. It’s the small thing that’s make the biggest difference in long term, and keep you healthy and active.
Fat Loss and Genetics
Sometimes, our body is inclined towards fat gain due to what scientists call ‘fat gene’. These unwanted and unpleasant genes can be passed down to us but it doesn’t make you a victim and there’s definitely a lot that can be done about it. Some body types are prone to weight gain even by inhaling around a cake, while others can enjoy an entire serving of it without even getting bloated. Yes, that’s life and some people unfortunately get the short end of the stick but have to make the best out of it.
These body types are at the risk for obesity by 20-30% as compared to others. Here’s when your determination and thought process can come into play. By the simple act of believing that you have fat genes can greatly interfere with weight loss! It adds to depression, lethargy and fatigue, as well as resentment and a low self-esteem. Instead of becoming a couch potato, if you just incorporate moderate exercise, starting with three times a week, you can really modify your energy levels and regulate your mood. With time, this can be increased according to your capacity. On average, 5 hours of exercising a week is recommended with three days dedicated to cardio and two to strength training for the best results. Anyone can lose weight, even if you are prone to gaining more due to your genetics. It’s the matter of what you train your mind to believe.