What Is Really Necessary To Lose Weight Safely?
By Guest Blogger: Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
The premise is simple…A calorie deficit must be created through exercise to lose fat, and a small calorie intake reduction. This means more energy needs to go out than comes in.
While this sounds good, life is never that simple.
Certain problems can arise that may counteract all efforts to lose weight safely:
1. Appetite can increase with activity level (this cancels out the energy expended).
2. The body will attempt to conserve weight during times of increased activity and reduced calorie intake (body becomes more efficient with energy).
3. Scales do not tell how much of your body weight is made up of muscle, fat, or water.
4. We all know someone who eats a lot (and eats a lot of “forbidden foods”) yet does not seem to gain a pound, while others eat very little and still have difficulty in altering their body composition.
Following these tips to lose weight safely can ensure you get the most out of any exercises to lose fat:
1. Your exercises to lose fat must include weight training to build muscle mass and increase metabolism. And you must exercise to lose fat consistently. The energy expenditure will help develop a negative caloric balance.
2. Base your success on how you feel, how your clothes fit, and how well you perform in your sport or activity, not on what the scale reads.
3. Don’t starve yourself. The body has an inborn mechanism that can shut down its metabolism, and it becomes extremely efficient in saving and storing energy. Eat nutritious meals spaced evenly throughout the day to maintain your metabolism and provide energy for exercise to lose fat. Lose weight safely by reducing any unnecessary food intake.
4. Remember, you’re trying to eat fewer calories than are needed to maintain your current weight. Aim to reduce the calories by a maximum of 20% (i.e. 200-400 per day). Caution: Never go lower than 1500 total daily calories. Reducing the amount of fat in your diet greatly helps in reaching a calorie deficit (because each gram of fat has 9 calories).
5. Don’t eat “fat-free” foods in excess. Remember the aim is a calorie deficit! Most fat-free products contain more carbohydrates in the form of sugar to make up for the lack of taste. There are no magic foods or forbidden foods. Some are better than others, but very few items need to be fully excluded from a diet. Allow yourself at least the occasional treat.
6. Choose water as your low-calorie fluid source, unless you need the nutrients that are provided by a glass of milk or juice.
Ask yourself these simple questions about weight loss and answer as honestly as you can:
1. Do you really need to lose weight? Losing weight often involves certain sacrifices, so determine if it is really necessary for health or performance and then make full commitment to the goal.
2. Can you decrease your food intake without your health suffering? Try to reduce calories with your health in mind by reducing the foods with least nutritional value (i.e. processed foods, sugary drinks, excess sauces, and sugar).
3. Are you truly hungry when you eat? Are you just thirsty, bored or stressed? Oftentimes, we’re really thirsty when we experience hunger pangs.
4. Are you active for only 30 minutes (exercises to lose fat) and then stuck in a chair for the rest of the day? Consider this before you justify an increase in caloric intake.
My friend and colleague, Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and an at-large write for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen among many other publications. He is the mastermind behind Turbulence Training™, a fat loss workout and nutrition system that have helped thousands of men and women to safely lose weight and gain muscle
Craig debunks the common myths of how to lose weight.Watch his video on the real truth about fat loss.