Lifestyle

Some thoughts about weight (and how to drop a few lbs)

I have found that most articles about dropping a few pounds don’t offer good losing weight tips. Most is fodder that peddles weight loss aids to shed fat. That exercise equipment and supplementation just fills the manufacturer’s pockets with your cash, and chances are you still don’t drop those 10 lbs. I know I don’t.

Although what you are reading is anecdotal (all info comes with a disclaimer and is provided AS IS), I have based it on a little common sense, my own trial and error, studying the human body, and cycling and resistance training.

I have found the easy way to lose fat and keep it off revolves around five good losing weight tips:

1. Eat healthful foods
2. Control your portions while eating just a little less
3. Exercise a little bit harder or longer, including mixing up the routine
4. Sleep well to recover
5. Drink lots of water

Each of these are in your control and are safe weight loss techniques. And you can do them.

We’ll look at each in this in this article. First, though, let’s learn a little bit about metabolism because it can throw a monkey wrench into the ideas of good losing weight tips.

What is metabolism?

Your metabolism, which is regulated by your thyroid gland, determines how quickly your body converts food and drink into energy. The energy your body needs on a daily basis to keep your organs running is called the basal metabolic rate. This rate is affected by many factors, including body size, body composition, age, sex.

Body size, body composition: Muscle mass requires calories, which means the body will need a faster metabolic rate.

Age: The older we get, the less muscle mass we have, which decreases the amount of calories we expend.

Sex: Frequency has nothing to do with this; it’s about the anatomy and physiology of men and women. Most men usually have more muscle and less body fat than women. The increased musculature of men typically increases calorie expenditure.

You are probably noticing that you want your body to have increased calorie expenditure.

Many times you can control this by eating slightly less calories at more frequent intervals, quality exercise, getting enough sleep, and improving your unhealthy habits, which we will get to.

There are medications as well as medical conditions that can cause a slow metabolism, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome — these are items your doctor would need to diagnose and explain.

Metabolism and healthy weight loss

Although a slow metabolism due to a medical condition can be the cause of weight gain, there’s a higher possibility that you are not eating enough to achieve healthy weight loss.

As mentioned, the body needs a certain amount of calories to keep your internal organs working, but if you don’t get enough calories, you will have a slow metabolism that will slow down your body processes, and conserve calories.

That’s one reason why those I’ll-starve-myself-until-I’m-skinny diets are not good for you.

They also force your body to cannibalize itself, eating away fat and muscle tissue, which is not a healthy weight loss technique. (You don’t want to destroy your muscle; you want to keep it to help you burn calories.)

Your body will become malnourished, not getting proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Fatigue and illness will rear their heads. That’s bad and not safe.

You can also lose weight through water loss, becoming dehydrated. That’s bad, too, because you’ll need to become hydrated soon or later and gain the weight back.

Safe weight loss will increase metabolism naturally. There are a few ways to boost metabolism, which are related to those five ideas mentioned above.

Eating six small, healthy meals a day

Eating six healthy meals through the day will keep your metabolism going steady and provides one of the best good losing weight tips.

The focus of a good, healthy meal should be on fruits and vegetables, with whole grains and lean protein sources such as fat-free milk, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Keeping saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and sugar low is important.

Processed foods should be kept to a minimum — i.e., as a special treat every few weeks, not every week!

Controling portion size

It’s possible to eat healthy and gain weight because your portions are not in check. For example, if one serving size of chicken is 2 oz, then that 4 oz portion on your plate is going to have double the calories. Scale back portions and eat just a little less.

This doesn’t have to be dramatic and you won’t even notice. For example, cutting out 150 calories a day, which is equivalent to one 12 ounce soda, will mean you lose 1/2 pound in a week.

Small changes over time are the basis of healthy weight loss.

Exercise

Quality exercise burns calories long after you are done with it.

I use two forms, including body weight strength training and cycling for weight loss. The point is that resistance training and cardiovascular exercise in combination are effective.

Now, ladies, don’t think that weight training is only for men — quite the contrary. You won’t look like a body-builder from working the iron or doing body weight exercises. Getting big muscles requires eating a lot of protein to get your body to grow. Training with weights will also strengthen bones, which is beneficial for women who are at a higher risk for osteoporosis.

Lifting weight benefits: One of the keys to resistance training for losing weight is doing compound lifts.

Compound lifts activate more muscles, which means a lot of energy — i.e., calories — is needed. These lifts include movements such as pull-ups/chin-ups, lunges/squats, bench press/push-ups.

Each of these exercises targets a muscle but recruits additional muscles to help the target muscle. As the fat melts away, the muscle will ideally grow slightly enough to fill in any sagging skin from weight loss.

One note: The exercises can be done with body weight, dumbbells, or plates — at home or at the gym. The exception may be pull-ups/chin-ups, which require a bar to pull yourself up to. You can use a tree branch to do them or do them on playground equipment at the park, but it’s easier to just get a inexpensive doorway pull-up bar if you work out at home. (Don’t worry this is not a gimmick device.)

Bicycling loss: Cardio is good for strengthening your heart, which is a muscle. I prefer riding my bike, but running, brisk walking, swimming, etc. are all good forms.

The important point with cardio is to make sure your heart rate is elevated enough to get a workout. A little harder workout — say doing intervals — requires more calories than a steady workout and will help develop strength and lose weight.

A long cardio session is good, too, for weight loss, but I’ve found that intervals twice a week will boost metabolism naturally and has a big effect on weight loss.

The weight loss from exercise typically comes after the workout, so it doesn’t matter the time of day you do it — just that you do it.

Sleeping well at night

Your body recovers when it sleeps. Getting a good night’s rest is important to keep your body in tip-top shape and this is a very good losing weight tip.

Drinking lots of water

More than half you body weight is water. This substance is needed to carry all the quality nutrients throughout your body as well as remove any toxic materials.

As you can see, good losing weight tips are healthy and safe. They don’t require a gym membership or supplementation, so ignore all those weight loss aids and boost your metabolism naturally.

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