Losing weight is no lesser than a herculean task. There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the right nutrition and exercises for weight loss.
Factors like inactivity, binge eating, stress, depression, lack of meal planning, inadequate knowledge, low-quality food consumption, are some reasons that lead to undesirable weight gain.
It’s not impossible to lose weight, though; with determination and consistent efforts towards the right direction, you can make it possible.
What is the right direction though?
Follow the mentioned steps for an insider’s guide:
Weight Loss Concept
A human body needs a particular amount of calories every day so that it can maintain the body weight. It is also called as a caloric maintenance level.
You need a minimum amount of energy for body processes and daily activities. At least, a bare minimum of 1200 calories is required every day. You cannot function well without harming your health if you consume less calories.
The concept of weight loss is simple: consume lesser calories than your daily maintenance level to lose weight.
What is the daily maintenance level?
For bodily processes such as heart pumping, breathing, digestion, assimilation, etc. the number of calories required are called “basal metabolic rate”. Simply put, to cover the base of body processes, up to 70% of the calories you consume is burned.
BMR are also called as “Resting Metabolic Rate”, or “couch potato calories”. Rest watching TV all day long, without any physical activities, still you will burn this bare minimum amount of calories.
Here’s how you calculate BMR:
A daily caloric requirement can be calculated by knowing your exact BMR. It also depends on the level of physical activity you go through every day.
For people who exercise once in a blue moon, daily calorie requirement to maintain weight is BMR X 1.2
Multiply your BMR by 1.375 if you work out one to three days in a week
For people who exercise 3 to 5 days in a week, caloric requirement is BMR X 1.55
If you are engaged in strenuous physical activity daily, multiply the BMR by 1.725
For people who are fitness freaks, and who even exercise twice per day, multiply the BMR by 1.9
Example: If your BMR is 1700, and you exercise 3 to 4 days per week, your BMR is 2635 calories, i.e., the maintenance level. If you consume any more than this, the excess amount of calories will be stored as fat in your body. The simple way to lose weight: keep a calorie count and consume lesser calories than your BMR.
Agreed that weight loss has become so hyped all across the globe, but the fact is, this is all there is to weight loss.
Keep it simple, and you will start noticing changes. 1 pound of weight is equivalent to 3500 calories.
If you can create a deficit of 500 calories every day, you end up losing 1 pound per week. You can achieve this either via dieting, or exercise or both.
How To Lose Weight: Nutrition Guide
What to eat and what not to eat?
One of the biggest myths around weight conscious people is: starving helps weight loss.
In fact, it has been proven that consuming lesser than 1200 calories for any person aids in weight gain. It is not healthy too, leading to many health hazards later.
It is important that your body gets fueled by the right nutrients in the appropriate proportion. Losing weight in a healthy manner must be a top priority.
You may have noticed suggestions of “what not to eat when you are overweight” all around, hardly few people put insights on “what exactly you can eat”. Some handy tips with regards to this are:
Need for a healthy breakfast cannot be stressed more in today’s fast paced world.
These day’s first meal is instrumental in stimulating the body metabolism and recharging the body after a long starvation period.
The body is in a catabolic state in the earlier part of the day, gradually shifting to the anabolic phase during the latter part. It is important to get quickly out of the catabolic state by feeding the body with the right nutrients.
Consuming early morning healthy breakfast raises the metabolism level thus, it aiding the constant burning of calories throughout the day.
Believe it or not, a healthy breakfast aids weight loss.
Research has shown that people who skip the first meal of the day tend to hog on unhealthy food items later, thus consuming unhealthy calories which get stored as fat.
Here are a few tips for healthy breakfast ideas for weight loss:
You can count on eggs if you are looking to lose weight fast and in a healthy way.
The best part about eggs is, you can have them boiled, fried, scrambled, poached and satisfy your taste buds too.
Our body needs a proportionate amount of protein. Consuming 0.8 – 1.8 g/kg protein is suggested. If you are a fitness freak, a higher multiplying factor is suggested.
Eggs are one of the best sources of protein, loaded with 6-7 g high-quality protein.
Many studies have hinted at the fact that eggs can help aid weight loss. For people who believe lesser the amount of carbs consumed, better the chances of burning extra fat, eggs are the best bet.
One cup of oatmeal cooked with water adds about 166 calories to your meal.
You can mix them with skimmed milk, add fruits especially berries and have it fresh.
Oats are loaded with fibre content, which helps give you a full feeling since fibers take the time to get digested in the body.
For longer periods of time, you can beat hunger. So eating it right in the morning serves well for overweight people.
Slow releasing carbohydrates in oats helps keep the blood sugar level under control.
According to a study that has been published in the “Journal of American Dietetic Association”, people who consumed whole grain oat cereal in place of low-fiber foods for breakfast, lost more weight and experienced more reduction in waist circumference.
3. Fresh Fruits
Fresh fruits contain antioxidants, natural sugars, potassium and loaded with fibre. They pack a punch as essential vitamins and minerals are concerned.
Fresh fruits help in weight loss by warding off excess fat and cholesterol.
Berries, for instance, are powerhouses of nutrition. Morning breakfast is the best time to consume them; you can hog on a strawberry.
One popular myth is that fresh fruit juice can be a good replacement in place of fresh fruit.
When fruits are squeezed to make juice, most of the nutrients, i.e., fibre and vitamins soluble in water are lost.
For instance, the pulpy white part in orange has flavonoids that aid many metabolic processes in the body. Flavonoids and Vitamin C work together to support good health.
Moreover, added sugar to these fruit juices only increases the calories you consume without proper nutrition. See for yourself the ingredients list in “real fruit juice”, where exactly is the fruit?
4. Whole- Grain Cereal
Whole grain cereals have lesser quantities of fats and have high fiber content.
Fiber helps you have a good digestive health.
Have a good look at the ingredients, though, some cereals these days are filled with added sugar, it is as if you are hogging on cookies for breakfast, thinking you are consuming something healthy for the body.
Research says that those who eat whole grain cereals run a lower risk of attracting diabetes and health related disorders.
5. Fiber-rich foods
Fiber helps balance insulin level in the body, that helps digestion so that vitamins and minerals can be absorbed with ease.
Fibre does not carry any calories; you definitely cannot miss out on these foods during the “cutting phase”.
Consume 30-50 grams of fibre every day and you will notice changes. Here are some good fibre sources:
- Green Peppers
Amino Acids for Weight Loss
Eating protein-rich foods helps lose weight. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of proteins that build the muscle tissues in our body. Amino acids are responsible for creating fat burning enzymes.
For instance, L-tyrosine is known to boost loss of weight, epinephrine lowers appetite and prevents you from consuming more calories, L-Phenylalanine maintains weight and L-carnitine help maintain weight by utilizing fat as the source of energy.
Also, as compared to carbs and fats, proteins contains very less amount of calories. Good sources of protein include cottage cheese, egg albumin protein, whey protein, soybean, chicken breast, beef, turkey, etc.
Casein protein that is present in cottage cheese is a slow calorie releasing protein. The best time to consume a food source rich in casein is before going to bed.
Whey protein, on the other hand, is a fast releasing protein. Especially after a workout, whey protein is the best food you can invest in. It repairs the muscle tissues and prevents the breakdown of muscles in the body, and also helps lose extra fat.
According to a study, increased protein intake through whey protein for 23 consecutive weeks helped bring down the fat mass from 12 to 23% in overweight people.
31 obese women who were on a calorie restricted diet plan were given 50 grams of whey protein daily keeping all others factors constant, and it was observed that the fat loss enhanced considerably.
It due to higher the muscle mass more calorie will be utilised my muscles to get energy.
Water for weight loss
It has been proven that chilled water burns more calories than normal temperature water.
Say you consume around 8 glasses of room temperature water everyday on a given day, and 8 glasses of chilled water another day. You will lose 70 more calories with chilled water.
The difference in temperature is noted by the body, and it burns calories to reach an equilibrium temperature.
It is vital to stay hydrated always. Drinking water helps boost metabolism and helps with digestion that has a direct bearing on fat loss.
Sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate between hunger and thirst. There are many times the stomach does not feel full and people start eating unnecessary stuff.
If water can do the job of making you feel fuller, limiting caloric intake is easier.
Sleeping benefits weight loss
For proper functioning of the mind and body, adequate sleep up to 8 hours is required every day.
Also, more than the amount of sleep, the quality of sleep matters too. All the healing processes inside the body happen during that rest period.
Muscle building, protein transfer to reduce breakdown of muscles, and various other healing take place in the night. Good sleep is the key to keeping metabolism at its peak levels.
Myths That Are Hurdles For Your Weight Loss Goal
Fat makes you fat
Sounds so common, doesn’t it?
People go for low-fat foods thinking they are proper alternatives for weight loss. However, these so-called “no fat” foods have many artificial sweeteners and starch that only add extra calories to your diet.
They only ruin weight loss plan, making us more overweight.
When fats are absent from your diet, the conversion of carbohydrates and fats starts taking place, thus still increasing the fat reservoir in your body.
Go for healthier fats such as vegetable oils, muesli, fish oil supplements, etc. Try foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) found in healthy plant oils, nuts and olive oil.
MUFA rich diet helps in losing body fat and improving calorie burn throughout the day. Do not consume saturated fats, which are very tough to burn off and add no nutritional value to your diet.
Unsaturated fats, especially omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are vital for the body as they help in the production of testosterone.
The immune system is bettered too when you consume unsaturated fats. Walnuts, flax seed oil, safflower oil are some good sources of fats.
Remember this rule: go for liquid fats more than solid fats.
No carbohydrates = weight loss
It is true that carb-rich foods pack on calories but, at least, 130g of carbs every day are recommended for the proper functioning of the brain.
Carbohydrates help keep the energy level high, helping in the production of serotonin and neurotransmitters in the brain.
It’s proven through research that consuming lesser than 130g of carbs every day results in the lack of production of serotonin and other neurotransmitters essential for proper function of the brain.
A constant amount of carb percentage is required to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue and fats in the body.
Taking “good carbs” such as starches, bread, pasta, potatoes, is recommended. Good carbs have low glycemic indices, measures of how fast and by how much the blood sugar level spikes up. High GI foods get converted into fat easily.
Consuming “bad carbs” such as white rice, white bread, processed snacks, increases the blood sugar level faster and makes you want more.
Good carbs, on the other hand, are broken down slowly, releasing sugar into bloodstream consistently, making you feel satiated. Fruits, vegetables, beans, meat, whole grain cereals and pasta, etc., have fibre content too, helping in weight loss.
Simply counting calories will help you become leaner, no matter where they come from
Your body needs proportionate carbs, proteins and fats each day. You just cannot compromise on any one of these just because weight loss means consuming fewer calories. It is a step totally in the wrong direction.
Each food are different as well as carbs. So just don’t blindly count carbs. You should just eat healthy foods.
Top Tips To Lose Weight Quickly
- Start your day with healthy breakfast.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated
- Eat frequently for 4-6 times
- Eat small portion but include healthy nutrients foods like veggies, fruits, cereals, whole grain, poultry, etc
- Sleep 7-8 hour
- Avoid stress to prevent emotional eating
How To Lose Weight: Exercise Guide
Weight loss, ideally should be achieved by controlling calorie intake, and working out, both at the same time.
Here is an important tip: you do not need excessive workouts to lose weight.
Nevertheless, aim for high-intensity workouts. More than the number of exercises you do, the quality of your sets and reps matter the most.
Make sure the time you spend in the gym, or in the park, is well utilized. Here are some exercises that will help you reach your goal weight:
Perhaps the most common exercise for weight loss is cardio. It gets your heart rate up, increases the stamina and aids fat loss.
High-Intensity Interval Training, for instance, is very effective. The workout takes a little time but is very intense regarding effort and performance.
The workout is performed for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds rest, and the whole cycle is repeated up to eight times.
Gradually, the time duration can be increased. This workout should be performed maximum three times per week. The best part about this training is, you do not need fancy gym equipment to perform them.
Do them at any place, anytime you want to, making sure the intensity level is matched. Incorporate lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, running, skipping, ab crunches, etc. in HIIT.
2. Circuit Training
Circuit training is another cardio exercise very effective for weight conscious people. Aerobic exercises are mixed up with resistance training, with minimal rest between sets and repetitions so that a high-intensity level is maintained throughout the workout.
The goal is to maximum the expenditure of calories in as little time as possible. Beginners can start with an exercise, continue the repetitions and rest for 30 seconds after it is done.
A total of three exercises is there, with three mini circuits, and 60-90 seconds gap between two circuits.
Intermediate and advanced trainers can perform all seven exercises as a giant circuit and repeat them two more times.
Gradually, if you can reduce the rest time by 15 seconds, you are doing very well. A set of dumbbells, resistance bands, swiss balls, the squat rack is recommended.
Cycling is one of the best exercises, without much use of equipment. All you need is a bicycle and off you go. It burns up to 650 calories in just half an hour.
Heart and lungs get a solid workout, keeping your cardio fitness level pretty high. There are minimal chances of injury with outdoor cycling; muscle joints experience little jarring.
Secondly, quadricep, hamstring, hip muscles, glutes and calf muscles get toned. This aids in the ability to burn fat.
The influx of oxygen to the capillaries in your leg is increased, thereby promoting more weight loss. As compared to walking and jogging, for the same amount of time, outdoor cycling burns double a number of calories.
If you are looking to lose over a pound in a week, make sure you engage in at least one hour of cycling. Combine it with other high-intensity training exercises to lose weight fast.
Swimming is another sports activity known to burn more than 350 calories in half an hour. It must be noted that rigorous swimming is meant here, not leisurely once-in-a-while swimming.
If you are among those who do not like working out at the gym, try intense swimming and burn up to 3000 calories in a week, which is really good.
Another out of intense gym training is stair training. It is difficult initially, but with time, you gradually notice improvements in your fitness, agility and speed.
5. Crossfit Training
Crossfit training is a good choice of exercise regimen to reach your fitness goals. You can get into shape by incorporating these very intense workouts once or twice per week. It is more of a strength and conditioning program that aims to develop overall fitness. Sprinting, weight lifting, strength exercises, jump ropes, dumbbells are some exercises in CrossFit training.
Abs Workout For A Lean Body
Don’t we all want a toned stomach? Core stabilization is the main factor when it comes to building these muscles. Incorporating abs exercise two to three times per week, in between your cardio training is a good idea
Abdominal exercises: It takes a lot of effort and dedication to build these muscles. Unlike any other muscle group, training abs are different.
Many people think that only doing crunches will build these muscles easily. It takes more time and more exercises than just crunches. Include crunches 3 times per week, workout abdominal muscles every alternate day, so that there is plenty of recovery time for them to build. Here is a guide to different exercises you can do to get shredded:
1. ¾ Sit Ups
- Secure your feet by lying down on the floor, bend your knees and place your hands on the sides. Make sure you raise your torso towards the knees.
- Go only up to ¾ of the way and come down.
- 10 to 12 repetitions, at least, is recommended, although pushing it to the point of failure is the best.
2. Bottoms Up
No, we are not talking about alcohol. This exercise works the middle and lower parts of the abdominal muscles.
- Lie back on the ground with your hands sideways. It is the initial position.
- Extend your legs directly above you; raise your glute muscles from the floor, perpendicular to the floor being the final position.
- Feel the pressure on the muscle, pause for a while and come back to the initial position. Repeat the same procedure. You may use a fixed vertical bar or a support initially.
3. Flat bench lying leg raises
- Lie on a flat bench with your legs extended from the end of the bench.
- With hands under your glutes as support, raise your legs as straight as possible, aiming for a 90-degree angle with the floor.
- Inhale as you slowly come back to the initial position. Advanced trainers can use weighted plates, holding them between the feet for more resistance to abdominal muscles.
4. Barbell side bends
- Hold a barbell at the back of your shoulders and place your feet shoulder width apart.
- Making sure your back is kept straight and head up, bend to the right only using your waist. Hold for some time, and come back to the initial position.
- Bend to the left hand side now, and repeat the process.
This exercise primarily focuses on oblique abdominal muscles. It must be noted that men and women with a weak lower back should take adequate care while performing these movements. Appropriate weight barbell must be selected.
- Support your toes and forearms, keeping the elbows and fists perpendicular to the floor.
- Make sure the body is straight, but spine and neck neutral. With your eyes on the floor, flex your abs as much as you can and hold this position until you can feel the burn.
You may try the side plank exercise too.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding To Lose Weight:
Q. Should eating before sleep be totally stopped to lose weight?
Ans: The fact is eating at night does not lead to weight gain. As the weight loss concept was explained, the reason for additional fat in the body is the extra calories that you consume and the imbalance in macronutrient composition.
Weight control does not depend on the time of the day that you eat. If you consume too many calories in breakfast too, ultimately you will gain weight. It is the quality of food that you eat that matters.
Yes, eating bad carbohydrates and fats before sleep will be a step in the wrong direction.
The metabolic pathway changes from catabolic to anabolic as the day progresses, which means towards the night, whatever we consume is broken down far slowly.
In mornings, it is safe to eat carbohydrates and proteins as the body is in a catabolic state. Consume foods that can be digested slowly before sleep.
Fibre-rich foods, casein protein in particular that is found in cottage cheese, green vegetables and protein shakes mixed with a considerable amount of good carbs are good food sources before sleep. The key is to understand the natural metabolic rhythm of the body, and not disturb it.
Q. Can I lose weight by just working out and not focusing on my diet?
Ans: No. If you do not keep a check on the amount calories, you consume and the types of foods you eat, you are just undoing all the hard work you did at the gym.
As they say, abs are built in the kitchen, and not in the gym. Same is for weight loss.
Q. Why is it that during the initial period of a diet, weight is lost faster?
Ans: When you are in the “cutting phase”, you reduce a number of calories consumed and also consume a lesser quantity of carbohydrates.
In this phase, the body naturally flushes out a low of water, thus supporting weight loss through “week one weight reduction”.
One point to be noted here is: never take the amount of weight lost during the first week very seriously. During the 1st week, we lose much of water weight. After this, the real changes start to happen.
Q. How to balance between weight loss and muscle retention?
Ans: Aim for not to lose weight more than 1.5 to 2 pounds per week through training and dieting. Any more than that means muscle loss too.
Q. Is starving well for weight loss?
Ans: First of all, starving is not a typical lifestyle situation to be in. There will be a time when you will switch back to normal diet regimen. Whatever weight you lose while starving will be back once you get out of the starvation mode.
Avoid fad diets: for instance, drinking only cabbage soup for a week. Also, with fad diets, you lose more muscle mass than fat. The result? More body fat percentage!
Q. Can we include cheat meals once in a while?
Ans: Yes. Even some of the fittest athletes and ripped bodybuilders include a cheat meal once per week. That said, make sure you strike the right balance.
Now that all the knowledge has been gained, it is time for implementation.
First of all, you must have a compelling reason to change. Weight loss is a slow process, but hard work never goes unrewarded.
Make sure you have a diary specifically meant for your fitness plan.
So you next plan should be healthy diets and fitness routine. Start enjoying this two and you won’t fell burden of weight loss.
Do the things for your health not for a quick fix. The moment you start doing right to your body, it will also respond quicker and better way.
After that, you don’t have to remember to eat healthy food. You will do it without realising it.
So go for it and you will surely lose weight and become healthier day by day.