To lose weight in a healthy manner and keep it off for life, you need to work hard and work smart. I want to share Livestrong.com's advice for weightloss. Four lifestyle modifications are useful -- the meal replacement strategy, meal timing, aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise. Your weight loss program will not work over the long term if it is a one-shot project. It must be a permanent lifestyle change.
The Weight Loss Equation
There is no magic to weight loss, asserts Vanderbilt University. Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you take in by eating. Your body burns calories in three ways -- by exercise, by heat generation and by performing basic metabolic functions, such as breathing. You can directly control how much you eat and how much you exercise. You can indirectly control how many calories your body uses to perform basic metabolic functions by building muscle mass.
The Meal Replacement Strategy
Pay attention to the content of the food you eat more so than the volume of food that you eat, advises Penn State Strength Fitness. This is because nutritious food usually contains fewer calories per unit of volume than unhealthy food, because a nutritious diet will ensure that the weight you lose is fat instead of muscle, and because a low-volume diet will leave you constantly hungry. Focus on gradually replacing entire categories of food with more nutritious categories. Replace sweets with fruits, for example, red meat with chicken, and french fries with rice. A great TOOL for managing your food/caloric intake is myplate on the Livestrong website.
Weight training is anaerobic, because it relies on short, intense bursts of energy that do not consistently raise your heart rate into the aerobics zone. Weight training can support a weight loss program by permanently raising your resting metabolic rate, according to the Valley Medical Center of Renton, Wash. A high resting metabolic rate causes your body to burn more calories 24 hours a day, simply to keep you alive. Furthermore, since many of the calories you consume will be used to repair muscle tissue that you break down during a weight training workout, fewer calories are available to be stored as fat. If you control your calorie intake and eat nutritiously, any weight gain caused by new muscle mass will be more than outweighed by the fat that you will lose.
Eating six small meals a day instead of three supports a weight training program by supplying your body with just the right amount of nutrients when it needs them, according to the American Dietetic Association. Eat slowly, so that your brain will tell your stomach it's not hungry anymore in time for you to stop eating. Eat a low-fat meal high in protein immediately after a weight-training workout.
Aerobic exercise helps you lose weight because you increase your calorie expenditure while you exercise. Select an enjoyable activity (walking, jogging, biking, yoga, dancing, swimming) that raises your heart rate to between 60 and 80 percent of its maximum, advises the Cleveland Clinic, and perform it for 30 to 60 minutes per workout, three to seven days a week. To find your approximate maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.
- Vanderbilt University Psychology Department: Is There Any Magic?
- Penn State Strength Fitness: Frequently Asked Questions
- American Dietetic Association: Strength Building and Muscle Mass
- Cleveland Clinic: Exercise and Weight Control