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How To Lose Weight: A 3-Step Guide To Reducing Body Fat

“Now that we know that a reduction in body fat percentage is our weight loss goal, here is the ultimate guide for those of us hoping to fit into our favorite clothes again.”

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Defining Your Goal

Remember your favorite shirt? Does it still fit? If not, what is the best way to lose weight? Before we can answer that, we must define exactly what losing weight means. Weight loss does not always equate to a reduction in body fat. In fact, weight loss is usually the result of a bigger goal. For example, if our goal is to reduce our overall body fat percentage, we are setting out to change the composition of our body. Therefore, any weight loss that takes place during your body composition change is simply a result of you meeting your overall goal; dropping body fat. As we can see, a reduction in scale weight is not the goal itself. It may seem trivial, but it is important for this reason. If your goal is to make weight for an athletic event, you are now setting out to weigh less than you did before you started. Both scenarios require a completely different approach, and failing to correctly identify that approach will surely result in falling short of your goal.

Now that we know that a reduction in body fat percentage is our weight loss goal, here is the ultimate guide for those of us hoping to fit into our favorite clothes again.

Guide Overview:

  • Suppress your hunger.

  • Accelerate the overall reduction of body fat and weight loss.

  • Improve your overall health.

1. Pick a Method of Eating  

Occasionally methods of eating get confused with diets themselves. A diet refers to the restriction or addition of specific foods in hopes of having an effect on the body. However, your method of eating refers to how and when you chose to ingest the food sources that make up your diet. Below are a few examples from each category:

Popular Eating Methods     

  • Intermittent Fasting

  • Flexible Dieting

  • Meal Timing

Popular Diets

  • Ketogenic Diet

  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism

  • Weight Watchers Diet

Picking a method of eating that is favorable for your lifestyle will allow you to sustain your diet with a great deal of accuracy. Doing so can lead to accelerated results, and will almost surely have a positive effect on your relationship with food. With a solid eating method and a safe diet, the CDC says most people can expect to lose around 1-2 pounds per week if they are cutting weight at a healthy pace. Although factors such as water and sodium intake may drastically effect scale weight from day to day, the 1-2 pound per week mark is set to be an overall average.

2. Get Familiar with your Macronutrient Intake

Macro-nutrients can be an intimidating word to some, if that is the case, worry no more. Macro-nutrients are simply the dietary substances that an organism requires a relatively high amount of to maintain life. In other words, the three macro-nutrients for humans are carbohydrates, lipids (fats), and protein. The foundational difference between diets largely comes down to their approach to macro intake. For example, the ketogenic diet relies on the suppression of carbohydrates to induce ketosis. On the other hand, the Mediterranean diet does not restrict any specific macro group and focuses on moderation. Below, we will examine each macro group and the popular dieting choices that go along with them:

Carbohydrates

 General Facts – Carbs can be defined as sugars, starches, and fibers that enter the body and break down into glucose. Carbs are abundant in fruits, vegetables, and grain-based foods like bread, cereal, and pasta. Carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories; simple carbs, and complex carbs. Monosaccharides (single sugar carbs) and disaccharides (two sugar carbs) are classified as simple carbs. On the other hand, complex carbs, also known as polysaccharides, are defined as carbs with three or more sugars.

Popular Dietary Carbohydrate Sources

  • Oatmeal

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Rice

  • A Variety of Bread

  • A Variety of Pasta

Protein

 General Facts – Protein, commonly found in animal products (but not restricted to animal products), is composed in a variety of ways using 20 different amino acids. In the sports world, the two most common types of protein discussed are whey protein and casein protein. Whey protein is naturally found in milk and is produced via a process that involves liquid extraction, pasteurization, and drying the remains until it converts into a powder form. Much like whey, casein is another type of protein naturally found in milk. Although similar, the extraction process for casein protein is much simpler; extract the curds from curdled milk, and you have extracted casein. Casein also contains all essential amino acids but has a lower level of leucine and a longer digestion period.

Popular Protein Sources:

  • Chicken

  • Turkey

  • Eggs

  • Soy Protein

  • Beans

  • Nuts

Lipids (Fats)

 General Facts – Although carbs are the bodies primary energy source, fat is the bodies most abundant. Fat also aids in the absorption of vitamins, acts as an insulator for the body, protects vital organs, and aids in the health of the skin. Outside sources of essential fats, also known as fatty acids, contribute to brain development and inflammation control. Fats can be reduced to three main categories; saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and trans fats. The difference between the three come down to their molecular structure and the number of hydrogen atoms connected to said structures.

Popular Dietary Fat Sources:

  • Avocados

  • Fish

  • Whole Eggs

  • Whole Milk Yogurt

  • Chia Seeds

   Familiarizing yourself with your diets macronutrient requirements will give you an idea of what you are in for. For example, whether your goal is weight loss or weight gain, examining the macronutrient requirements of popular diets will ensure that you do not set yourself up for failure by committing to something that is unsustainable.

3. Lift Weights 

When your eating method and diet have you burning more calories than you take in, this is called a caloric deficit. If you are hoping to lose weight, a caloric deficit is a necessity. On the contrary, if you are hoping to gain weight, a caloric surplus is a necessity. The truth is, you can control whether you gain or lose weight solely in the kitchen. This is important because one of the first things that people hear when they go on a weight loss journey is that cardio burns calories better than any other form of exercise. Make no mistake about it, studies show that the science supports that claim, and often does so heavily. Original arguments in favor of weightlifting revolved around the metabolic effect lifting weights have on your body long after you finish. Because the process of healing from a resistance workout is so much more vigorous than recovering from a cardio session, there is an argument that the amount of calories you burn during and after lifting weights surpasses a cardio session in totality. While there is science that is suggestive for both claims, the true effects of weightlifting pertain to positive changes in body composition. In fact, it is impossible to get toned doing only cardio. Yes, you read that right. Impossible! To further that, having a “toned” body is simply having dense, lean muscle mass that is complimented with a low body fat percentage. In simpler terms, weight training will have to be a staple of your overall program if you are chasing an aesthetically pleasing figure. Below we will examine a study performed by the Journal Of Applied Physiology that will help you decide if resistance training is for you.

The Study: Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults.

Date Published: December 15th, 2012

Details: Duke University Researchers spent 8 months tracking 119 overnight volunteers while they went through aerobic training, resistance training, or a combination of both.

The Cardio Group

  • Lost 3.5 Pounds

  • Exercised 47 Minutes Less (Weekly) Than The Resistance Trainers

The Resistance Training Group

  • Lost No Weight

  • Gained 2 Pounds

  • Exercised For 47 Minutes Longer Than The Cardio Group

  • Gained Lean Muscle Mass

The Cardio-Plus-Resistance Group

  • Lost The Highest Percentage of Body Fat

  • Lost The Most Weight

  • Saw The Greatest Improvement In Body Composition

  • Spent Twice As Much Time In The Gym (Over 90 Minutes)

Conclusion

Co-author, Duke University’s Chris Slentz, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine concluded: “Minute per minute, cardio burns more calories, so it works best for reducing fat mass and body mass.” The science states that incorporating weight lifting into your cardio program will not only get you to your overall goal faster, it is actually the most efficient way to get it done.

5 Bonus Tips To Help New Comers Accelerate Weight Loss

These tips are to be used as generic “rules” to kick-start your weight loss journey. If you see something below that goes directly against your diet, follow your program. Otherwise, pick a few tips, try them out for two weeks, and compare the difference. Remember, sustainability is the name of the game. Here are 5 tips to accelerate weight loss:

  1. Avoid Calorically Dense Drinks – Because most drinks are absolutely packed with sugar, the number of calories we consume by including them in our diets is absurd. Switching to calorie-free drink choices can drastically accelerate your weight loss, especially if you have a soda, sweetened coffee, or sweet tea habit.

  2. Get Plenty Of Sleep – Studies show that poor sleeping habits can be a leading factor in weight gain. Every portion of your diet and exercise program will greatly benefit from regulating your sleep cycle.

  3. Drink Water 30 Minutes Before Each Meal – Studies show that 500ml of water consumed about 30 minutes before each meal can increase overall weight loss by up to 44%.

  4. Weigh Yourself Daily – Contrary to popular belief, studies show that those who weigh themselves on a daily basis have a much higher chance at not only losing weight but keeping it off over a long period of time.

  5. Get Your Fiber – Studies show that ingesting the proper amount of soluble fibers may help reduce belly fat. Keep in mind, spot reducing when losing weight is not possible, but there are some things that our bodies prefer that may accelerate the process.

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