3 Things to understand about Weight Loss
I imagine, for the most part, that if you were to walk up to a random person on the street and ask them how to lose weight and be healthier, they’d probably give you a pretty decent answer. They would probably tell you that you need to eat a little bit less, drink more water, do more exercise and stay away from bad foods; which sounds about right.
And yet, despite this, it seems like every first world country is having some sort of obesity crisis, even though sports and exercise participation is going up in many of them, which seems to fit with what we see in the gym on a daily basis; with many people complaining in the gym that they’re doing all this exercise and yet still not seeing the results. So something is missing. People seem to have the knowledge but lack a true understanding of what it takes to lose weight, that is impeding their progress. And so with that, here are 3 things I wish people really understood about losing weight – hopefully you’ll be able to take away something from at least one of these points that might make the process that much easier.
1. Calories do matter.
Yes, a calorie is not just a calorie, and different foods will elicit different reactions in the body; both positive and negative depending on what food it is. But at the end of the day you need to know, roughly, how much food you’re eating whether by counting calories or measuring portion sizes (see: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/fix-a-broken-diet for a handy portion guide) depending on how you like to process your information.
2. Starving yourself won’t help.
Simply abstaining from food altogether isn’t the answer either, you shouldn’t feel good about the fact that you did an hour long workout and only ate a couple of strips of lettuce and a kale shake for the entire day.
The body requires fuel (or energy) to perform any process (including fat loss) → you get this fuel from food → if you don’t eat food, then there wont be much fuel to go around → if you chronically reduce the amount of fuel the body gets then it will take steps to save what little it does get and use whatever is there and available → the food you eat will get stored as fat and your body will break down whatever isn’t essential to your survival e.g. muscle →an unhealthy, flabby you.
In short: you need to eat enough to fuel your body appropriately so it has enough energy to breakdown and utilise fats, while maintaining or even increasing your muscles so you are left with a toned and healthy body.
3. Don’t forget the water.
People get so caught up on what they’re eating that they forget about the biggest need of all: water. People think they drink enough – they’re wrong (probably). The problem is people get so used to being chronically dehydrated that it just becomes normal. The amount of water you need to drink will naturally vary depending on where you are in the world and what exercise/daily activities you’re performing – for those of us here in the Middle East a good place to start would be to drink at least 3l of water per day minimum and that’s still probably on the low side (here’s a useful guide to be able to tell if you’re hydrated or not: http://www.livestrong.com/article/438381-how-can-i-tell-when-my-body-is-hydrated/).
Exercise and nutrition can seem complicated but gaining real understanding in just a few of the basic principles can help you go along way to hitting your weight loss goals. Once you have some of these points nailed down, you can then start to explore how different foods and food ratios can impact your body composition further.