Weight loss gimmicks. Diets. Surgery. I call it predatory fattening. There is a huge business behind keeping you fat. It’s a multi-billion dollar a year industry. So why would anyone in their right mind want to easily solve your weight problem?
Put away your credit card. I’m going to stop you from buying that next bottle of diet pills or exercise machine or whatever it is that has been shoved in your face. We’re going to get straight to the point.
It’s All About Units of Energy
Every day you burn calories – even if you don’t move. Sitting, sleeping, breathing – all burn calories. At the same time, everything we eat absorbs calories. So it becomes a simple equation:
How many calories did I CONSUME today VS. How many calories did I USE today?
If you consume more than you use, you will gain weight.
Knowing this – it comes down to 3 simple things to lose weight:
- Eat less (or eat less caloric foods) and exercise as much as you normally do.
- Exercise more and eat the same amount you do every day.
- Exercise more and eat less (or eat less caloric foods).
The Problem with Exercising is You Tend to Eat More
This is why people have such a hard time staying in shape – even though they go to the gym every day.
It turns out that your body will “trick” you into eating more because it thinks you need more calories to aid in your exercise routine. So you will end up eating more than usual, without even knowing it. Unless you are carefully counting calories.
My solution is not to start by exercising more, but start first by focusing on counting calories. Because if you never count your calories, you have no idea if you consuming more calories than you should be – therefore rending all dieting and weight loss attempts useless.
Thank God for the 21st Century
Luckily we live in a time where technology has made it incredibly easy to keep track of calories. Everything we eat is usually accompanied by a calorie per serving. Therefore, you can carefully gauge how many calories you consume every day. Ironically, this is why fast food is actually healthy: they are the only restaurants that provide this information! If you go down to the latest, trendy, hipster-foodie joint that is blowing up on Yelp – you’ll never know how many calories you’re eating when you get a meal there.
Then the final piece of the puzzle is to figure out how many calories you should eat per day. I say pick a target and see what happens. I tried an 1800 calorie target which was WAY under what I should be eating every day (but at the time I didn’t know any better). I’m a grown, adult male and I loss a considerable amount of weight. I didn’t change my exercise routine at all. However, I did have to find ways to eat food that was bulky but not calorie rich (brown rice and sweet potato). That really helped fighting off the hunger late at night.
At the end of this article we listed some phone apps that help you count your calories. But first here are some helpful tips that you can help you lose weight without even realizing it.
Psst!! We highly recommend you watch Downsize Me. It’s a great documentary that goes over this topic is superb detail.
That’s right, laughing is a great way for you to burn calories while having fun. In fact, research shows that just 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10 to 40 calories a day! (Depending on your weight & the intensity of the laughter) Scientists say that it’s enough to cut 1 to 4 pounds a year! Can you believe that? You can literally watch your favorite comedy show once a day and lose up to 80 calories in one sitting.
2. Eat Breakfast Every Day!
One habit that’s common for many people who have lost weight & kept it off is eating breakfast every day. Research shows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it helps to regulate your metabolism. Many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast in the morning to cut calories. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast have lower BMI than those that skip breakfast. You don’t have to eat a full meal to get your day going. Eating a cereal bar along with a fruit and some milk or juice can be enough to start your day.
3. Take a Cold Shower!
Your body likes to maintain a homeostasis of 98.6 degrees. When your body gets cold, your body will do everything it can to get back to natural state. As a result, your body must burn calories to do that. Heat = Calories! Studies have shown that taking 30-minute cold showers can help you burn 50% more calories.
You heard me. The more you sleep, the more calories you will burn. Not getting enough sleep can cause your metabolism to become irregular. By sleeping anywhere from 7-9 hours a day you can maintain a healthy metabolism. Research has shown that an extra 3 hours of sleep can burned 400 more calories!
5. Drink a Glass of Cold Water!
Yep! Research shows that drinking ice water first thing in the morning can rev up your metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day. Maximize the benefits by continuing to sip on ice water throughout the day.
6. Take The Stairs.
Better yet, skip stairs. By doing so, you will be able to strengthen your leg muscles. Building muscle helps you burn calories throughout the day. It has been shown that 5 minutes of stair climbing burns up to 144 calories. If you take the stairs often, definitely give this a try.
7. Chew Gum!
Try sticking to sugarless gum if you can. Research has found that the action of jaw muscles alone burns about 11 calories an hour. If you chew gum for 12 hours a day, you can chew up 132 calories! This may not seem a lot, but small steps can make big difference.
8. Don’t Go To Bed hungry!
Try to eat a healthy snack before bed if you are hungry. When you are hungry and don’t eat, your body will automatically go into “starvation mode” by lowering your metabolism to conserve calories. Eating a piece of fruit or a high fiber snack will do the job. But of course if you are not hungry, then just skip any bedtime snacks.
9. Drink Green Tea!
Green tea has been known to have a wide range of health benefits. One of the main benefits is that it can help with weight loss. Research shows that drinking green tea helps to reduce fat, and stimulate the metabolism. Green tea can help accelerate your metabolism by 4% that amounts to about 100 calories a day.
10. Eat Spicy Foods!
Have you ever eaten something so spicy that it’s got you sweating? Well, Eating spicy foods can temporarily boost your metabolism and help burn calories. Research shows that you can burn up to 100 calories a day by eating spicy foods.
To sum it all up, one pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you do the math, cutting 500 calories a day can get you to lose about a pound a week. If you aim to burn an extra 100 calories a day, you can lose about 1 pound per month. Or, if you’re simply trying to maintain you’re current weight, cutting 100 calories a day can help you avoid gaining 1-2 pounds a year. So… if you’re looking to lose a couple of pounds or simply maintain your weight, definitely give some of these tricks a try.
And to make this easier – we’ve included some phone apps!
We have provided a short list of mobile phone apps (both for iPhone and Android) that help you count calories. Be sure to arm yourself with this weight fighting technology!
- MyPlate Calorie Tracker (iPhone & Droid)
- MyFitnessPal Calorie Tracker & Diet Tracker (iPhone & Droid)
- Lose It! (iPhone & Droid)
- Restaurant Nutrition (iPhone)
- Meal Snap – Calorie Counting Magic (iPhone)
A Few Words Regarding Insulin…
The above method of counting calories works great. Now it’s assuming you have a fairly balanced diet. I’m not saying that it’s only going to work if you’re only eating super healthy foods all the time. But you can’t be eating only sweets and soda pop. If you are going heavy on the starches and sugars…well you will have to adjust your diet. Here is why:
What Does Insulin Do?
What is insulin? Insulin is the hormone that removes sugar from your blood and stores it in the cells to provide you energy.
For example, imagine insulin as a traffic light. Insulin’s main duty is to provide signal trafficking to the sugars in your body. When insulin is present in your blood, enzyme receptors signals a “green light” to move sugar from your blood into the cells where it can be converted to energy. Likewise, if insulin is not present, the receptors signal a “red light”. Indicating that there is no insulin in the blood and no sugar is to be moved to the cells.
Why this may be important? Well understanding how insulin works and you will understand the key to losing weight. Because your body can become resistant to insulin, this can ultimately affect you in many ways. Too much insulin can damage cells and make you fat.
A diet high in carbohydrates and lack of nutrition are the two main factors that create insulin resistance. The problem with insulin resistance is that your cells become resistant to insulin, so your body starts to make more and more insulin to solve the lack of not detecting insulin. This makes things worse because your body will produce too much insulin and will disrupt the balance of your sugar levels. This can affect your weight loss and ultimately make you fat.
How do you know if you are becoming insulin resistant? When you eat foods that are high in carbohydrates, you often feel good for the time being. However, how do you feel about two to three hours after? Some symptoms that indicate possible insulin resistant are: light headiness, suffer mood swings, find it hard to concentrate, or simply feel like snacking again.
INSULIN RESISTANCE MAKES YOU FAT?
YES! Increasing weight gain can be the first sign of someone who is becoming insulin resistant. As people become more and more insulin resistant, they get fat and their weight goes up. Because your body has become insulin resistant, your body has no choice but to store the sugars in your blood as fat. Once this happens, the foods that you eat which are high in sugar or process carbohydrates ultimately get stores as fat. This can oftentimes lead to the dreaded belly fat…
OH NO, BELLY FAT?
That’s right. Insulin resistant affects different types of cells differently, meaning they can localize in certain areas of the cells. Fat cells in the midsection (belly) are a prime example. Research has shown that these cells oftentimes are damaged because they suffer from lack of oxygen due to restricted blood flow. As a result, the fat cells in this region are the primary focus when cells need to store fat. People who struggle with belly fat in reality are examples of damaged fat cells in the stomach region.
Moral of the Story
In order to maximize your weight loss, you must BALANCE out the types of food you eat. This process does not happen over night. It has to become a part of your lifestyle. Too many high carbohydrate foods in your diet will contribute to weight gain regardless of how much low fat foods you consume if insulin resistance is present. Fats will not make you fat if it is consumed in a balanced and healthy diet. It is a common misconception that eating fats will make you fat. You shouldn’t be afraid of fat, but you also have to choose the type of fat that you consume wisely.
About the Author: A college student out to discover the correlation of happiness and health. Was never much of a health type of guy until I realized I did not have the same metabolism that I once had when I was 10.. As a result, I have uncovered some interesting tips that may help some folks achieve a healthier lifestyle. You can follow me on twitter @3ericttran and on Google+.