Losing weight is one of the most difficult things for someone to do. Even well-intentioned and driven people will frequently quit an exercise or nutrition program within a couple of months. Why? Because it can be hard. Really hard. Ask anyone that has lost a significant amount of weight just how difficult it was. Odds are they were faced with obstacle after obstacle; setback after setback; losing a bit of poundage only to put it back on again.
Then there’s this…it’s not only losing unwanted pounds, but keeping them off. Most of us cannot afford a physical trainer or nutritionist. Most of us are required to rely on ourselves to navigate this extremely difficult path. But here’s the thing…we tend to overcomplicate the methodology (i.e., “the science) behind losing weight. Sans for someone with a type of metabolic disorder or genetic predisposition towards obesity, the majority of us have subconsciously programmed ourselves to interpret the difficulties of losing weight as impossibilities. It’s not impossible…if you know what you’re doing.
To this end, we’ve constructed eight simple, scientifically-validated methods of losing weight. You’ll see that none of these methods require anything beyond a bit of willpower, discipline, and knowledge.
Let’s get to it!
Here are eight behaviors, attitudes and practices that will help you lose those unwanted pounds easier:
1. Understand that 30 minutes is plenty
It’s a misguided perception that weight loss requires long workout sessions. Scientists and researchers at the University of Copenhagen cite that “no statistically significant changes were found in energy intake or non-exercise physical activity that could explain the different (results) associated with 30 vs. 60 minutes of daily aerobic exercise.”
It gets better. The same study discovered that a half hour of exercise results in 25 percent more weight loss than a full hour.
2. Learn the basics of nutrition…and read those labels
Various studies demonstrate that people who understand the elements of nutrition (e.g. fats, carbohydrates, sodium) are more likely to lose weight. Understanding recommended nutrition levels such as Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) equips people with the requisite knowledge to confidently interpret nutrition labels.
Together, a basic knowledge of nutrition, along with a developed habit of reading food labels before purchasing food items, can go a long way in propelling someone forward in meeting their weight loss goals.
3. Keep chugging that H2O
The correlation between lots of water and expedited weight loss is valid – and is so for a variety of reasons. First, drinking water increases the sense of satiety (i.e. “fullness”). Second, natural water contains zero calories – and, since consumption induces satiety – one consumes less calories. Naturally, this results in weight loss. Third, folks that develop a preference for water commonly replace other sugar- and calorie-laden beverages (e.g., beer, soda).
Bottom line: drinking plenty of water can stimulate weight loss.
4. “Spice up” that metabolism
This one is relatively straightforward: spicy food kicks the metabolism into a higher gear. Metabolism is the main physiological mechanism for conversion and/or “burning” of fat.
Aside from the uptick in metabolic rate, spicy foods (similar to water) also helps promote feelings of fullness. In cohort, these two properties can significantly expedite any efforts to lose weight.
5. Stock up on high-quality foods
In a study published by Harvard University’s School of Public Heath (HSPH), “The strongest evidence to date shows that calories matter, but focusing on food quality is an equally important part of preventing weight gain and promoting weight loss.”
The HSPH study provides specific examples of such foods; citing those that are unrefined and minimally-processed. Such foods include: vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, healthy protein sources, and whole grains.
6. Don’t “get too comfortable”
The phrase “don’t get too comfortable, in this case, applies to the level of heat which we expose our body to. Studies demonstrate a correlation between reduced exposure to lower temperatures and increased rates of obesity.
The rationale: when we’re cold, our skeletal muscles must remain active (“shiver”) to create heat. During this period, our bodies are burning excess calories. In contrast, when we’re “warm and cozy,” our muscles remain at rest. The result? We burn less calories and store more fat.
7. Don’t eat (heavily) after supper
According to WebMD, there’s not anything wrong with eating after supper; so long as it consists of a “light, healthy snack.” Our metabolism, like many other bodily systems, “winds down” at night, especially when we are asleep. As such, it’s wise to abstain from carb- and fat-laden foods before hitting the sack.
Some ideas: 100-calorie snack packs, low-fat yogurt, fruit, or a small serving of popcorn.
8. Plan your meals
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” is certainly applicable here. Do you need to meticulously account for every gram of every ingredient in every meal? No. But, as mentioned, you must possess at least a basic knowledge of food, and how that food is received by the body.
It’s a good idea to have (at minimum) a basic outline of what kind of food you’ll eat on any given day. For example, eggs for protein in the morning; snack in the mid-morning; chicken and salad at lunch; whole-grain pasta at dinner…etc. etc.
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