Hello fat loss. Remember me?
We’ve been here before. That place where you’re told weight loss isn’t your fault. That there’s a new (gluten free, dairy free, carb free, cookie-filled) approach that is the solution to all your problems. And that this time it will be different.
Welcome to dieting déjà vu.
You know it well because you’ve seen script more often than your extended family. You’re unhappy with your body, so you make a change. To your excitement, you see benefits and progress. But then it all stops. The fat loss switch is stuck on “off.” So you try to force it back on. You make bigger changes–cut more calories, do more cardio, eat fewer carbs…and then even fewer carbs–and still nothing happens.
You rebel, revolt, and eventually retire assuming nothing will work.
And then you return wanting to make a change and looking for a new solution.
Hello, fat loss. Remember me?
It gets old, tired, and frustrating. So maybe it’s time you try something new.
Hello, fat loss. Screw you.
Let’s make one thing clear: Dieting sucks. I’m not saying dieting doesn’t work (because it does), but the concept is no fun.
Whether we like it or not, we all follow a diet. So let’s stop focusing on the meaningless word and start fixing what really matters.
Seeing awesome results.
I don’t care who you are; this is all that really matters. When you change the way you eat and exercise you’re doing it with the intention of looking better, feeling better, and improving your health.
So what stand between where you are now (desiring change) and where you want to be (seeing progress)?
It’s not popular but part of the problem is a lack of patience; fat loss is not magic. You didn’t put the weight on overnight, and it sure isn’t melting off. But worse: fat loss is a slower process than fat gain.
Instead of adding more and more cardio and eating less and less food, eliminating common mistakes and myths from the equation can lead to more consistent results, instead of teasing promise followed by no progress. When it’s done right, you never find yourself back in that familiar place.
Weight Loss: Without the Hype
The general question isn’t how will I lose weight or what do I need to do. Instead it’s, “How will this time be any different?” That’s because you’ve become conditioned to expect diets to fail. Much of the diet and fitness advice you need is overplayed, overhyped, and inaccurate. You are taking pieces of information and trying to create a Frankenstein approach to your body. That crap doesn’t work.
At some point you start making excuses because of constant roadblocks: Bad genetics, a hectic work schedule, and the typical Sunday football menu of burgers, wings, and beer (the same way the dating excuses line up, Seinfeld-style, like “she eats peas with a fork,” “she’s a low-talker,” etc.). The reality? The excuses are a bunch of bull. The techniques are filled with half-truths.
Here’s something most programs don’t tell you: Your body is designed to incinerate the hard-to-lose fat. You know those areas as man boobs, love handles, and thunder thighs. But the real problem is that you’ve been fed a steady diet of misinformation about what your body needs in order to look its best. And radical, dramatic steps are the last things your body needs. You need something more stable and sustainable.
Your body is the most sophisticated natural machine. It burns calories to help you perform all of your daily tasks, like standing up, thinking, and sleeping. This daily maintenance is called your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Everyone has a BMR, but the bigger you are, the faster your metabolism works. Think about that: The more weight you carry, the better your metabolism.
On the surface, that doesn’t make sense. After all, skinny people have better metabolisms, right? Well, not exactly. Think about it another way. Say you have two cars, an Audi and a Hummer. Which needs more fuel? The Hummer does, because it’s much larger and has more demands. Your body is no different. Everything you do, from powering your heart to helping you move from point A to point B requires energy. That’s why the larger you are, the harder your body needs to work and the more calories you burn. Your body wants to be an Audi; you just have to be willing to trade in for a new model.
So how do you become leaner? Surprisingly, it’s the small things that really make the biggest differences. And over time, those tiny changes add up to a lean, toned body.
Consider this a refreshing outlook on your transformation: Your metabolism isn’t holding you back, and your body isn’t hardwired to look a certain way. You can control your ability to lose weight. Simple, small adjustments to your diet, exercise, and other behaviors will make a surprisingly big difference and transform your body.
If you drop the stubborn act and change your strategy based on a few simple guidelines, you can literally switch your body into a fitter, healthier mode—it will burn more calories, build more muscle, and you’ll look amazing.
Is it Exercise or Diet?
You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. That’s the most important rule of any successful plan. But a great diet without an exercise plan is incomplete. Your body needs to be active—both inside and outside the gym. Researchers have found that each 10 percent rise in sedentary time is associated with a 3.1-centimeter increase in the size of your waist. What’s more, British scientists found that of the subjects they studied, the waist measurements of people who got up most often were more than 2 inches smaller than those of people who got up the least.
Exercise and diet work, so there’s not need to try and create some mathematical formula that determines what percentage of which will determine results. Claims that it’s one or the other is more wishful thinking than reality. But change starts by realizing extreme behaviors in either are not the solution. After all, that’s where our battle of the bulge went wrong in the first place. Flash back to 1980s; that’s when dietary fat was identified as the root of all evil and cardio was elevated to the best form of exercise. Next thing you knew, the entire country was gorging on fat-free foods and going on slow jogs.
Fast-forward 30 years and those decades of eating fat-free, sugar-loaded foods have done anything but make us less fat. And all of that long-slow cardio primarily resulted in—you guessed it—long, slow weight loss. That’s not to say cardio is bad. It’s good. But it’s application to weight loss must be smarter.
Louisiana State University researchers found that the average number of calories burned during exercise dropped by 100 calories during the past 20 years, even though people were spending more time in the gym. So it should come as no surprise that the prevailing “best” approach to fat loss resulted in obesity rates skyrocketing to all-time highs. But more importantly, it left you more frustrated than ever.
You’ve probably heard this speech before. So before you hit the BS-button on your iPad, consider that for once you’re dealing with a more realistic approach to your body.
New Plan, New You
Hard bodies don’t come from your local supplement store. If they did, we’d all look the way we want. Unfortunately, we’ve all tried the do-whatever-it-takes approach to losing weight. Not only does that lead to a shortage of cash, it also bends our will. In fact, a UCLA study notes that nearly 70 percent of people don’t believe that exercise and diet can help them lose weight. That’s a scary number for a nation that’s already losing the battle against obesity. So it’s no wonder scientists estimate that the obesity trend won’t slow down until the year 2050. And by that time, it’s estimated that nearly half the country will be overweight. Do you want to be a statistic or the one who reverses the trend?
The Weight Training Advantage
It might sound surprising, but you don’t need to exercise to lose fat. You can shed your unwanted pounds by making sure you eat fewer calories than you burn. (This should show you the importance of a good diet.)
However, if you avoid exercise, you won’t retain as much muscle, which means it’ll be harder for you eliminate your beer gut and have flat, sexy abs. You can lose weight without exercise, but if you don’t retain or build muscle, your metabolism won’t be as efficient, which means you’ll have to eat even less food to see the same results. You can do better than that: A sensible exercise program will help stoke your metabolism, which will help you burn more fat, which will help reveal your six pack. You’re reconditioning your body as a metabolic engine.
When you add resistance training to your routine, it can speed up the weight loss process by making your muscles more efficient fat-burning furnaces. What’s more, it’s also good for your bone health and cardiovascular health, as well as optimizing glucose control so your body processes carbohydrates better. Plus, in addition to sculpting your abs, you’ll build definition in your entire body and be able to eat more food. If you’re just losing pound but look the same, usually this means you’re not weight training or eating enough. Doing both is the key to eliminating fat and building muscle—as opposed to just losing weight. That’s the real key to looking like you have a new body, rather than just seeing a different number on the scale. Resistance training burns calories during your sessions and stimulates your metabolism afterward.
Weight training is designed to provide faster results with less time in the gym. Not only do you have to work out fewer times per week (you’d be shocked what you can do in just 3-4 workouts per week) you’ll also have shorter sessions. That’s because intensity is much more important than duration for eliminating fat. So you can spend a fraction of the time in the gym and still kiss your tummy good-bye. In fact, research has shown that 8 to 12 minutes of intense intervals can burn as many calories as 25 to 30 minutes of constant moderate exertion exercise. Does that mean you only need to exercise for 8 to 12 minutes to see your abs? Unfortunately, no. But don’t be surprised when you spend less time on the cardio machines, pick up a few dumbbells, have less time in the gym and suddenly don’t even recognize your own body.
Is it the Carbs?
In a word, no. Your belly comes from eating too many unused calories. If you overeat, you’ll store fat, regardless of what foods those calories come from. The leanest and healthiest populations on the planet typically eat more carbs than protein or fat. Controlling weight gain is more about total calorie balance than any particular food.
Now, that said, some people find it easier to control their weight when they reduce or avoid carb-heavy foods that they have a tendency to overindulge in. And some people have sensitivities to processed grains and gluten, which make the fat loss process more difficult. But if you can control your intake and don’t have sensitivities, enjoy the carbs. The best way to prevent overeating is to make sure most of your carbs come from raw fruits and vegetables, while leaving a small portion for desserts.
How Often You Eat Doesn’t Matter (Too Much)
Your meals are like the sports teams you represent: It’s all personal preference and don’t let anyone else dump on your choice. Some people do great with a grazing pattern, while others prefer more substantial meals with less frequency. But there’s a catch: When people are eating fewer calories than they’re used to, they tend to prefer eating two to three larger meals rather than four to six small ones throughout the day. As for more frequent meals being better for your metabolism? That’s just a myth that’s been recently disproved by science. Canadian researchers proved this in 2010 when they compared folks eating three meals versus six meals and found no difference in participants’ fat loss when the exact same foods were consumed.
Fat Is Part of the Plan
There’s no need to avoid any particular type of fat, except for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which contain the harmful type of trans fat. Recent research has shown that saturated fat is actually good for you and isn’t linked to heart failure or cardiovascular disease.
In fact, your diet probably doesn’t include enough fat (marketers have done a very good job brainwashing us about the benefits of “fat free” versions of manufactured foods, which basically means the salt and sugar content has been boosted to make up for flavor loss). The standard American diet lacks omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish like salmon and sardines. Aside from that, the majority of the fats you eat should come from whole, minimally processed foods like meats, dairy, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados, grains, and olive oil.
Exercise at Work (No Joke)
Get up from your desk as often as you can. A minimum of every half hour, try to at least stand up and stretch, then walk around, take a trip to the restroom, or take a lap around the office, says Aragon. This process is important because it increases your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Your NEAT plays a big role in the number of calories you burn, so even small movements like fidgeting or tapping your heels can contribute to your overall transformation. This will also help prevent your desk job from altering your posture, which can play a role in your slowed metabolism (not to mention an aching back!).
Eating is a Key Ingredient of Weight Loss
Here’s something easy to digest: You need to eat to lose. In particular, eat protein in every meal and snack. Focusing on protein fights off hunger and makes your stomach unlikely to bulge since protein is less likely to be stored as fat. That’s because protein is harder to digest, so you burn more calories just eating the food. This process also helps ensure you eat less. Men who made sure their diet was at least 30 percent protein ate almost 450 calories less per day and lost 11 pounds more than those who ate less protein, according to a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism. What’s more, British researchers found that emphasizing protein in each meal leaves you feeling fuller, accelerates fat loss, and maintains your muscle mass, which is key to shedding pounds and revealing your most chiseled body ever.
A Little Freedom Goes a Long Way
This doesn’t mean that you have to completely trash all your favorite indulgences, though. Like anything in life, moderation is the key to finding balance. And lucky for you, it’s very simple to sort out your body’s confusion. To put your mind and your gullet on the same page, adjust how you eat. “You don’t need to completely remove processed foods from your diet, but keep them to a maximum of 10 to 15 percent of your daily calories,” says nutritionist Alan Aragon, MS. When you eat more than that, you risk creating a diet that doesn’t provide you with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs.
Bottom line: Starving yourself on 1,000 calories or being a slave to diet and exercise isn’t the difference maker. In fact, it’s that obsessiveness that leads you down that vicious cycle instead of closer to the body you want.
Lose Fat…The Realistic Way
A weight loss plan doesn’t have to be a world of false promises and hype. Plenty of people have success, but the difference is that it’s personalized.
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Tags: diet, fat loss myths, how to lose weight, nutrition, weight training