Sustainable Weight Loss

March 18, 2015

Roughly 110 million Americans are classified as obese, and millions more are suffering from weight-related disease. Anyone who has struggled with weight loss, specifically sustained weight loss, knows that success can be incredibly difficult to attain. Previous disappointments have the potential to defining current attempts, and in a world of over-information, quality information can get lost in the noise. Regardless of your current weight or the history of your body composition, healthy body-weight aspirations are always possible with the right application of efforts.


distribution of BMI categories by age

Though full of many variables, traditional understanding of weight loss is related to the quality and number of calories consumed, relative to the number of calories burned. In other words, weight loss can be split into two unequal parts, exercise and proper nutrition. By taking stock of the amount of calories that are eating you can paint a picture of what your body’s intake-to-expenditure ratio is. By balancing this ratio it is possible to slow or stop weight gain, and potentially reduce body weight.

You Are What You Eat

Colloquial belief among personal trainers and fitness professionals commonly is that regardless of the unique goal, at least 80% of all ambitions live or die in the kitchen. Exercise is integral to goal completion, but the food you consume plays a role that cannot be overstated.

Research has supported that people typically tend to understate their food intake. One way to accurately measure the amount of nutrient that you’re currently ingesting is to begin a private food diary. Don’t alter your habits for a week and record all that you consume, from meals to snacks beverages. Feel free to use the confidential journal found in a LifeSpan Club account, or great apps such as My Fitness Pal. Being completely transparent with your intake will help illustrate where your specific trouble areas are and can provide immediate ideas for simple changes.

Once you do have an idea of where your nutrition stands, start a gentle, maintainable shift towards healthier eating. Simple, effective changes can be as simple as reducing your sugar consumption, increasing your intake of nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats, and drinking enough water. Similar advice can be found through the Mayo Clinic, a trusted resource for all things related to your health.

The Benefit of Exercise

As you rein in your calorie intake, try to identify simple ways to increase your daily levels of activity. Two excellent ways to boost your calorie burn, and simultaneously your fitness, are to move more throughout the day, and to dedicate yourself to an exercise program. Increasing your daily step total to 10,000 daily steps is thought to contribute to weight management, while it has been repeatedly found that adherence to an exercise regimen can benefit fat loss.

The Daily 10,000

Tracking your daily activity, typically monitored through total number of steps taken, immediately reveals the amount of movement that is presently being completed each day and provides a baseline for growth. Activity trackers are excellent for displaying steps, distance covered, calories burned, and how many steps are necessary to meet your daily goal. Simple activities such as taking the stairs or parking farther away from the entrance to your destination can have a profound impact on your daily activity levels.


10,000 steps a day comic

Hit the Treadmill

For a number of reasons, from heart health to proven emotional benefits, adhering to an exercise plan can be incredibly beneficial. Specifically as it relates to weight loss, however, exercise can be what pushes you over the edge and helps you to accomplish your goals. Most people are looking for impressive results with the least time dedication due to schedule or attention constraints. Research has been completed that’s attempted to analyze the effects of different kinds of exercise on health and weight loss.

The general idea to come from these studies is that long bouts of cardiovascular exercise such as jogging, are very good at improving your heart’s efficiency health, but may be less effective at inspiring fat loss. Exercising at higher intensities for shorter periods of time, however, is now believed to possess greater fat loss benefits while still creating desirable heart-health improvements. Higher intensity exercise is also thought to improve muscle mass and help prevent diabetes through increasing insulin sensitivity. Both types of activity are possible on a treadmill, exercise bike, and rower.

The short answer for weight loss through exercise? If you’re wanting to lose weight, increase your musculature, and promote heart health, try exercising in varying bouts of low-intensity exertion, followed by periods of higher intensity. For example, put forth 60% effort for 4-5 minutes, before increasing to 75-90% effort for 1-2 minutes, and repeat. This reduces the amount of time to complete a given workout and is proven to effectively lower body fat when completed on a long enough timeline. This style of exercise is frequently referred to as interval training.

Most importantly, though? Do what you enjoy and create a plan. If you enjoy hiking, swimming, or biking, allow those to be a component of your fitness. You’re more inclined to stick to a change if you enjoy the process. Find what works for you and do your best to incorporate it into your life in a balanced, sustainable way.


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