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 Free Weight Loss Tips

Eight Effective Weight Loss Tips

By Brian Stramel, Certified Personal Trainer

    Here are some great, free weight loss tips to help you reach your fitness and body composition goals.  Why eight weight loss tips and not tenÖor even fifty weight loss tips?  I want to keep it simple so that there is an increased chance they might be followed.  All the weight loss tips in the world wonít do a bit of good if nobody can remember to follow them.  You donít even have to follow all these weight loss tips.  For starters just pick one and when that becomes a habit, try the next weight loss tip that strikes your fancy. 

    The most important weight loss idea has to do with the Law of Thermodynamics.  This law means that in order to lose weight, you need to spend more energy than you take in.  In order to gain weight you need to take more energy in than you put out.  So, losing weight is simple; eat less food while moving more often!  The weight loss tips below are just ways to take advantage and make more efficient use of this unavoidable law of nature.

Weight loss tip #1: Donít go On a Diet!  Yep, I said it, donít go on a diet.   Most people canít stick to a diet for a long period of time.  They get discouraged and quit.  You need to make healthy changes to last a lifetime, not look for the next fad quick-fix.  Does this mean diets and diet books are bad?  Certainly not, you may be in the minority who find one that works for you.  If not, you still can learn something about nutrition that you can apply to your eating habits.  Make small changes to your nutritional habits and over time you will reach your goals and be able to maintain them.

Weight loss tip #2:  Make 1 small healthy change that you can live with today!  For me, that was cutting out sugary sodas and other sugary drinks.  A typical regular can of soda has about 140-170 calories.  Two of those per day equals 280-340 calories a day, or about ĺ lb weight loss per week if you were maintaining your weight before that change (see weight loss tip #6).  

   What do you drink instead?  Cold water!!!  Not only is water healthy, one once of cold water will burn one calorie when your body heats is up.  So, drinking the recommended 64-96 oz. of water per day could equal up to 96 extra calories burned (depending on how much cold water you drank before). 

   It doesnít have to be sugary drinks.  It could be cutting out desserts, or limiting them to once or twice a week from every day.  Try replacing one un-healthy snack per day with a healthier one.  You pick one that you can stick to (but start drinking more water anyway).

Weight loss tip #3:  Eat breakfast!  Thereís a reason for the clichť about breakfast being the most important meal of the day.  Thatís because after fasting all night, your metabolism is at its lowest point in the morning.  You need to stoke the metabolic fires with a good breakfast that contains both carbohydrates and protein.  If you donít, your body will think it is being starved and will want to store any excess calories from the first thing you do eat (say at lunch) as fat to hedge against long periods with no energy intake.  Breakfast first thing keeps this from happening and gives you energy to start the day.

Weight loss tip #4:  Eat 4-6 smaller meals per day instead of 2-3 big ones.  The easy way to do this is by having breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and then dinner.  There, thatís 5, good enough.  A piece of fruit makes a great snack.  By spreading your energy intake out in smaller, more frequent increments, it will increase your metabolism (you will burn more calories) because your body never thinks it is starving. 

Weight loss tip #5:  Reduce stress.  Stress causes our body to release cortisol which is a hormone that helps us deal physiologically with stress.  Simply put, the adaptations our body does in response to stress are contrary to weight loss.  The release of cortisol promotes fat storage and suppresses the manufacture of other hormones that promote building of lean muscle mass.  Try yoga, try meditation, try a hobby or punching a heavy bag.  Just do what works for you to lower stress.

Weight loss tip #6:  Determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, and how many you need to reduce per day to meet your weight loss goals. 

  
Step 1: Determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR).  This is how many calories your body burns just to maintain minimal life-support functions and is about 75% of all the calories you burn.  The formula is simply your body weight  ____  X 10= base metabolic rate. 

   Step 2:  Determine how many calories you need each day to maintain your current weight by multiplying the basal metabolic rate by a ďlifestyle factorĒ based on how active you are. 

  •     For sedentary people (office workers, people who mostly sit or drive all day) use 1.4.  

  •     For moderately active people (people on their feet all day like wait staff, service industry, moderate exercise) use 1.6

  •     For very active people (jobs with lots of physical labor, movers etc., athletes, workout at high intensity three times or more per week) use 1.8.  

    If you think you are in between two of the examples, then you can split the difference. 

    Letís plug some numbers in:  Weight 195 pounds, office worker.  195X10 = 1950 calorie base metabolic rate.  1950 X 1.4 = 2730.  This is roughly how many calories they need to consume to stay at 195 pounds.  A note on the formula: it is just a rough estimate, females will need a few less calories (perhaps 200) than this formula indicates.  Males might need 100 more.  As you age, you will require fewer calories as well to maintain weight.  So, use the formula to get you started, then adjust your daily caloric needs based on your results (this is where a nutrition log is important, see weight loss tip #7).

    Now you can set your weight loss goals based on how many pounds you want to lose and in what time-frame.  The maximum sustainable healthy weight loss level is about 2 pounds per week.  In order to lose 2 pounds per week, you need to decrease your energy intake (and/or increase your energy output, see weight loss tip #8) by 1000 calories per day.  A 500 calorie per day reduction will result in a loss of approximately one pound per week. 

    So, losing 40 pounds will take 20 weeks, or about 5 months at 2 lbs per week.  If you decrease your daily intake by 500 calories per day as well as increase your energy expenditure by an average of 500 calories per day.  From our example above, to lose 2 lbs per week, they would either need to eat 1730 calories per day (2730-1000) or 2230 calories with about 500 calories worth of exercise averaged out over each day. 

Weight loss tip #7:  Keep a food log.  In conjunction with weight loss tip #6 above, write down everything you eat for 3 days (every single calorie!) then total up the calories and divide by 3 to get an average.  Now that you know how many calories you are taking in, you can plan out how many you need to reduce per day in order to reach your goals.

Weight loss tip #8:  Move more!  This doesnít mean you have to start some grueling exercise program.  In the beginning, just look for ways to move a little more than normal.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Walk to the store down the street, or the park instead of driving.  When you do start an exercise program, start slow and easy.  No more than 3 days per week to start.  Twenty minutes of walking 3 times per week is a great start.  Or, a short walk every day and 3 shorts workouts at the gym or at home per week.  This will start to increase your caloric expenditure so you donít have to cut quite so many calories out of your diet and still lose weight.

    Like diets, most people overdo it when starting an exercise program, then burn out and quit.  Itís OK to miss a few workouts, or even have a rough week and not workout at all.  No reason to quit in frustration, just start up again next week.  Make your workouts appointments with yourself.  Have a short workout as a backup plan for busy days.  This can be as simple as doing some pushups, some sit-ups or a couple sets of kettlebells and walking fast around the block.  It will only take a few minutes, but it will still be beneficial and you will feel good that you did something.

    Thatís all the weight loss tips I have for yaÖjust remember that slow and steady wins the race.  You didnít get overweight in a short period of timeÖit will take some time to lose the weight as well.  Make one change at a time, add to it when the previous change becomes part of your lifestyle.  Stop making changes when you are happy with your results, your health and lifestyle.  The good news is you can start making some small changes today that will last a lifetime and have you feeling better, being healthier and living longer and those are the best weight loss tips of all.       

 

 

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