There are many paths to weight loss, longevity and health. The following list describes some of the worst approaches to achieve any of these.
Long term severe caloric restriction
One of the worst things that a person can do when trying to lose weight is restrict the amount of kilojoules that they consume beyond their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) for a long period of time. Your BMR is the minimal amount of energy that you expend from simply existing. Your metabolic rate increases with the more activity that you engage in. Unfortunately its common practice for people to attempt diets much lower than what the body needs to survive. This can do more harm than good causing metabolic, hormonal, digestive, and emotional damage. In most cases, someone who attempts a diet like this experiences rebound weight.
For those who love some math, you can use the Mifflin St Jeor Equation to work out your BMR:
So an example of a 90kg male might look like:
Beyond this, you can calculate expenditure from daily life and exercise. Take the number below that describes your activity level and multiply your BMR by this.
· Sedentary – little to no exercise = 1.200
· Lightly Active – light exercise/ sports 1 – 3 days a week = 1.375
· Moderately Active – Moderate exercise/sport 3 – 5 days a week = 1.550
· Very Active – Hard Exercise/sports 6 – 7 days a week = 1.725
· Extra Active – Very Hard exercise/sports and physical job = 1.900
For my training, I usually do three days of strength work and two CrossFit sessions, so I’d be looking at Moderately active.
Making sure that while dieting, you consume good nutrient dense foods, making smart choices. Regardless of diet type (Atkins, Paleo, IIFYM, Vegetarian, Weightwatchers etc.) applying this will set you in the right direction. Aim for a deficit of between 300 – 600 kcals of your daily needs (not your BMR) for sustainable weight loss. Services like My Fitness Pal or Easy Diet Diary (an Australian food database app) provide great resources for tracking caloric intake and serving sizes.
Chronic Cardio is a relatively new term in frame of the last 100 or so years of the physical culture movement, which has progressed into the fitness industry that we know today. Chronic Cardio is considered high volume cardio that puts the body into a severely catabolic state, day in, day out, leading to muscle loss and chronic fatigue. It’s what would be considered the mainstay for weight loss and the general go to for the average gym goer who either finds the weight section of their gym daunting, or for the person that “doesn’t want to get too bulky”. While cardio training in short bouts or included in High Intensity Interval Training has been proven by many studies to have a positive effect on long term health. Hitting the treadmill for hours on end may not prove to be as effective as some may hope.
Weight lifting, while not burning more calories per hour during the activity, Resting Metabolic Rate is dramatically improved post exercise. Researchers looking into RMR found that older women participating in resistance exercise saw a 62% increase in fat oxidation sixteen hours post exercise and after 16 weeks, 63% increase of fat oxidation at rest. By this time, post exercise fat oxidation after 24 hours increased by a staggering 93% (Jeffrey & Alexander, 2002).
Low Fat Alternatives
The low fat market exploded in the 80’s and still shares a large portion of the health foods market today. Despite growing acceptance of the concept that fat is in fact, not bad for you, these types of foods seem to be the most widely accepted as “healthy”.
When fat is removed from a food, to increase that palatability and texture of a food, carbohydrates are introduced, largely sugar. While gram for gram, this will make the food lower in kilojoules the insulin produced in chronically high amounts leads to inflammatory diseases, insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.
Just considering below:
- Fats provide essential nutrients to the diet that the body cannot produce by itself (endogenously)
- Fats and cholesterol are essential to hormone production
- Fats help satiate hunger and have greater impact on ghrelin levels (appetite) compared to carbohydrates (Lomenick, Melguizo, Mitchell, Summar, & Anderson, 2009)
Consuming a low glycaemic diet primarily made with vegetables, well sourced proteins, and a balance of fats within an individual’s caloric needs is far more optimal than these boxed foods that claim astonishing health benefit.
Don’t get me wrong. There are times that thermogenic products are appropriate.
There are a few issues with this part of the market that seems to get confused and what I have found with many people, is that they try to use thermogenics and forget about diet and exercise. While a thermogenic can increase your energy output to help “burn fat”, diet and exercise need to be the corner stone of weight loss.
The second issue that I have with thermogenics and stimulants is the chronic use of them. Responsible cycling of these products proves to be the most effective way of use. Not only does the body respond better to a minimal effective dosage, the cortisol response produced will be lower and allowed to return to normal, appetite will be allowed to function properly (ghrelin and leptin response), insulin sensitivity will improve (insulin sensitivity declines as cortisol rises) and over all sustainability of weight loss will be experienced by the user.
To get the best results from a thermogenic or anything really that is high in stimulants. Make sure you follow the instructions of the product.
At the end of the day, a well-structured diet, smart exercise programing, responsible supplement use and, patience are the key ways to be successful in weight loss long term. Always remember that our staff in store and online will always be glad to discuss your goals and how you can achieve them.