There are so many “scientific” articles that explain how metabolism works and then go on to give tips about how to lose weight. There’s no one tried-and-true way that works for everyone. You have to try different combinations to see what works best for you. However, there are some things about metabolism that are applicable no matter what.
Combine Exercise and Diet for Maximum Effect
Maintaining the same eating habits while increasing exercise will make it difficult to create the calorie deficit that’s necessary to lose weight. At the same time, decreasing your caloric intake while remaining stagnant in your physical activity will do the same. Not to mention how difficult it is to maintain either of those things for an extended period of time. By combining exercise with a change in eating habits, your efforts will be just as effective and simultaneously less extreme.
A pound of fat is 3,500 calories. To lose a pound a week, you would need a deficit of 500 calories a day. To create that, you would need to cut 500 calories from your diet, burn 500 calories from exercise, or create a combination of both.
Exercise Boosts Metabolism
Metabolism1 refers to all of the processes that your body does to turn food into energy. After the age of 25, your body’s metabolism slows down anywhere from 5% to 10% per decade if you aren’t physically active. Those who do exercise, however, experience only a 0.3% decline per decade. Because you require more energy to workout, your body metabolizes food more quickly. Cardio is useful, but strength training is even more so. Why? Because muscle consumes calories, even when you aren’t exercising.
You Have to Work Harder
If you’re attempting to lose weight because you’re excessively overweight, chances are that you’ll have to work harder to keep that weight off than those who lost less or never lost weight at all. Creating good eating and exercise habits create a routine that will make that easier, but it’s also all too easy to fall back into those old habits.
There Is No Magic Diet
There are countless weight loss diets to choose from. While some don’t work, many do. The truth is that following any meal plan that creates a calorie deficit is what will cause weight loss. Any diet is capable of that – the question is are you? The best way to lose weight is to find a meal plan that works for you, one that you don’t mind sticking with. If you feel too tired or deprived, you’re likely to fall off the wagon.
A Calorie is a Calorie is a Calorie
The amount of calories that you consume is what matters if you’re concerned about losing weight, which was more or less proven by the Twinkie Diet2. As long as you create a deficit of calories, you will lose weight. It’s not the healthiest way to lose weight and it will likely leave you starving (and with cravings!) but if you have the self-control, weight loss is straightforward. However, to be clear, limiting calories while eating unhealthy food is really not a good way to go about losing weight. Chances of maintaining that weight loss in the long run are slim, because you haven’t changed your habits.
Your Results Lie in Your Brain Power
There are plenty of reasons why we gain weight. Some have to do with health problems that cause us to gain weight through no fault of our own. Another reason is lack of education regarding nutrition. One of the biggest reasons is because we have created bad eating habits that are very simply too difficult to break. Food addiction is one big problem, the result of associating eating with comfort and happiness. Another is because we know that chips and cookies taste good and are too much to resist in the moment – never mind the consequences in the long run.
Good habits are difficult to make and bad habits are difficult to break. Your brain plays a huge part in how you eat and fuel your body. But if you are patient with yourself and understand that this is a process that will take time, you will be successful in your weight loss endeavors.