I’m really excited about this guest article. Written by Noel of Fitness Philippines, this post provides an excellent break-down of the secrets to true weight loss. The truth is many people fall for fad diets all the time. To truly lose weight, you have to take a very strategic approach. So I recommend you follow Noel’s simple, but effective advice…
Energy balance determines whether body fat increases, decreases, or stays the same. It occurs when the body’s energy intake equals its energy expenditure. Whenever the human body takes in more energy than it expends, then it incurs a positive energy balance results.
This excess energy will then be naturally stored as body fat. The contrary also holds true, of course, such that whenever the human body expends more energy than it takes in, a negative energy balance occurs and excess fat, if any, will be burned off, resulting in lower body weight.
This all means, then, that the classic adage of “move more and eat less” still holds very much true. If you continue your current eating and physical activity habits, then your body’s energy balance will remain constant, and so will your weight.
If, for example, you would like to create a negative energy balance and take off some of your body weight, preferably in the form of excess fat, then you would have to “move more and eat less.”
First of all, take a look at your current eating and physical activity habits.
Which of these can be easily applied to “move more and eat less”? Do you regularly eat junk food? If so, then cut them out of your diet. If you are unable to instantly do away with all of them, then cut back steadily until you are ready to eliminate them completely.
For example, if you eat cookies every day as dessert after every meal, then cut back at first to having them just after one meal a day. Then, after a week, have them for dessert after one meal every other day. After another week, have them as dessert for one meal only once a week, then eliminate them completely the following week. Do this for all your regular junk food cravings.
So, what? No dessert forever, then? Well, not necessarily. If you’re in the habit of eating junk food for dessert, then simply replace them with another sweet, yet healthy option: fruit.
There are plenty of types of fruit that are widely available, such as bananas, mangoes, berries, and so on. Try out all of them and stick with the ones you like best. It’s a great way to eliminate your junk food habit and lead your way to the negative energy balance that you so desire.
This is what Alton Brown calls balancing one’s nutrition to energy ratio, such that most, if not all, of the foods you eat should benefit your body as much as possible, and not just become stored as excess fat.
He tackles this in his very famous Good Eats “Live and let Diet episode; the first part of which you can view here:
The first part:
And the second part here:
Now On to Your Physical Habits…
If your idea of exercise is getting off your coach to reach for your TV remote, then you can easily add to your negative energy balance by joining a gym. Read about which gyms in your area are the most popular and check it out.
If pumping iron and aerobic machines aren’t your thing, then plenty of good gyms these days have other excellent programs that you can try out, such martial arts, yoga, spin classes, and so on. I personally love lifting weights, and think it’s best for permanent weight loss, since it has been proven that the additional muscle mass increases your metabolism, which thus adds to your daily energy expenditures. Whatever your choice, pick one and stick with it.
Also try to incorporate exercise into your daily activities. Taking the stairs instead of the elevators or escalators, parking your car a few blocks away from your actual destination so that you can walk the rest of the way, and cleaning the house more often are all excellent ways of burning up additional energy during your day.
There are, of course, others who wish for a positive energy balance in order to gain weight. Well, in that case, they would have to “move more, and eat more.” Kind of odd at first, since one would expect that to be simply the complete opposite and thus result in “move less and eat more.”
This would actually result in a positive energy balance if you would simply force yourself to gorge more every day. But this would most likely result in obesity, so I’d steer clear of that.
What About the “Eat More” Aspect?
For the “eat more” aspect, simply increase what you eat for every meal every day, but make sure that they’re all nutritionally dense. Pick lean cuts of meat, fruits, vegetables, brown rice and so on as your staples of the day. If you combine this with “move more” in the form of weight lifting, then your body would naturally crave large amounts of food so you wouldn’t have to psychologically force yourself to eat more at every meal.
Larger muscles need more fuel than usual so you’ll have to feed them. A good balance of carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, brown rice, etc) and protein (fish, chicken breast and lean cuts of meat) help the best here. The carbohydrates will help fuel the muscles to work before the workout and thus result in more efficient growth, while the protein will aid in the repair of the muscles after the workouts, and also aid in their growth. This way, your additional weight will be composed of healthy muscles, instead of excess flab.
Of course, from then on it becomes a bit more complicated. You’ll encounter issues such as calorie counting, meal timing, workout recovery times, and so on during your energy (positive or negative) balance quest, but I’d personally recommend you to keep everything simple, at least at first.
If you bog yourself down in too many complications too early in the game, then it might become too much pressure for you to handle. Keep everything simple and enjoyable, and when you’re ready to crank up the volume, then feel free to check out other diet and exercise tips from books, the internet, and so on.
For now, though, just remember to eat right (whether you wish for a positive or negative energy balance), increase your physical activity levels with an exercise routine you honestly enjoy, and above, all, don’t give up! Consistency is key here, especially since permanent weight loss (or gain) is never accomplished in the short term.
Steve’s Notes: Like I said, this is a simple but effective solution to weight loss. If you want to know more about fitness, nutrition, health and martial arts, then I recommend you take a look at Noel’s Fitness Philippines blog.Take Action. Get Results.