Wednesday, 1 April 2015

How to Break Through Weight Loss Plateaus: Best Weight Loss Tips

Best Weight loss tips

OK you have have been trying to lose weight the last few weeks but your weight loss has come to a complete standstill. Why? What do you need to do? How do you lose weight?

Today I am going to present you a few weight loss tips and tricks. Actually they aren't really tips and tricks, those don’t exist, but golden rules to successful weight loss. So let’s get started.

First realise that if you aren't losing weight it is always because you are either eating too many calories and/or burning too little calories. Always. No exception.

Second realise that what you want is FAT loss, not weight loss. So the title should really be: How to break through Fat loss plateaus. As Weight loss can include muscle, water and food weight. And this isn't what we want, that is especially the case with muscle loss.

So here are 5 Fat loss tips and tricks:

Patience: Aim to lose 1-2lbs a week. No more

Aim to lose 1-2lbs a week. No more. This might not sound like a lot but it is. There are 52 weeks in one year. So if you were to lose 1-2 lbs a week for a whole year that would equal 52-104 lbs a year. Most people would be very happy to lose that amount of weight and it is achievable within a year. The problem is most people won’t even approach this amount of weight loss because of impatience and not following the below tips. If you try to lose much more than 2 lbs a week we run into a couple of problems:
  1. it isn't sustainable, the fat loss journey will become miserable and you WILL eventually give in and binge.
  2. your hormone levels will go down including among others thyroid, leptin, and anabolic hormones like testosterone. This leads to a slower metabolism and:
  3. loss of greater proportion of muscle mass. And muscle is your friend. It keeps your metabolism high, and gives your body “tone” or shape that everyone seeks.

Accept it is going to be a slow and steady process.

Eat Less Calories

This might seem obvious to some of you but the problem is most people do not know how many calories they are eating and should be eating. There are many ways/formulas to calculate the number of calories you should be eating. But I like to keep things simple:

Calories for weight loss= 10-12 calories x bodyweight(lbs)

If you are significantly overweight/obese use your lean body mass instead. Of course this is only a starting point and will depend on activity levels and you as an individual. But it gives a good starting point. There are many methods of keeping track of calories including calorie counting, but I think the easiest and most convenient method is the portion size method. This takes us to the second tip:

Track and Record your Measurements

You need to track, track, track and TRACK. I cannot stress the importance of this. If you are not tracking your weight, how will you know if you are losing weight? If you are not tracking you waist, how will you know if your waist is going down? If you are not tracking your fat levels, how will you know if your fat measurements are going down? By how you feel? That is not a good, objective way of tracking progress.

I recommend a digital weighing scale for weight measurements:

Digital weighing scales are far better than regular bathroom scales as they are far more precise, allowing you to see if you have lost weight to the nearest 100 gram. This is especially important when you are relatively lean/at the end of a diet and you are losing weight slowly.

A tape measure for waist measurements:

And calipers for fat levels:

And I strongly recommend a training journal to track all your measurements and workouts. That way you can objectively track your progress, keep you accountable and see if you are headed in the right direction. Any notebook will do but I recommend investing in a dedicated training and nutrition diary. They are just as cheap as a notebook but very well laid out and organised, with plenty of useful information.

Include Cardio And Strength Training

Include cardio to burn extra calories and include strength training to maintain muscle whilst dieting. I strongly recommend doing some cardio, as relying only on diet will mean eating a very low amount of food especially for women and very lean individuals. When dieting you will unfortunately lose some muscle. To ensure you lose primarily fat and to maintain muscle whilst dieting strength training is essential. Mainintaing/building muscle also has the added benefit of maintaining/increasing your metabolism making fat loss that much easier.

While including cardio with dieting isn't exactly rocket science. Some people, especially women but many men as well, believe strength training will make them muscle bound. That couldn't be further from the truth. To build any significant amount of muscle requires a lot of dedicated strength training geared towards muscle gain in addition to more calories than you burn. And this is the exact opposite we are doing to lose weight. Please realise that all those professional male and female bodybuilding physiques were attained from years of dedicated weight training in addition to steroid use. And if you have higher aspirations, ie the fitness model type physique with washboard abs and “toned” shapely muscles, this can only really be achieved through dedicated dieting, cardio and strength training.

Eat sufficient protein

Eat sufficient protein

The aim of weight loss is really fat loss. And to ensure we primarily lose fat and maintain muscle, in addition to strength training, you need to eat sufficient protein. I recommend at least 1.8g/kg body weight of protein for women and at least 2g/kg body weight of protein for men  (If you are significantly overweight/obese use lean mass instead). A recent study review suggests protein requirements go up when dieting to lose weight. Women in general need lower protein because women have a naturally higher body fat percentage (and therefore lower muscle mass) compared to men. Protein also has the advantage of being more satiating (more filling and therefore you get less hunger pangs) and it has a higher thermic effect (takes more calories to process, breakdown and absorb protein) compared to fats and carbs.

This protein quantity can certainly be achieved via whole food, but with the exception of hardcore bodybuilders, most dieters don’t eat the above protein requirements. So for convenience it may be a good idea to include protein powder. I would stick to whey protein. It is a cheap, high quality protein source.

Implement these tips and you’ll break your weight loss plateau and dramatically improve your weight loss.

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