Your current weight is the result of small and seemingly insignificant lifestyle choices accumulate over time.
No matter what those exercise programs and diets tell you, real and lasting change doesn’t happen from a huge and sudden shift in behaviour and diet.
Success doesn’t happen in an instant.
The best way to achieve big results — in weight-loss and other areas of life — is with small and incremental gains over a long period of time. It happens through the progression of lots of little positive changes and successes, strung together over time.
Our bodies automatically work toward balance and show a clear biological pattern of homeostasis, or the tendency to self-stabilize. This makes sudden weight loss not sustainable because our body compensates and fights radically change.
That’s why you want to implement small changes don’t trigger your body’s “countermeasures.”
Any fat you’ve gained over years, your body is fighting to keep it. That’s why anyone who says they’re going on a diet has a great chance of gaining the weight back.
The essence of permanent weight loss is whether or not you can sustain a healthy diet and lifestyle changes in the long term.
To succeed, we must gently reroute the habitual eating patterns and sedentary lifestyle habits that cause weight gain.
The different diet regime blaming one another like low-fat dieting doesn’t work, or Paleo is ineffective, just to mention a couple scenarios. A well balanced diet is not only about the quantity of calories, fat, carbs and protein, it is about the quality of the food.
Let’s have a closer look at the food we eat. To start with it can be separated into three groups: whole foods, ultra-processed foods, and everything in-between.
The macro nutrients in question, fats, protein and carbs have both been eaten as long as food has existed and never caused any big problems.
When you apply common sense in the debate about what’s really causing obesity, you’ll find it wasn’t such a big issue when we digested our fat and carbs from normal food. Obesity skyrocketed when these new kinds of ultra-processed foods and diet products were introduced.
Obesity rates are still climbing even we have more “healthy options” in processed food.
“When you have a look at the supermarket the shelves, we have organic processed food in rustic, earth-toned packaging and naturally sweetened soda. In other words, we can choose “healthier” ways to gain weight, – just kidding.”
The food industry becomes more cunning and doesn’t have our best interest in mind. You need to learn to read labels and between the lines of advertising slogans to make healthy food choices.
Keep in mind that inequality of calories you consume has a unique hormonal and metabolic impact in your body. Two foods of the same caloric value are different in biological satisfaction, perceived satisfaction, satiety, insulin response, nutrient content.
This affects the health and function of our organs and energy distribution, which can impact your behaviour and weight in the short and long term.
With your diet you want to aim for a smooth and consistent satiety and not bouncing from extreme calorie restriction to bingeing (yo-yo dieting). If we eat good food to satiety, we can lose weight, feel satisfied, and not have to deal with the issues that arise from under eating.
When it comes to healthy eating we need to focus on the right foods (mostly whole foods) which have typically high satiety-to-calorie ratio, nutritional value.
The problem is that the calories we eat do not directly correlate to how full and satiated we feel. Whole foods are many times more filling than processed foods per calorie, which collapses the calorie-counting argument by itself.
The “calories in, calories out” way of thinking can be considered irrelevant and is a popular way to pretend unhealthy eating is a viable path to weight loss.
Fruits are great for weight loss in their whole form, but they can become weight-gaining as juices.
Juice is not the same as whole fruit. It may contain the vitamins and minerals as the fruit, but it lacks the satiety that whole fruit provides.
Drinks and water
To the person who drinks soda daily, water tastes bland. To the person who drinks water daily, sodas and lattes taste too sweet.
The base of all drinks is water, which means that drinking water can become a habit and a beverage you enjoy, even if you’re not particularly fond of it now.
We can learn to enjoy the things that satisfy our needs, it all comes down to conditioning.
The danger of ultra processed food and diet products
The main reason why artificially sweetened products cause metabolic problems is that they seem to confuse our biologically reward system.
Food is rewarding at two levels called sensory and postingestive.
Let me explain:
When pleasant-tasting food hits the tongue, our taste buds signal the brain, “Hey! Sweetness!”, and we get a sensory reward.
After we ingest food, the metabolic and nutritive properties of the food supposed to provide us with a second reward of biological satisfaction to regulate our food intake.
Because most ultra processed foods and diet products are not real food, they almost completely bypass the postingestive reward system which should decrease our desire for more food after consumption.
When your body feels deprived of a reward, it will subtly (or not so subtly) find a way to get it later with cravings and use any trick to get you to indulge later.
Processing kills the most beneficial parts of food. Processed food is dead. For example, because it has a long list of added vitamins, cereal is seen by many as “healthy”, but it has almost none of the beneficial compounds of a living food.
Crash diet or cleanse can lead to fast weight-loss results. But getting rapid results without sustainability is harmful in the long run to your metabolism and your belief that you can change.
The brain and body like seamless, easy changes, so let’s start there.
“Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” ~ Arnold H. Glasow
Change your diet by practicing the new healthy diet you’d like to have, not by forbidding unhealthy foods.
Once you lose some weight and feel better by eating better food, your perspective of ultra-processed goods will change. As your palate adjusts to the delicious spices and flavours of nutritious food, you’ll wonder why you were eating certain foods in the past when you have so many healthy and delicious alternatives to enjoy.
Discard your plate-finishing habit and start with small portions, eat slowly, chew often and listen to your your body’s signals and eat until you not hungry anymore. If you eat until you’re full, you most likely ate too much.
Successful weight loss requires no calorie counting, or micromanagement of portion sizes. All it requires is that you eat mindfully and listen to your body.
Eat to satisfaction, not to explosion. Overeating is a cultural and habitual practice, don’t go there.
Unlike dieting, Toms Fitness Blueprint is completely flexible and adaptable to your situation right now.
It teaches you how to change your behavior to lose weight permanently, and that’s more valuable than the world’s greatest recipe book or most accurate list of weight loss foods.
The techniques you learn and the tools you use are powerful and transformative, and yet they’re so simple that anyone can succeed with them.
Toms Fitness Blueprint is not another diet or exercise regime; this is an advanced program. It’s entirely different and much smarter than dieting, with a higher success rate.
Dieting is for temporary weight loss. Toms Fitness Blueprint is aiming for real, lasting change.
Nutrition, exercise, normal physiological processes, and body composition are controlled with help of hormones, or chemical messengers that act on specific target organs and tissues to cause cellular responses. These responses are essential to help you gain muscle and lose fat.
Hormones Body Composition Fat loss
How hormones affect our body
As this topic is a too comprehensive with all the body chemistry involved, including cortisol, catecholamines and thyroid hormones, I like to focus in this article on insulin only.
The endocrine system and its glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, and more.
The effects of insulin…
- Acts on the liver, fat tissue, and muscles and is one of many hormones required for human growth and development.
- Regulates blood sugar levels. Secretes glucose from the blood stream and puts into cells where it is stored as energy. At the same time it acts like a satiety signal by releasing signals to your brain that you are fed.
- As a storage hormone it not only stores sugar, it helps to store fat as well. When insulin is released, it activates an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which not only moves fat into fat cells for storage, but also simultaneously inhibits fat breakdown.
- Insulin can increase your ability to add muscle mass with insulin-stimulated glucose uptake into muscle cells which enhances muscle protein synthesis by increasing the transport of amino acids into your muscles.
- When insulin is released, you essentially go into “storage” and turn off your ability to use fat as a fuel.
Hormones Body Composition Fat loss
- Insulin levels raise the highest from high-carbohydrate meals.
- The glycemic index, or the relative amount that a food raises your blood glucose, can predict your insulin response. The higher the glycemic index of the carbohydrate, the more it will raise insulin.
- Usually an acute rise in insulin is normal and really not a problem. As your body handles it, the blood glucose and insulin will return to lower concentrations. It is a constant overload of high-carbohydrate meals, when your insulin levels will always be high and you are likely spending more time in fat-storing mode than fat-burning mode.
- If this pattern continues for long periods of time, you might become insulin resistant and your cells don’t respond to the insulin so well. The blood sugar is not as well controlled and your body is forced to produce more and more insulin to have the same impact on reducing your blood glucose levels.
- To keep your insulin levels stable consume most of your carbohydrates with a low glycemic index like vegetables and whole grains. These foods don’t raise your blood glucose as much as sweets, some breads, or juice, which have high glycemic index values.
As protein and fat don’t influence insulin to the same extent as carbohydrates, it might be beneficial to think about building your typical meal with focus on protein first, good-quality fats and vegetables next, and then other low glycemic index carbohydrates.
How body composition changes and what you shouldn’t do
As we’ve learned so far the best method for changing body composition is by increasing the quality of both your exercise and dietary intake.
You’ll you may have guessed there is a little more involved than just decrease the amount of calories you eat , increase your physical activity or simply sleeping more. Be aware of low fat, no sugar and diet products advertised in the media and super market which manipulate our calorie intake.
Do’s and Don’ts
Despite the fact that artificial sweeteners were for people with diabetes, it has become a top selling product for those looking to lose weight and fat. While some research shows that using low-calorie sweeteners can improve weight loss, there have been some claims that the use of artificial sweeteners can actually increase body weight and might cause negative health effects.
The best solution is to limit added sugars and artificial sweeteners whenever possible.
Usually detox diets only provide short-term results as they focus on serious calorie restrictions through fruits and vegetables (juices) consumption. As a result weight loss is achieved by depleting glycogen and water stores in the body, and it might even decrease muscle mass, which is definitely not desirable.
With a healthy liver, you have all the detox power that you need.
Eating Out versus at Home
The easiest way to control your calorie intake and create a negative energy balance is to prepare your own meals at home.
With fast food or full service restaurant food you likely increase your overall calories as well as saturated fat and sodium intake.
The important thing is to be conscious of portion sizes, regardless of whether you are eating out or cooking at home; eat slowly and chew well, stop when you’re not hungry anymore. Remember, it takes up to 20min until the brain realises that you had enough.
Try to get as much physical activity into your day as you can. If you have a desk job, set up a timer every 90min as a reminder to get up and move. Sitting for an extended amount of time per day has been related to the development of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Walk in lunch breaks and do phone calls standing up.
Continuous lack of sleep is not only hurting your health, sleep debt can have negative effect on metabolic control, insulin sensitivity, food cravings, muscle recovery, body composition, hormone profile and performance.
Try to get at least 7hours of sleep every day. Catch up over the weekend is not the best option for several reasons.
Why and how you want to increase and maintain your muscle mass especially as you age?
You will learn about the type, volume, frequency, and intensity of exercises that induce muscle growth as we go along.
Healthy Muscle Mass
As we grow older we lose muscle mass. Even if most people think it is a natural occurrence, we can prevent it and reduce body fat at the same time with a long-term exercise program and some lifestyle changes.
Research data shows show that as you age, the importance of strength is critical; so much so being stronger in your chest and legs is associated with the least risk of premature death.
- It has to be a balance between strength, endurance and low-intensity/steady-state aerobic exercise and HIIT training.
- With help of a personal trainer/coach you can try new exercises, avoid injury, learn about your exercise options, and figure out how to work out safely while also working around past injuries.
- In order to achieve your health and fitness goals in the shortest amount of time you need an individualised exercise program which keeps you on the right track; in particular if you have any special needs like surgery, sore joints or any known muscle unbalances.
- As you advance with your program and your goals become even more specific and better defined, and you’ll want to follow a specific plan tailored to help you meet those goals.
- The chances of you continuing a resistance/aerobic program are probably far greater if it’s fun and you like it as well as you can do it at a time which fits in your lifestyle.
Exercise for Fat Loss
It is important that you exercise for fat loss and muscle gain or/and muscle maintenance. Muscles in the body are like a bellow to a fireplace. More muscles equals more bellow power which means your metabolism can handle more and perhaps not so healthy food better. You should combine aerobic and resistance exercise to attack your fat stores and increase muscle mass.
Aerobic Exercise versus Resistance Exercise
Aerobic exercise such as walking, running, swimming, or cycling is repetitive and relies on the continuous activation of the heart and lungs, often called cardiovascular (cardio) exercise. Most people think it is the key to fat loss.
Resistance exercise involves moving or lifting weights with forceful muscle contractions. Even though resistance exercise is typically related to gains in muscle mass, there is plenty of evidence that it is actually excellent for fat loss and body composition improvements.
To maximise aerobic exercise you should alter between mode, duration, intensity and frequency; the more and intense the movement the better. In general running is excellent as it involves large muscle groups and you can easily change intensity and duration; combined with good nutritional choices and lifestyle habits, it can result in significant body composition improvement.
Duration and Intensity
The longer the exercise the more calories you burn. However, you can burn the same amount of calories, burn more fat and improve your body composition in a fraction of the time by varying the intensity.
With (HIIT) High-Intensity Interval Training you simply intermix rest periods with very high-intensity work. Run fast for 1 minute and then “recover” at a slow jog pace for 1 minute and repeat this for 20 minutes.
Depending on duration and intensity of the workout, you will burn energy during and after the exercise, too.
If you are short on time for exercise break your exercise session into segments of high intensity and easy recovery as well as include jumping jacks, lunges or body-weight squats in your morning workout.
Research not only shows that interval training is more effective than continuous lower-intensity exercise, it also shows that combined with resistance training is incredibly effective for reducing body fat levels and improving heart health.
For best results exercise for fat loss 3-5 times a week and follow the guide lines above.
Resistance Exercise for Fat Loss
With only aerobic exercise it might be easy to change your overall size but not the way it looks physically. By adding lean mass from resistance training you add definition to your physic and increase your metabolic output.
A combination of aerobic and resistance exercise also helps in combating certain types of chronic disease, including muscle wasting, osteoporosis, and perhaps even type 2 diabetes.
Let’s explore how different types of exercise, from small adjustments, such as taking the stairs, walking around more to a full-blown structured exercise program can help you to achieve your health and fitness goals.
Ease ways to burn calories at home
Various types of exercises demand varying amounts of energy, for example —walking versus running. If you want to manipulate your body composition, it is important to know the quality and quantity of calories you are eating and drinking, and how many calories you are expending.
Calories are the fuel for body composition as well as mental and physical performance. Our body is remarkable consist of intricate systems from muscles and enzymes to atoms that work in complete unison, and require good-quality fuel to do so.
Exercise and Metabolism
Depending on duration and intensity of any exercise your energy expenditure does remain elevated
(over resting metabolic rate) for some time. Vigorous weight training can increase your metabolic rate for hours after exercise.
If your goal is fat loss, don’t waste too much time on traditional aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week. Research has shown that HIIT exercises result in significant fat loss. Even though high-intensity exercise burns more carbohydrates and lower-intensity exercise burns more fat, it is all about the total number of calories burned.
In other words, higher-intensity exercise might be much more time efficient for weight loss and in body composition improvement.
Non-Exercise Calorie Burn
Small acts of physical activity throughout the day can burn many calories, make you healthier and improve body composition. Simple daily habits such as taking the stairs and carrying shopping bags to your car at the far side of the car park can consciously be altered to improve your health.
Can you adapt your daily routine to add a short walk and taking the stairs as well as a 5-10min exercise routine before breakfast and after work?