Benefits of short term fasting

Source: Selvin (Flickr)

Another subject on which there has been a lot research going on now a days as many experts think that the only effective weight loss solution is that you  fast at regular intervals all throughout your life.

Fasting has a lot of benefits apart from reducing your calorie intake (food intake) and thus giving your body some rest from the food processing  it has to do everyday because all of us want to eat so much these days and you know why that is?

The media. The media tells you to eat this and eat that. Things like, to become cool you have got to drink this soda or this bag of chips. All of course are doing nothing apart from pushing you towards the path that ultimately leads to you being fat.

Here is a quick tip too for loosing weight and that is, leave junk food for the rest of your life. Now, that may sound a lot so why don’t you leave junk food (example, branded burgers and stuff) for lets say a month and notice the benefits yourself.

You will automatically feel good and will loose weight. I am telling you. Just by leaving out these kind of foods you can give a huge boost to your weight loss efforts and I am not saying that you leave out food all out together.

Try to prepare meals at home instead of eating out. Or even if you are eating out, avoid fast foods. Eat some salad stuff.

Anyway, coming back to the benefits of fasting which you should do at least 3 times a week. Generally from what I have read, for 24 hours you should not eat anything, you can drink water though.

You will feel hunger but that is good for you. Fasting’s  benefits are:

  • Decreased body fat & hence body weight. As I have stated in my other posts too. Basically what you are trying to get rid of when you want to loose weight, is fat. Fat is the stuff we do not want in our body.
  • Maintenance of skeletal muscle mass.
  • Decreased blood glucose levels.
  • Decreased insulin levels & increased insulin sensitivity. (Basically insulin is the thing that signals your body to store energy from the food you eat as fat.)
  • Increased lipolysis & fat oxidation. (in simpler words, natural fat removal from your body)
  • Increased Uncoupling Protein 3 mRNA.
  • Increased norepinephrine & epinephrine levels.
  • Increased Glucagon(hormone that raises blood sugar level) levels
  • Increased growth hormone levels.

Don’t Obsess about Starvation mode

Another topic of confusion  which is quite popular among dieters is, starvation mode. According to some people, if you keep your calorie count fairly constricted then your body enters into a state where it tries to hold on to any calorie that it gets so that it can survive.

Supposedly, starvation leads to the body not knowing when the next food is going to come or if it is going to come at all. Therefore it tries to store everything you eat by lowering your metabolism and what does the body stores energy into? Fat.

Yeah right. Fat. Fat is the reason why you are..well. Fat and that this something which you want too loose not gain.

Whereas the other group says (to which I am more inclined too) is that it does not matter how much you eat. If you are eating less or even you are starving yourself to death. Your body is going to continue to burn of fat that is stored into the body as long as the fat is there.

There is logic in that according to the second group. Apparently there was a research done where people were deliberately made to starve and it was found out that the only changes your body makes, with respect to storing unusual amount of calories as fat in order to survive is when your body reaches 5 to 7 percent body fat.

Which is I can tell you pretty hard to reach. Even athletes rarely have that kind of a body fat percentage and you would have lost quite a pound before reaching that mark, so these people think that it is ok to starve yourself to death (well not literally).

Whereas, there have also been studies done where it has been shown that the rate at which your body burns calories by remaining active (that is your metabolism) is changed or slowed down if you starve it.

Some people take the middle road and say that the body simply responds to the changes it is put through. It adapts. If you give it food in small quantities regularly, it evolves or adapts to this routine and therefore starts to process the food quickly because it knows the next  food session is going to come sooner rather than later.

And if you give it food after starving then it slows down accordingly and processes the food slowly because it knows that the next food session is a long way away. So in both the cases it, the thing remains the same.

Well, it is a hot topic at the moment, both sides have strong arguments about their respective positions and I am someone who does not like to get into these type of debates. One thing is for sure that nothing has been established as yet.

There is another thing that is for sure and that is, you have got to eat less and exercise more in order to loose weight and keep it off. So don’t distract yourself with things like Starvation mode or drink more green tea (two sides of debates and researches there too) and keep on working hard by eating less.

Never eat till you are full and keep an active lifestyle. This alone will ensure that you never gain weight. In order to loose weight just set aside an hour a day for any kind of exercise.

Difference between Weight Loss And Fat loss

There seems to be a lot of confusion about loosing weight and loosing fat, though I use the term loosing weight (which is basically fat loss!!!) most of the times as I use it in it’s most honest form.

The claims that you see in most advertisements and most weight loss solutions online on the internet go like this “Loose 10 pounds in 10 days” or “Loose 30 pounds in 30 days”.

That amount of weight is possible to loose. Yeah, it really is possible to loose 10 pounds in 10 days. In fact, I am going to tell you right now how to do that.

Dehydrate yourself. Yeah. Don’t drink water for a day and you would already loose 2 pounds or so. The point is, our body is mainly water. 70 percent in fact of it is liquid.

If you do not drink for a long period of time, obviously you will loose weight, but you will not look thinner. You still would have to wear the same old tight clothes again. Your knee pains will not go away and your heart will have to continue to work hard and supply blood to all parts of your fat body.

You will loose pounds if you dehydrate yourself but you will immediately gain them back when you start drinking. There is a product out there in the market that I saw yesterday which has you wearing some sort of a joker looking dress and magically, they say, you will loose weight.

Just by sitting and watching TV while wearing that suit, you will loose weight is what they claim. To some extent they are right. You will loose weight. Hye, they did not say anything about you looking thinner or feeling more energetic.

All that dress does is to make you sweat. You loose water from your body and thus you loose weight. Whereas, for real weight loss, you need to get rid of the fat that your body has in order to move well, feel well and live well.

Don’t pay too much attention to the scales, is what I mean by all this. It’s the fat loss that counts. There are many methods of determining the fat percentage of your body and none of them will I describe here.

Weight loss is meant to be easy, I don’t intend to make this complicated for you. Just eat less and exercise more. There are many weight loss solutions in order for you to achieve that, some of which I have described already.

I just wanted to make this important distinction because many people complain about not LOOKING slim even after loosing some weight. They forget, that even after exercise, your body looses a lot of water and hence you will be lighter.

The solution is to keep on working hard. Eating less and exercising more. Eating the right foods is a prerequisite which I do not mention a lot because it is something that SHOULD be taken for granted while loosing weight. You cannot really loose weight if you are eating big Macks everyday.

When you loose some real weight, you will automatically feel better. You will move better and will not want to crave bad sugary foods. Your clothes will slowly loosen up on your body and you will generally get a good feeling for your body, say as in, by looking in the mirror and stuff.

So don’t dehydrate yourself in order to budge the needle of the scale machine. That’s just lying to yourself about your weight and health condition. Eat healthy, eat less and exercise.

You will begin to NOTICE the results not just on the outside (the scale machine) but inside you as well, which is ultimately the thing for which you wanted to loose weight in the first place.

How to motivate yourself for loosing weight?

The ultimate weight loss solution is motivation. If you have the motivation you can do it without breaking a sweat (well, not really!!!). For many people who are trying desperately to loose weight and keep it off, motivation is the major problem.

They just cannot stay focused enough to exercise every day or every other day and just do not have the self control of eating less and not binging. Motivation is the key. If you have the motivation of doing well, you can easily incorporate all of these weight loss solutions into your life.

What I did when I went on my journey of loosing weight and keeping it off (loosing healthy weight that is, otherwise, just stop eating and you will loose weight!!! Don’t do that of course) was I tried a 3 step process.

First step constituted of me writing down (actually writing down) how much weight I wanted to loose weight. Say like, I wanted to loose 15 or 30 pounds. I wrote that down.

In the second step, I wrote down the things I wanted to do in order to achieve my goal (that is to loose 30 pounds of weight). Things like exercise, eating less, eating healthy and generally living an active life rather than sitting in front of the TV for hours with a bag of chips.

After writing those things down, in the third step I wrote, how would I feel once I loose that amount of weight. That could be anything. Like, I wrote down, that I would feel lighter and more energetic. I would feel proud of myself for achieving such a goal, which millions of people try each year but fail at.

Then I turned by 3rd step into my 1st step. My first step became the feelings that I would have if I had achieved my goal and that is the key.

If you connect your goals to your feelings that the chances of you sticking to that goal, staying committed to the things you have to do in order to achieve that goal, becomes easier and less painful and more rewarding.

You will feel to enjoy the weight loss process if you think about the feelings you would get if you were thin and not overweight (or underweight). However, if you just think about the pounds you have to loose then the same process becomes a lot harder and you are more likely to give up and start eating much more again.

Don’t just loose weight just because you have to. Like, don’t say that you want to loose weight before the start of the new semester or in 2 months time for a wedding. That only makes your journey more difficult and you will not be able to change your lifestyle.

Even if you loose your desired amount of weight, you are very very likely to regain all of the weight you lost IF your motivation and your goal was to be fit for a wedding or any other event.

As I said, instead of having that mindset, just think about the feelings that you would get and it will make your life a hell a lot easier. Remember, loosing weight is a change in your eating habits for the rest of your life, not just 3 months or 3 weeks.

How to use Exercise as a weight loss solution?

Probably the best weight loss solution among hundreds of weight loss solution is to Exercise. Yeah, I know I have made a post about this earlier too (two infact) but what kind of an exercise?

There is a lot of confusion out there to what kind of an exercise you should do. Not ANY exercise will help you to loose weight. No, lifting weights is also not the best if you want to loose weight.

The type of exercise that causes the most amount of fat loss from your body is Aerobic Exercise. What is it? Aerobic exercise is physical exercise that intends to improve the oxygen system Aerobic means “with oxygen”, and refers to the use of oxygen in the body’s metabolic or energy-generating process.

Many types of exercise are aerobic, and by definition are performed at moderate levels of intensity for extended periods of time.

If you did not understand anything which I wrote above. Just know that why Marathon runners do is aerobic exercise. It needs to last at least for 20 minutes. Ideally 40 to 60 minutes. Make no mistake. There is no substitute for this type of exercise.

You cannot reduce that (20 minutes) amount of time by a single bit. If you cannot do 20 minutes of exercise (any exercise) then reduce the intensity of your respective exercise in order to do so.

So, by now, I think you know that the best aerobic exercise it to run. Running (or jogging to be more precise) is the thing that is going to get you rid of you fat. Increase your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories) and general health of your cardiovascular system.

If you cannot do jogging then because of any health problems then walking at a brisk pace is fine too. But take care, while walking it is very easy to just to slack off and not put any effort into your exercise.

Sometimes, aerobic exercise or running also goes by the name Cardio.

I keep on talking about making a good effort? What is a good effort you ask? or more precisely, what is good CARDIO? How do you know if you are pushing too hard or taking it too easy, not putting enough effort.

Well, anything that elevates your heart rate for 20 minutes or more (which I mentioned above too) is good cardio. Preferably it should be from 40 to 60 minutes but most people do not have that much time and neither the stamina to do cardio for that long consistently.

How much your heart rate should elevate (or in simple terms, how much effort should you make). Well there are many ways of knowing that. One easy, but a little raw method  is that you should never run at a pace that does not allow you to talk to yourself or to someone else while running.

You should be able to speak complete sentences. If you cannot do that then you must decrease your intensity of walking or jogging.

One other method is that you simply buy a heart rate monitor watch. Put it on your wrist and it will show you what you need to know. There are many available in the market today and one can easily be bought for around 40-60 bucks I think.

I do not recommend the method of actually stopping while jogging to check the heart rate manually but first placing your finger just below your left wrist (the area just below the thumb, beneath the bump of your wrist) and then sense your pulse. Then count the number of pulses that you sense for 10 seconds and then multiply it by 6.

It is a good technique if you just want to know your heart rate but not so accurate while you are jogging. The moment you stop your body temperature starts to decrease and your heart beat rate comes down fairly quickly so it might now give you the most accurate results.

Jogging is a bit heavy on the joints that is why most people prefer walking or doing cardio on some machine like an elliptical or a stationary bicycle.

Ideally it is preferred that you do your cardio 4 to 5 times a week and gradually increase the interval of time that you do your cardio for. Remember, 20 minutes is a must. I cannot even begin to tell you how important is that.

HIIT or high intensity interval training is the hot topic now a days among many. In it basically you run at your max speed for 1 minute and then walk for the next minute. Then you repeat this cycle 10 times. Is it ok?

Well, it is true that it burn slightly more calories but I do not recommend it. First, is because you are more likely to get injured while stopping and starting so many times. Running at high speed increases your chances of getting knee or ankle problems.

So, doing the 20 minutes of cardio at a moderate level  CONTINUOUSLY is recommended.

Though, when I could  not do 20 minutes of jogging I usually did it 10 minutes, then took some rest and then did it for 10 minutes again to get a combined total of 20 minutes but I say it again. Continuous 20 minutes is probably better but you can break it down into part as well.

At least that would be better than no exercise at all.

So there you go. Now you know which exercise to do, for how long with what intensity to loose weight and get that fat off your body.

Weight Loss Solution 10: No time for Exercise

In this final post of the series “Weight Loss Solutions” I am going to talk about people who do not have the time to go out and exercise. Or worse, people who cannot even exercise at home. For these people there is a very simple way of getting some exercise in order to loose weight.

By now you SHOULD be comfortable with the fact that to loose weight you need to work hard. Suffer a bit, that suffering can be made easier through different methods. Only after your sufferings (to whatever level) will you reap the reward of a leaner look and hopefully some more muscle.

So, to loose weight you need to EXERCISE MORE and EAT LESS. I keep on stressing on these two points. There is no other way no matter what the TV commercials tell you or what thousands of programs on the internet (which are for the most part useless) tell you.

Though there are some supplements that do help you loose weight and then maintain that weight but you still have to exercise and eat less for the general health of your body.

Research done OVER 50 YEARS!!! has shown that people who eat less than their daily calorific requirement live longer and are generally healtheir than the ones who eat more than their daily calorie needs.

Anyway, for those who cannot go or start exercise anywhere. There is a way, you can try to change your lifestyle a little bit. Walk around the house a bit more. Don’t sit down to chat on the phone keep moving. Try to take the staircase more often whenever you go to a shopping mall or your office.

While travelling, try to limit your use of any means of transport such as trains or a taxi may be. Even if you are taking a train to your office (which may be far away from your home) try to get off the train one stop before your destination just to get that extra bit of exercise.

Try to speed up your walking pace. Walk with some purpose and some goal. Don’t just walk for the sake of reaching a place. I mean do do that but walk with some set goal, like what I do, I time myself whenever I can while walking from place to place.

I measure that, note that and try to walk a bit faster to consume less time the next time I walk to the same place. Pretty handy if you are looking to loose weight but do not have the time to exercise.

One thing, I do not recommend EATING on the move. I have seen people do that in order to save time and get some exercise while eating. That is not good. Whenever you have your food, sit down and eat it without any haste.

Eat it, don’t just gobble it down. Take your time and appreciate the food you are eating. Only then will you gain its benefits to the fullest and will feel satisfied with your meal. Do keep that in mind.

Weight Loss Solution 9: Exercise burns Fat

So what about obvious weight loss solutions like exercise?

There is some new research that shows how you can continue to burn fat even when you are sleep after doing rigorous exercise.

Doing moderate exercise is an extremely good way of loosing weight but a lot of people are cynical about this claim but the fact is, the only way you can loose weight is through exercise and diet control. Both go together.

I usually go about it in a different way. I use my diet control to maintain my weight and exercise to loose weight. This strategy has worked for me so far and I recommend you to adapt this attitude to exercise.

After you have lost your desired weight don’t leave exercise, this is a mistake that a lot of people make. To make it easier for you, choose some activity that you like or are passionate about. Some sports may be?

When I do not want to exercise as in going outside specifically to do running or brisk walking . I go outside to play football with friends, in the park or even play alone by running with the ball doing simple dribbles, which helps me keep fit and healthy.

It is true that the amount of fat you burn during exercise is not much but there is a thing called AFTER BURN. Your body keeps on burning fat because of exercise after the exercise session not during the exercise session and that too at a higher rate, even the day after the exercise.

Our body uses different types of fuel to energize itself. Carbohydrates and fat. When you exercise, your body burns the carbohydrates in your body because they are easier for the body to burn.

Your storage of carbohydrates are mostly used up when you exercise and it takes about 24 hours for your body to replace them.

Meanwhile, your body is forced to burn  fat to keep you going. Talking, walking and even sleeping which is I feel great news for anyone who wants to loose weight through exercise.

The main benefit is that you burn fat during exercise and keep on burning the day after the exercise.

Weight Loss Solution 8: More Low Fat Milk, More Fat Loss

Source: Muffet from Flickr

As you might have noticed so far, I have been sticking to the science in my previous posts about weight loss solutions. So despite dairy products being the first food item that people give up when on a diet, I am going to put forward another (in contrast to the norm) notion.

And that is, that dairy products like milk and yogurt (add to that cheese too) might help you loose more fat. The primary reason people forsake the dairy products is because of their fat content but new research has shown something else which is quite the opposite.

When you drink milk or consume any dairy product, it goes into your stomach and the calcium in it,binds to the fat molecules of food that is in there to form a soap like substance which our bodies cannot absorb. So what happens? That soap like substance passes straights through your body and gets excreted out.

Thus, instead of fat that comes from your food ending up on your hips and belly, it gets excreted out in your feces.

An experiment was conducted in which the volunteer was asked to eat normal food for one week (that is food low in dairy calcium) and then have a diet high in dairy calcium the next week. Both the diets had exactly the same amount of calories in them.

They also had the same amount of fat in both the diets and the volunteer was asked to collect his feces samples for further studying.

The results showed that when the volunteer was on a high dairy diet, the feces had almost double the amount of fat in it per 100 grams when compared to the feces sample which was taken when the volunteer was on a low dairy calcium diet.

I Love Milk

Source: joeshlabotnik on flickr

Thus proving the theory that dairy products such as low fat milk, cheese and yogurt helps your body to absorb less fat from your food and it can add up to a lot of fat not gettingon your body if you consider a high calcium diet for a long period of time.

You can have as much as 2 kilograms of fat not being put on your body if you get on a high dairy calcium diet for just a year (long time?). Quite handy if you are on diet huh?

I know that cheese has a bad reputation. People see it as something bad for you and that it kind of makes you fat, but as I explained above research has shown otherwise. So if you are a cheese fanatic then fear not, cheese TO THE RESCUE!!. It actually is not bad for you health, not at all.

Things like skimmed milk and cottage cheese help you, not kill your weight loss efforts.

Weight Loss Solution 7: Cut your Choice

Too Much Choice in Meals

Too Much Choice in Meals

This is the 7th weight loss solution in 10 part series of simple but effective weight loss solutions and today it’s about choices. No, it’s not about the choices you have to make in your everyday life, well….maybe it is. What the heck. Let’s just get to the point.

Choice is something hard wired into our brains due to some good evolutionary reasons. Our ancestors, as they say, were basically scavengers and relied on eating many types of foods. You know, a bit of this and a bit of that, that sort of a thing.

Now, having variety in your food is good but unfortunately does very little good to you if you are on a diet. Research has shown that you are likely to eat 30 percent more if you have more choices of food to choose from.

Our mind loves choices. Let’s say you go on a buffet, on the mere sight of so many food items, your mind goes crazy and wants a bit of everything. It gets extremely easy to overeat in this scenario.

As I mentioned numerous times on my blog, all weight loss solutions come down to a single thing, EAT FEWER CALORIES!!!. Since a small number of choice, preferably no choice at all, aids you in eating less calories, this is an efficient weight loss solution.

Most of all, it’s a solution that requires no extra effort or thought. In fact, it actually reduces your effort in cooking food by relieving you from preparing multiple food items multiple times a day.

Simply by cutting down on the variety of dishes available at each meal you can save loads of calories and hence lose weight. This might save you some hard earned money as well. Well, at least it saved me quite a bit.

Though, it has to be said, you will have to make your food choices with wisdom, if you are going to put this tip to use. Remember, you must get all the essential nutrients daily. So make wise choices.

On a side note, this tip might actually help you to dig some more nutritional information on the foods you eat and foods you plan to eat.

You will definitely become more knowledgeable about food items if anything else doesn’t work.

Weight Loss solution 6: Eating Soup is better

Proteins are not the only way one can feel fuller for longer. There is another way of feeling full and satisfied between meals and that is to have as much soup as possible, of course taking into consideration the calories that you put in that soup. The soup can be of anything.

It can be the traditional soup (with standard recipes) or you can make you own soup. Let me share with you an example to illustrate this.

I don’t remember exactly but I think I saw this one on a BBC documentary where they had two groups.

Each was fed with the same meal, having the same stuff and the same amount of calories. What was the difference? The first group was given their meal in stand form, like some rice with some vegetables and chicken along with a glass of water.

The second group was (as I said before) was fed with the same meal but their meal was blended with the glass of water and made into a soup with nice thick and uniform consistency. Both the groups ate their food and had their stomachs checked in some sort of s machine that could tell whether the stomach was full or not.

Initially both the group had stomach full of the meal they had eaten. They carried out their normal routine tasks and had a test done them again after two hours. It was found that only after 2 hours, the group which had eaten the food in its solid form had almost an empty stomach.

Whereas the group which had taken their meal in the form of a soup still had pretty much full stomach and did not feel any hunger. It was only after 5 hours that the SOUP GROUP felt any hunger. Thus proving that soup does make you feel satisfied for longer.

The science behind this is simple enough. When you take in your regular meal with water, the food goes into your stomach and temporarily expands it.

After a brief period of time the water drains out of your stomach and it gets shrunk down with only morsels of solid food to digest, which have relatively less volume and thus your stomach sends signals to the brain of being empty and wanting more food.

Whereas when you take in your meal in the form of a thick soup. It stays in your stomach for longer because it does not just drain away like water does because when the food is blended with water to form a thick layer it does not escape your stomach quickly.

Thus soup keeps your stomach filled and expanded for longer, making you feel less hungry. They did not say this on the show but I think it might also help your digestion.

Soup is one of the best kept secrets of dieting and though people might be skeptic about this trick but seriously, if you try this out you would not get the cravings in the mid afternoon that most people suffer from but if you understand the mechanism then it will be easier for you to digest this tip (and your food too, hopefully) thus change your life.

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