7. Most fat loss results from an increased metabolism combined with an increase in leisure time activity. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

Most fat loss that occurs due to physical activity actually occurs after that physical activity. Something called post exercise oxygen consumption [EPOC] occurs, which essentially means your metabolism is increased for up to 48 hours after exercise.

Combining light to moderate exercise for 30 minutes, 3 times a week with more leisure time activity can change your life. The number of hours you spend sitting each day is great predictor of mortality. In general, you want to lower this number. Here are some tips:

  • Park as far away from things as you can.
  • Walk your dog more often.
  • If you work a desk job, spend 6 minutes up moving around for 54 minutes you’re in a chair.
  • Set aside 20 minutes each day to cleaning or straightening up.

More Activities

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6. The percentage of fat we are burning at any one time is inversely proportional to the intensity of the activity. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

In General

This is a sort of confusing notion, but keep in mind the fact that you burn more fat as a % of your energy expenditure while walking as compared to running, which primarily burns available carbohydrates.

Important to remember:

  • All 3 systems are always working, but the dominant system is determined by the intensity of an activity.
  • The body’s favorite sources of energy, in order, are: (1) glucose, (2) protein, (3) fat. Yes, ironically, your body does not like to use fat stores for energy production.
  • The body burns fat in two scenarios: (a) Glucose stores are depleted and muscle protein can not meet energy requirements or (b) energy is not required at a fast pace (i.e. you are just walking as opposed to running).

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February 24th, 2014

While this is true, it is important to remember that regardless of which mechanism the body is using for fuel, as long as one is in a caloric deficit at the end of the day (or week), fat will be burned off of the body. No matter if the calories are burned through sprinting, walking, or doing no physical activity at all, as long as a caloric deficit is present, fat will be lost.

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5. 1 lb of body fat is equal to 3500 calories. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

Think about this: you must expend at least 3500 more calories a week than you consume. This works out to a caloric deficit of about 500 calories per day in order to lose 1 lb of fat per week.

Again, functioning at a caloric deficit literally means our body is consuming itself for energy. This is not generally a good thing, and losing any more than 1-2 lbs per week on average is not healthy.

Also, it’s just not useful to lose more weight than this. Most people want to lose fat, but losing more than 1-2 lbs of weight per week signifies that you are losing water and muscle, neither of which is good.

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2. To lose weight, you must expend more calories than you consume. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

In order to burn off what you have, you must force your body to break itself down. This requires a caloric deficit.

To give you a more specific idea of what this means:

  • Sedentary men require between 2,000 — 2,600 calories a day. Sedentary women need about 1,600 — 2,000 calories a day.
  • Men who engage in light activity 1 to 3 days per week, burn 2,228.3 per day and women burn 2,052.9 calories.

In this case, active men and women should burn enough calories each day to maintain a caloric deficit. However, in reality, less than half (48%) of all adults meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.

Side note:

Resistance training is an important component of weight loss due to the fact that:

  1. It prevents the muscle loss which naturally occurs when weight is being lost.
  2. The more lean body mass you have, the higher your average metabolism. (see basil metabolic rate)

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10. Losing weight, like really losing weight, is a matter of what you do in the long run, not in the next 12 weeks. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

Only about 10 to 20 percent of individuals who lose weight are able to maintain a long term loss of 5% of their body weight. In other words, this is a war of attrition, so-to-speak.

Two things are important here:

  1. Perspective — Realize that there will be short term setbacks, but that the decision to keep moving forward is always in your hands.
  2. Discipline — Understand that changing your life requires changing your habits. You will never change your life without first developing self-discipline.

[…] allowing only ordinary ability and opportunity, we may explain success mainly by one word and that word is WORK! WORK!! WORK!!! WORK!!!! Not transient and fitful effort, but patient, enduring, honest, unremitting and indefatigable work into which the whole heart is put […]
There is no royal road to perfection.

Frederick Douglass

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9. Make sure to set your goals in stone (writing) and tell your friends and family about them. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

As social beings, we are easily influenced. We even exert a strong influence over ourselves if that makes sense. Think of the last time your bribed yourself..

Writing your goals down substantiates them to some extent. Telling our friends and families about our goals serves to hold us accountable. No one wants to be asked whether they’re still trying to lose weight while they stuff pizza in their mouth.

Before you write your goals down though, make sure they fit within the SMART model:

  • S — Specific
  • M — Measurable
  • A — Attainable
  • R — Realistic
  • T — Time

The best approach to accomplishing your goals are to create a master list of the things you’d like to achieve in the next 3 months, i.e. stop drinking soda, eat more vegetables, etc. Once you’ve done this, choose ONE goal/habit a week to address.

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8. When it comes to weight loss, eating habits will play a bigger role than exercise. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

There is a subtle balance here of course, but the limiting factor here will always be your diet. Physical activity is more of a concern for long term weight management. See the National Council on Strength & Fitness' opinion paper for more on where physical activity fits in.

Eating habits refer to how we interact with food, not necessarily what type of foods we interact with. Most people can lose a considerable amount of weight just by changing a few health behaviors:

  • Consuming fewer processed foods.
  • Drinking water with lemon instead of carbonated beverages.
  • Eating 4-6 smaller meals a day.
  • Writing down what you eat.
  • Taking more than 20 minutes to finish each meal.

For more nutrition help and advice on planning meals, check out My Plate.

Sample Meal Plan

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4. Weight loss =/= fat loss. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

Weight loss essentially occurs out of your body’s need to break itself down to form energy. The body has a number of choices in its pursuit to create energy. Short overview of our 3 energy systems:

  1. ATP-PCr — Rapidly creates energy from creatine-phosphate stores in the body. Can only provide PCr for about 1-10 seconds of 95% max effort activity.
  2. Anaerobic Glycolytic — Creates energy from glucose (muscle glycogen) at a moderately quick pace. Capacity of about 90 seconds of 95% max effort activity.
  3. Aerobic — Creates energy by oxidizing glucose, protein, and fat (depending on supply). Unlimited capacity.

There is no guarantee that the weight you are losing is from fat. Water weight, which can fluctuate 4-5 lbs a day, is a common source. Also, eating a caloric deficit also triggers muscle wasting which is, again, why resistance training is so vital.

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3. Don't do anything you wouldn't be comfortable doing for the rest of your life. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

The most important aspect of a weight loss program is sustainability. You’ll notice no mention of “diets” here, because we are talking about lifestyle changes. Key words:

Long term

As per the NIH’s comprehensive guidelines (starting on pg. 42):

  • Low-calorie meal plans can reduce total body weight by an average of 8 percent over 3 to 12 months, resulting in a decrease in abdominal fat.
  • Very low-calorie meal plans produce greater initial weight loss than “low-calorie”, but do not differ in the long term (>1 year)
  • Lower-fat diets coupled with total caloric reduction produce greater weight loss than lower-fat diets alone.
  • Physical activity in overweight and obese adults results in modest weight loss independent of the effect of caloric reduction through diet.

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Can produce significant health benefits. Weight Loss And What You Should Know by Mahony Brogan (Ft. Health Genius)

This amount of weight is enough to put you into a whole different risk stratification as far as BMI. That could mean a lot less exposure to serious chronic risk factors for mortality. According to Catherine Champagne, from Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center:

We have seen a consistent pattern in our weight loss studies that when patients lose 5%-10% of their body weight, they lower blood pressure, reduce LDL [“bad”] cholesterol, improve glucose tolerance, and in general, lower the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Not only will you directly lower your health risk factors, but weight loss will open up a whole new lane of physical activity and have a positive effect in all dimensions of your health.

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