When we are talking about weight loss, we are really meaning dropping the amount of body fat stored.

A common mistake that many well intentioned dieters make is eating foods that are low in protein, because they perceive them to be fattening, which is understandable as meat and dairy products are usually high in fat.

This is a mistake since protein is essential for your well being AND for maximum weight loss through exercising.

Reducing fattening food intake without reducing protein intake can be achieved by eating fish, poultry and soya products or lean meat and low-fat dairy products.

Essentially, too little protein causes muscle wastage, and therefore reducing protein intake results in weight loss from lean tissue (muscle) and not body-fat.

This scenario is highly undesirable since muscle tissue burns calories, hence when you are losing lean muscle, you are also losing the ability to burn calories (rapid weight loss becomes even harder!).

A key thing to losing body-fat quickly is to preserve or actually encourage muscle growth in order to burn more calories.

Think of this: the bigger the engine, the greater need there is for MORE fuel.

This can be achieved through using weight-bearing exercise and a protein-rich diet.

Aerobic exercise is also important as it helps burn calories directly, though increasing your metabolism (which exercising helps achieve) will aid your weight loss far better than burning fat directly through exercise.

Put another way if running a mile a day burns a pound of fat a week, this is nothing compared to what that exercise will do to your metabolism long term. You know the type of people that eat like horses, but never put on weight: that’s because they have a fast metabolism (99% of the time through moderate exercise).

Fat loss exercise programmes should therefore be a combination of weight-bearing exercise (build up muscle) and aerobics (helps increase metabolism), in fact studies show better results than either used on their own.

You should aim to lose around 2lbs of fat per week, which is a sensible, gradual amount. You might feel this isn’t enough, but how long have you been trying to loose weight through starvation type dieting only to fail?

At 2lbs weight loss a week, in

7 weeks you could loose a 1 stone in weight.
14 weeks you could loose a 2 stone in weight.
28 weeks you could loose a 4 stone in weight.
56 weeks you could loose a 8 stone in weight.

Considering how many years some of you have wasted on fad diets, is a year to long to wait to loose almost 8 stone?

In theory this can be achieved by eating 500-1000 calories less per day.

An important note to make is that if you do increase muscle whilst losing body-fat your actual weight might not change. In fact it may increase, because muscle actually weighs more than fat.

This is nothing to worry about and the gain will be temporary (we aren’t going to be taking steroids so the muscle gain isn’t of the Hulk “ripping his clothes off” amounts :)). So in the early weeks/months it is important to use the mirror as a guide to your progress and not rely solely on the weighing scales, after all our main goal is a healthy body not just to look at the scales at an arbitrary perfect weight. If that’s all we need there’s always drastic actions like cutting a leg off (that’s got to weigh a couple of stone)!

Diet For Weight Loss and Better Health

To lose fat effectively:

1. Eat protein and carbohydrate meals every 3 hours so you are having 5-6 small meals per day. Studies show that your metabolism increases if you eat little and often. Starvation is counterproductive and slows metabolism (you burn energy slower!).

2. After aerobic exercise, wait an hour before having your post exercise meal. This will help maximum fat-burning which continues sometime after aerobic type exercise.

3. Consume around 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight per day to prevent muscle wastage.

4. Carbohydrate intake should be reduced to around 40% of total calories. Avoid simple carbohydrate sources (for example: sugar is a simple carb). Carbs are the real enemy to weight loss.

5. Use meal replacements as needed, but make sure they are lower in calories (around 200 Kcals) than the regular ones, so that they supply roughly equal quantities of protein and carbohydrate. Don’t try to live off meal supplements, eating food is enjoyable, all because we want to loose weight and have a healthier life style does not mean we have to loose the pleasure of eating nice foods.

6. Eat lots of vegetables at each meal to make you feel fuller and to obtain key vitamins and minerals.

7. Keep fat levels down, daily calories from fat should be between 15-20% for weight loss. You must NEVER cut out all fats as you need some for good health. Eating oily Fish, nuts and seeds 2-3 times a week is ideal.

8. Try to eat whole foods and avoid junk foods that are loaded with empty calories from sugar, fat and alcohol. We all like a treat from time to time, so don’t feel bad when you have a packet of crisps because you were in a rush and didn’t have time for a real meal. Instead consider it as a treat and move on, remember every week we can loose 2lbs in weight safely, doesn’t mean we HAVE to. If you can maintain a steady 1lb loss of weight a week you will meet your goals in time.

Avoid or reduce the following:

# Alcoholic beverages – 1 gram of alcohol is 7 calories (Kcal)
# Butter, margarine
# Fried foods
# Fatty meats and Meat products, eg burgers, sausages
# Pastry, cakes, biscuits, puddings
# Sweets and chocolate
# Sugary soft drinks
# Sugar in coffee and tea (try a drop of honey as a sugar substitute, it’s delicious in tea)
# Rich sauces and dressings

Choose low calorie alternatives if you really need to eat these foods, but again none of us are perfect and the very worst thing you can do if you eat these types of foods is feel bad about it. The act of feeling guilty about food has been known to push dieters into a cycle of feeling guilty about eating food, getting depressed about failing only to resort to eating food to feel better.

The way I look at it, is the only time I’ve failed is when I give up. We all have weak moments, this does not make us weak, just means we are human. Look forward to tomorrow and try to plan your day better so those delicious temptations aren’t so tempting :)

Always drink plenty of water, particularly just before meals, as it will make you feel fuller and prevent you from over-eating.

Weight Loss Supplements

Fat-loss can be enhanced using various weight loss supplements, but do need to be combined with a sensible eating plan and exercise regime.

Most useful weight loss supplements are:

1. Protein supplements – use as and when to top up protein levels in the diet and to enhance an already carbohydrate rich meal.

2. Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) – Studies show that this supplement can help change body composition, such that body-fat is lowered in conjunction with gains in lean muscle tissue. 3-6 grams per day was used in the research.

3. Thermogenic supplements (see also Citrus aurantium, Coleus forskohlii, Cayenne, Green Tea, Guarana) – 1-2 capsules taken 30 minutes before each meal can encourage fat-burning and stimulate metabolism.

Fat Loss for Idiots

Other supplements to consider to aid loosing weight

:: Multivitamin and mineral – a hi-potency product to supply optimum nutrient levels and correct deficiencies that may occur when on lower-calorie diets.

:: L-Carnitine – needed to mobilise fats and release energy from fatty acids. Take 1000mg per day

:: Garcinia – supplies hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which mildly suppresses appetite and reduces conversion of carbohydrate into stored body-fat. (sometimes found in thermogenic supplements). Take 1 gram before each meal.

:: Chromium and Alpha lipoic acid help regulate blood sugar levels, which can help curb craving for sweet foods. 400-1000mcg and 600mg per day respectively. Chromium may also help change body composition.

:: Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) – Studies show that it can reduce muscle wastage and encourage fat loss. Take at least 1 gram 3 times per day. 1 dose should be straight after exercise.

:: Kelp – supplies iodine, an important mineral needed for proper thyroid gland function in order to maintain a healthy metabolism.

:: 5HTP – promising studies show that it may help with weight loss by reducing appetite. 750mg per day.

Exercise for Weight Loss

For maximum fat loss, the best time to exercise is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You actually burn calories from fat 300% faster than compared to if you exercise later in the day.

In addition, remember to wait an hour before you have breakfast to maximise fat-burning as you recover from weight training.

Weight training should be done 3 times per week.

When weight training for weight loss you should use 5-9 reps, 2-3 sets and rest periods should last 1-2 mins.

Another key point is to completely rest the muscles exercised for at least 48 hours so that they fully repair and refuel.

Aerobic exercise 3 times per week for at least 20 minutes each time.

Interval type training is very effective and will give optimum results.