"Do this one trick to lose stubborn belly fat."
"Take this supplement and become shredded."
"Follow this diet and lose 30 pounds in 30 days."
The industry these days is full of gimmicks and just plain stupid nonsense.
Not to discredit any fitness professionals, there are a lot of very smart trainers and coaches - a TON that are WAY smarter than me. But I am smart enough to be able to tell what is truth and what is just some made up nonsense by someone looking to make a name for themselves or a quick buck.
In this article, I cut through the BS and gimmicks of the industry and provide four real, down-to-earth ways that will undoubtedly help you lose weight when they are collectively applied.
Besides eating less and making better nutritional decisions, what is the most effective way to lose weight?
It's simpler than you think.
Without getting too sciencey about it and putting it in it's simplest terms; if you want to lose weight, you can go about it by either decreasing calories or increasing physical activity.
Since there comes a point when decreasing calories has a negative effect, increasing activity is a better option the majority of the time.
We as American's have grown to be mostly sedentary individuals, meaning we sit a lot more than we are up and active. This is a huge detriment to not only to our health, but also our ability to maintain or lose weight.
So what should you do?
Go to gym and get on a cardio machine?
This can help, but who really enjoys walking/running/biking on a stationary piece of equipment? Isn't there a way that is effective without being overly boring?
Strength training is great and should be placed as a priority - it definitely has the ability to aid in weight loss and make you stronger in the process.
However, the simplest way and perhaps the way some people may view as the most fun way to start losing weight today is just to start moving more on a daily basis.
Get up out of your chair, do some yard work, walk your dog around your neighborhood, take your kids to the park and actually play with them instead of sitting on a bench, go to the beach and throw a Frisbee around, shoot some basketball with your kid, clean your house, go shopping, just get up and do something!
If your goal is to lose weight, get up, get active, just simply move more and watch the pounds start to come off.
The more you are up and physically active in a day, the more calories you will burn and the greater your potential to lose weight becomes.
So, MOVE MORE.
Now, be careful. The more you move/are active in a given day, the more calories you will burn. This sounds dandy, but if you are someone who already eats very little, then it may have a problem if not properly addressed.
Make Sure You Eat Enough
Think of dieting like this:
Your metabolism (your ability to burn calories) is like a fire.
A fire depends on a source (typically wood) to keep burning.
A fire can burn more intensely when some type of flammable substance is added (typically gasoline).
Your metabolism is the fire. Food is your source (wood). And exercise is your flammable substance (gasoline).
To keep the fire burning, food (wood) must be continually added to the fire.
The fire can go through periods of burning more intensely (in this case, more calories burned), when a flammable substance (exercise) is used.
However, the flammable substance (exercise) alone can not keep the fire burning. There must always be a source (wood) for the fire to continue to burn.
Moral of the story: Exercise is great and can help tremendously with burning extra calories each day. However, if you do not fuel your body (with food), then your fire (metabolism) will not continue to burn like it should.
Make sure to eat enough food each day, even while dieting, in order for your metabolism to burn to its full potential and ultimately burn the most body fat.
I know, the opposite of what you normally hear about dieting. But trust me, you will look and feel much better if you do.
This however does NOT give you the green light to eat everything in sight - you still need to be a in a SLIGHT caloric deficit in order to lose body fat.
So what should you do? Eat less? Eat more?
Track Your Food
Track what you eat and find a happy medium!
Tracking your food, either through an app or the old fashioned way - writing it down on a piece of paper, will undoubtedly help you with your efforts.
Tracking your food helps in multiple ways:
1) It makes you aware of what you are eating.
Many people are completely unaware how many calories, fat, carbs, or protein is in the food they eat. Therefore they don't which foods to eat to help them reach their goals.
2) It makes you aware of how much you are eating.
A big reason many people struggle to lose weight is because they are unaware of how much food they are actually eating every day. They don't understand what a normal portion size is or how fast calories add up.
3) It allows you adjust your nutrition on a daily basis.
Flexible dieting or IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is the bomb. I recommend it to all my clients. It's easy and it works. Flexible dieting is all about eating foods that are good for you most of the time, but allowing some wiggle room to eat foods you enjoy the most and still meeting your calorie and macronutrient goals for the day.
If you want to know learn more about flexible dieting, then check out this awesome article by Jordan Syatt:
The biggest thing about tracking your food is making yourself AWARE. Once you are aware of your what and how much you are actually eating, then it's all about adjusting from there to meet your goals.
Find What Works For You
Now, this last point is a little different from the previous three, but it may in fact be the most important point.
What works for someone else may not work for you.
This is especially true in regards to the way you approach nutrition when trying to lose weight.
Some people may do well with a lower carb approach, while others (like myself) will feel like a zombie in search of anything that resembles food.
Some people prefer to completely cut out their "trap" foods because they know they will eat the whole box/bag/bowl if they taste that food. While some people need to have these foods in small portions in order to keep themselves from having a panic attack when they see these foods.
There are many different approaches you can take to losing weight, but not all of them will work for you.
Try different approaches, find out what works for you and what doesn't work for you. Then stick with what works, be consistent, and positive changes will undoubtedly occur.
At the end of the day, losing weight is all about balance (just like everything in life). You have to find a balance between eating too much and eating too little. You need to find a balance in
your efforts and make sure to enjoy life as well - hardcore and fad diets do not allow you to do this (not to mention, long term results from these are rarely achieved).
By moving more (exercise included), tracking what you eat to not only finding balance, but also finding what works for you and what doesn't work for you - you will lead a lifestyle that encourages a healthy weight and not a temporary, depleted, fad-dieted down version of you.