by Andrew Heming
Oh the seemingly elusiveness of permanent weight loss. I must admit I chuckle inside every time I hear how this baffles scientists. It is as if searching for the keys to permanent weight loss is like searching for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Is it some invasive surgery? A new diet? A special new piece of exercise equipment? How about a new medication? Perhaps it is some special herb that grows only on the south side of the Himalayan Mountains. Maybe it is the latest over-hyped and under-performing (i.e. completely useless) supplement the media is all excited about this week.
Maybe you have been down many of these roads before and failed. Maybe you feel as if the quest of getting and staying at your ideal body composition is about as elusive as that pot of gold. Don't worry. There is hope. You can get and stay at your best body. You may not like what I have to say, but here is the truth about permanent weight loss.
Gimmicks don't work
I know you know this already, but it needs to be said. A special supplement won't work. A cleanse will help you lose weight (i.e. water), but you won't lose fat. A passive modality (i.e. anything that promises you can lose weight while lounging at the pool and sipping margaritas) is wasting your time. Never forget what your Grandmother told you, "If something seems too good to be true..." (I'll let you fill in the rest). The reason many people fall for these gimmicks is not necessarily that they are stupid. Rather, these gimmicks sell because they promise what we want to be believe; that there is a fast, easy, painless solution to weight loss.
Exercise doesn't work
As a trainer, it pains me to write this. I wish exercise was the solution. I wish that giving my clients a little cardio and few weights would give them the body of their dreams. However, science and real-world experience has taught me that exercising alone does not work for fat loss. Now don't get me wrong. If you want to lose fat you should exercise, however it is only part of the permanent weight loss equation. Without the other components, you will not get the results you want.
Diets don't work
When you go on a diet, sure you lose some weight. However, you also slow down your metabolism in the process. However even if you stick it out and finish your diet (you are a rare breed), then what? When you go back to eating "normal" (which caused the problem in the first place) with a now slower metabolism you now have the perfect recipe for fat gain. No wonder so many people go off their diets and gain all the weight they lost back – and with a bonus!
Once you come to terms with these truths, you are ready for the secret to permanent weight loss:
The secret to permanent weight loss is permanent lifestyle change.
Now, I'm sorry if you were expecting something cooler, sexier or easier. Also, please don't shoot the messenger. I would rather tell you the truth and have you not like me then promise you a lie and take your money. If you are serious about getting and staying at your ideal body composition, here is the recipe to get you there.
- Increase your daily physical activity. You have to move to be lean. Shoot for at least 30, but ideally 60 minutes per day. Not all of this should be high-intensity. Getting outside and going for a walk is also important. Do you want a body that looks like you sit in a chair all day or one that looks like you put you are an active person who puts also puts your time in at the gym?
- Do some heavy weight training to build some muscle. If you are in your late 20's or beyond, you are losing muscle if you are not weight training. This may not seem like a big deal, but muscle requires a lot of calories. If you build a little, your metabolism increases and your burn more calories 24/7. If don't weight training, you will follow the normal trend and lose about 0.5lb of muscle a year. This slows down your metabolism and make it much harder to get and stay lean.
- Do some high intensity interval training and metabolic training. This is great for busy, time-crunched folks who can't spend all day in the gym. It will kick your metabolism into overdrive long after the workout is over. If you are a member at Coastal, you will have this taken care of!
- Eat for leanness. While a shot-term crash diet is harmful, you need to eat the way you would expect someone lean to have to eat.