Weight loss is not rocket science! Nevertheless, every time you put on extra kilos, shedding them looks tough, doesn’t it? Well, actually not; weight management is easy if you get the basics right.
The long and short of it
You’ve heard this one before – you are what you eat. What you may not know is the caveat to this – you are how you use your food as well! To maintain your weight, the amount of calories that you consume daily must be equal to the energy you expend; or, in other words, you must use up your food calories through work and working out. When people gain weight, they are either
(a) eating too many calories, or (b) burning too few calories.
You flip that statement and there you have it – the key to weight loss – consume fewer calories and/or burn more calories. Really, it is as simple as that.
Here is how it works: 7000 calories equals 1 kilogram of fat. So if you cut back 500 calories a day, you can lose a kilo of weight in a
fortnight. Add some exercise to your routine, say an hour-long brisk walk daily, and you can lose that much weight in only a week!
That being said, there are certain short cuts you can take to hasten this process. For example, it pays to know what types of exercise will melt off those pounds faster or what foods will boost your metabolism (i.e., help you burn more calories).
You can hasten weight loss by introducing short bursts of high intensity in your exercise routine. Dr Boutcher at the University of New South Wales found that people who engaged in only 8 seconds of sprinting alternated with 12 seconds of light cycling for a total of 20 minutes reduced three times as much weight as their counterparts who exercised on the bike for a total of 40 minutes. Dr Boutcher says that interval training burns more fat by producing chemicals called catecholamines in your body during the higher intensity bouts of exercise.
Blasting belly flab
You lose weight on your tummy, and all of a sudden you look thinner and more compact! Researchers at the Reina Sofia University Hospital found that when you eat more monounsaturated fats or MUFAs, you tend to accumulate less belly fat, even without additional exercise. So it makes sense to use oils rich in MUFAs such as groundnut, mustard, canola or olive oils in your cooking. Eat a handful of nuts or seeds such as peanuts, almonds, pistas or roasted pumpkin seeds instead of biscuits or namkeen as snacks. Other sources of MUFA are olives and avocados.
So you’ve exercised for 30 minutes in the morning and now you think you can relax the rest of the day? Think again. Get more active during the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to work, get up and stretch during a commercial break while watching TV – all of these small changes will add up in contributing towards shedding weight.