When people are trying to lose weight they normally step on a scale to measure their progress. While the scale may be good to measure overall progress, it is not the best thing to use when you want to lose a little or a lot of weight.
The reason is that there are many ways to lose weight, and not very many of them are healthy.
For instance, a lot of athletes that need to make weight take some drastic measures to shed their water weight. This may help them compete in a weight class lower then they should, but it backfires a lot in terms of losing strength and energy because they are so dehydrated.
The best way to lose weight in terms of being healthy is to shed the fat while maintaining or increasing your muscle mass.
You can lose muscle mass in a number of ways…
- Aging – Different people say different things, but generally we lose about 5% of our muscle mass after age 30 if we don’t do any kind of exercise to maintain it. As we lose our muscle mass our daily calorie requirements also drop, so we need to also eat less as we age so we don’t put on weight in the form of fat.
- Endurance sports – If you focus too strictly on endurance sports your body will strip away as much as possible to give you the ability to go those really long distances. Many marathon runners are slim overall, but have a little pot belly (their energy source) which is caused by that lifestyle. Mixing in weight training will help alleviate that problem.
- Lack of Protein – Your body needs dietary protein to build and maintain muscle. No simple way around it. If you lack protein in your diet you will lose muscle mass.
How can you focus on fat loss, instead of weight loss?
- Mix in Weight Training – Even if it is just a bodyweight exercise routine, doing just a few pushups, pullups, and squats everyday will do wonders for helping you retain muscle mass, and lose the fat.
- Eat Protein– Again, eating protein helps you to retain your muscle mass, and maybe more importantly, it provides double the satiety of fats and carbs. This means it keeps you feeling full twice as long as anything else.
- Eat and/or Drink Your Fiber – Eat your vegetables, take fiber tabs, or add fiber to your protein shake. Fiber is another thing that makes you feel full longer and helps aid in the digestion of your foods. Better digestion = a better functioning body = better fat loss.
- Measure Size, Not Weight – Start any dieting program (or lifestyle change) by taking all your measurements. Chest size, arm size, leg size, waist and hip size. etc. I love the easily done but very inaccurate pinch test. But you probably want to just go with the somewhat accurate mirror test. But at the end of the day, is your waist skinnier by an inch?
- Sleep – A lot of studies have been coming out lately about fat loss and sleep. One of the main reasons people can’t lose weight is because of stress. Namely the hormone cortisol which comes into play in many areas of the body. Focusing on getting better and more sleep may be the final key to losing the weight (<---I meant fat) that you want to lose.
Focus on those five things and let the fat loss journey begin…
This is our 12th challenge in The Personal Health Challenge Series…