Archive for metabolism

Lose Weight: Don’t Eat Before Bed; Moderate Morning Exercise

Thanks to Ben Greenfield of Ben Greenfield Fitness for this tip.  To lose weight, do these two simple things:

First, stop eating two hours before you go to bed.  That means no snacks or meals in the two hours leading up to bed time.  Plan your dinner for perhaps four hours before bed, and then if necessary have a small, healthy snack two hours before bed, and that’s it!  You can drink water, but don’t eat anything in the two hours before bed.  Your food will be fully digested before you go to sleep, so your insulin will be at the right levels, and your body can burn fat during the night, not the food in your stomach.

Second tip: when you wake up in the morning, do 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise.  Nothing strenuous.  You don’t need to run 10 miles.  A leisurely walk, or some light cardio, or yoga, would be fine.  Your goal is to get the blood flowing, and since you haven’t eaten, your body will burn fat for energy.

These two tips are very simple and easy, and will help you shed pounds with virtually no extra work!

For more great tips, check out the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: it’s free!

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Fasting and Weight Loss

To lose weight, stop eating; seems simple, right?  Yes, in many instances “fasting”, or not eating, is a way to lose weight.  However, caution is required.

Your body requires nutrients, vitamins and minerals, so if you stop eating, your body is not getting those nutrients.  If you fast for long enough, obviously you would die of starvation, so you need a plan.

To start, your body can go weeks without food, but it can’t even go days without liquid, so if you fast, continue to drink plenty of liquids.  Water is essential.

Next, if you are not fueling your body, you will not have the energy to do strenuous physical exercise, so while fasting avoid heavy exertion.  Fasting and resting go together, so take it easy while fasting.  Walking is fine, but running a marathon while fasting is not a good idea.

Finally, if you fast for an extended period of time, your body will get used to lower food intake.  Then, when you stop fasting, your body will work hard to replenish it’s lost stores of fat and energy.  Your metabolism revs back up, and it’s common once you stop fasting that you regain all of the weight that you lost while fasting.

So what’s the secret to fasting for weight loss?  First, only fast periodically for brief periods, such as a day or two, not a week or two.

Start by preparing.  Tell yourself that your fast starts tomorrow.  Have a plan to drink lots of liquids, to reduce physical activity, and to stick with it.  Eat normal, healthy foods the day before your fast.

Then, while fasting, have non-strenuous activities planned to keep you busy, and to keep your mind from thinking about food.  Read a book, go for a leisurely walk, take a nap, listen to music, but avoid strenuous physical activities.

At the end of your day long fast, break the fast the following morning by drinking two glasses of water with a bit of lemon.  Let the water work through your digestive system to remove any toxins accumulated.  Then, have your normal healthy breakfast.

Fasting once a month can be beneficial, and can help in your weight loss program.

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Basal Metabolic Rate, Turbulence Training, and Weight Loss

As we all know, to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. The number of calories you need can be determined by calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), as shown on our Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator.

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The Skinny on Fat

Like the carbohydrates we discussed last week, fats also have gotten a bad name, and it’s easy to see why. We all want to lose fat, so it makes sense that eating fat makes us fat, right?

Yes and no, because there are different types of fat. There are three dietary types of fat: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated, and your body needs a balance of all three to promote weight loss. The key is balance, and the key is to consume approximately 1/3 of your fats from each source.

Saturated fats include all animal foods, like beef, pork, eggs, butter and milk. Monounsaturated fats come from avocados, nuts, and olive oil (which is why cooking with olive oil is good for you, and why you should have avocados in your diet). Polyunsaturated fats come from fish oils, flaxseed, nuts, and vegetable oils.

So the skinny on fat is this: keep your body in balance, and promote weight loss, by consuming the correct types of fat, in equal balance.

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Eat Carbs After Exercise

Followers of the Atkins Diet were taught that carbohydrates, or carbs for short, are bad. Carbs are converted by the body into sugar, sugar turns to fat, body fat is bad, therefore carbs are bad. As with most things in life, it’s not that simple.

Yes, some carbs are quickly digested, which gives you a boost of energy. We all know what that’s like: you eat a chocolate bar, and immediately get a sugar rush, and then you crash. However, energy is a good thing if you are exercising, so guess what? The key to carbs is timing.

If you eat carbs during or immediately after exercise, carbohydrates give your body quick energy, which aids in recovery after exercise. And that is the secret to carbs. Consume starchy carbs that are converted into energy, like breads, grains and pasta, during the two to three hours after exercise to aid in recovery. Carbs that are high in sugar, like fruit juices and sports drinks, should only be consumed during or immediately after exercise. Carbs that are high in fiber, like vegetables, beans, and some fruits, can be eaten any time, because the fiber content slows the absorption into your body, which keeps blood sugar stable.

Next week, a word about fats.

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Protein and Vegetables – Nature’s Weight Loss Secret

Protein, which is found in meats and some plant based foods, is necessary for weight loss because it makes you feel full, it burns calories while it’s digesting, and with proper exercise it helps build muscle mass.

Vegetables have fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and lots of other nutrients, and I don’t think there is any sane person on the planet who doesn’t believe that vegetables are an important part of every healthy diet.

The amazing thing is that by combing both proteins and vegetables at every meal, your body will be even healthier.

It’s important to have balanced pH levels in our bodies. pH (what the scientists call ‘potential of hydrogen”) is the balance between positively charged (acid-forming) ions and negatively charged (alkalinizing) ions.

Our bodies want to maintain a pH balance of around 7.4, so it deposits or withdraws alkalinizing minerals and other products from our body tissues as needed. This may result in decreased muscle mass

If you eat a lot of acidic foods (like proteins) without balancing them with more alkaline foods (like vegetables), you will slow down your metabolism.

By eating veggies with proteins, you boost your metabolism, neutralize acid, strengthen your bones, and encourage muscle growth.

We’ve talked about proteins and vegetables; in my next weight loss blog entry I will discuss carbohydrates.

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Boost Metabolism With Frequent Meals

We all assume that if we eat less we will lose weight, and if we eat more often we will gain weight, but in fact the exact opposite is true. Here’s why:

Every time we eat, we boost our metabolism. We chew and swallow, then our body digests, breaks down our food, and turns it into energy. Each time we eat, the thermic effect of eating burns calories.

Therefore, the more often you eat, the more calories you will burn, and the more weight you will lose.

In other words, assuming you consume 2,000 calories in a day, you will boost your metabolism and lose more weight eating 400 calories 5 times per day, than by skipping breakfast and having a 1,000 calories lunch and 1,000 calorie dinner.

By eating frequently you reduce hunger, balance the stress on your body, and will find it easier to reduce the overall calories you consume.

Tomorrow we will discuss what types of food you should consume in each of your frequent meals.

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Exercise, Metabolism, and Weight Loss

During exercise your body’s energy requirements increase, meaning you burn more calories.

Unfortunately most of us can only exercise for half an hour or one hour per day, but the good news is that our metabolism increases even after exercise.

Our bodies are self-repairing organisms. If we damage them, they repair themselves automatically. If you cut your finger, your body repairs it, automatically. If you get the flu, or break your leg, your body must use lots of energy to repair itself, and that burns a lot of calories.

The purpose of this weight loss blog entry is NOT to suggest that you go out and break your leg, but you can use this damage and repair principle to your advantage: it’s called exercise.

If you go to the gym and lift weights heavier than your body normally lifts, your muscles are damaged in the process. This is healthy damage, and your metabolism increases so that the muscle damage can be repaired.

Since it can take up to seven days for this muscle damage to be repaired, lifting weights increases your metabolism for many hours or days after you exercise.

Of course exercise is only one side of the calorie burning equations, so tomorrow we will discuss the importance of calories and diet.

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Metabolism and Weight Loss

Scientists define Metabolism as the biochemical modification of chemical compounds in living organisms, generally at the cellular level.For us non-sceientists, the word metabolism is derived from the Greek word Metabolismos meaning “change”.

In simpler terms, metabolism is the process that occurs in our bodies to transform various substances, such as the food we eat, into the energy we need to live.

From a weight loss perspective, metabolism is important, because if we eat food and it is not transformed into energy, it is stored as fat.

Think of it like a car: you put gas in your car; whatever gas you don’t burn, stays in your gas tank.

As reader’s of this blog know, I am not a doctor or a health professional, so you should not follow any of the advice in this blog until you consult with your doctor. I am just a normal person who wants to lose weight, so I’ve done a lot of research to determine the best weight loss strategies.

However, based on my research, our metabolism is the key to weight loss, so over the next few weeks I’m going to share my findings on how to boost your metabolism to lose wieight. Check back tomorrow for the first article in our series on metabolism and weight loss.

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Basal Metabolic Rate and Weight Loss

As readers of this site will know, your Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy you expend while at rest (basically the amount of energy you expend while asleep). For weight loss to occur, you must consume more calories than take in, which is why knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is so helpful.

We are pleased to announce two features on this site to make understanding your BMR easier. First, we have a category on this blog for Basal Metabolic Rate, so you can see all blog entries on the topic.

Also, we have added a Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator. It’s an Excel spreadsheet, so simply type in your weight, height, gender and age and you can calculate your own BMR.

We will also be starting a series of articles on boosting your metabolism as an aid to weight loss, so check back over the next few days for more information. Enjoy!

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