There seems to be a growing trend at the moment whereby people are offering advice starting with “The Truth About“.
Whether it is fad diets, exercise plans, weight loss, carbohydrates, belly fat or abdominal muscles, there seems to be a website or ebook dedicated to teach us the truth about it.
However, from reviewing much of this information it is quite clear that the only truth is that they are all just regurgitating the same old advice and information and then wrapping it up in a new package. Basically, people are branding weight loss advice.
Naked Weight Loss
It is our belief that weight loss advice should never be branded. There are many places where you can get excellent weight loss and diet information without ever having to buy or subscribe to a brand.
Really, and this is the real honest truth, losing weight and getting fit is the most natural activity a human can do. If Jamie Oliver did weight loss, he would probably call it Naked Weight Loss. But he doesn’t, so we will instead!
We are all human which means that on average all our bodies follow the same rules regarding metabolism. We consume food, break down the nutrients in the food and transfer its energy to the blood which is then passed around the body to supply our muscles with glycogen (along with various biological processes along the way) for fuel.
Excess energy is stored in the liver and fat cells. When we are active our bodies burn energy, using up glycogen stores in the muscles and then converting fat stores back to blood sugars for further muscle fuel. The process is happening all the time in all people, and it is called metabolism.
When people complain that their metabolism is slow and say that this is the reason for their weight gain, more often than not they are totally wrong and are actually just eating too much food!
This has been scientifically recorded and presented by the BBC. If there was a research paper on this topic (there probably is actually, I will search for a better reference) I would post it.
Now, the point is that to lose weight you only need to do 2 simple things:
- Change your diet
- Exercise more
It is of course the simplicity of this advice that puts most people off. People want their weight loss advice handed to them on a plate. However, this really is not the best way to go about losing weight.
Health psychologists working in the field of diabetes care have found that better results are usually achieved when people are empowered to make decisions for themselves based on simple and accurate facts about their condition and the solutions available to them to treat their condition. This is also true for weight loss.
Truth About Weight Loss
In fact, if there was a “Truth About Weight Loss” then the big truth is that each and every person needs to be empowered to learn how to lose weight and get fit with exercise and diet.
Although the compliance method can provide results people tend to become uninterested in following the commands after a while. The compliance method is when a health professional simply tells someone exactly what to do, there is no discussion or compromise in the form of treatment.
Basically, breaking this down even further, each person must want to change themselves and be willing to learn the truth about how the body gains weight and loses weight.
Fortunately these truths are much easier to obtain than the many branded truths. For example, as far as diet is concerned just about every government provides healthy eating advice which sets out the proportions of nutrients that you should eat and how much.
You really do not need to “buy” a solution to learn this. Just about every GP can pass this information on via leaflets or references to NHS webpages.
The Truth About Exercise
As for exercise, there is a lot of confusion about what exercise is best. But the “truth about exercise” is that it really does not matter much. Most of the research into exercise is looking at how athletes can enhance their performance.
The current general advice of exercising 5 times a week for 30 minutes is pretty good advice for anyone wanting to lose weight. Our advice is to increase that to 7 times a week for 45 minutes.
These 45 minutes can be split up though, so that could be a 30 minute cardio workout and then a 15 brisk walk later in the day or some weight training.
What matters is that you are more active each day. Why? To burn calories.
The Truth About “Burning Calories”
This goes back to metabolism really. Lets break down the process of weight loss into a few small facts.
- To lose weight at a steady rate you need consume fewer calories than you need.
- A daily calorie deficit of 500 calories leads to a fat reduction of 1 pound per week (about 0.5 kg).
- A daily calorie deficit of 1000 Calories leads to a fat reduction of 2 pounds per week (about 1 kg)
- Although “a calorie is a calorie” some types of food result in hormonal changes which can either encourage or discourage weight loss.
- High GI foods cause rapid raises in blood sugar levels and this triggers insulin which causes fat storage. So a low GI diet reduces the opportunity for fat to be accumulated.
- Proteins help the body to maintain and build muscle which increases metabolism. It also reduces hunger.
In short, eating a balanced diet that focuses on low GI carbohydrates (around 40-50% of total macronutrients),. healthy proteins (around 30%) and healthy fats (around 10%) plus a few little treats to make up the difference, provides a healthy diet.
As for calories, how much you need largely depends on how heavy you are, how much muscle you have, your age and your gender. However, if you eat a healthy diet, follow those rules, then it becomes much less likely that you will overeat.
The Truth About Weight Loss Plans
Don’t get me wrong, some weight loss plans are very good. They provide a structure and the information that you need to succeed. Structure is most important.
People often “fail” to lose weight not because of a lack of understanding of the task ahead but a loss of focus. A good structure helps you to stay on track, to stick to the plan, and this is vital in success.
This is the basis of the SMART strategy of delivering health treatments – Specific, Measurable, Action-orientated, Realistic, Time-limited.
Think of a weight loss plan to be like a business plan. No business will start a new business year without first thinking about what its objectives are and how it plans to achieve them. Weight loss and fitness is the same.
Fortunately a weight loss plan is much simpler. Here is a simple plan that you can follow to help you to lose weight. Obviously you will need to change the days around to fit your dairy, but you get the idea of what is really needed to lose weight and stay healthy:
- Monday AM: 30 minutes of jogging / running
- Monday PM: 15 minutes of kettlebell or free weight exercises
- Tuesday AM: Brisk walk for 30 minutes outside
- Tuesday PM: 30 minutes of light cardio
- Wednesday PM: 60 minutes fitness class
- Thursday AM: 45 minutes brisk walking / jogging
- Thursday PM: 20 minutes circuit training at home
- Friday AM: 30 minutes cycling.
- Friday PM: 15 minutes of kettlebell exercises / free weights
- Saturday AM: 45 minutes jogging
- Sunday AM: Walk for 60 minutes
This plan also assumes that you have some free time in the mornings and afternoons. For those with children to look after the morning exercise could involve walking to school or jogging after the drop off. For workers then you need to get out of bed earlier to start your day with exercise.
The PM workouts can be done any time after lunch, but ideally not within 1 hour of lunch.
Although you can lose weight with 1 workout a day and also by following a healthy diet, increasing your activity levels will greatly speed up weight loss.
If you want to lose your belly fat you have to work hard for it, simple as that. This is the principal of “naked weight loss”.