Weight loss is a common goal for many people, but it can be a challenging process. Understanding the science behind weight loss and how to create a sustainable plan can help you achieve your goals in a healthy and long-lasting way.
The Science Behind Weight Loss:
Weight loss is essentially a matter of burning more calories than you consume. This creates a calorie deficit, which prompts your body to burn stored fat for energy. However, there are many factors that can impact weight loss, including genetics, hormones, and metabolism.
One of the most important factors in weight loss is the concept of energy balance. This refers to the balance between the calories you consume and the calories you burn through daily activities and exercise. To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn.
Creating a Sustainable Weight Loss Plan:
The key to successful weight loss is to create a sustainable plan that you can maintain over the long-term. Here are some tips for creating a sustainable weight loss plan:
Remember, sustainable weight loss is not about quick fixes or extreme measures. By understanding the science behind weight loss and creating a sustainable plan, you can achieve your goals in a healthy and long-lasting way.
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Building muscle and losing fat at the same time, also known as "body recomposition," can seem like a daunting task. However, with the right approach, it's possible to make progress in both areas simultaneously.
What the research science says:
Recent studies have shown that a combination of resistance training and a calorie deficit can lead to body recomposition.
One study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that a combination of resistance training and a calorie deficit led to significant decreases in body fat and increases in muscle mass, even in older adults. The study participants followed a 12-week program that included resistance training and a calorie deficit, and saw an average reduction in body fat of 3.5%, and an average increase in muscle mass of 2.5%.
Another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that a combination of resistance training and a moderate calorie deficit led to significant decreases in body fat and increases in muscle mass in a group of overweight and obese men. The study participants followed a 12-week program and saw an average reduction in body fat of 4.4%, and an average increase in muscle mass of 3.5%.
A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a combination of high-intensity interval training and a calorie deficit can lead to body recomposition. The study participants followed a 12-week program of high-intensity interval training and a calorie deficit, and saw an average reduction in body fat of 4.4%, and an average increase in muscle mass of 2.4%.
It's worth noting that there is individual variability and results can vary depending on starting point, age, hormones, genetics, adherence and more. But overall, these studies provide strong evidence that body recomposition is possible through a combination of resistance training and a calorie deficit.
The key to body recomposition is creating a calorie deficit while also increasing muscle mass. This can be achieved by combining these five principles:
Remember, progress takes time and consistency is key. It’s also important to note that your progress is not linear and you will have plateaus, but as long as you stick to the principles, you’ll be able to achieve both of your goals: building muscle and losing fat.
If your goal is to lose body fat or maintain your current weight, it can be challenging! Trust me, it's way easier to accomplish that if you don't feel hungry all day and you aren't having to fight off cravings!
Here are 5 ways for you to stay fuller longer and curb your cravings.
1. Increase your protein intake
Studies show that eating a diet rich in protein will help you stay fuller longer with less food/calories. This is partly because it reduces the level of your hunger hormone Ghrelin. This effect on appetite can be powerful! In one study a group of women increased protein intake from 15% to 30% of overall calorie intake and this resulted in a reduced calorie intake of more than 400 calories per day, without intentionally restricting in any way!
Protein digests at a slower pace than carbs alone and makes you feel fuller longer. It keeps your blood sugar stable which reduces cravings between meals and snacks.
Prioritizing foods that are protein rich like lean poultry, seafood, lean beef, lean pork, eggs and egg whites, low fat greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu and protein powder will help you reach your daily protein goal. It is recommended that if your goal is to lose body fat and build muscle, you need to eat 0.7 to 1.0 gram of protein for every pound of your goal body weight per day. I recommend that you shoot for at least 30-40 grams of protein for each meal and at least 20g at each snack.
Protein not only makes you feel fuller longer and keeps cravings at bay, but it also supports your strength training workouts and helps repair and build that precious and hard earned muscle.
Now, I am not saying that you should cut out carbohydrates or fat! I mean that you can swap some of the carbs and fat you eat with more protein to get the fullness benefits. Protein can be your secret weapon for changing your body composition.
2. INCREASE MEAL/snack FREQUENCY
Eating smaller meals more often helps stave off hunger. If you eat every few hours you are less likely to snack. Perhaps eat 5-6 small meals a day, just make sure they are smaller portions and protein rich.
3. Eat slowly and mindfully
Giving time for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full is key. Slowing down, enjoying your food and being mindful about it will help you stay fuller longer and make it less likely you will go back for second servings. Eat with intention and enjoy every bite and think about the taste and texture as you eat. This will help you tune into your fullness cues enabling your body tell you when it's full.
4. eat more leafy greens and vegetables
Leafy greens and vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus and zucchini, are high in fiber and low in calories so you can increase your portion sizes of these types of foods to help you feel fuller. Focus on foods such as these that you can eat in high volume, are nutrient dense and low in calories.
5. GEt adequate sleep
If you are tired and sleep deprived, you are more likely to have cravings and eat more overall. Lack of sleep actually increases your hunger hormones! Studies show that there is a well documented relationship between lack of sleep and obesity.
A good nights sleep will help you feel less hungry during the day and give you a clear mind to make better choices. So hit the pillow earlier and reap the benefits!
Losing body fat takes time in a consistent calorie deficit. Using these tools to help make that an easier and more sustainable journey is important for overall success. You got this!
Amy has spent her career helping others reach their health and fitness goals. "I hope sharing my knowledge and experience with others can help someone to live a healthier and more joyous life."