Monday, 18 June 2012

Weight loss made easy

Weight loss does not have to be the work of the devil!
It certainly is one of the main reasons why people embark on a new fitness program, yet there are still huge misconceptions regarding what really works. “What are the best exercises to get a six pack, a firm bum, a flat stomach?” are all questions which a fitness instructor hears time and time again.

A common saying, which remains truer than ever, is that “6 packs are made in the fridge, not in the gym”. You can be ripped, but if your muscles are covered with a layer of fat, all your fitness efforts will not yield the results you expect.
One of the great fitness myths is that some exercises target certain areas: they don’t in terms of fat loss. They will help you build muscles, but endless sets of crunches will not give you a flat stomach unless your diet favours it. When you lose fat, you lose fat all over, and those areas which bother you are usually the last to go! Exercising will help you burn calories and to tone up muscles (improving appearance), but it will not help you lose fat per se, unless your diet is not appropriate...

Losing weight, then, is essentially 70% diet, and 30% training (and the same actually applies to building muscle). But how can sustainable weight loss be achieved?

Weight loss is a massive industry: there are lots of fad diets out there which promise you the results you want, and this can be very confusing. But beyond all the hype and all the extravagant promises, they all share a few common fundamentals, the main one being that they create a calories deficit.

One of the main reasons people fail in their efforts to lose weight is that they get distracted from these fundamentals, or that they lose motivation as they do not see the expected results (let’s face it, behind every diet there is usually a huge publicity machine, and their promises are often somewhat over-hyped!). Yet, losing weight (unless you have a medical condition which prevents you from doing so) is inevitable if you stick to the principles below:

-          Establish your maintenance calories
Your maintenance calories intake is the number of calories you need to consume in a day in order to maintain your current weight, taking your sex, age, height, weight and current activity level into account. To get an estimate of your maintenance calories, use this calories calculator

-          Create a calories deficit. For weight loss, it is recommended that you should consume 500 to 700 calories less than your maintenance calories. So, for instance, if your maintenance calories stand at 2000 a day, you should aim for between 1300 and 1500. This usually translates into a fat loss of between 0.5 and 2lbs a week, depending on your current percentage of body fat.

-          Count your calories! Now that you have established what your daily calories intake for weight loss should be, you need to count calories to ensure that you stick to that target. You can keep a daily diary or do it online. One of the best tools for this is

-          To optimize results, stick to a fitness program such as the ones you can find on this site. Not only will this help you burn calories, but it will also tone your muscles.

-          Ensure you eat the right thing: I am not going to advocate different kind of diets here... they are mostly fads, regardless of whether they are high-protein, low-fat, or low-carbs. The important thing is to beware of hidden calories (sodas and alcohol are the main sources), and to ensure you stave off hunger by staying clear of processed foods.  Processed foods are usually extremely rich in calories, and you can normally eat twice as much (in quantity) for the same calories count if you cook for yourself and stay clear of rich sauces. And yes, vegetables, lean meat & fish, and fruits are your friends! Don’t make it overly complicated: just look at the packets, and decide for yourself what will keep you full for the amount of calories you need.

-          Stay motivated: if you stick to the principles above, you will lose weight – it’s as simple as that. Browse and chat with the people who have done it. Having a supporting online community behind you can make a huge difference to your efforts. If you’re also exercising, join and log in your activities. These two sites will provide you with all the motivation and support you need.

Whatever you do, do not lose track of these fundamentals. They work.
 Don’t believe promises that it will be easy (though it’s not nearly as hard as it seems at first), and don’t fall in for the hype.


  1. This article made it really clear for me, and it's now obvious I have been focussing on totally the wrong things! Thank you very much for this!

  2. Eat foods that are nutrient rich. Here is a list of the top 50 superfoods: how many are you eating?

    Cut down on processed foods: RULE - If it has more than 5 ingredients on the package list, throw it out. Cut down on sugar but definitely cut down on corn syrup, it is artificial and the human body reacts to it in weird ways. Just web search Why High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Is Toxic for Your Body or try this link:

    Too much processed foods and not enough micro-nutrients, will cause you to misread your body's hunger queues and throw you into a viscous cycle where when you stop eating and your body begins to absorb the food you have eaten you will feel hungry again because your body is trying to tell you that you have not met it's micro-nutrient needs.

    Start by eating more high nutrient foods and you will be able to slowly get rid of processed foods without to much withdrawals. Eventually you will not even crave some of the junk you know you've been eating.

  3. Well, you could go for just the salad and some protein (like chicken and eggs). Also, you could run 4 to 6 miles per day and do some sit ups, planks, and Russian twists. My friend suggests cutting out the salt.