Jumpstarting weight loss properly is paramount for the success of any weight loss plan. It's also the greatest challenge one faces in the beginning.
Why? Simply because our organism likes to hang on to the "status quo". Even as we cut back on calories and increase our physical activity level, the body seems at first "not to care" about our efforts. It appears to want to stay exactly the way it is. This phenomenon is medically known as "homeostasis", and is a mechanism common to all biological beings. Why are we all afflicted by this phenomenon. Well, because we need it for survival. As environmental conditions change, it's important for biological organisms to endure in spite of these.
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Here's an example: In winter as the outside temperature drops below freezing, the body relies on its built-in mechanisms to maintain its temperature around 97.6° Fahrenheit. Similarly, as we cut back on food intake, the body activates its built-in mechanisms to survive with less food. This includes a decrease in one's basal metabolism, which slows down and burns significantly less calories during such times. In other words, the body goes into "starvation mode", cutting back on the calories burned to match the lower calorie intake. Up to a point, this maintains the body weight unchanged.
It's only after a certain threshold is crossed that the body begins to shed pounds. At that point, weight loss begins in earnest, and continues oftentimes at accelerated rate (provided the reduced calorie intake is maintained).
The problem is: How do we make it beyond that threshold? Many weight loss programs fail prior to even reaching that point, since the person gives up on the seemingly "futile" measures that don't translate into tangible results. This, by the way, is the reason why so many diets fail. Furthermore, we are confronted with an unwanted and very frustrating side effect: As soon as normal calorie intake is resumed, the slower basal metabolism may lead to weight gain, adding insult to injury and making a total mockery of our efforts.
So how do we steer clear of this irritating vicious circle?
Well, we can do this by properly jumpstarting our weight loss program. The goal is to break the resistance of the body, vanquish its natural tendency to "homeostasis", and engage the weight loss process right away.
By and large, there are 3 ways of jumpstarting weight loss:
- Add an exercise program to your diet:
This obliges your body to burn calories for physical activity, and prevents the basal metabolism from slowing down.
- If you choose an aerobic workout program, you probably need to do it at least 45 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week, in order to see prompt results. (After a few weeks, you may cut back on the time and frequency of workouts, and still continue to loose weight.)
- If you choose a strength training program, the benefit is that building muscle increases your basal metabolism, since muscle burns plenty of energy even at rest. However, this may not be sufficient to burn the fat already present on your body. In other words, strength training alone may fail to jumpstart your weight loss program.
- The best alternative for jumpstarting weight loss is to choose a combined aerobic/strength training program. While aerobic activity burns fat, strength training builds muscle and increases your basal metabolism, so you continue to burn calories even after the end of the workout. The best of both worlds! For prompt results, such a program should be done at least 4 days a week, for 30-45 minutes a day (at least in the beginning, until weight loss occurs). With this approach (applied consistently), you should begin to drop pounds within a few days.
Of course, you also have to stick with a reduced calorie diet. How do you determine how many calories to eat? Simple: Step on the scale and read your current weight in pounds, then multiply times 10. This is the number of calories necessary for your basal metabolism to function at your current weight. If you eat this number of calories and don't do any physical activity whatsoever, you will maintain your current weight. If, on the other hand, you eat this number of calories and perform physical activity, the net result will be weight loss. So, here's a good rule of thumb: The number of calories to eat while jumpstarting your weight loss program is your current body weight (in pounds) X 10. If you feel hungry on this regimen, add another couple of hundred calories. Later, as your weight is dropping, you may gradually reduce your calorie intake further. You will notice that hunger is now less of an issue, since your lower body mass requires less calories to sustain it.
- The second way of jumpstarting weight loss is to add a nutritional supplement (a weight loss pill) into the mix. Either an appetite suppressant such as Hoodia, or a fat burner such as Hydroxycut, or a combination of an appetite suppressant/fat burner such as MiracleBurn should do the trick. After a while, once you started loosing weight at a rate of 1-2 pounds a week, you may cut back on your weight loss supplement and finally stop taking it altogether. Of course, weight loss supplements will not work in the absence of a proper diet. The best approach in such cases is a combination approach: Diet + Workout + Weight Loss Supplement = The Fastest Way to Jumpstart Weight Loss.
Regardless whether you use method 1 or 2, you must take a multivitamin supplement and possibly a Calcium supplement. Also, make sure you get plenty of fiber in your diet, and consider an omega-3 supplement. These supplements are believed to help the body burn calories at its best, ensuring that your weight loss efforts are not hampered by a lazy metabolism.
- The third way of jumpstarting your weight loss is... well, a drastic change in lifestyle, such as coping with unforeseen and stressful events (a change in jobs, travel under demanding circumstances, domestic or work-related strains, etc). This happens mostly unrelated to one's weight loss goals, but such times in one's life may have the side effect of jumpstarting weight loss. As for myself, I have used the following method with good results: At times, when demanding life events presented themselves and induced unintentional weight loss, I tried to shift part of my focus toward continuing this weight loss trend and improving my body image. Of course, certain situations in life may not be conducive to doing so, and I totally understand this fact. However, if the stressful event is just a new challenge on the job, shifting your focus away from it for a while and concentrating on something positive (such as getting your body in shape) can be quite beneficial.
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