Sunny had always been overweight, ever since he was a little kid. He gorged on everything that came his way and by the time he was 24, had achieved the size of a small whale and weighed a whopping 125kg which was a lot for someone who was 5’10’’. Finally, fed up with the fat jokes, Sunny started doing a lot of cardio – running, cycling and swimming – and ended up losing 40kg in 9 months. He also stopped eating much and would eat just one sandwich a day and control his appetite by smoking and drinking endless cups of black coffee. Happy with his efforts, he soon fell back into his old lifestyle habits and within 3 months he was 115 kg again.
Sunny isn’t alone, there are thousands who lose a lot of weight quickly, only to find themselves fat again. The problem lies in the fact that there are no quick-fixes when it comes to weight loss, you have to follow a proper diet and do cardio and weight training.
But why does lost weight come back?
Marika Johansson, a celebrity dietician and trainer says: ‘Most people go on a crash diet or over-exercise to lose weight. The problem with crash diets is that they contain too little calories. This results in your body going into ‘starvation mode’ which slows down your metabolism. This means that even though you might lose weight initially, it’ll become harder and harder to lose weight. Now when people start eating normally again, their slow metabolism results in them gaining weight very quickly.’
Here are some tips to keep it off forever:
Don’t just do cardio
One of the primary reason people fail to lose weight is that they only do cardio like walking, running or swimming to lose weight. While cardio is great for instant weight loss, just doing cardio won’t help you in the long run. It won’t increase your metabolism or help you build lean muscle. On the other hand building lean muscle will mean that, your body keeps on burning calories all the time, not just when you’re in the gym. And to build lean muscle, you need weight training.
Don’t ditch weight training
Fitness icon Kris Gethin writes in his book The Bodybuilding.com Guide to Your Best Body, ‘When you start training regularly with weights, your muscles develop, become denser, and burn more calories all day and night. Though cardio is a great way to assist in fat loss, it burns fat only while you’re performing the exercise, not around the clock. Lifting weights and adding lean muscle, on the other hand, turns your body into a full-time calorie-burning machine. If you were to add just 5 pounds of muscle to your frame, you could burn an additional 250 to 300 calories per day—that’s a whole meal for some people!’ That’s why it’s vital weight training remain a part of your regime.
Don’t go on a crash diet
While it’s very tempting to go on a crash diet to lose weight quickly, not only is it ineffective in the long run, it can be downright dangerous for your body. Marika adds: ‘What you need is a calorie controlled diet, eat fewer calories than your daily needs. You should have a balanced and nutrient-rich diet which will keep your metabolism high all day. Along with this you should have a good exercise plan which involves both weight training, functional training and cardio. This way the weight loss will be slower, but you will not gain it all back as soon as you eat normal again.’
Have the right goal
Another important aspect is to remember that your regime should be realistic, you should look to lose around 1-2 pounds a week (roughly .5kg to 1kg) a week. Marika adds: ‘You should give your body 12 weeks to lose the weight but that depends on how much weight you want to lose. I suggest around 1 pound to 2 pounds a week as a general weight loss rule but of course some weeks, the body will drop 3 pounds or as low as 1/2 a pound. After these 12 weeks the diet should go into a maintenance mode with the same clean diet but maybe with a little higher calorie intake. Most of my clients still drop weight during this phase as their metabolism goes up a notch and the fat burning process continues even when they’re eating more calories.’ Also it’s a good idea to chart out a plan and follow it.
Forget the scale, use a mirror
They say scales don’t lie but that’s not true. Weight loss shouldn’t really be your ultimate goal, it should be to be fit and healthy. That means that after a certain point you should ditch the scale and instead use a mirror to keep track of your progress. Of course you can also calculate your body fat percentage but taking weekly measurements might not be feasible. So the best way would be to take weekly pictures (selfies which needn’t be shared with the world). This will help you gauge how your body’s changing. This will keep you more motivated and show you how you’re getting fitter, even when the scale doesn’t suggest any changes. And finally…
Make healthy living a part of your lifestyle
If you’re already undergone a transformation, there’s no reason to return to your previous unhealthy lifestyle. Marika Johansson says: ‘Try to eat clean and only unprocessed foods. You can allow yourself some treats but most of the days you should try and eat healthy. Learn how to cook healthy, so even the so-called diet food tastes good. I am just launching my cookbook called Marika’s Healthy Kitchen which will help you. Allow yourself to eat some sweets and restaurant food every once in a while but don’t leave your healthy lifestyle.’
And you just don’t need to do this yourself, we all live in society and you can instil your new ‘healthy values’ around others so that all you family members start eating healthier and start exercising.
Check out our healthy foods section and healthy recipes section for more ideas. Also check out these articles.
You could also try out these exercises for specific body parts:
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Whats the Connection? It’s no coincidence that the rat
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