When it comes to wanting to drop a few pounds, all the information out there can all be more than confusing. With so much conflicting advice and services on offer, all promising the same thing but somehow manage to contradict each other.
So, what we want to do here is to simplify this and help you to understand the relationship between regular physical activity and nutrition, and how getting this right will help you if you’re looking to drop a few pounds or lose a few inches.
It’s true what they say, you can’t out-train a poor diet, so you absolutely need to include training in your routine if you want long term results. Training and nutrition are like chopsticks – they work much more effectively when they’re together!
You likely only need to make slight changes to your current diet in order to get results. Even something as simple as logging your foods or maintaining a food diary can improve your diet dramatically as you consciously become more aware of the foods you are eating when you can see them in a list, with their nutritional values.
Here’s some of the simple things you can do that will also help.
We’re sure you have heard many of the above tips before but the reason they are repeated is because they are simple and they work. Most women that we talk to often tell us that they know they should do many of the above before we get a chance to even ask. But, the real issue here is consistency.
If you try and restrict your diet too much and at the same time increase your exercise, you will find it hard to maintain this. Overworking and under-eating can actually have the opposite effect on your body and send it into it’s ‘fight or flight’ system, which actually makes it hold onto certain nutrients like carbohydrates, fat and water rather than use them for energy and flushing out toxins.
That’s why it’s so important to have balance and to follow the right plan for you that’s based on your goals and needs.That way you are more likely to stick to it and get real, long-term results.
When it comes to exercise, many women tend to jump in head first, fast and furious, all or nothing with that ‘go hard or go home’ attitude. But let’s just look at how and why sustainable exercise is essential for a goal of weight loss.
Often with the ‘weight loss’ goal, when broken down, what is actually being sought is more efficient body fat burning; generally focused on belly fat, hips, arms and thighs and fat loss is simply achieved by retraining your body to use fat as a fuel rather than sugar.
If you have been overeating on calories, sugar or carbohydrates you’ve been inadvertently training your body to use sugar over fats as the body’s main energy source for as long as this has been your eating habit.
We actually burn fat in something called mitochondria (parts of cells that turn sugars, fats and proteins into forms of chemical energy that the body can use). Think of them as the fat burning factories in your body.
When we workout, and workout for weight loss, it is actually all about these fat burning factories.
A diet heavy in sugar, carbs or calories, can actually make these fat burning factories lethargic; they don’t need to be working well because sugar is the easiest to convert to energy. When we have a lot of sugar in our blood stream, because we eat a lot of carbs, it’s very easy for the body to use this as a fuel.
What exercise can, and will do, is shake these factories up and bring them back into business – the business of burning fat!!! Here’s the thing, if you make the basic dietary changes mentioned above BUT you don’t exercise, your metabolism will very quickly adapt to the lower carbohydrates and calories, and you’ll plateau quicker. This simply comes down to the fact you’ve made the dietary changes but not fixed the fat burning factories. All the right trucks are showing up at the factory but the factories, machines are broken and the workers are on strike!
Exercise! Exercise is about breaking down tissues and then allowing for recovery and rebuilding, which requires rest days, along with the right tools such as nutrients from our diet – this is why eating good foods over limited foods is better!
When you start an exercise regime, beginning at a low intensity will challenge the mitochondria. If you haven’t exercised in a while, or if you’ve had some time off, that you’ll have a lot of old and unused mitochondria and the physical activity will probably break them down. This is a good thing! The exercise is the signal that there is a better use for that space. But it has to be the right intensity. When we move we either burn up sugar or we burn up fat and you can be in control of which one it chooses!
At higher intensities – our bodies prefer sugar as fuel.
At lower intensities – provided there isn’t a lot of sugar already hanging around that is – we tend to burn more fat.
Therefore, if you’re beginning exercise for the first time, or following a break, to rebuild your mitochondria it makes most sense to exercise in an aerobic (with oxygen) way, at a lower intensity first and then build it up from there.
There are also benefits to anaerobic (without oxygen) exercise. This is the exercise where you cannot talk. It is when you burn a higher proportion of sugars relative to fat. Weight training is anaerobic. It stimulates muscle fibres to grow muscle tissue. This in itself improves the muscle structure and metabolism and has a beneficial effect on weight loss. So integrating aerobic exercise and weight training in the beginning at a level that suits your body, then working up from there and progressing the intensity is the way to get the best long term, sustainable results!
Start at a level that isn’t too intense, include some weight training and aerobic training, follow the basics of nutrition by cleaning up your sugars and not overeating on carbs and calories and you will find results that stay for a while! If it’s gone a bit sciencey, feel free to try out a few of our classes which are tailored and levelled in a way that makes these goals achievable without all the second guessing.
If you want more advice on this, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We can arrange a consultation with you to determine exactly what you need and how we can help you.