The Essentials of Weight Loss: Five Tips
If Hasan Rizvi, creator of BodyBeat, got a rupee for every time a new student asked, “How much weight will I lose?” his wealth would put the PPP to shame. Just about every fitness and dance instructor on the planet has heard this generalised question. It’s a question backed by a desire for an overly positive answer: a quick fix.
But losing weight is not dependent on a dance or fitness class. As Hasan tells his new students time and time again, weight loss is based on a “lifestyle change.” Far too many people exercise to failure and ignore the quality of nutrition they intake. They believe it balances out, but I’d like to set the record straight. “Seventy-five percent of fat-loss success is dependent on lifestyle,” says AKU nutritionist and dietician Sidra Aftab, “and 25% on exercise.”
The big secret to a healthy lifestyle is that there is no secret, just a few simple habits someone with a weight loss goal in mind must ingrain in his or her life. The five tips I share here will do more for you than just help you shed weight. Expect a boost to your overall energy, expect to perform better during workouts and expect to feel amazing, physically and emotionally.
1. Always eat breakfast
Start your day with a few glasses of water, first thing in the morning. Regardless of the amount of sleep you’ve had the night before (aim for at least eight hours), it is absolutely essential that one drinks a generous amount of clean water to charge the metabolism. Once you’ve eaten a protein packed breakfast, or a mixture of high-fibre carbs, lean protein and healthy fats, the metabolic engine starts working in high gear and converts your input into energy that will propel you for the rest of your day. For a safe bet, start your mornings with water, three eggs, toast and milk — a power-packed combo.
2. Eat every three hours
Eating often keeps the body occupied, not eating often makes you weak. This weakness saps your energy over time and causes laziness. This laziness leads to boredom, which leads to hunger pangs. Sound familiar? The body needs work to do at all times because food is being broken down into energy at nearly all times. That’s why it needs small portions of healthy combinations very often, so aim to get at least five and not more than six meals in the course of your day. This small change shows good results within the first month. Couple it with exercise, and you will have great results.
3. Include a lean protein source with every meal
Almost every centenarian that was ever interviewed about the secret of a long and healthy life has mentioned a Mediterranean diet, and that means consuming as many grams of fish in number as you are in pounds, i.e. if you weigh 100 pounds, try to eat around 100 grams of fish a day. Alternatives sources of protein are chicken, red meat, dairy, eggs and turkey.
4. Perform intervals
Fill in minute-long high-intensity sprints with one body weight exercise, with a goal to bang out as many repetitions as possible within a minute. Try to improve two things with each session: one, the distance you run during the sprint; and two, the reps performed between each sprint. If you have a training partner (recommended), have him or her keep track of your progress. When experiencing EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) the metabolism is revved up, but the magnitude of the EPOC can change with different types of training.
5. Drink green tea
A natural component in green tea, called catechins, helps speed up the metabolism, have anti-inflammatory effects and anti-cancer properties, as well as the tendency to help control cholesterol levels. Frequency varies from person to person, and exercise is vital to healthy weight loss, but it was well established that drinking four cups of green tea per day reduces body fat according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.