Lou Schuler, of Men's Health, has come up with a good summary of some of
the latest scientific information on healthy weight loss in his article
Get the Skinny on Fat. His suggestions will help you work with rather than
against your body's natural mechanisms.
He proposes the following "First, I want to show that when you eat has a
profound effect on how your body deals with the calories you feed it. And I
want to present a more sophisticated approach to exercise. This approach
not only preserves your body's metabolism, the key to weight control, but
also makes more productive use of your precious time and energy."
Here Are Some of Lou's Key Points
1. Eating more frequently with smaller meals and snacks is the best
strategy for good health and maintaining a healthy weight. Going without
food all day then feasting raises blood glucose levels. It forces your body
to release excess insulin promoting the storage rather than burning of
calories. Maintaining an even calorie balance throughout the entire day
provides improved energy levels, increased physical and mental performance
and reduced weight gain.
2. Add protein to all of your meals and snacks. This keeps them balanced
and in the low glycemic range. Protein sources can come from nuts, cheese,
beans, chicken, eggs, beef, fish or pork. Too much protein is not a good
thing either because it tends to cause loss of fluid and dehydration.
3. Eat to lose weight. It is called the "thermal effect of feeding" and
it's very important to maintaining a healthy weight. Not eating places your
body in the "starvation cycle" and promotes fat storage when you do eat.
Food is required for healthy weight loss. Too little food and you end up
losing muscles not fat which is a bad thing.
4. Never exercise on an empty stomach because it depletes the energy
stored in your muscles (glycogen). You run the risk of poor performance and
tiring out before the end of your activity. Eating a low glycemic meal or
snack before you exercise and a high glycemic meal or snack after keeps
your muscles well fed while actually promoting fat and not muscle loss.
5. Strength training increases your resting metabolic rate (RMR) more
than aerobic exercise does because of the muscle repair mechanism. A high
RMR allows you to burn more calories up to 48 hours after your workout even
when you are doing nothing. Aerobic activity is good for your heart and
lungs but is less efficient in raising your RMR and reducing excess body
6. A hard workout for 30 to 60 minutes seems to provide the best increase
in metabolic rate over the next 24 to 48 hours compared to a low intensity
workout of the same duration. Intensity in your workouts is important but
so is safety. To keep it safe, make sure that you don't make it so hard
that you exceed your conditioning level.
7. Combine strength and interval cardiovascular training for the best
and most efficient workout. Studies show that integrating strength and
cardiovascular training gives you the biggest bang for the buck and maybe
the best overall exercise solution available. Combination training is also
more time efficient allowing you to gain strength and aerobic benefits in
less time spent. Don't forget to work on your balance and reduce the amount
of time you sit in your workouts by doing free squats and lunges instead of
the leg press and curl machines that have you sitting or lying down.
And finally, "I wish I could conclude this by telling you that weight loss
is fast and easy, rather than slow and strenuous. But the exciting news is
that science has found a straighter path to steady, successful weight