Results Over Health.
The fastest way to short term weight loss
Written By Christopher Corden
1,481 Words – 6 Minutes Read Time
It’s natural to want results as fast as possible. It’s easier to buy into, it takes less commitment, you don’t have to leave your comfort zone for very long. Sounds great…
Everything we use today is instant.
From food to technology, you have access to everything you could ever need to be comfortable generally on a 24/7 basis.
Unlike how we live in modern society, aside from maybe surgery, we can’t influence our biology very quickly.
Over hundreds of thousands of years, human’s evolved to be incredibly efficient at both using, and storing energy. That’s great for survival in area’s where food is scarce and requires a massive amount of effort to obtain.
Take that same survival ability and place it into the era of high calorie, easy access foods, and you’ve got an obesity crisis soon after.
In modern society, we live very out of sync with our bodies, especially when it comes to nutrition.
It isn’t anyone’s fault (aside from those who produce food) – we crave high calorie, high salt, high sugar and high-fat foods because those provide lots of energy for survival. Knowing this, more food containing these ingredients is produced because it creates profit for the companies producing it.
You don’t see too many packets of broccoli crips 🙂
So, what’s wrong with aiming for fast results in a world that takes advantage of our survival nature? Let’s break it down.
Step 1: Nutrition – The “Meal Plan”
Any good weight loss plan requires you to consume less calorie than you’re using, ideally daily, but it can be a total at the end of the week/month either.
You are remembering to keeping in mind the above. A highly restrictive diet plan that eliminates high fat, high salt, high sugar foods from your diet and focuses on low calorie (sometimes bland) replacements will work.
As a result of consuming fewer calories, you lose weight. Job done, right?
Well, not entirely, the temptation to eat high fat/sugar/salt foods will be everywhere. Rather than learning to keep a balance between food choices that are better for your goals, you end up with a “This is good, this is bad, that’s healthy, these are unhealthy mindset”.
Food isn’t so black and white, and long term abstinence from these foods will lead to intense cravings, almost like withdrawal symptoms.
Step 2: Going Hungry – Not Your Friend
The other side of the vast majority of meal plans is they aren’t individualised. They say they are, but like most exercise programmes, they’re created, tweaked slightly (maybe) or provide alternative choices on a list of foods.
Rarely do they take in to account your current eating habits, food preferences, what you enjoy/don’t enjoy, your specific calorie requirements, your age, weight, overall health and metabolism.
Really it’s probably best they don’t. It would be more inaccurate. Currently, we don’t have a reliable method outside of a laboratory to accurately gauge these things.
That leaves a bit of a problem. While the meal plan you’ll get or create will probably reduce your calories. It will also more than likely leave you quite hungry.
This hunger will stimulate the release of stress hormones more and more over time, as your body starts to naturally panic due to diminishing resources.
(not that you don’t have access to food, but your brain can’t differentiate between self-inflicted hunger and a survival situation).
High levels of cortisol will only increase your cravings for high fat/carbohydrate foods making dieting increasingly more difficult as time progresses.
Step 3: Your Diminishing Metabolism
So we’re clear, there’s no such thing as “starvation mode” in the sense that your body magically holds on to body fat while turning your muscle and bones and organs into much-needed nutrients.
Humans are built for survival, a physiological process that breaks down the very things that keep us alive would be extremely detremental to surviving. (Why not use stored energy? It doesn’t make sense and science disagrees with the idea.)
Skeleton for movement and protection.
Muscle for movement/digestion/catching food.
Organs for breathing, blood transport, breaking down and absorbing nutrients and most importantly, your brain taking charge over all of it.
AND YET, some would have you believe the very substance we store FOR ENERGY (and also endocrine functions like hormone release etc.) is prioritised at the detriment of everything else?
I don’t think so. Humans wouldn’t have made it 100 years as a species if that was the case.
All that being said, if you have tried very extreme dieting, you’ll probably have noticed that very quickly you lose a lot of weight, and then it plateaus – there are a few reasons for this, as you lose weight, you use less energy.
As you take in less food, you don’t use as much energy breaking it down. You’ll also naturally down-regulate a lot of metabolic processes.
It’s not hugely noticeable.
Overall day to day movements are decreased like exercise, moving your hands when you talk, twitching your leg. (Similarly when we take in more calories, metabolic processes are up-regulated)
Digestion also slows down, allowing your body to absorb more nutrients and calories from food. Unfortunately this only makes weight loss more difficult.
The end result appears to be a sudden halt to weight loss – and more specifically, fat loss as at this stage, you’ll have lost both fat and more metabolically active tissue like muscle mass.
(the ratio of fat to muscle loss during a diet is a big thing – resistance training, and high protein will help to prevent muscle loss, helping to maintain muscle loss.)
At this stage, everything has crashed to a stop. You’re no longer losing weight, and your very hungry, your motivation is lacking while craving for the high-calorie foods is increasingly daily.
Step 4: The Exercise Plan
Where would you be without your high intensity – yet highly aerobic workout that’s going to burn hundreds of calories in the shortest time possible?
Well, on your way to sustained weight loss while moving away from a potential weight loss stopping injury.
Based on the amount of body fat you’re carrying, you have a higher risk of an exercise-related injury from very high-intensity exercise.
Things like sprinting, jumping (think athletic movements) place a lot of force on joints and muscles, adding extra weight to that, and you may exceed the strength capacity of things like muscle tissue, ligaments, tendons etc.
Getting injured is so detrimental to weight loss because firstly, it will significantly reduce the chance of you continuing, or even being able to exercise. The vast majority of the time, you may also believe it was your fault, and that exercise isn’t suited for you. That isn’t true at all.
More critical than burning as many calories as you can (or can’t – most calorie claims are exaggerated), a better option is doing something you enjoy and is sustainable for you. What could you do for 10-20 years and still enjoy it? It may be something a little different every year, and that’s fine.
That might be lifting weights – walking – running (not good if you’re overweight, but we’ll ignore that) – swimming – different sports.
Find something you love and stick with it.
A Better Option:
Forget short term. Use short periods to set specific goals like “I’d like to lose 1kg in the next two weeks” and break down how you’ll go about doing that.
- I’m going to eat more fruit (before breakfast)
- I’m going to have veg that I like with Lunch and Dinner
- I’m going to swap white bread for brown
- I’m going to drink more water
- I’m going to exercise at least 15 minutes a day
The next step is breaking those down even further.
How will you eat more fruit?
What fruit will it be?
When will you buy it?
What veg will you buy?
Will it be cooked or raw?
Are there any other things you could swap instead of remove?
Like brown rice / white rice, brown pasta vs white pasta.
(these are calorie identical, but brown rice/bread/pasta generally has more fibre and makes you full quicker, so you’ll eat less)
How are you going to drink more water?
What bottle will you use?
How will you remind yourself?
What exercise will you do?
Where and what time will you do it?
What will you wear?
What will you gain from adding these into your day?
What will you lose?
What other changes could you make to improve?
The more you break these down into specifics, the higher your chance of actually starting and continuing them as new habits.
In doing so, you won’t be focused on what you can’t eat, how hungry you are and what you don’t want to do this. It will just be a regular part of your day like brushing your teeth.
It doesn’t take a ton of mental energy, and you do it as a habit.
If you put yourself in a box – force yourself to stick to the same foods and terrible exercise programme – yes. You will lose weight. However, it won’t be worth it. You’ll gain it back just as quickly, with a little extra.
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