It doesn’t cost a thing. You don’t have to give up decadent foods. Best of all, it’s foolproof — and really works. The problem? It works very slowly. But that’s a good thing.
First, an important translation. When people say they want to lose weight, what they usually mean is they want to lose fat. No one wants to lose muscle. Who wants to be scrawny and weak? However, going on a traditional “diet” causes the body to go into a starvation survival mode. The body slows down its fat burning to conserve energy.
If you have less energy than usual, you’re probably going to move around less. That causes a “wasting” problem where muscles are concerned. Consider an extreme example: someone with a broken arm or leg right after the cast comes off. The formerly broken limb is much thinner than the other limb. In just six weeks or so, lot of muscle wasted away because the arm or leg wasn’t being used.
When you’re on a diet and getting less exercise, some of the “weight” decrease shown on the scale is actually muscle loss. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat, so you don’t have to lose very much muscle to make up a pound. So don’t judge your body by numbers on a scale. The most accurate judge of increasing thinness is your clothing. Are your jeans now loose?
Back to the beginning: losing fat, not muscle; and getting stronger. What you eat is an essential factor, but you don’t have to change what you eat. You just have to cut a mere 100 or 200 calories a day from your diet. That’s a slice of bread, or an extra spoonful of mashed potatoes, a soda or a handful of candies or chips. Because this is a slow way of losing weight, the body is never shocked into holding on to the fat.
A pound of fat has about 3,500 calories. If you cut 100 calories a day from your diet, which can be something as minor as a few pats of butter, it will take over a month to lose a pound. Here’s why it’s worth it: this kind of slow fat loss keeps the fat off. It won’t come right back, as it usually does with traditional diets. You have a better chance of staying thinner longer.
Meanwhile, you won’t be tired from lack of nutrients, so you won’t feel like vegetating. This is the time to start increasing your daily movement. No, you don’t have to start a conditioning program — unless you want to. However, all you really have to do is move around more. Use your muscles a little more. Get out of your chair more often. Walk up and down an extra flight of stairs.
Any increase in movement will result in muscle gain, however slight that gain might be. But with more muscle, you’ll be stronger, even if only by a little bit.
You’ll see results. They may make you hungry to get more results, and faster. That alone may drive you back into doing regular workouts. But if it doesn’t, so what? You’ll still be getting thinner. You’ll still be getting stronger. What’s not to like?
Wina Sturgeon is the editor of the online magazine Adventure Sports Weekly. For the latest in adventure sports and physical conditioning, visit Adventure Sports Weekly at http://adventuresportsweekly.com.
@ 2013, Adventure Sports Weekly
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