Secrets of Successfully Losing Body Fat
Updated: May 7
Secret 1: Control Portions
Less than 20 years ago, a standard cup of coffee with whole milk and sugar measured in at 8 ounces and 45 calories. Today, many java junkies have replaced that cup with a Starbucks 16-ounce Grande Mocha Frappuccino, which weighs in at a whopping 380 calories (www.starbucks.com). To burn all those extra calories, you would have to walk for at least one hour, 4-5 miles per hour pace. Successful body fat “losers” control their food portions. In fact, research suggests portion control is the greatest predictor of successful body fat loss. Help your love ones control portions by teaching them to read nutrition labels; carefully measure out servings; eat only a single helping; use smaller serving dishes; and resist the urge to “clean their plates.”
Secret 2: Be Mindful When Eating
Many people turn to food when they are bored or stressed out. I encourage you to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. That means paying attention to everything you eat. Ask yourself why am I heading to the fridge or pantry. Are you really motivated by hunger, or are you really just bored, stressed, sad, tired and maybe even full from your last meal or snack! Emotional eating can wreak havoc on a well-planned weight management program.
Secret 3: Exercise Regularly
Fitness is key in losing body fat and keeping those pounds off. More than 94% of participants who succeeded in their goals in the National Weight Control Registry increased their rate of physical activity (NWCR 2007). In fact, many who lost body fat reported walking for at least 1 hour per day. And for those who kept the weight off, exercise was also crucial. This was evident because the registry participants who dropped out of fitness programs ended putting the pounds back on (NWCR 2007). Remember, as people lose weight, a proportion of each pound comes from muscle; that, in turn , slows down the metabolism and makes it difficult to keep the weight of. Although walking and other cardiovascular exercise is important for burning calories, be sure to recommend a resistance training program to help clients preserve their lean tissue and keep up their metabolic rate.
Secret 4: Photos/Videos
This is a really good way to know if you have gained or not. Take a picture when you start a new program and every four (4) weeks take another picture. After you're finished take another picture and compare all of them to see how you have progressed. If you notice you have gotten bigger or more ripped then you know for sure that you are making some real progress. Just like the mirror, pictures don't lie. You should also show your pictures to someone else to see what they think since you might have some huge ego.
Secret 5: Eat Breakfast
More than 75% of the NWCR participants eat breakfast daily; only 4% never do. And research suggests that breakfast eaters weigh less and suffer from fewer chronic diseases than people who skip breakfast.
Secret 6: Monitor Intake
One of the strongest predictors of successful and maintained lifestyle change is monitoring dietary intake. While it can be tedious to keep a daily food log, research has shown that this practice is a highly effective and proven strategy.
Secret 7: Turn off the Tube
Time spent watching TV is time spent being completely sedentary (and thus expending minimal amounts of calories) and often eating as well. Most people mindlessly consume snacks while mesmerized in front of the television, not noticing the rapidly multiplying calorie intake. Case in point: The successful NWCR “losers” watched less than 10 hours of television per week.
Secret 8: Retrain Your Brain
Interestingly, most people who have lost and kept off the most body fat tend to be “lower left” brained, meaning they are organized, controlled, methodical and disciplined. This is not to say that those of us who thrive on spontaneity or embrace clutter are doomed- it’s just a matter of retraining our brains. Become better organized by writing a grocery shopping list and sticking to it! Plan your workout schedule for the next week and make a promise to stick to it. These efforts will help solidify your lifestyle change and make permanent weight loss more of a reality.
Secret 9: Start Today and Don’t Cheat
It’s easy to put off starting a serious lifestyle change to a later date. Likewise, it’s easy to “cheat” and eat an extra piece of cake her, a pizza there. It’s important to be diligent when attempting to lose body fat, because people who don’t cheat on a regular basis are 150% more likely to maintain their body fat loss. I encourage you to adopt a “doable” healthy lifestyle you can stick with; this will reduce those compelling urges to unwittingly sabotage your weight management success.
Secret 10: Know that Birds of a Feather stick together
A study of 12,067 people followed over 32 years concluded that obesity spreads through social ties. That is, obese people tend to have obese friends. Pairs of friends and siblings of the same sex seem to have the most profound effect on each other’s weight loss. Some researchers suspect that the spread of obesity has a lot to do with an individual’s general perception of the social norms regarding the acceptability of obesity. The logic works like this: If my best friend and my sister are both obese and I love and admire them all the same, then maybe it’s not so bad that I gain a few pounds. You can reverse this psychological phenomenon by inviting pals to work out or go for a bike ride with them to stay or get fit.