In a world where everyone these days is body conscious the doors have been truly opened. To whom you may ask? To all those keen to exploit their position as ‘health’ gurus offering to sell the ‘magic’ weight loss pill.
“Want to lose weight, buy this” “Want to spot target fat, buy this” “My client lost 40kg in a month, buy my program!”
You have all seen these programs right? Nothing but pure nonsense playing on our insecurities and our want for the perfect social media ‘pin up’ body.
The Great Lie
“You can’t spot reduce fat”truth
Firstly, I am going to break a few hearts here ‘You cannot spot target fat loss’. Body fat loss does not work like that. As for rapid fat loss, safely, you can lose around 1 to 2 pounds a week, that’s about 0.5 to 1 kilo. You’ll have to face in to it, one month of healthy eating is not going to sort out years of not.
Now, the shape you see pin up models in, realistically, it’s just not sustainable. Keeping your body fat below 10% all year is going to take its toll on your energy levels and zap any fun there is out of life.
Your talking about ultra clean eating. Forget cheat days, alcohol? Well that can go too! You’ll be training twice a day so that is your standard social life ended.
So, firstly and in my opinion of course, with regards to weight loss, the first thing we should worry about is maintaining a ‘healthy all year round weight’. What does this actually mean and look like?
A body fat index of
21-33% for a female aged 20-40
23-35% for a female aged 41- 60
8-21% for a male aged 20-40
11-22% for a male aged 41-60
You will notice I talk in fat % rather than pounds, kilos and ounces. That is simply because muscle weighs more then fat. It can be very misleading and soul destroying going by those figures alone.
At the end of the day, we want ‘to be in shape’ but it should not be solely driven by vanity. If it is? Again you will fail.
“Our want to be in shape, must stem from our want to live a long and healthy life”
Our want to be in shape, must stem from our want to live a long and healthy life. With that as our primary goal, our chances of success are much, much higher. Of course we all want to look good, and with looking good comes feeling good. However, would you not also love to be healthy and fit enough to watch your grand children grow up, and whoop all the other parents at your children’s sports day 🙂
Anyway, that is enough of me banging on let’s look at three ways I have found super helpful in my quest to maintain a healthy body fat index.
A Healthy Balanced Diet
Now, just to context all this, I am talking about my personal approach here and not what the fanatics and gurus will tell you. Get that diet as clean as possible. Basically remove / limit all unnecessary carbs, pastries, white bread, white pasta and any sugar sweetened drinks. These should all be limited to ‘treats’ and not for daily consumption. Please note I use the word ‘treat’ not ‘cheat’. If we start labeling the days we eat what we want as ’cheat days’ we create an unhealthy association with eating and guilt. Include plenty of vegetables and fruit. If you are a meat eater keep away from processed meat and don’t over-do the red meat. Start to look at the size of the meals you are eating. We can still overindulge in ‘healthy’ food if that plate is too big.
The main thing is to not rush ahead; reinventing an entire diet that you won’t be able to stick to. Instead try each week to swap ‘unhealthy‘ food for a healthier option. This way you are slowly introducing a ‘new’ healthier diet which will be less of a shock to the system. We must always allow time for habits to form, especially if we want to keep them.
“The main thing is not to rush into reinventing your diet, you won’t stick to it”
Water is the Source of Life
Next we need to make sure we are taking on board our recommend daily amount of water. Experts recommend between six to eight glasses a day.
Water is simply the fitness magic potion
- It regulates body temperature
- Helps maintain blood pressure
- Prevents kidney damage
- Aids weight loss
- Keeps joints lubricated
- And keeps skin looking lovely
Now, the six to eight glasses are a guide line only, clearly if your exercising or sweating a lot this will go up. From my experience never let your thirst get to the stage you are ‘desperate’ for a drink. If you reach that stage you’re simply not staying hydrated.
So, in order to lose weight we need to be in calorific deficit, simply put, consuming less calories than we burn. This doesn’t mean staving ourselves. There are plenty of diets involving fasting, these should never be started without seeking professional advice first.
6 easy and regular eating plans to try
- Three main meals
- Two to three snack meals
- Never skip breakfast
- Make lunch your calorie loaded meal
- Try including high energy snacks
- Eat at similar times each day to build routine
The key thing I’ve found is to just get balance from your meals. We live in a world of supplements and fitness shakes. However we must remember these ‘supplement’ and by no means replace.
The Dreaded Cardio
What is cardio? Cardio can be any activity which raises the heart rate and exercises our lungs. That doesn’t always mean you need to hit the park jogging till the cows come home though. Cardio or aerobic exercises can consist of many different applications, such as:
- Brisk Walking
- Skipping / jump rope
- Elliptical trainers
So, as I previously stated, in order to lose weight we must be in calorific deficit. Along with eating, another way we introduce this is through the use of cardio.
We should be aiming (depending on health and fitness levels) to get 3 to 5 sets of at least 30-45 mins of exercise a week. This may sound a lot, but if you simply got off your train that one stop earlier, you could add as much as 10 mins walking, per journey leg, to your schedule. As I said before, our motivation for maintaining a healthy weight must stem from the right place, a want to be healthy, full stop.
Cardio has many other benefits too
- Reduces stress
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps control weight
- Helps improve sleep
- Increases lung capacity
- Helps maintain a healthy heart
Another way to burn calories is to incorporate weight training into your regimes. Not small isolated movements, but big compound exercises. http://wingchunandrings.com/index.php/2019/09/27/blog/
Some of my favourite are:
- Bench presses
- Pull ups
“Having muscle mass alone will suck up calories to maintain, helping you stay in deficit”.
Sleep – The Key to Life
Last and by no means least, Sleep. Sleep is one, if the most important ingredient when it comes to healthy living and weight loss. We all know that we need between 7 and 9 hours sleep a night, but how many of us get this? Life does not usually give us this luxury, however if we want a ‘healthy’ body we must try our best to create this time.
Sleeping less than 7 hours a night can cause us to gain weight, even if we are doing everything else right. It has been proven that sleep deprived dieters can experience up to 55% less weight loss the those getting the right amount of sleep.
The benefits of a good night sleep are as follows
- Can improve memory
- Helps improve your mood
- Can help maintain a healthy weight
- Helps your body re-build and stay injury free
- Can reduce stress
Studies have also shown that people who don’t get enough sleep have increased levels of hunger hormones ‘ghrelin’ and a decrease in ‘leptin’ hormones which could lead to over eating. Also some investigations show that our brain literally cleans itself during deep sleep and who wants a stinky brain, right?!
Simply, the key steps to weight loss are
- A Balanced diet
- Regular exercise
- A good nights sleep
To burst the bubble once more, there is no magic pill I’m afraid. Your weight loss is going to evolve around a generally healthy lifestyle and so it should. We’ve got to learn to take the ‘ego’ and ‘vanity’ out of training. Fitness is about more than an ‘Instagram photo’ and conveying a lifestyle that very few can maintain. It’s about living a long and healthy life.
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Dave Lampert -Wing chun illustrated Columnist
Dave Lampert – Wing Chun Instructor – The London Wing Chun Academy
“Wing Chun And Rings,Built From The Ground Up”