Easy (Free!) Weight Loss Plan

Forget gimmicky, expensive fat-burning plans or complicated workouts. Here is your low-stress, simple plan for maximum fat loss with minimal time loss.

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While many diet and exercise programs have a scientific basis and result in at least short-term weight loss, this program emphasizes simplicity, low time commitment, and longer-term, healthier weight loss.

Let’s look at the four variables that make up the weight loss/weight gain equation and how to tip the equation in your favor.

Simply put, if you’re gaining weight, you are eating more calories than your body uses. If you’re maintaining the same weight, your “calories-in” and “calories-out” are in balance. They are the same. To lose weight, you have to take in fewer calories than your body burns.

You've heard that a million times, but the "calories in, calories out" equation isn't as simple as many people have been led to believe.

MORE: "Everything in moderation" is a myth

You know what makes up the “calories-in” side of the equation. That’s your morning toast and coffee, your mid-morning apple, your midday burrito and salad, your soft drinks, your afternoon yogurt, the Hershey Kisses from your coworker’s candy jar, pizza with the kids, and your late night ice cream. It’s everything you eat in a day.

What accounts for the “calories-out” is a bit more complicated, but it is key. It is the sum total of all the calories burned in a day through 3 different processes:

  1. Resting metabolism: About 60-75 percent of your total calories that you burn in a day comes from simply maintaining your body’s tissues when in a state of rest. 75 percent! When you say people have high or low metabolisms, this is what you're talkig about. Think about that for a second. Your body burns most of its calories when it's just sitting around, so it's in your best interest to turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
  2. Physical activity: 15-30 percent of your daily calorie use comes through formal and informal exercise or movement. In other words, sessions at the gym or running in the part combined with daily activity like climbing stairs, vacuuming and picking up your kids.
  3. Thermic effect of food: About 10 percent of your daily calories are required to digest, convert, and store what you eat.

You have four variables to work with in your weight equation: how much you eat, how much you move, how much you burn at rest, and how much you burn from digestion and storage.

Here's what to focus on for the most efficient weight loss:

First, how much you eat. There’s no doubt that the calories you consume matter in terms of your weight. But over the past 100 years, per capita calorie consumption in this country has decreased by about 400 calories per day. If calorie intake determined weight, you would expect Americans to weigh a fraction today of what they weighed in the early 1900s. Instead, we are heavier and fatter.

The lesson here is that inactivity, not diet, has played the largest role in our collective fatness.

QUIZ: Find out how much physical activity you get.

Second, resting metabolism. This is a biggie. How can you burn more calories on a continual basis, regardless of whether you’re gardening or napping in a hammock? Increase the amount of active tissue in your body, aka muscle. Fat is a low-maintenance tissue. It just sits there, looking fat, and not requiring much of you. You want high-maintenance tissue.

Muscle looks nice and requires constant calories. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn around the clock. Cardio helps, too. Even without additional muscle development, it increases metabolism. In one study, an eight-week aerobic exercise program increased resting metabolism by 10 percent, even with no change in the amount of muscle.

Weight loss through diet alone usually results in a loss of muscle tissue and decreases in resting metabolic rate.

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