Look around. Obesity in the United States is pandemic. In 2012, 35% of people were clinically obese. That is more than one in every three people! It comes with a host of health problems. USA today reports:
Obesity takes a huge toll on people’s health. It contributes to a long list of serious health problems including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver problems, degenerative joint disease, and some types of cancer.
Of course, these are the physical problems. The emotional pain of being “fat” are perhaps more immediate, and are very often the primary motivation for a person’s desire to get those pounds off. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30% or greater. That is roughly 35 pounds overweight. While one third of Americans are this fat, it also means that there are quite a few more out there who need to lose somewhat less than that.
It’s a dirty word. But it works. Why do so many hate it though? Perhaps it’s because they are trying too hard. If you want to burn fat most effectively, it doesn’t take much. Essentially, you need to get your heart rate to approximately 70% of your maximum heart rate (max heart rate is defined as 220 – age) and keep it there for 30 minutes. For someone who is overweight, bodybuidling.com has this advice:
With weight training, high repetitions with moderate weights would work best for an obese client during the initial stages of training. It is important to remember that lower intensity weight training and aerobics should both be done in the same program to maximize results.
That’s right, you don’t have to work out nearly as hard as you may have tried in the past. Consistency is far more important. And nothing is going to kill consistency faster than exercising so hard that you hate it.
Drink Lots of Water
We constantly hear the importance of drinking lots of water, especially when trying to lose weight, but why is this emphasized? What are the physical reasons behind this? A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed a marked and direct effect of drinking adequate water. They reported:
Drinking 2 liters of water per day would augment energy expenditure by approximately 400 kJ. Therefore, the thermogenic effect of water should be considered when estimating energy expenditure, particularly during weight loss programs.
Translated into English, that means that simply drinking a little more than half a gallon of water a day burned almost 100 calories. And in men, the same study showed that lipids (fats) were the main fuel used as the energy source increasing the metabolic rate.
Water is necessary for the conversion of fats to energy in the liver. If you restrict your water intake, you make it much more difficult for your body to accomplish this. In addition, your kidneys need water to carry out their function of clearing toxins from the blood. When the kidneys don’t have enough water, the liver has to help take up the slack, which means it will have reduced ability to do all the other things that you want it too-in our case, convert fat to energy. The recommendation by authorities is to drink at least one gallon of water per day.
Reduce Dietary Fat Intake
You’ve heard this, but here are two reasons why this is so important. First of all, fat has over twice the calories, gram per gram, when compared to protein or carbs. In addition to this, your body is extremely efficient at turning dietary fat into body fat-10 times more efficient in fact. That means that if you put an extra 100 calories into your body in the form of carbohydrates, it takes 23 calories to turn it into fat tissue. Dietary fat, on the other hand, requires less than 3 calories. It’s not easy, but it definitely is possible. Start with these tips, stay consistent, and meet your goals!