The Secret To Losing Weight As Told By An Exercise Scientist
With new fad diets, convenience foods and exercise programs popping up every day, it can be hard to figure out what is right for you. We sat down with exercise scientist Lachlan Brook to talk about all things weight loss, diet and exercise. So if you are wanting to lose weight but don’t know where to start, read on for you guide to losing weight and getting fit, it’s easier than you might think.
So how do you lose weight exactly?
Losing weight depends on how many calories you consume, and how many you burn off, this is called a calorie deficit. So the general aim is to burn more calories than you are consuming, this will result in weight loss.
How do you increase your calorie deficit?
The reality is, food plays a much larger part in weight loss than exercise does. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. You need to start by cutting down the amount of calories you are consuming on a daily basis, which is generally the hardest part. You can do this by focussing on eating nutrient dense foods which give us the most nutrients for the fewest calories, instead of calorie dense foods which are high in fat, sugar and salt.
What are some simple food switches we can make to reduce our calorie intake?
Swap 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise for mustard and save 90 calories
Try an open sandwich with 1 piece of bread instead of 2 and save 120 calories
Have 100g of fresh grapes instead of 100g of dried cranberries and save 256 calories
Go for 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream and save 32 calories
Try 1/2 a cup of Halo Top Choc Chip Cookie Dough Ice-Cream instead of Ben & Jerry’s Choc Chip Cookie Dough Ice-Cream and save 190 calories
Making small food swaps, just like these, can make a huge difference to your overall daily calorie intake!
So what about exercise?
Now we need to increase calories going out, which means exercising. The amount of calories we burn is determined by our basal metabolic rate (BMR) plus exercise. For most healthy adults, it’s recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week to achieve this. Although, the number of calories burnt during exercise varies from one person to another. For example, based on a 70kg woman:
Walking at 4.8km/h = 116 calories
Running at 9.7km/h = 350 calories
Pilates = 180 calories
Spin class = 438 calories
Boxing = 210 calories
Strength training = 105 calories
Keeping this in mind is a great way to ensure you are exercising enough and achieving a calorie deficit.
Now you have a plan, it’s time to get started. Here are Lachlan’s failproof tips for sticking to your plan and achieving your weight loss goals.
1. Mix up your exercise routine
It’s important to enjoy exercising. Whether it’s swimming, yoga, cycling, boxing, weights, group fitness classes or walking the dog, find something you love and I guarantee you will stick with it!
2. Don’t be hard on yourself
If you skip a training session, or you make a bad food choice it’s not the end of the world. Accept it and move on.
3. Be prepared
Meal prep is one of my favourite things to do. If you struggle to find time to make a healthy lunch or dinner, prepare some meals over the weekend which you can grab on the go or can just heat up after a late night at the office. Slow cookers are great. I also love roasting vegetables and adding a lean source of protein
4. Stay hydrated
A lot of people confuse hunger for thirst. If it’s been less than an hour since you ate and your feeling ‘hungry’, drink a glass of water, wait 5 minutes and then see how your feel before reaching for that snack.
Decreasing sitting time and increasing activity has great health benefits. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. You can increase your step count by taking the stairs or jumping off the train one stop early and walking.
6. Don’t drink your calories
A can of coke can have 150 calories, or a glass of juice can have 136 calories. Stick to water and have these sugary drinks as an occasional treat.
7. Listen to your body
Achieving your goals are the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. You aren’t going to feel like your best every day and that is OK. Listen to your body and pull back when you need it. Rest and recovery is actually an important part of any exercise program, because it allows the body time to repair and strengthen itself in between workouts.
Lachlan Brook is a Brisbane based Exercise Scientist specialising in strength and conditioning. You can visit him at Goodlife Health Club in Jindalee.