The Secret to Weight Loss

I have worked in the health and fitness industry for several years now, and the one thing that I am asked continually is regarding the “best way to lose weight”. There is an answer…. But you may not like it. So, before that, we will discuss some of the myths and theories that have permeated the minds of those struggling to lose weight.

There are several theories that have been spread over the years that diet is the only factor that impacts weight loss, and although diet is one of the most essential ingredients, studies have shown repeatedly that exercise is essential to weight loss and management. It is often proposed to myself, that individuals have tried a low carb diet and they have lost several kilos in a week or two, and this has proved to them that diet is the best factor for weight loss. I am not going to say that I do not support healthy diet choices, and a lower carb diet that maintains a good spread of micronutrients may be one of the best choices when dieting. But the dramatic weight loss at the beginning of these types of diets are due to rapid loss of intercellular water/fluid. This “water weight loss” is in general due to the bond of H20 (water) to CHO (carbohydrates), for every gram of CHO approximately 2-3 grams of H20 is needed to store the CHO molecules ingested. So, when undertaking a low CHO diet, it is recommended an individual increases their H20 intake as decreased hydration or dehydration is expected in the initial period of this diet, until the body adjusts to this type of diet.

There are several good diets out there with supportive scientific evidence, but we will start to get back on track. It has been replicated in multiple studies over the last several decades that exercise is the key ingredient to weight loss and we are nearly coming to “the secret”. It has been displayed over and over that individuals in diet only groups and diet and exercise groups may lose weight at the same rate over the length of a short-term study, but it has also been shown that exercisers will lose more weight over extended longitudinal studies and maintain weight loss. There are several factors that have been linked to this maintenance; individuals that exercise on average >1 hour a day tend to make better food choices, and are more aware of their diet, exercise and diet affect self-image, cognition and have been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety – the emotional states linked to cognition has been associated with a reduced capacity do delay gratification often resulting in binge eating or other responses that have a dopamine response.

So now for the secret! And I am sorry, but it is exercise and diet in combination. But here some things to consider that may help you regulate your exercise output that have scientific evidence for weight related outcomes.

  1. Experiment – get to know what times you find the most enjoyable to exercise and what types of exercise you enjoy the most – I personally don’t like group training or early morning. Follow this link to help you understand what type of exercise will suit you best.
  2. Routine – Set a time, put it in your diary, and stick to it! One of the hardest parts of engaging an exercise programme is adhering to a routine. Once a routine is set then it becomes easier to adhere, studies have also shown that a routine is beneficial for brain health. Summer bodies are made in winter, but winter habits are made in summer.
  3. Get help – One of the principal reasons that I have seen many individuals stop an exercise programme, is that they don’t know what they are doing in a gym or they get injured and do not know how to continue exercising with an injury. This is one of the most prevalent reasons for individuals not initiating an exercise programme. Done be afraid to ask for help! I myself don’t enjoy group classes, but they are cost affective and teach you how to exercise on your own. If you can’t figure out where to start or you are worried about exercising with and injury, consult the team of Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Absolute Balance.

Jordan M Woods

(B.Sc. Exercise, Sport Science, and Rehabilitation, GradDipSc.

Exercise Physiology Rehabilitation)