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Blog - Richard Geres Personal Training - Weight-Loss, Fitness, Research

Sun, 18 May 2014

3 Fundamental Rules of weight-loss


There are countless diets and workout programmes out there, all promising to rid you of the unwanted excess fat that has accumulated on your body over time. Whether its low GI, low-carb, South Beach , Atkins or Dukan, each of these plans promises astounding results.  But are they really all that different from one another after all? Aren't there some common properties that all these weight-loss plans have in common?

I'd like to think so.

Here are some principles that lay the foundation for effective weight-loss, no matter which diet option you decide to go for:

1.    Caloric restriction

Quantity does matter, despite the quality of the foods you consume. I eat a healthy diet does not necessarily translate into a weight-loss diet. For any weight-loss to occur, the primary requirement is caloric deficit. This means that the total amount of calories consumed from carbohydrates , fats , protein and alcohol has to be lower than the persons energy requirements . Requirements for men are typically 2500-3000kcal per day, and for women 1800-2000kcal per day. Determinants of energy requirement are bodyweight (especially lean muscle mass), height, age, daily activity level, stress-level, and hormones such as tyroxine, which regulates metabolism. A daily caloric deficit of 500kcal should theoretically produce a weight-loss of half a kilo per week.

Some diets like Atkins and Dukan, which are very high protein diets seemingly allow you to eat unlimited amounts of protein foods per day, which at first glance would make the energy balance principle seem irrelevant. However, it is unlikely that energy requirements are met through meat alone. To consume 2000kcal of meat per day (a weight-loss plan for men) would require a daily consumption of  around 1.4kg of beef. This is unlikely to occur in most people, especially in the medium to long-term.

2.    Blood sugar (glucose) control


Carbohydrate consumption affects blood sugar levels, as all carbohydrates, whether grains, fruits, vegetables or sugars found in soft drinks, dairy products and juices eventually end up as glucose in our blood stream. Intakes of high amounts of carbohydrates (think of some bruschetta followed by a plate of pasta, a dessert and a bottle of coke) cause blood sugar levels to spike. Blood sugar is controlled by insulin, which lowers blood sugar (glucose) levels by signalling tissue cells to absorb glucose and fatty acids, thus moving glucose and fatty acids out of the blood stream into surrounding tissues for storage.

Insulin tells the cells to do the following:
  • Absorb glucose, fatty acids and amino acids
  • Start building glycogen (stored carbohydrate) from glucose; fats (triglycerides) from glycerol and fatty acids; and proteins from amino acids

The mechanism of storage means that more fats and carbohydrates are being moved into our body stores, which is the last thing we want when we are trying to lose weight. Therefore blood glucose levels and insulin secretion play a major role in weight management. Chronic high levels of blood glucose, caused by excessive carbohydrate consumption (think of burger buns, chips, pizza, pasta, bread, pastries, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, etc.) may lead to insulin resistance, and eventually to Type II diabetes, a life threatening disease that is spreading rapidly in all westernised countries, including Malta.  

Reducing bread and pasta intake does not readily translate into a low-carb diet.  Keep in mind that carbohydrates are found in cereals, milk, yoghurt, fruit, juices and vegetables. International dietary guidelines recommend obtaining around 50% of calories form carbohydrates. Best sources include fibre-rich (unprocessed) grains, fruits, vegetables and some low-fat dairy products. The healthy plate model recommends an amount equal to ¼ of a plate for carbohydrate foods per meal,  ¼ plate for protein foods and ½ plate for vegetables and fruit.
myplate

3.    Exercise

Exercise promotes weight-loss in three major ways:
  1. It increases calorie consumption: Regular physical activity, as in exercise increases the energy demand on the body and thus increases the rate of fat metabolised for energy.
  2. It reduces glucose levels: Exercise uses both glucose and fatty acids as an energy source. It thus helps control glucose levels, promotes fat mobilisation and increases insulin sensitivity, meaning that less insulin is required to keep blood glucose under check.
  3. It prevents metabolic slow-down: A common side-effect of dieting is metabolic slow-down, which means that your body gets used to surviving on a lower caloric intake. This makes diets ineffective as the caloric deficit achieved on a daily basis decreases . Metabolic slowdown is partly due to loss of lean muscle tissue. Regular exercise, especially weight training reduces lean muscle loss while dieting and improves muscle tone and body image.

All our weight-loss programmes are based on the above principles. If you'd like to lose weight and learn how to implement these principles in your lifestyle, then you should contact us for a consultation to see how we can best help you and which of our programmes would be ideal for you.

To book a consultation please call us on 27 877 445 or click here.

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