I want to lose weight: Where do I start?

According to the National Institute of Health, 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight or obese and 1 out of 3 is obese.  This is a crazy high number that people should really take note of. With numbers this high this means that a good majority of people who read this article will have a significant amount of weight they need to lose.  If you search for ways to lose weight on the internet, the amount of results is pretty staggering.  You will get exercise program and nutrition scams that want to make money off of you, you will get bogus blog advice that seems legit, and somewhere tucked in there is legitimate recommendations. One thing that is clear is you became overweight because you are consuming more calories than your body can effectively use for fuel.  Simply reducing your calories  should result in weight loss, but if it was that easy everyone that goes down the diet path would likely be successful.  What sort of tools and knowledge do you think to lose weight and keep it off?

Muscle is your friend

It doesn’t matter if your male or female, muscle is one of the most important aspects of effective and long term weight loss.  Lean body mass (muscle) is more dense and requires more energy to maintain than any other tissue in your body. Your lean mass is a key factor in your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).  Your BMR is the energy your body simply needs to function everyday before factoring in any physical activity or exercise. The higher your BMR, the more calories your body needs in order to sit there and not move and still maintain the same weight. The more muscle you have, the higher your BMR will be.  The higher your BMR is, the easier it is to maintain or lose weight.  For this factor alone, resistance training is one of the most important aspects of weight loss than many people don’t do even though its one of the most important.  To illustrate the difference between someone who is the same weight but with different amounts of muscle mass consider the image comparison below.

In these example images, both males weigh 230 pounds, are 29 years old, and are around 5′ 9”.  The guy on the left has a body fat percentage of around 36 percent.  82 of those pounds are fat.  Because of his lack of muscle, his BMR is only around 1800-2000 calories per day.  Mr ripped body builder on the right only has around 23 pounds of fat he is carrying around, with the rest being lean mass.  Our ripped friend has a BMR of around 2300-2500 because of this extra muscle mass.

While this can be an extreme example, every little bit of extra calories your body burns without you having to lift a finger will contribute to a lower body fat percentage.  If the guy on the left simply loses weight without increasing his muscle mass, he not only would not be increasing his BMR, but has the chance to also reduce his muscle mass with his decrease in calories.  With a reduction in muscle mass, he lowers his BMR and then has an easier chance of rebounding to a greater weight than he previously was.  So now that its understood how important weight lifting and muscle is to weight loss, what is the next step?

Track and measure

There is a lot of the internet that says you shouldn’t track what you eat or measure anything out.  Well we have news for you: you ended up overweight because of the excess calories you were in taking.  This means you likely don’t understand what you are eating on a daily basis.  Tracking and measuring what you are eating is an important step of understanding where you have been going wrong.  Food tracking is made easy with apps like MyFitnessPal.  There is both mobile and desktop versions that let you easily scan the bar code of the food you are adding or search in the massive database of food.  This makes the entire food tracking experience pretty seamless.  The app can help with calorie goals or you can use this calculator to see how many calories you should be eating.  Measuring food is another story.

Serving sizes on food packaging are very hard to measure unless you are weighing your food.  We suggest getting a good scale so you can actually know your getting exact serving sizes.  We have seen powders and other foods off as much as 50 percent when using tablespoons and cups as the measurement tool.  That can make you crazy when trying to lose weight because you think you are eating what you are supposed to when your really eating more than you realize.

The most important thing to understand about tracking is measuring is that is sets good habits.  This doesn’t have to be something your doing the rest of your life.  Once you have developed this good habit of understanding how much you are eating its very easy to ditch them both and continue down the same path.

Better Food Choices

Pure BCAA is not in the business is making hard stances on specific diet and lifestyles like paleo and veganism.  We think there are pro’s and con’s to nearly all of them but something very important to understand is that you likely need to make better food choices.  Whole foods are much easier to track since they is generally single ingredients (chicken breast has only chicken breast, celery only has celery, etc).  The more processed the food, the more unknown there is about whats actually in it.  Sometimes the best thing for someone new to diet and weight loss is following a diet and workout plan. Bodybuilding.com is a tremendous resource for people new to this new life style.  Jim Stopanni provides excellent advice and resources for both diet and exercise.  We highly recommend anything by him.

Drink Water

Its staggering how little water people drink.  Water plays an integral part in weight loss and exercise performance.  Since this article is merely and overview of weight loss, we won’t go into the science of the role water plays in the body but we will emphasize the absolute benefit of it.  A separate article will be posted covering water specifically since its so important.  Here is a very simple recommendation: drink a gallon.  If your just starting down your journey to weight loss this is a great place to start.  Yes your going to urinate a lot and yes its a lot of water.  The importance of this amount of water cannot be overstated, however.  For more specific water intake recommendations we suggest you follow us and see what the scientific research says.

Conclusion

Losing weight can seem like a daunting task but something very important to remember is that your health is on the line.  As much as people want to believe being overweight can be healthy, it will catch up to you and sometimes it can be too late. Basic weight management and exercise is one of the most impact things you can do for your health.  Stop trying to lose weight without exercise.  Your muscle mass is important to your overall goals. Comment or email us with questions!

 

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