Most people talk about their need to lose weight, and try it in different ways, but as you feel the body going softer and softer, you realize that you may be getting more and more fat. Most of the time, of course, while you lose fat you are also losing weight. Weight loss, however, does not necessarily need to reflect fat loss but can in fact be attributed to loss of water weight or muscle mass. So the question then remains: how does one make sure that weight loss experienced is fat loss and not simply water loss that can be caused by excessive sweating or high protein diet?
A good place to start is by measuring body fat. The simplest way to do this inexpensively is through a skinfold measurement that fairly estimates one’s fat percentage. So, as you get slimmer and may feel your softness decreasing, repeat the measurement to confirm the result. Furthermore, it is important to know that when one adopts an exercise regime (especially in the first 3 months), even weight gain may be observed as muscle mass increases with exercise stimulus. Recall that muscle is heavier by volume than fat, so weight gain does not necessarily reflect fat gain. Here are a few simple rules which can help you lose fat.
10 Tips for losing fat:
- Walk.Try to walk more, park your car some distance away from your destination. Go walking to do shopping in your neighborhood. Get on/off the bus 3 or 4 stops before/after your usual bus stop. If at all possible, avoid the elevator and take the stairs more frequently. You can walk slower but do not avoid the hills. Remember that hills are your friends in the battle against fat.
- Go grocery shopping on a full stomach. Go to the supermarket after lunch. Never go immediately before eating as this would make you choose foods higher in calories.
- Eat 3-5 servings of fruit a day. Always have a fruit or a vegetable in your bag. And drink a lot of water or fruit juices.
- Eat less, eat more often and have a colorful meal. Try to decrease the portion size of your meat, rice or potatoes by half while at the same time increasing the variety and quantity of the vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, greens, etc. Aim for many colors. Have something green, orange, red and yellow every time you eat.
- Sit down to eat, so you can eat slowly and enjoy the flavor of the food.
- Take exercise training seriously. Go to a gym and have a trainer give you progressive challenges. This will make makes you feel more optimistic about your improvement. If you do not like gyms, hire a personal trainer so that you can be taught proper exercise technique and then you can exercise on your own. Walk past several houses at your neighborhood, planning to go three houses further each day, or to reach the houses faster than you have done the day before.
- Eat everything you like in small portions. You should not give up eating everything you love since you may miss it a lot and may have it in excess when depraved. Instead, eat the things you crave and love but have half the amount or less. Cut your food into small pieces and eat very slowly.
- Try to buy and consume less processed food. Hamburgers, canned food, ready made food, trans fats, etc. have all been proved to be harmful to health and linked to many diseases; and these foods may also be rich in calories, so why have a lot of it?
- Reduce television watching and time spent on the Internet. Go outside and enjoy the landscape around (places are nicer in vivo), play with children, go to the mountains. If you stay hours and hours in front of a monitor, you are likely to eat more.
- Be comfortable while exercising. Always wear comfortable clothes and proper shoes. Do not wear too much if you are going to walk – this can be uncomfortable and unhealthy. Do not have new running shoes during long walks as they may cause discomfort. Try to get help when buying proper shoes. Also remember to take some water with you; for very long distance walks you can pack some fruit, dried fruit or high fiber, low sugar cereal bar and water.
Written by Marcia Alves, Postdoctor at CERG.