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Six surprising habits that accelerate fat loss

Six surprising habits that accelerate fat loss

If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more. No question about that. But what if losing a pound a month isn’t enough for you? What if you want to lose weight fast? Once you’ve cut out the soda and candy and started working out a few times a week, you can follow these six rules to multiply the effect of your diet and exercise program, dramatically accelerating your weight loss.

1.  Drink more water, especially before meals

Everyone knows we need water to live. But few people realize how much we need. The vast majority of people live in a state of mild, chronic dehydration, which leads to low energy and weight gain. For maximum well-being and fat loss, make an effort to drink at least half a gallon of water a day, and drink at least 16 ounces of water before each meal, and any time you feel low on energy.

For this to work, you need to drink water- not soda, not coffee or juice, but actual water. If you find that difficult, try flavoring your water with a very small amount of fruit or cucumber.

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2.  Spend more time chewing your food

One popular theory holds that eating more slowly will help people lose weight. The reason is, there’s a delay between when you swallow food and when that food causes your brain to reduce its sense of hunger, and this delay causes people to eat more than necessary at the end of their meal. Experts such as the early 20th century dietician Horace Fletcher have long suggested that eating more slowly will result in eating less.

A recent study from China confirms the truth of this theory: it showed that obese men ate more quickly than non-obese men. It also found that men who chew each bite forty times lost 12% more fat than men who chewed each bite only fifteen times. If you want to lose weight, make a commitment to chew each bite of food at least twenty times, then raise that number by five every week.

3.  Take a walk after every meal

An old roommate of mine once told me that he lost ten pounds when he started taking a walk after every meal. At the time, I couldn’t believe it – a walk is hardly even exercise at all, and certainly doesn’t compare to a serious gym session! But more recently, I’ve realized that I was wrong: walking after meals really is one of those little fat loss tricks that can make a huge difference.

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Now, walking really isn’t the best exercise and doesn’t compare to a serious workout – I was right about that. But it turns out that there’s something else going on here: getting even light activity after a meal activates your GLUT-4 receptors, causing your muscles to absorb all of that glucose you just ate. What’s more, this prevents the meal from spiking your insulin levels the way it would otherwise. So follow my old roommate’s advice: take a ten minute walk after every meal.

4.  Use cold temperatures to make fat work for you

Now here’s the most surprising thing you’ll read all week: not all fat is bad for you. Most of your fatty tissue is white fat, which just stores energy. That’s what you think of when you think of fat. But you also have a small amount of brown fat, which burns energy to keep you warm. You can dramatically accelerate fat loss by exposing your body to cold temperatures to stimulate brown fat growth.

There are several ways to do this. You can keep your home a little bit colder, or wear lighter clothing throughout the day. You can drink a glass of ice water every morning and every evening. You can also target brown fat more directly, bt applying cold directly to it. Your brown fat is located in your neck and on your upper chest and back, so you can stimulate it by taking a cold shower and aiming the water there, or by applying an ice pack to the base of your neck.

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5.  Add lemon juice, honey and cinnamon to your meals

It’s well-known that healthier food tends to be that which your body absorbs more slowly, while junk foods such as sodas are often digested very quickly. Thankfully, there are ways to make your body digest any food more slowly. Adding lemon juice and cinnamon to your meals appears to slow the rate at which food transits from your stomach to your intestine, which has been shown to improve insulin and blood sugar control. Replacing table sugar with a small amount of honey also seems to improve blood sugar levels, most likely because honey, too, is digested more slowly than other sugars.

6.  Take photos of every meal you eat

Most people don’t need to learn more about what they should and should not eat. They have a good diet, but they just don’t follow it. For most people, the missing ingredient isn’t another food they need to add or subtract from their diet; it’s awareness and accountability. You need to be keeping track of just how much you really cheat on your diet.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Science says that taking photos of your food is several times more effective than writing a food journal. To keep yourself accountable, start a dedicated Instagram account or Facebook photo album, and upload a photo of every meal you eat to it. You’ll pay more attention to your eating habits, and you’ll feel some pressure to eat healthy knowing your friends can see what you eat.

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Featured photo credit: Abnehmen/Butz.2013 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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