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The Top Five Things People Worry About That Don’t Actually Matter For Weight Loss

The Top Five Things People Worry About That Don’t Actually Matter For Weight Loss

In the world of health & fitness, we’re currently facing a supreme irony: We are more obsessed with health, fitness, and weight loss than ever, yet we are also fatter than ever. This is largely due to our priorities being totally out of whack. The common question people ask is “what more can I do to improve my health & fitness?”

This approach is totally wrong.

The much better question to ask is “what can I stop worrying about to make improving my health & fitness easier?” If the strategy at hand to achieve a goal is simpler, easier, and less time consuming, the more likely you are to succeed. That’s just basic logic.

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With that sentiment, I’m going to share with you the top five things people worry about that don’t actually matter for weight loss. The less nonsense you worry about, the more effort you can focus on the true weight loss fundamentals that matter. Before I get into it, though let me share my personal results in applying what I’m about to share in this article:

simple weight loss before after

    That’s 7 months of solid progress, during which the following was true:

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    • No food type restriction. I ate whatever I wanted (with reasonable moderation)
    • No cardio
    • Weight lifting in the gym 2 – 3 times per week, no longer than 45 minutes per session
    • No meal frequency/timing restriction. There were plenty of huge carb heavy meals late at night
    • Plenty of gluttonous restaurant meals and family dinners

    You’re thinking… “this contradicts everything I know that someone ‘should’ do to lose weight, how is this possible?” Well, as I said, people’s priorities are generally speaking way out of whack when it comes to weight loss. To help get things back “in whack,” here are the top 5 things people worry about for weight loss that don’t actually matter.

    1. Meal Frequency

    Perhaps the most pervasive and damaging fitness myth is that one needs to eat small frequent meals to upkeep the metabolic fire, else enter fat loss stalling “starvation mode.” Let me be clear, there is absolutely zero scientific evidence that this is true. No ward based clinical trials have ever showed that manipulating short term meal frequency influences weight gain/loss or one’s metabolic output. In fact, in reality it takes over 3 days of fasting before there is a measurable decrease in caloric expenditure.

    2. Meal Timing

    Similar to #1, there is no scientific evidence that short term meal timing influences weight gain/loss. As long as your overall caloric intake is under control, it doesn’t matter if you’re pounding carbs at 10:00am or 10:00pm, or if you eat breakfast when you first wake up or after noon.

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    3. Food Selection

    All aboard the fad diet train! Hucksters would love for you to believe that their special food type diet holds the magic key to weight loss: Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan, Low Carb, Low Fat, the list goes on and on. But, aside from a small metabolic and satiety advantage garnered from higher protein intake, the food you eat for weight loss really doesn’t matter all that much. A nutrition professor shows us this with his ground breaking Twinkie weight loss diet.

    I’m not saying you can eat whatever you want, or that healthy eating isn’t important. Just understand that a “clean” diet in excess is still a diet in excess. To lose weight, you have to eat less than you burn, one way or another. And, a little junk here and there won’t stall weight loss, as long as you’re maintaining that negative energy balance.

    4. Exercise

    Of course you need to exercise to lose weight, right? No, you don’t. If you’re burning more energy than you’re consuming over time, you’ll lose weight. It doesn’t matter if you do it by increasing your caloric expenditure with working out, or if you decrease your caloric intake by eating less. They are both means to the same end.

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    Don’t take me as saying exercise isn’t important. It is, of course, but do understand that begrudgingly adhering to an unsustainable hour+ a day of cardio regiment is not necessary for weight loss. Rather, focus on doing exercise that you enjoy, makes you feel good, and improves your health. Exercising with the primary goal of weight loss is not an effective strategy.

    5. Too Much Carbohydrate or Fat Intake

    The crux of virtually every fad diet is the ostensible restriction of carbs or fat. Too many grams of a so called boogeyman nutrient and you’ll stall your weight loss. It’s bogus. You can only eat too much fat or carbohydrate insofar as you’re eating too many calories. As long as your caloric intake over time is under control, it really doesn’t matter how much of each you eat. Optimal fat and carb intake depends on the person, their activity levels, and their lifestyle. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into ostensible macronutrient restriction to adhere to a fad diet. Do eat in such a way that you feel/perform your best. That optimal way will be different for everyone.

    Conclusion

    At the end of the day, if you’re eating less calories than you burn over time, you will lose weight. It’s pretty much a scientifically infallible truth at this point. No matter what else you do, if that condition is met you will lose weight.

    The take home point: Stop worrying about anything else, especially if it comes at the expense of worrying about that.

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    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

    So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

    1. Exercise

    It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

    2. Drink in Moderation

    I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

    3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

    Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

    4. Watch Less Television

    A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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    Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

    5. Eat Less Red Meat

    Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

    If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

    6. Don’t Smoke

    This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

    7. Socialize

    Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

    8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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    9. Be Optimistic

    Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

    10. Own a Pet

    Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

    11. Drink Coffee

    Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

    12. Eat Less

    Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

    13. Meditate

    Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

    Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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    How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

    14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

    Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

    15. Laugh Often

    Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

    16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

    Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

    17. Cook Your Own Food

    When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

    Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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    18. Eat Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

    19. Floss

    Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

    20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

    Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

    Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

    21. Have Sex

    Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

    More Health Tips

    Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

    Reference

    [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
    [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
    [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
    [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
    [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
    [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
    [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
    [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
    [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
    [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
    [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
    [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
    [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
    [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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