It’s simple because to lose weight anywhere on your body (and it’s almost impossible to target any specific area) you must burn more calories each day than you consume. Period. Sure there are other factors that address overall health and long-term sustainability for your lifestyle change. But in the interest of bottom-line simplicity–burn more fat and consume fewer calories and you’ll start shrinking!
Losing weight is also complicated because each of us reacts differently to exercise and eating. Our metabolisms are different. Some people think they’re exercising but they’re moving so slowly on a cardio machine, or they’re doing more talking with the friend on the machine next to them than sweating, that they’d probably burn more calories sleeping that they’re actually burning in the gym.
Then there’s the plethora of information out there regarding diet and exercise, so much so too many people simply give up–or they refuse to get started at all.
If you’re not feeling motivated, this may help: You may be able to workout half as long as others and lose just as much weight! That’s what researchers on Copenhagen recently discovered when they tracked the workouts of 60 moderately overweight men, all of whom were seeking to improve their lifestyle.
In fact, the men who worked out for 30 minutes daily for three consecutive months lost more weight (7.9 pounds) and men who worked out for 60 minutes (5.9) over the same length of time. “We can see that exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat, Said Mads Rosenkilde, PhD of the Department of Biomedical Sciences. “The men who exercised the most lost too little relative to the energy they burned by running, biking or rowing. Thirty minutes of concentrated exercise give equally good results on the scale.”
On the surface that seems absurd. One explanation the researchers offered may have been that the men who trained longer ate more (more than they burned!), thus hindering weight loss. Another thought was that 30 minutes seemed more manageable to the men in that group, thus perhaps they exercised more intensely than their 60-minute counterparts. Or maybe they had more energy following their workout, allowing them do engage in other calorie-burning activities.
But forget any explanations. Just know this: If you want to lose weight, exercise must be a significant part of the plan–no matter you’re current fitness level.
As always, consult your doctor first, especially if you haven’t worked out vigorously in awhile. And it never hurts to start with a qualified trainer if you’re not sure you’ll be able to motivate yourself to exercise at least three days a week. Finally, consult a nutritionist. In fact, it’s now becoming much easier (and less costly) to so as grocery chains nationwide are employing in-store nutritionists to help shoppers make healthier choices about their diets.
Follow this strategy and you’ll be losing weight sooner than you think!