Losing Weight – 3 Health Strategies That Really Work
At this point, you’re probably sick and tired of reading the “most effective” ways to lose weight. The online community is saturated with content about weight loss, which mostly relies on pseudoscience.
After decades of laboratory experiments and clinical studies, researchers managed to establish a few ways that really work for weight loss. Unfortunately, some of these ways are too inconvenient or require a lot of work – hence why hype-oriented blogs avoid talking about them.
In this article, we will cover 3 evidence-based strategies to lose weight without compromising your health. But first, let us quickly discuss the physiology of losing weight.
How do we lose weight?
The equation to lose weight is fairly simple. Your cells need to burn more calories than your consumption. Albeit, the intricacies of this process are more than the eye can see.
The two components of this equation are caloric intake and energy expenditure.
This is the number of calories you consume per day. It corresponds to the food you eat and its caloric value. You can measure this number by estimating the amount of food you eat per day, as well as its macronutrient ratio.
Here are the different macronutrients and their caloric values:
- Carbohydrates – 1 gram has 4 calories
- Protein – 1 gram has 4 calories
- Lipids – 1 gram has 9 calories
Energy expenditure translates to the calories burnt by your cells per day. As a general rule of thumb, the average person needs 1,500–3,000 calories per day.
Note that this number varies greatly depending on a variety of factors (e.g., weight, height, body type, diet, fitness status, genetics).
A practical example of caloric deficit
After getting familiar with the components of our equation, the path to weight loss shouldn’t be complicated anymore.
Just burn more calories than your daily consumption, and losing weight becomes inevitable.
A 25-year-old female with these physical characteristics:
- Bodyweight – 70 kg (154 lb.)
- Height – 1.60 cm (5.24 ft.)
If you use an online calculator to measure the estimated energy expenditure for this imaginary female, it will be around 1,697calories.
To lose weight, she must eat fewer calories than the number mentioned above. This will push the body to start using the stored macronutrients (e.g., fatty acids, glycogen) for energy.
According to available research, burning 7,000 calories translates to losing 1 kg (2 pounds) of fat.
This, in a nutshell, is how weight loss occurs.
3 health strategies to lose weight
- The hard way – diet and exercise
Using the information cited above, we can use diet and exercise to lean the equation to our preferred side – weight loss.
Dieting will allow you to lower your caloric intake. It will also stimulate your cells to start burning glycogen and fatty acids. Note that fatty acid metabolism won’t kick in until your stores of glycogen get depleted. Therefore, don’t feel disappointed if you don’t lose fat weight after a few days of dieting.
Exercise, on the other hand, will increase your energy expenditure. This way, even if you consume the calories necessary to maintain weight, you will still burn fatty acids.
Besides losing weight, a balanced diet and a good exercise routine will optimize every aspect of your health. There are literally thousands of research papers that discuss the positive effects of diet and exercise on mental and physical health.
With all of that said, we recommend that you stick to balanced diets. Avoid draconian diets that exclude macronutrients or place your body in a state of physiological stress. Even though these diets generate results fast, they cause more harm than good.
2. The easy way? – bariatric surgeries
Over the past few years, bariatric clinics have opened all over the world.
The most common procedures include:
- Gastric bypass
- Gastric sleeve
- Adjustable gastric banding
Each of these procedures uses the physiology of the digestive tract to stimulate weight loss. For instance, gastric bypass connects the lower portion of the esophagus (i.e., food pipe) with the upper portion of the intestines, eliminating gastric passage. Of course, the surgeon will leave the stomach connected to the intestines due to its valuable digestive enzymes and acid content.
Eliminating the passage of food through the stomach means you no longer have a large storage unit. Therefore, feeling full will occur much earlier, leading to a lower caloric intake. This procedure is extremely effective, causing up to 70% of weight loss after 24 months.
For those of you who have never heard of these procedures before, you might be wondering “if this is such an easy solution, why doesn’t everyone do it?”
The answer to this question lies within the risks of this surgery, as well as the strict criteria set by bariatric clinics. You need to surpass a certain body mass index (BMI) before even making it to the list of candidates for this surgery.
3.Weight loss supplements
This is a controversial topic for many. Losing weight with the help of supplements sounds too easy to be true, right?
Well, the answer to this question is not that straightforward. There is some solid evidence that certain substances could stimulate weight loss. In fact, some of these supplements might get mainstreamed soon enough.
One example would be apple cider vinegar. The active ingredient of this supplement is acetic acid.
One study included 144 overweight individuals and gave them 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day. The experiment lasted for 12 weeks.
When the study ended, researchers analyzed the BMI of all participants. The average weight of the group dropped by 3.7 pounds compared to baseline.
Studies like this one confirm the effectiveness of some supplements in the weight loss department.
To learn more about these supplements, check out this link.
Following science when it comes to weight will undoubtedly yield positive results. However, you need to be patient and follow the process without seeking short-term solutions or draconian diets.
We hope that this article helped you appreciate the evidence-based strategies to lose weight in a healthy way.