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Weight Loss Questions

  • How do I lose weight? I want to lose the excess fat but I love my food!

    Weight loss and weight gain is often misunderstood. It essentially comes down to the following:

    Food is your primary source of CALORIES IN.
    Exercise, incidental activity, bodily functions are your primary sources on CALORIES OUT.

    If your CALORIES OUT is greater than your CALORIES IN, you will lose weight. Conversely, if your CALORIES IN is greater than your CALORIES OUT, you will gain weight.

    This is true for the general population. Of course, in exceptional circumstances (eg. those with a particular medical condition), this may not always be the case.

    So essentially if you are seeking to lose weight in the form of fat, you need to either decrease your CALORIES IN or increase your CALORIES OUT.

    A decrease in the CALORIES IN could come from a reduction in the portion sizes of your meals. Try eliminating calorie rich foods such as breads, sweets, oils, fruit drinks and so on. Try replacing these with low calorie foods such as salads, vegetables and fruits. In order to promote a healthy lifestyle, you also need to ensure that you are having adequate protein intake (meat, dairy, eggs, fish, soy etc.) and carbohydrate intake (grains, dairy, fruit). Also a little fat in your diet - some good sources are from nuts, avocado, LSA mix or flaxseed oil.

    Meanwhile you can increase your CALORIES OUT by increasing the amount of exercise you perform. It doesn't have to be running on a treadmill for an hour each day (particularly if you don't enjoy this!). Try jogging outside, going for walks, joining a gym, participating in a sport club, playing golf, undertaking more physical leisure activities on the weekend and so on. You need to find something that you really enjoy in order to stick to it in the long term.

    Finally, incidental activity is also a great way to increase your caloric expenditure. Park further away so you have to walk a little more. Rather than driving up the street, walk up the street - even take the scenic route. Do a little more walking when you go shopping. Take one shopping bag in at a time - not all of them at once. All these little tweaks can significantly increase your CALORIES OUT and thus increase the amount of weight lost.

    On my website I have a whole array of tools that you may find helpful. To begin with, we have a huge nutritional database of foods so you can see how dense in calories foods are compared to others:

    If you are unfamiliar with reading the basic elements on a nutritional label, you may find it of great interest to read up on a beginners course that I published entitled "Introduction to Physical Freedom":

  • I have very large thighs. Will brisk walking reduce the size of my large thighs?

    Unfortunately you cannot pick a place on your body to lose weight specifically. This myth, known as "spot reduction" propagated within the 1970's and 1980's until it was quickly dispelled by numerous scientific studies. Therefore, it is very important to understand that performing a legs based workout may result in more fat loss from your upper body than your legs - your genetic makeup determines where fat is metabolised from.

    That said, weight loss is essentially calories in versus calories out. So if you consume more energy (calories) from your diet, you will gain weight. Meanwhile if you perform enough exercise in order to create a caloric deficit (ie. more calories out than in), you will lose weight. Of course, many other factors do come into play - such as your genetic makeup, hormones, lifestyle etc. This is why your weight loss will be significantly different to anyone else trying to achieve a similar goal.

    So in your specific case, you may find that the hardest part of the body to lose fat from will be your thighs. You need to find the right level of physical activity in order to induce weight loss. You will also need to monitor your diet and ensure that you are consuming less calories than what you are expending through indicental activity and exercise.

    Several studies have shown that a combination of healthy eating, cardiovascular exercise and resistance exercise (ie. using weights) will promote optimal fat loss. I would suggest to find yourself a personal trainer that can assist you in developing well rounded plans in order to achieve your goals. If you require online personal training services, please check out:

    Finally, I have published a course on the basics of weight loss and weight gain which you may find very insightful. We begin by discussing the basic theory and then delve into practical examples that you can apply to your lifestyle. Check it out at:

    Hope this helps and all the best!

  • How does NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) or incidental exercise affect my body weight?

    I attended a lecture by Len Kravitz at the fitness conference a few weeks back where he discussed the concept of NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis).  Essentially, NEAT is incidental activity that is not part of a prescribed exercise routine, ie. walking to-and-from the car, pushing around a shopping cart, opening the fridge, mowing the lawn etc.

    A study was conducted that compared a group of "healthy" body types (BMI of 23) and a group of obese body types (BMI of 33).  Both groups were untrained and self-confessed "couch potatoes".  Their diets were similar and sleeping patterns were similar too.  The reason why the "healthy" body types had a lower BMI was because they performed 150 minutes of daily incidental exercise!

    That's a really interesting study and just goes to show how significantly non-prescribed activity can impact upon body weight.

    Worth noting however, you do not achieve the very significant physiological, metabolic and psychological benefits associated with prescribed exercise from NEAT.

  • I would like to lose weight after I give birth in a few weeks. Should I focus on carbs or calories for weight loss?

    I'd be concentrating on looking after yourself and your baby and just eating nutritious foods - a good balance of protein, carbs and fats, with plenty of vegies and dairy included. Reduce sugary and highly processed foods to a minimum, but allow yourself the occasional treat. Assuming you'll be breastfeeding, you will need more calories than usual to ensure an adequate milk supply and make sure you have the energy to keep up with two little ones.

    Carbs aren't actually bad - it's just that most people have their protein/carb ratio WAY out of whack, and also eat a lot of rubbishy processed carbs. Choosing mostly whole grains, root vegetables, beans and legumes, fruit and dairy, rather than white flour or sugar-laden products will make a difference.

    If you haven't been exercising regularly, ease into it gradually, and make sure you get a medical checkup first. Find activities you enjoy, and incorporate some sort of resistance training. Perhaps something you can do at home might suit you, like some DVD workouts, or just walking outdoors with the baby in the stroller.

    There's lots of info around - try searching websites. This one is a good place to start:

    Congratulations on the new addition to your family - I hope all goes smoothly for you. :)

  • For fat loss, what basic supplements should I consume? I am beginning Body-for-LIFE.

    To begin with, supplements aren't wonder foods, even though many of them are advertised to be. They will only assist you IF your training and nutritional approach is spot on.

    If you're seeking to achieve fat loss, an approach using basic supplements approach could be very effective.  A simple protein powder (containing whey protein isolate or even concentrate) could be great after your workout. I really wouldn't go for anything too fancy though unless you have money to splurge.

    There are a range of thermogenics available, yet their effectiveness is very much up in the air. I would suggest beginning with an appropriate nutritional approach and exercise regime. From there you can evaluate your results and possibly consider trying a thermogenic. They are expensive though.

    CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) has been shown to promote fat loss in some circumstances, but again the evidence isn't rock solid. Whether this supplement would have a significant effect on your fat loss is anybodies guess. However CLA is great for general health & wellbeing alongside disease prevention. So, whilst it is relatively expensive, it could be worth looking into.

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