Feel like you’re fighting a losing battle with your weight loss attempts? Maybe you’re going about it the wrong way. PP HQ’s Laura explores the science behind weight loss and gives you top tips on how to reach your weight loss goals by increasing your metabolism.
When you’re browsing a magazine stand I’m sure there are one or two specific titles you reach for without even having to think twice about what you’re choosing. Many of us need our weekly (or monthly) fix of celebrity gossip, latest fashion trends or whatever else it is that will allow us a few blissful hours of escapism. Well, for me it’s anything to do with health, diet and fitness. I love to read about the latest superfood this and the best way to get into bikini body shape that. I can get lost in pages talking about the 20 benefits of eating pineapples… I don’t necessarily apply everything I read to my life but I do find that my mental esteem rises after reading about healthy eating and exercising as I automatically feel healthier and better about myself.
Paging through a number of fitness magazines I have increasingly come across a term “Skinny-Fat” which is an interesting oxymoron. I mean, if a person is ‘skinny’ then how can they possibly also be ‘fat’? The definition of the term is quite simple: Skinny-Fat is when someone falls within a healthy weight range and looks thin but they have a high percentage of body fat. Health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea and even certain cancers increase with excessive amounts of body fat. People with a higher percentage of body fat might find it harder to lose weight (and pick up weight easily) as they have a slower metabolism (more on metabolism later).
For many of us, our weight loss success or ‘failure’ is dictated by the reading on our scales. We all know that to lose weight we need to follow a healthy diet and exercise programme. Exercising helps to convert fat into lean muscle. Now this is where your scales can trick you. Muscle weighs more than fat so when you weigh yourself it might not look like you’ve lost any weight. Or you may be losing weight but reach a point where the scales say your weight loss attempt has plateaued. This is most definitely not the case. If you could track your progress scientifically (whilst following your weight loss diet and exercise programme) and make a week-by-week comparison of what’s happening under the surface of your skin you would be able to see that you are indeed on-track to achieving your goals. And there is, in fact, a very straightforward process that will provide those scientific results.
Through my role at The Pure Package I work very closely together with a number of the UK’s top Personal Trainers and Health Professionals as it is important to them for their clients to be following a nutritious and balanced healthy eating programme to help them achieve their health goals. I recently had a conversation with health and fitness consultant and personal trainer, Gary Ousby, founder of Physical Wellbeing. We discussed at length his scientific approach to working with his clients and what caught my attention was how he can measure their body composition including their percentage of body fat. Amazing! The timing of his phone call was uncanny! We arranged to meet so that Gary could demonstrate how his machine, the InBody Analyser, works.
Standing barefoot on the machine, The InBody Analyzer sends multiple electrical currents (not shocks – whew!) through the body, and analyses your body fat mass, skeletal muscle mass, (segmental) lean body mass, percentage of body fat and also your basal metabolic rate (ie. the amount of energy you expend daily at rest). Based on these results and his client’s goals, Gary creates a bespoke personal training programme for them and recommends a specific healthy eating programme for his client to follow. Gary re-scans his clients on a weekly basis to assess their results in order to ensure they are making progress.
The majority of Gary’s clients want to lose weight and in order for them to do so they need to increase their metabolism. Metabolism are the chemical reactions in the body’s cells that convert the fuel from food into the energy needed to do everything from moving to thinking to growing. Whether you are eating, drinking, sleeping, cleaning etc… your body is constantly burning calories to keep you going. Metabolism is affected by your body composition i.e. the amount of muscle you have versus the amount of fat. Muscle burns off more calories to maintain itself than fat, so people who are more muscular (and have a lower percentage of body fat) are said to have a higher metabolism than those who are less muscular, and therefore find it easier to lose weight.
Gary showed me the comparative readings between week 1 and week 4 for one of his clients, Trevor. As you can see there is a remarkable change in his body composition. If you compare Trevor’s weight from week 1 to week 4 you will see that he has lost 1.7kg. However, if you compare his Body Fat Mass readings you can see Trevor has lost 4.6kg of body fat . He has also increased his SMM (Skeletal Muscle Mass) by 1.8kg. Trevor’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) also increased from 1789 to 1851 over that 4 week period which means he is now burning more energy at rest.
Trevor – Week 1
Trevor – Week 4
Gary Ousby, Celebrity Personal Trainer London: www.physicalwellbeing.co.uk
Exercise, together with eating a healthy diet are a dynamic duo that can help you to increase your metabolism and therefore help you to achieve your weight loss goals. It is essential to eat regular and balanced meals to
replenish your body with the nutrients and energy required
for you to function optimally. If you need help with your diet we’re always here to support you with one our healthy diet programmes.
6 tips to help boost your metabolism:
- Make sure you eat breakfast – If you don’t eat breakfast, you slow down your metabolism and send the body into “hoard mode,” thinking it’s starving because you’re going a long period of time without food.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently – Smaller, more frequent meals keeps your blood sugar stable and provides a steady source of energy to fuel metabolism. The Pure Package recommends eating 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.
- Drink more water – In a small German study, subjects who drank 450ml of water at a time experienced a 30% increase in metabolic rate during the following hour, burning an extra 24 calories. The researchers recommend cool water because the body expends extra calories warming it up to your body temperature..
- Get active – it’s a sure-fire way to increase the amount of muscle you have, which in turn will speed up your metabolism. Do a mixture of aerobic and resistance training for best results.
- Spice up your food – Spices like chilli peppers, turmeric, cumin and ginger elevate your body temperature and make your heart beat at an elevated rate which expends energy.
- Get plenty of sleep - When you sleep less than you should, you throw off the amounts of leptin and ghrelin—hormones that help regulate energy use and appetite—that your body produces. Researchers at Stanford University found that people who snoozed fewer than 7.5 hours per night experienced an increase in their body mass index. So make sure you get at least eight hours of rest.