Exercise and the Timing of Meals
We are nearing the end of the Weight Loss theme for the month. I have thus decided to write on perhaps the most important aspect of this topic. To be very blunt, it is impossible to lose any significant amount of weight without burning more calories than the amount that we consume in food. This is a simple fact of life and the fundamental rule of thermodynamics.
Our bodies constantly burn calories to maintain our body temperature and our metabolic functions. In turn, we consume calories in the form of food in order to supply these needs. If excess calories are consumed the excess gets stored as fat. If there is less consumed than is being burned we lose fat and get thinner.
It’s true that we now have many available natural dietary supplements that help, but the fact remains that without burning more than is being consumed none of these miracle products will do the job on their own. It’s like building a house. First you must build a strong foundation and then you can build a beautiful living room with a fire place on top of it. The same principle applies to weight loss. First you must build a strong foundation with a proper exercise plan, proper diet and proper timing of meals and then you can add natural health products to this in order to support weight loss even further in a healthy and natural way.
If I were interested in profits only I would never tell you this truth. Yes I am part of a business establishment but I am interested in your success in having an optimal weight for a healthy and happy life (which makes society happier and healthier which ultimately comes back to affect me in one way or another) and not just sales.
All right so what’s the plan? First is diet. You simply must limit or get rid of entirely foods that are very unhealthy and/or that are packed with sugar, fat or both. The most common ones are burgers from fast food joints (and fast food in general), French fries, pizza (although thin crust once in a while is ok), bacon, pop, sweets, sugar in excess, excessive cheese, fruit juices packed with sugar, white pastas and white rice. These are the most common ones.
Get in the habit of converting to what is called the Mediterranean diet. At first this may be challenging but over time you will find that this kind of food is much tastier and will make you feel much healthier and happier than the junk from fast food dispensaries. Such diet is rich in vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs and especially egg whites, healthy oils like olive, coconut, and avocado oils, fruits which are not too sweet, sea food in general, a lean steak is ok once in a while, brown rice (but not too much) and a very limited amount of carbohydrates in the form of white breads, white pasta or white rice. Of course if you want to lose weight you must forger about such junk as candy, pop and chips. Speaking of chips, limit your potatoes. They are packed with simple carbs that get easily converted to fat.
All right so what’s the next step? Just as important is the timing of meals. Breakfasts can be large and caloric because these calories get burned while we are active during the day. On the other hand evening meals after 6 pm should be very limited or better yet non existent. Anything eaten after 7 pm (unless you exercise after this time) gets mostly converted to fat during sleep. During this time the metabolism drops and we are not burning any calories accept for basic metabolic functions. Evening meals usually provide more calories that are needed for this function and the excess is converted to excess fat. This is a very important point. It is so important that by simply following this rule you should observe significant weight loss. Simply do not eat anything after 7 pm and you will notice a difference quickly. This usually takes some discipline at first but over time your body will get used to it and you will not even have to remember. If you feel strong hunger urges drink lots of water with lemon juice. This will fill you up and inhibit the release of hormones that stimulate appetite.
Finally, exercise. What type is the best? Do you know of the commercials showing muscle machines and claiming that you will lose massive amounts of weight by weight training alone? Well it is total crap. Yes, muscles burn energy but you must move your body to burn more calories and not just tense your muscles with weight and resistance machines. The best are aerobic types of exercises like running or fast pace waling on a treadmill, elliptical machines, and step climbers. Personally I found that spinning classes in gyms are the most effective if you can keep up the pace. They are usually extremely intensive and require some preparation on a treadmill for a few weeks prior.
Finally the timing of exercise. If you exercise shortly after eating you will simply burn the calories you consumed in food and not the undesired fat. Thus the best time is early in the morning before breakfast (for the extremists out there) if you can handle the glucose drop and not faint before breakfast. The other option is to exercise during the day at least 2 hours after meals. Working out late in the evening is not optimal as it will usually keep you up longer and not allow you to have a deep and restful sleep.
What I have expressed here is my wisdom on the subject that took years to learn and apply. Like most of us, I am not perfect, but I try my best to apply these principles in order not to gain excessive weight. This is a constant struggle, but a rewarding one, especially after turning 35. Good luck to you all.