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Home > Articles > Weight Loss - Shaping Up
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Shape Up This Season

They say what goes up must come down. But in the case of weight loss, gravity isn’t going to do the work for you. You’ve got to bring that weight down all by yourself.

Well, not entirely, because we’re here to help!

This article provides some simple and easy to follow tips to make the most of your goals in the new year.

After overindulging during the holiday period, lots of us are looking to shed some extra kilos. But there is considerable risk that dieters will become obsessed with the scales during this period, with little regard for their overall health. Shows like The Biggest Loser compound these natural feelings with an unhealthy emphasis on the raw numbers. But they can only tell part of the story.

Don’t get us wrong, losing excess fat is the goal here. Let’s do it intelligently.

So here are our top five tips for getting back into shape:

1. Set realistic goals.

The good news is that the more you have to lose, the faster it will come off! But be realistic with your goals. As a general rule, an average of 1kg weight loss a week is the right amount to safely lose. At first you will lose more, but it will slow down. Don’t be disheartened, that’s normal. We want to mostly lose fat, not muscle, and faster weight loss can force the body to shed too much muscle.

2. Focus on shape and feel, not weight.


The best indicator of whether you are back to your old best is if you can fit into your old clothes. If you’re really serious, take a before photo of yourself in underwear and compare week to week. Don’t rely on memory, because it is notoriously unreliable.
The scales can also be misleading in a variety of ways. As healthy men and women age to their mid thirties, they continue to build muscle, and the muscles they possess become more dense. This means that they will gain weight, without appearing any bigger. They will in fact be healthier.

Any teen boy who has wrestled with his dad knows that a man’s strength is hidden deep within years of physical work and men in their late thirties and forties are often much stronger than they appear.

The good news extends to women too, whose stamina and endurance can surpass men as they age.

The opposite can occur in men and women who are in middle age and beyond. Without concerted resistance training, the body can start to decline physically. This manifests itself in two important and relevant ways. Firstly, lean muscle starts to waste away. We get weaker as we head towards old age. Secondly, our bone density may decrease. These can result in the appearance of weight loss on the scales, but is reflective of declining health, not improving health. With good nutrition and resistance exercise, this deterioration can be arrested and even to some degree reversed.

3. Don’t stop eating!

The human desire for food is outrageously strong. We are the product of millions of years of evolution pushing us towards lots of high fat, high sugar, high calorie food. You are not to blame for being tempted and when you are very hungry, the temptation will be overwhelming.

The solution is to satisfy your hunger with the right foods. There isn’t room in this article to go into all the right choices, so we’ve compiled a mini list for you:

  • Choose good fats over bad (almond, canola and olive oil over butter or lard)
  • Choose whole, unprocessed carbs over refined carbs (potatoes over two minute noodles)
  • Choose lean protein sources (fish, lean cuts of meat, low fat dairy and eggs, tofu and beans over meat pies and sausage rolls)

Zinc is an important micro-nutrient for taste acuity and may also be helpful in ensuring that you enjoy the foods you eat to their maximum.

If that desire for a sugar fix becomes too much consider replacing some sugar in your diet with Stevia, which is a natural super sweet alternative. It will deliver far fewer calories for the same sweet hit, adding up to increased weight loss.

4. Exercise, but not too much!


Work your way into your new exercise regime steadily and consistently to avoid injuries and psychological fatigue.

We know that the body responds best when it is pushed out of its comfort zone, but that means just stepping up the intensity one day at a time.

This is easy to do. Choose your exercise and do it at an intensity that you can no longer hold a conversation. This should always be the case.

And don’t forget the incidental exercise –taking the stairs, doing housework and short walks all burn extra calories. Once you’re in the habit, these little changes to your behaviour become natural.

Some interesting studies recently have shown that people who train too hard tend to unconsciously eat too much following their exercise as well. The lesson is clear that training too hard can backfire.

5. Use Supplements Wisely


The weight loss industry probably has more quack medicine than any other. The holy weight loss pill is everyone’s dream. And it is just that, a dream.

There are medicines and supplements that can boost metabolism, but many of them operate by increasing blood pressure and core temperature. This is called thermogenesis and can be dangerous if not very carefully monitored by experienced users. They act in a similar way to how amphetamines affect human body.

The most reliable and safe way to boost your metabolism is to do regular exercise.

There certainly are well known vitamins and minerals which can assist a person trying to shed some kilograms. Here’s another mini list of them:

a. Vitamin B - The Vitamin B group is primarily responsible for metabolising carbohydrates and proteins into energy. Vitamin B doesn’t give you energy, it allows your body to more readily obtain its own energy stores. Vitamin B is found in highest concentrations in meat, so if you have cut a lot of meat out of your diet, you may be deficient.

If so, you’ll be feeling lethargic and slow you won’t want to do the exercise necessary to lose that weight. Contemplate taking a Vitamin B Complex supplement. Chromium is another mineral that plays an important role in energy metabolism - it plays a key role in regulating blood sugar levels and may be worth considering.

b. Anti Oxidants– Anti-oxidants kill free radicals. They can prevent cancer and keep you looking younger. We are only just now unlocking all that they can do. They are found in lots of natural products, primarily fresh fruit and vegetables.

But when dieting, many people choose to restrict their fruit intake, and if on a carb-restricted diet, they may also cut out some very healthy vegetables. One solution to this is to take some anti-oxidant supplements. Our Co enzyme Q10 range is some of the highest quality available. Grape Seed is also another very useful natural antioxidant which has a high potency procyanidins (OPC's).

c. Fish Oils– Some dieters will cut out the most obvious source of calories - fats and oils. But they do so at their own peril. The mountain of evidence which now supports the human need for fish oils is overwhelming.

Eating lots of oily fish or taking a good supplement can improve cardio and brain function and lower bad cholesterol levels. It may even improve your joints and movement.

d. Protein Supplements - Not everyone will need to supplement their diet with additional protein, but those who are serious about losing weight whilst maintaining good health should consider it carefully.

Protein is the nutrient required by the human body to rebuild and grow all our muscles. A new health regime is likely to put the body under greater physical stress which will require more protein for growth and repair. This will be occurring at exactly the same time as many will be cutting out the milk, cheese, chocolate and steak which were contributing to their protein needs. So it is a double whammy.

The solution may be to carefully choose lean protein sources, of which many are available. A good quality protein powder can work wonders as a quick solution after a workout, on the run, or to top up a breakfast low in protein.

The new protein powders come in many great flavours, can be mixed with water, milk or juice and don’t require a blender. Consider putting a tub in your cupboard.
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