You probably hear lots of tips here and there about losing weight. What to do, what not to do, etc.
I like to go back to the basics, the basics. Because it is by understanding things at the base that we can better understand the rest.
It’s the same for weight loss.
In the United States, a study of 3,000 adults who lost an average of 60 lbs, but did not resume them for more than 60 months (5 years), revealed that for the majority of these people, there were four recurring factors:
– Decrease in calorie intake;
– Regular practice of physical activity;
– Weekly weighing;
– Ingestion of a breakfast every morning.
A little physiology
The loss of body fat is directly related to metabolism.
People often hear about metabolism, but not many know what it is.
Metabolism is “the set of biochemical reactions catalyzed by appropriate enzymes and resulting in syntheses (anabolism) or degradation (catabolism) of biological molecules” (OQLF, 1990). It is the set of “physical and chemical exchanges in the tissues through which a body is kept alive and its energy regenerated” (OQLF, 1990).
The metabolism is in two parts: the anabolism which is the synthesis, the construction, and the catabolism which is the degradation, the disassimilation.
If we focus on adipose tissue, the one we want to lose, we must understand the phenomenon of its degradation, the catabolism of fatty tissue.
Lipolysis ( lipo- fatty, lysis: loosening) is “the hydrolysis of fat, resulting in a melting of adipose tissue” (QQLF, 1982). This is “the initial stage of lipid catabolism. Under the action of lipases, triglycerides are hydrolyzed to fatty acids, glycerols and partial glycerides “(OQLF, 1987).
So, more simply, lipolysis is degradation, melting, loss of body fat.
This is what interests us.
Decrease in caloric intake
Fats that can be hydrolyzed, degraded, lost, come mainly from three places.
First, they come from food, from caloric intake.
Secondly, they come from the fats that are stored in the adipocytes, the fat cells.
And finally, they come from the stores stored in the muscles. However, these are only very small amounts of fat. These are not the fats we are aiming for.
You surely know it, that’s what we eat that gives us energy.
And that’s what we eat too much – the energy that’s contained in food, but we do not spend – that makes us gain weight.
This is the main reason for excess weight: too much caloric or energy intake.
If we eat less, our organization will draw on our reserves to meet its energy needs.
And it will go among other draws in fat tissue, adipocytes: lipolysis.
So the first thing you can do to lose weight is to reduce your caloric intake (Extenso, 2013).
Regular practice of physical activity
This is the second essential.
No matter what you do as a physical activity – running, swimming, cycling, bodybuilding, walking, etc. – there is an energy expenditure.
Even sleeping or breathing while sitting requires energy expenditure.
When your muscles are stressed, they cause your body to consume energy.
And if you have decreased your calorie intake, your body will have to draw on your fat reserves.
This is how weight loss is optimized. By creating a negative energy balance.
For many people, using the scale is an uncomfortable moment.
Many people simply do not weigh themselves because the figure of their body weight becomes a weight itself.
The first use of weighing is to have a quantifiable and measurable data to know its evolution and to be able to note the changes in our body mass.
But it’s not just weighing that helps to see changes or fluctuations in weight.
First, there are our clothes. Tightest pants or a hole closer or further down the waist make you realize very quickly that your waistline has changed.
Then there is the tape measure for your waist. Here, as for weighing, there is a measure, a number, a quantity.
And then also, there is the percentage of fat that is calculated by measuring skin folds or with bio-impedance. But these are less accessible techniques.
As a scientist, however, I have to advocate a form of measurement so that you can see your evolution at least by yourself.
Seeing the numbers over time, in a notebook or the spreadsheet software, you will be able to realize where you come to know where you go.
Note, however, that no matter the measure, always take it in the same conditions. For example, weighing would be done every Friday morning on an empty stomach.
That’s how you can measure your progress.
Ingestion of a breakfast every morning
The word “lunch” literally means “undo, stop fasting”.
In English, the word ” breakfast ” is also clear: break: break, fast: fast.
The absence of lunch would be related to excess weight. We can not say it beyond all doubt, but there is a lot of research going on right now.
One fact remains: sitting in the morning or at sunrise and “undoing the fast” is part of the adoption of good habits.
And if your schedule does not allow you to get up early and you’re up just around lunch time, you can always say that you are “branches” instead of having lunch.
It’s a good health compromise because, in English, the word “brunch” is a contraction of ” breakfast ” ” and ” lunch “.