Energy Balance refers to the calories you are taking in and the calories you are expending. Obviously you need to expend more calories than you take in in order to lose weight. Remember to count your calories and keep records. An activity journal is also a useful tool. If you are interested in this article, you may be interested in how to increase your energy level.
Leptin VS Ghrelin
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Leptin and Ghrelin are appetite regulating hormones. Leptin helps you feel full and it is secreted by adipocytes which are fat storing cells. When you have plenty of fat stored away you will secrete more Leptin to help you feel more full.
For this reason Leptin is called the anti-obesity hormone, but with some obese individuals something is wrong with this hormone, the biggest reason for this is lack of sleep. Getting proper sleep is essential for obtaining proper levels of leptin.
Ghrelin on the other hand makes you feel hungry, it also increases cravings for food and makes sugar as well as fat and taste better. Ghrelin levels also increase with a lack of sleep.
Make sure to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night to keep your Leptin levels high and your Ghrelin levels low. Also not all hours are created equally, try to get to bed before 11pm for the best quality sleep.
Obesity is not your fault
Your body is trying to defend you from a famine by protect your excess weight. For thousands of years we have been battling famine and your body has not had time to adapt to the new way of life which is an abundance of food. This is why when you lose weight your Leptin level will decrease.
The decrease of Leptin is why most diets fail. You start off your new diet and exercise plan so motivated and after a few weeks your Leptin levels are low and your ghrelin levels are high, you are hungry all the time, you are craving junk food constantly and your motivation fades away.
Stick with it, you can do it. My recommendation about craving is go for a workout and then eat. This makes it easier to enjoy life and indulge once in a while without the guilt. If you want to lose weight, here is some gym workout exercise you can do to fight obesity,
You may struggle with food addiction
If you are in the habit of eating more than you should this can quickly turn into a food addiction. What you think of when I say addiction is probably different than what an addiction really is. When I say addiction you probably thing drugs, caffeine or other substance use.
But an addiction is just an exaggerated habit. Once your brain gets into a pleasurable habit such as eating a certain food after work or whatever, it will release pleasure chemicals whenever you do this habit.
For example if I eat a bowl of ice cream after I come home for work every day, I will really enjoy ice cream after work and my brain will actually build a chemical dependance on ice cream every day when I come home from work.
If I don’t have any I will feel lousy and tired when I come home unless I have some. This is an addiction. Addiction can many other forms too, it can be things like sex, video games or even playing guitar. What you need to do if you are struggling with food addiction is replace the food with another activity.
Hit the gym, play that drum set in the basement or go hang out with the guys. Make this activity a ritual and eventually you will be addicted to a more positive activity instead of food. It is also helpful to recruit your friends and family for support, and if you know someone who is knowledgeable in psychology that support will be even better.
How much exercise should you do and what kind?
A mixture of cardio and weight training. Try and accumulate 150-300 minutes each week of moderate to vigorous cardio in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Get out your bike, there is no sense in letting it sit there to collect dust. Instead of driving 30 minutes to work bike there for 50 minutes.
Both ways that gives you 100 minutes of cardio, that’s 100 minutes that you don’t need to spend in the gym that day (and it only cost you 40 minutes of your day). This saves you time and as you don’t need to pay for gas it saves you money.
For weight training you should train each muscle group 2-3 times per week on alternating days. Below is a table that I made that will help you get to where you want to be based on your goals. Your goals for weight training can fall under endurance, hypertrophy (muscle size), strength or power
|Endurance||12-15||1-3||30 seconds||This is a nice starting point for beginners|
|Strength||1-6||3-5||1 minute||Make extra sure to have a spotter|
|Power||1-6||3-6||60-90 seconds||This is a advanced level and a lot can go wrong. Hire a personal trainer|
Do low impact activities
Until the excess weight comes off you can especially damage your knees if you do high impact activities like running, jumping or plyometrics. Do low impact activities such as walking swimming or rowing to take the weight off, then do higher impact exercises. Here are some low impact activities you can do.
The fat burning zone myth
Bringing down intensity helps you burn more fat and bringing it up helps you burn more carbohydrates right? Wrong. Fat can only be burned at a certain rate, once you hit the limit the rest of your energy needs to come from carbohydrates. This is why there was thought to be a fat burning zone.
The percentage of fat being burned goes down as intensity goes up but the total amount of fat being burned isn’t actually changing, you are just burning more and more carbs. In fact by working out just above the fat burning zone can improve your fat burning capacity which is the maximum rate in which you can burn fat.
Also exercising at very high intensity increases the amount of fat you burn throughout the day
It’s not how much activity that you do, but how much time you spend being sedentary
Studies have shown that you will live longer by decreasing your sedentary time, studies have also shown that decreasing sedentary time is even more powerful at extending life than exercising.
For example if I hit the gym for 3 hours a day and then sit on the couch and watch netflix for the rest of the day, it won’t be as effective as if I spend my day outside walking around. Keep moving to extend life as well as burn calories.