Really this should be called the fat loss checklist. Weight represents earth’s gravitational pull on the body but it doesn’t discriminate between muscle and fat. We are concerned about losing the latter and preserving the former as this will have a far greater impact on our physique, fitness and performance.
1. Consume Fewer Calories – Gently decrease energy intake using simple, sustainable strategies. Examples could include; less frequent eating, eating from smaller plates, eating smaller portions of high energy foods and bigger portions of low energy foods, replacing liquid calories with water. It is much easier to consume less than burn more which makes this the most important strategy of them all. Examine where you are obtaining unnecessary calories and make the required changes.
2. Regular Resistance Exercise - Resting metabolic rate is largely dictated by levels of lean mass therefore adding some muscle to our physique through regular resistance exercise will increase the amount of energy burnt at rest. Importantly regular resistance exercise will also help ensure the majority of weight loss stems from fat stores not muscle stores.
3. Choose Whole Foods Over Processed Foods - Processing reduces the energy demands of digestion. This means a greater percentage of processed food calories end up in our body. By eating more whole foods we increase the thermic effect of feeding and reduce net calorie intake (not to mention the increased nutritional density and appetite regulating qualities of whole foods.)
4. Easy Movement Throughout The Day - In an age dominated by the chair increasing our daily activity levels through simple activities like walking, stretching and playing will have a positive impact on weight loss. These activities need to be sustainable. Pounding our body with large volumes of intense exercise and gruelling cardio will increase energy output over the short-term but at an unacceptable cost to our joints, connective tissues and energy levels.
Of course not everyone wants to (or needs to) lose weight. Regardless these strategies remain an important part of staying strong and healthy. The only difference is you have more wiggle room on your energy intake when cutting weight is not an issue.