In the first article: How I Lost Nearly 40 Lbs. In Two and a Half Months – Part 1
Getting Motivated – The First Step to Losing Weight, I discussed the importance of motivation.
In the second article: How I Lost Nearly 40 Lbs. In Two and a Half Months – Part 2
Learn to Eat Better – Small Changes to Help You Fix Your Eating Habits, I tell you how to make subtle changes to your diet which can make a big difference.
In this article: I will tell you what you can do to maximize your weight loss. As I am not a health professional or dietitian, make sure to speak with your doctor or health care provider before attempting these.
Pick Up the Pace
During your weight loss effort, you will notice that you will hit plateaus where you will go several days without losing any weight. When this happens it’s a good idea to up your workout routine. After I lost my first 15 lbs. I put about 15 lbs. in a backpack and continued my routine as normal. I did this because the heavier you are, the more calories your body will burn when you are doing activities. So because I started carrying a weighted backpack, I was essentially fooling my body into thinking that I hadn’t lost any weight so that I would continue to burn weight at the same rate as before. I continued adding weight to the backpack as I lost weight, until the backpack was about 30 lbs., as this was the heaviest my back wanted to put up with. At the beginning of my weight loss effort I was walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes at 2.5 miles per hour on a flat surface. Now I am walking on the treadmill with a 30 lb. backpack for an hour at 4 miles per hour on an incline.
Another way I’ve picked up the pace is by switching to walking or riding a bicycle to get places around town instead of driving. That has helped me not only physically, but also mentally, as walking or riding a bicycle helps to relieve stress.
Workout in the Cold
This is a trick that most health experts agree will help you to burn more calories while exercising. This has something to do with the cold activating brown fats (facultative thermogenesis) which supposedly help to burn white fats. I used this trick by turning off my heaters in the house and opening the doors and windows while I exercise. This is one of the cases where I suggest consulting a doctor first before trying this, as physical labor in cold weather can cause an increased risk of heart attack.
Throughout my entire endeavor I used green tea. In fact I drank several cups per day. The key is in the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (more commonly known as EGCG.) Apparently EGCG also causes thermogenesis, which means you burn more calories. While the amount of extra calories burned because of green tea is probably negligable — since a pound is around 3,500 calories — any extra burned calories will help. The next important supplement I discovered — unfortunately a bit later in the game — is 5-HTP or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, which is a naturally ocurring amino acid. Now, 5-HTP isn’t so beneficial in-and-of-itself, it’s what it gets turned into inside your body that makes it important. 5-HTP is the precursor to 5-HT or 5-Hydroxytryptamine (serotonin.) “So if it’s serotonin that’s important, why don’t you just take a serotonin supplement, why take 5-HTP?” you might ask. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter in the brain, where it helps to regulate your mood and appetite. This means that it not only makes you less hungry, it also makes you happier — good news for those of us who eat to make ourselves feel better (our eating is being attacked on two fronts.) Unfortunately, if you take a serotonin supplement, it cannot make it into your brain because it cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier. Fortunately for us 5-HTP — it’s precursor — can. The only problem is that most of the 5-HTP becomes decarboxylated into serotonin by aromatic-L-amino-acid decarboxylase — an enzyme which is found in the liver — before it can reach the brain. What we need now is a decarboxylase inhibitor, which unfortunately you cannot buy, at least not as a medication or supplement. Fortunately for us again, EGCG is a natural decarboxylase inhibitor, which will allow the 5-HTP to make it to your brain before it is turned into serotonin. Warning! This is another one of those “talk to your doctor before trying” situations.
As you burn calories you are not only burning fat, you are also burning muscle. Since muscle is made from protein, eating protein helps to rebuild muscle. Eating protein bars or granola bars during your between-meal snacks is a great idea for doing this. Not only does eating protein help your muscles, it also helps you burn more calories. This is through diet-induced thermogenesis. Because protein is harder for your body to metabolize than carbohydrates or fat, you actually burn more calories than you consume. Every time you eat something, your metabolism revs up in order to digest it. That means more energy consumption which means more calories being burned. That’s why it’s important to eat smaller snacks between meals; you can keep your metabolism running higher throughout the day.
Create Your Own Routine
Some things work better for some people than they do for others. Don’t be afraid to try out different tricks for losing weight — just make sure they are legitimate ones. Do the research to find out different methods of weight loss, and work them all into a routine. And the more you combine at once, the more you’re likely going to lose.
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