Kickstarting a weight loss journey can be daunting. And we often get asked a wide range of questions from how much exercise to when should you eat? So here, we answer 11 common questions that will help you on your way to your target weight.
When should you schedule your cardio workout for maximum fat-burning impact?
There’s just not a whole lot of good evidence in support of “fasted cardio”, like running on an empty stomach. While an older Belgian study found it could minimise weight gain, newer research has failed to see any benefits. So schedule your cardio session when you’re most likely to want to crush it – the best workout plan is the one you’ll stick to, right? (Right.)
A roll in the hay counts as a workout.
Unless you’re swapping dessert for – nudge, nudge – “dessert”, sex won’t affect your weight as much as you’d hope. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the average session lasts six minutes, and a guy will likely burn only about 88 kilojoules.
What’s the best way to lose weight?
If you want to shed kilos, it’s not only diet or exercise – it’s both. And how you choose to sweat matters. Combining resistance training with dieting is the most effective and healthy way to revamp your body composition, helping you lose fat while maintaining muscle, according to a review and meta-analysis in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders. For the best fat burn, pack your program with freeweight, whole-body exercises.
How much has the average bagel grown since the mid-’90s?
The bagel-obesity crisis is real. Bagels have reportedly ballooned from 7.5cm to 15cm in diameter over the past 20 or so years. That’s a lot of empty carbs.
Which of the following is best for reducing body fat if you’re strapped for time?
An Australian review found that while both high-intensity interval training and moderate steady-state training (such as jogging) can improve your body composition, you should see the same results in 40 per cent less time per week with the intervals.
Drinking roughly two cups of water before meals can help you lose ___ in three months.
Yup, drinking water can weigh down your stomach, making you feel fuller so you eat less. Participants in an Obesity study who received weight-loss counselling and who knocked back two cups 30 minutes before each meal lost nearly 4.5 kilos after 12 weeks.
How long do you need to maintain your weight loss to make it easier to stay lean for life?
As you lose weight, your body senses the kilojoule deficit. It goes into starvation mode, slowing your metabolism and making it easier for you to pack back on the kilos you lost. But if you’re able to keep the weight off for a year, your body accepts the new normal, your levels of appetite-suppressing hormones increase, and the appetite-increasing ones fall back to your pre-weight-loss levels, a study from Denmark found. That makes it easier to maintain your slimmer physique.
Gorging on carbohydraterich foods mostly at dinner is worse than spreading carbs throughout the day.
The truth: in a recent Obesity study, dieters on a low-kilojoule diet who saved most of their quota of carbs for the evening lost almost three kilos more than those who spread them throughout the day. The researchers found that this diet tweak led to a smaller decrease in the hunger-reducing hormone leptin, compared with the leptin decrease in the dieters who spread their carbs out. This might have kept them fuller for longer, leading to greater adherence to their diet over time. Here's another tactic to adopt if you struggle to fall asleep at night: an older study showed that certain kinds of carbs, like jasmine rice, may help you get to sleep more quickly.
Losing about 80 minutes of sleep for eight days may lead to a daily kilojoule increase equivalent to . . .
If you burn the candle at both ends, you might need to burn an extra 2300 kilojoules per day, too, according to research presented in Circulation – that’s equal to a large chocolate-chip muffin.
When should you eat your main meal?
People who ate the most at breakfast saw a significant drop in their body mass index (BMI) compared with those who ate the most at dinner, a study in the Journal of Nutrition found. Those who made lunch their largest meal dropped their BMI, too, but not as much as the big-breakfast eaters. The study also supports the effects of stopping eating earlier in the evening.
Compared with kilojoulecounting, 5:2 fasting is . . .
The 5:2 diet – restricting kilojoules to about 2400 for two nonconsecutive days and eating normally for the other five – works for the same reason as other eating plans: you’re burning more kilojoules than you consume. In a study in Nutrition & Dietetics, guys aged 55-75 lost about the same amount of weight on the 5:2 diet as those who cut 2400 kilojoules a day from average energy requirements.