Follow These 4 Rules if Weight Loss is Your Goal


According to WHO statistics, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2014 and of these, more than 600 million were categorized as obese. The number of children, in 2013, under the age of 5 that were overweight or obese was 42 million. The good news, however, is obesity is preventable. In terms of a percentage, 38 percent were men and 40 percent were women. The worldwide prevalence of obesity has more than doubled over the past 34 years. But again, the good news is that obesity is preventable.

The goal for many is weight loss or changing their body composition, which means building more lean muscle tissue and reducing body fat. A long-term goal for men might be 80 percent lean muscle and 20 percent body fat, this would eventually shift towards 85 percent lean muscle and 15 percent body fat. For women, a long-term goal, with exercise and nutritional modification of course, might be 70 percent lean and 30 percent body fat. Eventually those numbers would shift towards 77 percent lean muscle and 23 percent body fat.

To reach your goals, you must regulate your exercise and diet. Here are a few steps to follow to help you reach your goals.

1. Remove the “empty” calories from you diet. This means do not drink your calories. The average American consumes between 400-550 calories a day from soda, sports drinks etc. You could lose a pound a week just by cutting back on this and yes, it means alcohol too. A study in the journal Obesity found that people who drink diet soda were more likely to have a higher percentage of body fat around their mid-section. Subjects who reported not drinking diet soda gained an average of 0.8 inches in their waist circumference over the 9-year period compared to 1.83 inches for occasional diet soda drinkers and more than 3 inches for people who drank diet soda every day, according to a new study recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. An easy way to decrease your calories and break your diet soda routine is to simply drink more water.  Your goal is to drink water first thing in the morning to help speed up your metabolism and then again with your meals. Try a glass of water with lemon in the evening after dinner.

2. Add strength training to your exercise routine. This is critical for both lean muscle development and maintenance. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat (it takes 3x more calories per pound to maintain) and requires a third less space on your body. Strength train 2-3x a week.

3. Decrease your added sugar. Are you aware of how much added sugar you’re eating on a daily basis? If you’re drinking 1-2 medium size Cokes or other soft drinks – you’re probably already over your limit….and we have not even looked at your meals/snacks yet. If you cut your added-sugar to less than 150 calories a day (38 grams) for men and 100 calories a day (25 grams) for women, you will experience weight loss.

4. Increase your NEAT, EPOC and TEF. Let’s first define these terms and keep in mind they are important. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT according to researcher James Levine, MD, PhD, is “the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting.”

Excess post oxygen consumption or EPOC (some call it “after-burn”) is defined by Len Kravitz, PhD, as the period of time when the “body is restoring itself to its pre-exercise state, and thus is consuming oxygen at an elevated rate. This means that energy is also being expended at an elevated rate.” This occurs at a higher rate as the intensity of exercise increases and is seen following both a cardio and strength session. A very challenging strength session or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is ideal for elevated EPOC which means your body continues to burn calories long after the bout of exercise is completed.

The thermic effect of food or TEF is defined by Reed and Hill as an “increase in metabolic rate after ingestion of a meal.” One of the many benefits of eating more good sources of lean protein as part of your diet is because protein has a higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrate and fat. Eating smaller meals more often – compared to a few big meals throughout the day – may also make better sense to you now. Your body utilizes 10 percent of its daily energy, in the form of calories, towards TEF.  For example, if you consume 2,500 calories over the course of the day, about 10 percent, or about 250 calories, will be expended on digesting, absorbing, metabolizing and eliminating that food.

Hopefully these tips will help you reach your goals and if not you can always remember that individuals who let “creeping obesity” set in, eventually, have other issues to worry about such as:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Heart Disease
  • Various forms of Cancer
  • Ulcers
  • Gallstones
  • Skin Infections
  • Back Pain
  • Increased Stress levels
  • Poor Quality of Life

Is it Time to Add More NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) to Your Day?

Take a look at this very interesting video on NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) by James Levine, MD, PhD of the Mayo Clinic. Dr Levine is an expert in obesity and a leader in developing practical weight loss solutions. I am currently re-reading his book Move a Little, Lose a Lot (Three Rivers Press, 2009).

Here is an interesting quote taken from Dr. Levine’s book: “As a doctor who has spent more than 20 years studying human movement, obesity, and metabolism, I can tell you that the way we are living and the way many of us are going about weight loss is absolutely, fundamentally wrong.” Like a growing number of researchers, Dr. Levine thinks one of the keys is to move more throughout the day – more than just what your getting during your exercise session. If you expend  say 300-500 calories in a typical session and you’re doing that three times a week – this great because you’re still getting a lot of health benefits including loading your bones and strengthening your muscles. But if you’re looking for weight loss do the math. Those 900-1500 calories you may typically expend over the course of the week, may have worked in terms of keeping your weight in check during your 20’s or 30’s (because you were probably more active overall) but it’s a whole different story if you’re one of the 77 million baby boomers, many of whom are battling with body weight issues. You need to be more active – on a daily basis – in addition to the exercise you get…especially if you know you’re consuming too many calories. A good first step, in my opinion, is to wear a pedometer and record how many steps you’re getting over the course of a day. Next, try to add 500 steps/day to that number over the next few weeks. Then build up to 8500/steps a day with a long term goal of 10,000 steps/day (5 miles).

Here is a second quote from Dr. Levine’s book: “Our current obesity and related health woes stem from the fact that modern life in the Internet-driven electronic age has increasingly leeched NEAT from our existence to the tune of up to 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day. And the loss is sucking the life out of us.”

If you combine the calories that he mentions that most are not getting (1,500 to 2,000) with your calories that you expend on the days you exercise, you would begin to witness more of a shift in body composition. Notice we have not even mentioned diet yet.

Daily NEAT + Weekly Exercise = Changes in Body Composition. Now that is a nice NEAT exercise prescription for you. If you already happen to be a member at one of the Koko FitClub‘s around the country you may have heard me talk about this already in the Koko Cardio audio-based interval workouts. Increasing your NEAT while focusing on Koko Fuel and Smartraining is a home run in anyone’s park!

From Inactivity Physiology to Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

I was doing some research for my upcoming book (The Exercise Diet, New Street Communications) on inactivity physiology and non-exercise activity thermogenesis also known as N.E.A.T. when I came across a slide presentation titled Sedentary Behavior and Inactivity Physiology. The presentation was done by Jannis Guerra. If your looking to find the benefit of NEAT like I was head to slide number 90/100.