A Complete Guide To Weight Loss Plans

A Complete Guide To Weight Loss Plans

Our weight plays an important and undeniable role in the way that we are perceived by others. Whether subconsciously or not, physical appearances can have a profound impact on the impressions human beings have of each other.

While maintaining a healthy weight is advantageous on an interpersonal level, it is also important to recognize and appreciate the many benefits of weight loss to the individual. There are numerous physical and psychological advantages associated with the successful actualization of weight loss plans.

stethoscope and blood pressure cuff

As reported by Goldstein, the risk of many disorders associated with obesity such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease can be eliminated by weight loss as low as 5% of total body weight. Weight loss is also often linked to better sleeping patterns, improved respiration, and a stronger immune system.

Studies have also shown that weight loss is also correlated to an increase in overall happiness. There are many psychological implications of weight loss, including increasing motivation levels and improvements to self-esteem and overall self-confidence.

Decades of scientific research has concluded that weight loss can be managed by controlling two factors: dieting and exercise. According to The University of New South Wales, when coupled with a balanced dietary regime, high-intensity intermittent exercise has proven to be a very effective method of burning fat.

The Importance Of Maintaining A Healthy Weight

In recent years, the percentage of overweight Americans has been on a steady rise. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in the last two decades, the percentage of obese Americans between the ages of 9 and 19 has increased by over 5%. This trend is also observable to some extent in other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and France.

Through careful weight loss planning, problems such as heart failure, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes can be avoided.

infographic of Obesity related problems

With the emergence of successful fast-food franchises in the past fifty years, it is as important as ever to be aware of the potential impacts regular consumption can have on overall health. However, the internet is a limitless source of information, and when utilized correctly, can provide the information necessary to diet and exercise to achieve a healthy weight.

High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise

High-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) is a form of exercise which involves repeated cycles of incredibly intense but brief periods of physical activity, which is then followed by lengthier intervals of less physically demanding aerobic and respiratory exercises.

HIIE is not limited to a particular branch of training and can be applied to many different workout routines. It can range from sprinting to swimming, and therefore can be implemented to suit the preferences and tastes of each subject accordingly.

It is very effective at reducing body fat because HIIE requires the body to undergo repair up to 24 hours after the workout. This means that the body will need more energy than it would otherwise, which when coupled with a low-calorie diet will lead to a lower body fat percentage.

group of people performing HIIT Exercises

HIIE has been shown to increase metabolic rates. High-intensity exercise is associated with a temporary spike in human growth hormone (HGH) levels. HGH dictates the speed at which the human body burns calories when at rest. This means that HIIE will lead a higher demand for calories, which translates to the burning of more fat.

A study performed by researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia has shed new light on the effectiveness of HIIE. Women from diverse ethnical backgrounds were divided into three separate groups and subjugated to different weight loss programs.

The first group experienced high-intensity intermittent-like exercise. The second group, however, was chosen to experiment with steady-state exercise training. The third and final group underwent control testing. The study was conducted over a period of 15 weeks.

Steady-state training (SST) is an exercise involving a consistent and sustainable bodily effort drawn out over an extended period. This can include long distance jogging and cross-country cycling.

Cross Country Cyclist

The control group was required to only maintain habitual physical activity levels and caloric intake during the study. Subjects in this cluster were used as a reference to compare the differences in the findings of the HIIE and SST groups.

The study concluded that ‘no significant change occurred in the SST or control groups' and that only the group subject to HIIE experienced any ‘decrease in total body mass.' HIIE resulted in a notable ‘decrease in central abdominal fat' whereas the two other groups showed no certain changes whatsoever.

The HIIE group experienced twenty minutes of exercise three times per week over the period in which the study was being conducted. On average, members of this group experienced a decrease of just under four kilograms, which accounted for a decrease of just over 14% of the fat mass.

Examples Of Effective High-Intensity Intermittent Exercises

HIIE is a versatile form of exercise, and workout routines can be crafted to suit the tastes of each person. For example, someone interested in basketball could apply HIIE by sprinting up and down a court twice (high intensity) before alternating to practice shooting for two minutes (low intensity).

man running on bridge

By continuously repeating this process for up to twenty minutes, the human body will experience high stress. This activates its repairing functions, which leads to the burning calories during and after the physical exercise.

Other possible high-low intensity duos include:

  • Swimming (high intensity) and treading water (low intensity)
  • Sprinting (high intensity) and jogging (low intensity)
  • ​Weight lifting (high intensity) and stretching (low intensity)
  • ​Incline jogging (high intensity) and decline jogging (low intensity)
  • Cycling uphill (high intensity) and cycling downhill (low intensity)

It is also important to note that HIIE should not be limited to only one pair of exercises. By continuously alternating between three or more exercises, the sessions become more dynamic and interesting. This can lead to higher motivation among participants.

Planning High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise Routines

HIIE is a very difficult form of physical activity and is often used as a supplementary workout by fitness instructors. This means that it is regularly accompanied by other forms of complementary physical exercises such as weight lifting and low-intensity cardio during different times of the week.

For example, weight lifters may choose to undergo HIIE once a week as an addition to regular weight-lifting to decrease body fat percentage and become leaner.

Planning any exercise routine is a subjective process that should meet the particular needs of each person. Because HIIE is so physically demanding, it should be introduced gradually into training schedules.

man performing running HIIT Routine

This means that people who are seeking to lose weight and burn fat but are physically inactive, should not attempt HIIE because they are likely to find it too difficult to do regularly. Instead, it may be more efficient, to begin with, steady state training and then increase intensity as they become more accustomed to rigorous exercise.

There is no ideal frequency at which HIIE should be performed. The length of each interval should instead be determined by the physical shape that the participant is in. It is important, however, not to attempt to engage in an intense physical activity for too long because of the possible injuries that can be sustained by overworking the body.

Intervals should be kept as constant in length as possible, as the human body will get used to performing at particular intensities for certain amounts of time. It is, therefore, important to vary interval length gradually over a series of HIIE sessions.

It is common for people to begin HIIE training by having relatively short intervals between high-intensity and low-intensity activity. Also, it is a common misconception that HIIE should always have a fifty-fifty ratio between high-intensity and low-intensity exercises. It is typical for participants to spend around 75% of the time engaging in low-intensity exercise and only 25% engaging in high-intensity exercise.

man running on steps and pavement

Conversely, it is important for people performing HIIE to push themselves as much as possible during the high-intensity intervals. When pushing the body to its limits, the amount of strain that it is put through determines how much fat it burns during the recovery process.

Other Physical Exercises And Their Relevance

Many physical activities go hand in hand with HIIE to maximize fat loss. Joe Wicks, an acclaimed personal trainer, and Instagram celebrity has emphasized the importance of exercises that engage the entire body instead of one particular muscle group.

muscular guy with 6 pack abs

This is because full-body exercises, like burpees, will strain more muscles and therefore achieve a final higher heart rate. To maintain this higher heart rate, the body will require more energy and therefore burn more fat. Similar full body exercises include:

  • Planking (focusing on the core, the back, and the arms)
  • Squatting (focusing on the legs and the glutes)
  • ​Jump squats (focusing on the legs, glutes and the back)
  • ​Pushups (focusing on the chest, the arms, and the core)
  • Mountain climbers (focusing on the core, the legs, and the arms)

Planking involves lying face down on a flat surface and then raising the core by limiting contact with the ground to only arms and legs.

Squatting requires standing up straight with feet spread apart by about 100cm. The exercise then involves lowering the abdominal body so that the gluteus muscles are lowered below the knees. Then, the leg muscles tense to help raise the torso back to the original position.

Jump squats are similar to regular squats. However, after the body is raised back to the original position this exercise requires the subject to jump as high as possible.

Pushups require the subject to begin in a similar position to planking. In this case, however, the subject is required to contract pectoral muscles to rise and fall multiple times repeatedly.

four people doing push ups on grass

Mountain climbers involve the subject beginning in the pushup position. However, instead of or repeatedly raising and lowering the body, one knee is kicked forward and returned to the original position. Then the second knee performs the same movement before the entire cycle is repeated as needed.

The listed exercises are all effective fat burners because they are all cardiovascular activities. Cardiovascular exercises significantly raise the rate at which the heart pumps blood to the muscles being used.

The blood supplies oxygen to the muscles, which reacts with carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids to produce energy. Real weight loss plans emphasize the importance of dieting, which often focuses on limiting the number of carbohydrates consumed. By decreasing the consumption of carbohydrates, the body will turn to burning fats to satisfy its energy demands.

Dieting And Food

Dieting plays an undeniably important role in achieving weight loss. It is impossible to burn fat when more calories are being consumed than being burned. The recommended caloric intake for men is about 2500 calories per day, while for women it is about 2000 calories.

To achieve weight loss. However, many experts suggest decreasing overall caloric intake while simultaneously increasing the amount of protein consumed. To do this, weight loss plans often emphasize the importance of minimizing consumption of carbohydrates.

man at the gym sitting on a bench eating healthy snack

According to Jessie Szalay, a contributor to the renowned online health hub ‘Life Science,' carbohydrates are the ‘sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.' Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients, along with proteins and fats, from which the body can extract energy.

Successful weight loss is only achieved when dieting complements exercise. Intense exercise is much less efficient at burning fat when too many calories are being consumed. Conversely, however, consuming too little calories will make it difficult to exercise effectively due to a lack of energy, which can also lead to a decline in motivation.

It is, therefore, clear that a healthy weight loss planning program should strive to find the optimum balance between exercise and dieting for the needs of each.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can both aid and interfere with weight loss. Most carbohydrate-rich foods have little nutritional value. Instead, it is the primary source from which human bodies extract energy. There are two classifications of carbohydrates: simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates are relatively small molecules. They are absorbed much more quickly into the bloodstream than complex carbohydrates. They are also called monosaccharides.

collage of Carbohydrates and Sugary food

Simple carbohydrates are often deemed to be unhealthy. They are present in added sugars and syrups. Energy obtained from simple carbohydrates are often considered to be ‘empty calories’ because they contain no other benefits. When consumed in excess, simple carbohydrates can lead to weight gain. Naturally, weight loss plans try to limit the consumption of this type of carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates include

  • Honey
  • Table sugar
  • ​Maple syrup
  • Molasses

Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are larger molecules containing various sugars. These are obtained from more natural sources such as lentils, corn, and cereals. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, meaning that energy is provided more gradually throughout the day

Honey dipper dripping honey on bowl

Complex carbohydrates have a much higher nutritional value than simple carbohydrates because they often provide fibers and nutrients. Fiber is important because it helps maintain a healthy digestive system and improves bowel movement.

Complex carbohydrates include

  • Beans and peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Sweet potatoes

Complex carbohydrates can help the process of weight loss by fueling active HIIE sessions. By consuming adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, the human body will be able to function at its optimal level.

OatMeal topped with fresh strawberries

However, it is important to understand that because all carbohydrates are energetically dense foods, consuming too much will inevitably result in the accumulation of fat, hindering the weight loss process.

Fats

It is important to note that although fats are often feared by people attempting weight loss, they are an essential component in the successful functioning of the human body. Both saturated and unsaturated fats are known as lipids, which are consist of fatty acids and glycerol groups.

The human body makes use of fats in several different ways. The scope of the uses of these fats ranges from cell development and growth to the maintenance of skin and tissues. Many of the fats that we consume even affect the growth of cells in the brain.

Greasy bacon hamburger and fries Fast Food

When someone consumes more calories than required, the excess energy is stored in specialized fat cells called adipose tissue. This the way in which the body reserves energy for future use. These stored fats will only be broken down when there is an insufficient supply of energy directly from the consumption of food.

In the process of adequate dieting, the body experiences a shortage of caloric intake. HIIE is therefore very efficient at burning fat because the body will draw on energy from stored adipose tissue during and after exercise. This occurs simultaneously as the body processes the calories obtained from previous meals.

It is important to remember that consuming too many fats can lead to a significant spike in cholesterol levels in the blood. This dangerous because it can lead to several complications with the cardiovascular system and can even trigger a heart attack.

Proteins

A protein-rich diet is often considered the most efficient way of reducing this storage of fat. As mentioned previously, protein is one of the three macronutrients from which the human body can process energy.

Protein rich foods include eggs, meat, and fish. These vast and complex molecules are essential to the functionality of organs and the maintenance of tissues. In addition to this, a protein rich diet is known to suppress appetite. It reduces the feeling of hunger that individuals undergoing strict dieting are likely to feel. This reduces the impact of cravings and makes it easier to stick to weight loss plans.

cooked chicken on skillet

A protein rich diet can also affect the production of several weight-regulating hormones. Body mass is regulated by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which is itself influenced by these hormones. Increasing protein intake correlates with a higher production of this appetite reducing hormones, which are scientifically referred to as satiety hormones.

One of the most important reasons as to why protein is held in such high regard by nutritionists is because of the very high thermic effect associated with it. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the amount of energy used to process it once it has been consumed. Proteins require up to fifteen times the power compared to fats to digest and up to 6 times the energy compared to carbohydrates.

This means that the body will need to process more energy to digest and metabolize the proteins, resulting in the burning of more calories and fat when at rest.

It is important to note, however, that protein-rich diets have also often been criticized. They have been shown to cause several adverse side effects in the long-term. It can be dangerous to focus only on protein rich foods because there is a risk of developing deficiencies of other nutrients.

A Balanced Diet Pie

A risk associated with a protein-rich diet is sustained stress on the kidney organs, which can result in similar disorders. Also, some sources of protein may be unsafe in large quantities. For example, eating too much red meat can increase cholesterol levels, impacting the heart.

It is important to keep in mind that weight loss is a temporary extreme lifestyle change. In the short term, the benefits outweigh the negatives. However, if the subject is attempting to apply these dietary recommendations over a larger span of time, then it is important not to neglect other essential vitamins and minerals that have not been addressed.

Short Term Weight Loss And Long-Term Weight Loss

Long term weight loss is a process that can take a lot of time and dedication. The rate at which weight loss occurs decreases as more and more fat is burned. The rate at which fat is being burned peaks during the first weeks of dieting and exercise.

This means that long-term weight loss will require more willpower than short-term weight loss. People will see fewer changes occurring to their bodies the longer they follow weight loss plans. It is, therefore, easy to understand the difficulties people may face to remain motivated to stick to their plans.

bathroom scale and a tape measure with spoon and fork

Long term weight loss should incorporate a sustainable lifestyle so that exercise can be done regularly without interfering with other aspects of life. In addition to this, it is important to ensure that no nutritional deficiencies occur as a consequence of long-term dieting.

It is important to recognize that long-term weight loss is a process that can affect the character of the individual. By choosing to refrain from eating fattening foods and regularly exercising, motivation, will-power and self-satisfaction are likely to improve.

Physical Benefits Of Weight Loss

Many physical benefits can be associated with weight loss. These can be used as motivation during the process of burning fat, to ensure that participants remain on track and continue to follow plans.

Burning fat will lead to a better hormonal balance. This means that problems like acne and ingrown hairs may disappear. In addition to this, a better hormonal balance may result in improved sexual drive and performance, which can lead to psychological improvements too.

Losing weight will reduce back pain. By decreasing the load on the back, it will be less stressed, meaning that back pain will be less likely to occur.

a couple with the woman holding bottled water

Weight loss also has a considerable impact on the immune system. According to the Garvan Institute, ‘It has been known for some time that excess body fat, particularly abdominal fat, triggers the production of pro-inflammatory immune cells, which circulate in the blood and can damage our bodies. Also, other inflammatory immune cells, known as macrophages, are also activated within fat tissue’. By losing weight, the immune system can be improved.

The respiratory system is also improved in the process of losing weight. Abdominal fat constricts the expansion of the lungs, which makes it harder to take deep breaths. The lungs are also strengthened by the aerobic and cardiovascular exercises associated with HIIE.

High blood pressure, known as hypertension, can be reduced by losing weight. High blood pressure results in several symptoms including painful migraines, irregular heartbeat, and fatigue. It is accepted that a decrease in 1kg of body mass results in a reduction of around one mmHg of blood pressure.

Psychological Benefits Of Weight Loss

Many mental improvements can be attributed to weight loss. Someone experiencing psychological benefits due to exercise will undergo improvements to mental well-being.

Self-esteem and self-worth will both improve because exercise and weight loss give subjects a sense of direction in life. People attempting weight loss will be more likely to feel satisfied with their lives because they are attempting to actualize a vision that they have for the future.

Exercise will lead to improved sleeping cycles. This means that people undergoing weight loss are more likely to enjoy deep sleep. This will improve mood throughout the daytime, meaning that productivity and communication skills will improve as well.

girl just finished yoga workout at the gym

Improved confidence is another aspect from which people undergoing weight loss can benefit from. Seeing the changes that they want to see and successfully burning fat will likely lead to greater confidence and the success can also transfer to other aspects of their lives.

Exercise is also known to be a great stress reliever. Because exercise is linked so closely to burning fat, achieving weight loss will also relieve symptoms of stress. These include anxiety, fatigue, and irritability.

People suffering from chronic depression are more likely to find happiness in their lives when undergoing weight loss. This is exercise will lead to an increase in dopamine levels, a chemical produced in the brain that is associated with happiness and euphoria.

Conclusion

Weight loss is a long and complicated process, but one that can be incredibly rewarding. High-intensity intermittent training is an effective but demanding exercise plan, which when coupled with a healthy diet, can lead to successful long term fat burning. HIIE involves repeated alternations between high intensity and low-intensity cardiovascular activities.

In general, a protein-rich diet is seen as the most effective fat burning diet. This is primarily because proteins are less energetically dense that carbohydrates and also because they require more energy to be broken down. However, it is important not to neglect essential nutrients, fats, and carbohydrates to make weight loss a sustainable long-term goal.

variety of protein Rich Foods on the table

Many physical and mental improvements can be attributed to weight loss. Burning fat can lead to a better hormonal balance, a higher immune system, and improved respiration. At the same time, people following weight loss plans will enjoy improved confidence, self-esteem, and moods.

All in all, it is clear that to achieve effective weight loss, a harmonious balance needs to be found between strict dieting and disciplined exercise. Today, weight is an issue of great importance due to increasing obesity rates. It remains, however, something anyone can have control over if the right approach is taken.

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