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January 26, 2011

Looking for the Best Ways to Lose Weight

best ways to lose weightLooking for that Best Ways to Lose Weight?

What are the best ways to lose weight?  Weight loss is very complex and is best approached using multiple strategies.

Most weight loss plans focus on limiting intake of calories.  But, limiting calories alone creates the challenge of ensuring that the body is still getting all the necessary nutrients it needs to perform optimally.  This can really be a problem for someone who needs to lose a lot of weight, and therefore is significantly decreasing his calorie intake to achieve weight loss.

There’s another part of the equation that gets overlooked and that is, what can be done to burn more calories?  To a large degree weight loss is about improving metabolism, therefore burning more calories.  It’s also about eating intelligently so that the body can use its fat stores to burn calories.

Improving Metabolism

There are 3 major ways to improve metabolism.

1.  Achieve optimal hormone levels.

2.  Consume thermogenic/metabolic stimulating foods and/or supplements.

3.  Perform metabolism boosting exercises.

Achieving Optimal Hormone Levels

Hormones each have different functions, but in the end they enable the body to function efficiently and optimally.  Weight gain typically occurs in our 30s, which is when a majority of our hormones begin to decline.  Declining hormone levels can directly affect our metabolism.  Low levels of hormones, especially of testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone, make maintaining muscle mass increasingly difficult.  Muscle, pound for pound, burns far more calories than fat.  So when we lose muscle, we burn fewer calories.

Permanent weight loss is difficult to achieve in the presence of suboptimal hormone levels.   With each passing year, our metabolism slows down more and more as our hormone levels decline more and more.  Managing one’s weight becomes a losing battle for many.

Looking for the Best Ways to Lose WeightThermogenic Foods

The body burns calories or energy to digest food.  Some foods require many more calories to be digested than others, and are called thermogenic.  Some foods can also stimulate metabolism.  Foods that are thermogenic and/or increase metabolism include lean sources of protein, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage), celery, asparagus, leafy vegetables,  chili peppers, berries, apples, peaches, pears, green tea, and brown kelp or seaweed (see “Herbal Weight Loss”).

Metabolism Boosting Exercises

Though aerobic exercises will boost metabolism during exercise and for a short period after exercise, there are better forms of exercise to rev up your metabolism.  Strength training and short burst of exercise performed at near maximal exertion, also called high intensity interval training, boost the body’s metabolism sometimes for hours after exercise (see “Exercises to Lose Weight”).  Strength training and high intensity interval training can also increase production of growth hormone and testosterone, which enables us to build muscle and burn even more calories.  For you women, you need testosterone, too.

Eating Intelligently

To lose weight it is essential to keep your insulin levels low in response to a meal.  Insulin is released in response to digestion of carbohydrates and is needed to transport glucose (sugar) into the cell along with other nutrients.  This is good.  But, if insulin levels get too high and stay elevated it is not possible to burn calories from fat.  Insulin locks fat cells from releasing fats for energy.  Type 2 diabetics initially have high insulin levels, and are virtually all overweight.

Eat carbohydrates that are low glycemic.  These carbohydrates prevent a rapid spike in blood glucose, and therefore a large spike in insulin levels.  Also, it is wise to eat carbohydrates with some fat or protein, which will further delay the absorption of carbohydrates blunting the spike in glucose and insulin.

Remember weight loss is extremely difficult in the presence of low hormone levels.

You’ll improve your odds of losing weight if you follow the above tips on best ways to lose weight.

Related articles include “Healthy Weight Loss” and “Weight Loss Secrets“.

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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