Updated: Oct 26, 2021
By Aaron Balsom - Exercise Physiologist Tauranga
Losing weight should be easy, if you look at the calculations. If you expend more calories than you put in, your body should lose excess weight.
Unfortunately this is where the general public gets stuck as there are numerous other factors to consider when trying to lose weight.
Exercise physiology is ideally suited to work through these other factors and work together with you to help improve your weight loss habits.
Exercise physiology is the study of how your body is affected by exercise and the ways to make it more effective. Below we will examine some of these extra factors that might be hindering your goals.
Sleep. All humans need it, some more than others and without it we don't function very well. Without adequate sleep our bodies are less likely to want to lose any extra weight as it might think that you are about to go through a tough period. Our bodies are very primal with the main focus on preserving life. An average human needs roughly 6-8 hours sleep a night to function optimally. If you are struggling with this then try and find some tips around getting a good nights sleep.
Diet. When the word diet is spoken most initial thoughts jump to some form of controlled eating style that restricts how much you can eat for a period of time. When we talk about diet we are asking what do you eat, how much do eat and when do you eat. Small changes around timing and swapping certain unhealthy foods for healthy alternatives are likely to start helping you notice a difference with your weight loss. One really easy principle to follow is to eat at least 80% of your food that has not come out of a packet. Again if you need more advice there is plenty of free resources on google and if you find that too much then you can always ask for a professionals help.
Exercise may also have bad connotations if you have either never started before or have had a bad experience with a trainer. Exercise does two things to help us lose weight. Firstly it burns more calories than sitting still, leading to a caloric deficit making our body require more back up energy from our stored fuel sources. Secondly certain types of exercise increase how many calories are burnt over a 24hour period giving us another slice into our stored energy sources, burning excess weight. The right trainer or in our case exercise physiologist will be able to prescribe exactly the right amount and style of exercise that you require to reach your goal in your time frame. If you are unsure of how to get started with exercise make sure to seek out a qualified professional that you can trust!
A body that is stressed is not in peak performance and believes that it is under attack. When this is happening then our body holds onto our stored fat and energy so that it is able to call on these reserves if it finds itself in danger or threatened. If you find that you are stressed out regularly then it might be time to find some ways to reduce things. https://www.eatthis.com/stress-reduction-techniques-weight-loss/ has some great tips for reducing stress such as mindfulness and breathing techniques.
Supplements are often looked at to speed up the process or try and gain a quick solution for weight loss. My view on supplements is they can assist you to get the required nutrients that allows your body to function more efficiently thus leading to burning more calories and losing more weight. To this end I find that a simple multi vitamin and a clean fish oil are two simple and effective supplements that might cover what you are currently missing in your diet. For most people when starting their weight loss journey I do not think they need all the fancy fat burners and protein shakes and what ever else the latest trend is.
To conclude, I believe most people can find the tools they need with a quick google search to get started but without having a very strong WHY for why you want to lose weight then hiring a exercise physiologist is the best most effective way to improve your chances of success in your weight loss journey.
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