Not everyone wants to push the limits when it comes to working out or losing weight. But everyone wants results. If you want real results, finding a weight loss program you can stick to is super important. Exercise adherence is a major determining factor in whether someone will be successful with a new workout plan. This means you might have to find a low-effort weight loss program that you can easily add to your hectic life. This is especially true when just beginning. With that in mind, here are 4 actions to start a low-effort weight loss program. As the post title states, I would treat this as a 30-day challenge to determine if these tips work for you.
If you want low effort weight loss, start these four easy steps today.
Walk 3 Miles per Day
Walking is a low-impact, easy way to start an exercise program. It is one of the easiest exercises to begin since all you need are you and some walking shoes.
Can I really lose weight walking?
You bet. A 160-pound person walking for an hour at a 3 miles per hour pace can burn around 300 calories. This is 2,100 calories per week and well over half a pound of fat.
If you have access to a treadmill, you can increase the calories burned per session by increasing the incline. This is a great way to ensure weekly progress in your low-effort weight loss routine. Let’s assume we have a 160 person walking at 3 mph for an hour. At a 1% grade incline, this person will burn approximately 300 calories. If you bump the incline up to 5%, the same person will burn about 385 calories. This is a difference of about 85 calories per workout and 595 calories per week! This brings the weight loss up to over ¾ lb per week!
If you want to play with the numbers, here is a free tool to calculate calories burned walking at various inclines and speeds.
If running is more your flavor, check out this post to maximize your weight loss with running.
Eat 500 Fewer Calories per Day
Reducing your calories by 500 calories per day equals a pound of weight loss per week.
Your nutritional intake or “diet” plays a huge role in your ability to lose weight. Most people have no idea how many calories per day they eat or they grossly underestimate their total calories. For this reason, it is very important to track your daily calories. I suggest using an app on your smartphone. I use MyPlate but there are many other food trackers out there.
Once you have started tracking your calories, you will need to reduce your total calories by 500 per day. Reducing your calories by 500 per day may seem like a lot but it isn’t. A plain bagel with cream cheese can easily net you over 500 calories. If you drink coffee, that iced caffe vanilla frappuccino might run you over 500 calories as well. Your best bet to determine where to cut calories is to track your calories for a few days. Once you see where your daily calories come from, it will be much easier to make changes to your diet to reduce your calories by 500 per day.
Eat More Protein
How can protein increase weight loss?
Eating protein causes you to burn more calories than eating carbohydrates or fat.
It costs the body more energy to digest protein than any other macronutrient. The more energy your body spends, the greater the weight loss.
The thermogenic effect of food (TEF) is a measure of the energy or calories it takes to digest the food you eat. In a study conducted at the University of Milan, 10 normal-weight healthy women received a randomized meal containing 557 calories of either 68% protein, 69% carbohydrates, or 70% fat. Their energy expenditure was measured 7 hours later with indirect calorimetric measurements using an open-circuit ventilated-hood system.
TEF for protein was 62 calories while carbohydrates and fat were 21 calories, and 23 calories respectively. The subjects completed a satiety questionnaire 7 hours after each meal and the highest sensation to fullness occurred with the protein meals.
Eating protein can increase thermogenesis
In another study, thermogenesis after consuming a high-protein, low-fat meal was increased 100% compared to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in healthy young women. This study indicates that the added energy cost of eating a high-protein diet is beneficial for weight loss. This study collaborates with the results of the previous study that measured the thermogenic effect of food.
Can eggs cause weight loss?
Your food choices at breakfast can make or break your eating habits for the rest of the day.
In a study from the European Journal of Nutrition, 30 healthy men participated in a three-way crossover randomized study to determine the effects of different meal types at breakfast on eating throughout the day. They ate either eggs with toast, cereal (cornflakes) with milk and toast, or a croissant and orange juice. Subjective ratings on satiety, hunger, and fullness were recorded at 30-minute intervals using a picture scale. Energy intake was assessed by weighted food intake ad libitum (eating as much as you want) lunch and evening meal. Participants showed increased satiety, less hunger, and a lower desire to eat later in the day with the egg containing breakfast.
These three studies showed that eating protein has a positive effect on increasing calories burned per day and reducing the total calories consumed.
Bottom line… if you want to lose weight, eat more protein and eat more eggs.
Drink More Water
Drinking water is mentioned almost anytime you hear someone talking about weight loss. This is for good reason too.
Water can induce thermogenesis. Cold water cannot be used in the body until it is heated to 98.6F. Heating the water to this temperature requires energy. This increase in energy consumption can aid in weight loss.
In a study of 14 subjects (7 men and 7 women), metabolic rate increased 30% by drinking 500 ml (16.9 oz) of water. The increase was noticed within 10 minutes lasted about 35 minutes for a total thermogenic response of about 24 calories. How was this done? These calories were burned as the body warmed the ingested water from 71.6F to 98.6F.
The study above showed up the short-term effects of drinking water and increasing metabolic energy requirements. Will this actually lead to weight loss though?
It appears so. Fifty overweight girls were instructed to drink 500ml (16.9 oz) of water, three times a day, half an hour before breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 8 weeks. In the study, body weight, body mass index (BMI), and a body composition score were used as weight loss indicators. The girls improved on all three measurements in 8 weeks with no other intervention besides drinking water 30 minutes before each meal.
Those studies are short-term effects of water on weight loss though. Can drinking more water increase weight loss in the long term?
Yes, it can. In this study, increases in water consumption and weight loss over 12 months were analyzed. This study tested 173 premenopausal overweight women (25-50 years) who reported drinking less than 1L per day in the beginning. Each of the participants was assigned to read a book dedicated to a certain diet type, attend 2 months of nutrition classes, and were measured at baseline, 2, 6, and 12 months. The focus of the study was determining the efficacy of different diets on women in free-living conditions for 12 months. Surprisingly, the main determining factor in weight loss was less about the diet type and more about water intake.
Warning: Drinking too much water in a short period can cause hyponatremia. Hyponatremia occurs when sodium is diluted in the bloodstream from excess water consumption. Sodium is vital to many bodily functions to include heartbeat. This can be fatal. For more information on hyponatremia, click here.
Low Effort Weight Loss Challenge Tracker
These four science-backed methods are easy to start today and can lead to losing over 1.5 lbs. per week.
If you are just starting to workout and want to lose weight without reshaping your life around fitness, I suggest you try these methods.
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