Can You Lose Fat in Your Face?

While it is possible to lose fat in your face, it is untrue that you can target fat loss in any specific area. Spot reduction or losing weight in a targeted area is a myth. As you lose weight, your body will reduce fat in all areas with your genetics determining which areas see the most significant fat loss first and which areas lose fat last.

Some people are lucky to see the fat melt off of their faces quickly, while others might have to hide that double chin much longer as they progress in their weight loss journey

Losing Fat in Your Face

Some people believe that it is possible to target specific areas for fat reduction. Unfortunately, the science says otherwise. There are no specific exercises to lose fat in your face. The best way to see change in any area of your body is with a combination of diet and exercise. In order to lose face fat, you must lose fat across your entire body.

You Can Lose Fat in Your Face

In order to lose that face fat, we must burn fat stores throughout the body.

Fat loss occurs when you burn stored adipose fat (fatty acids) via fatty acid oxidation into carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is exhaled via expiration. This literally means you burn fat through your nose and mouth. So in order to burn the fat necessary to have that chiseled jaw line, we will need to burn more calories per day than we consume so our body will use stored fat for energy metabolism.

This can be accomplished through calorie reduction and exercise.

If exercise isn’t your thing, you should checkout these 100 tips to burn fat without exercise.

The best way to lose fat is to reduce your daily calories consumed. The most safe and effective way to do this is to reduce intake by 500 calories per day. This will lead to a pound of fat loss per week from nutrition alone. You can increase the weekly fat loss through daily exercise.

If you are serious about weight loss, I highly suggest starting a strength training and cardiovascular training program. Here is a beginner-friendly three day per week strength training split.

If you are interested in running for weight loss, this running for weight loss article will get you started down that path. If walking is more your style, check out this 30 day low-effort fat loss challenge.

Achieving Facial Aesthetics

While targeted fat loss in the face is impossible. It is possible to tighten the muscles around the face in order to enhance facial aesthetics. This facial muscle training is suggested to counter balance aging by reducing vertical lines of the face and fight the dreaded double chin.

In a study, the “smile exercises” showed results in 30 days with only 3 minutes dedicated per day.

Not only does this exercise help muscular tone in the face, forced smiling has been shown to decrease stress and improve mood. These exercises may benefit your mental wellbeing in addition to reducing fine lines and saggy jowls. (1)

Smiling also activates the mirror neurons of those around us. If we smile around others, this can be contagious to those around us.

The exercises and more information can be found in this article:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190816/

In addition to the article above, I found a decent video that walks you through an exercise that could reduce the saggy chin that can occur as we age or gain weight. I won’t lie, I have not done these exercises and they seem silly but it theoretically makes sense. If you have done this, let me know if it has worked for you.

Can Intermittent Fasting Help?

Intermittent fasting can help with not only fat loss but can also help with loose skin. When no calories are coming in from eating, the body must turn to its saved reserves to provide energy. This typically comes from adipose fat through several metabolic processes and energy pathways.

In addition to the reduction of fat loss, autophagy occurs at a much higher rate. (2)

During autophagy, the body will consume damaged or old cells in order to recycle them. This is a very simplified explanation of the process of autophagy but for the context of this article, it will suffice. As the body breaks down old skin cells, skin elasticity is improved. This is also a huge benefit for people that have loose skin from losing a significant amount of fat in a short period of time. Once the body has a break in digestion and starts recycling old cells, the excess skin can be broken down into basic building blocks that body can use elsewhere.

The use of intermittent fasting can serve in multiple ways by making a weekly calorie deficit easier and also inducing autophagy so that the skin can become tighter around the face and neck.

Reduce Water Retention

Water retention can make your face appear more puffy than usual. Water retention is caused by a variety of issues ranging from hormonal to nutrition-based. If you believe you are experiencing abnormal water retention due to hormonal issues, you should see a doctor immediately. Untreated hormonal issues can cause serious health concerns besides water retention.

Eat Less Carbohydrates

The body stores glycogen in the muscles, liver, and fat cells. A glycogen molecule is bound to three to four molecules of water. Eating surplus carbohydrates can lead to a higher level of glycogen being stored in the body thus increasing water retention in the body.

Anyone that has been on a keto diet has noticed this flush of water weight on about day three of the diet. Once glycogen stores are depleted and the body starts using ketone bodies for energy, the body maintain much less water.

I am not advocating a keto-based diet but reducing carbohydrate intake can reduce water retention in the body. There are merits to undergoing a keto-diet for weight loss but that is outside the scope of this article. In order to keep this simple, reduce the amount of carbohydrates especially high-glycemic carbs you ingest daily.

Eating less carbohydrates can also reduce hunger cravings later in the day thus reducing the chances of overeating later in the day. While it is ultimately calories in versus calories out, keep carbohydrates low will usually result in better fat loss outcomes especially in the long-term. (3)

Consume no more than the Recommendation Daily Allowance of Salt

Eating over the RDA of salt daily can lead to water retention as well as hypertension and other cardiovascular issues such as stroke and heart disease.

Packaged and processed foods are usually very high in salt content. Check your labels and make sure you aren’t eating too much salt.

The daily value of sodium is less than 2,000mg per day. (4)

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water.

Ensure that you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking more water will reduce bloating and puffiness in your skin.

Water will also help with weight loss through blunting hunger and increasing metabolism. (5)

I would highly suggest individuals drink 17 oz of water 30 minutes prior to meals. In a study of fifty overweight girls that did this, they all lost weight within 8 weeks with no other intervention. (6)

Conclusion

There is no such thing as spot reduction. You cannot target fat loss in just your face. The good news is that weight loss will eventually occur in your face as you lose weight overall. Genetics play a role in where fat loss occurs first but eventually you will lose fat in your face.

A good fat loss routine will help you reach your goal of fat loss in your face.

Your goal should be fat loss in general but if you are feeling froggy, you can try facial exercises, intermittent fasting, and a low-carbohydrate diet to reach this goal faster. Keep hydrated and try not to exceed the RDA of 2,300mg sodium per day.

Stay Fit!

Sources:

1. Kraft TL, Pressman SD. Grin and bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. Psychol Sci. 2012;23(11):1372-8. doi: 10.1177/0956797612445312. Epub 2012 Sep 24. PMID: 23012270.

2. Bagherniya M, Butler AE, Barreto GE, Sahebkar A. The effect of fasting or calorie restriction on autophagy induction: A review of the literature. Ageing Res Rev. 2018 Nov;47:183-197. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2018.08.004. Epub 2018 Aug 30. PMID: 30172870.

3. Bueno NB, de Melo IS, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct;110(7):1178-87. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513000548. Epub 2013 May 7. PMID: 23651522.

4. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Sodium in your diet. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/sodium-your-diet

5. Boschmann M, Steiniger J, Hille U, Tank J, Adams F, Sharma AM, Klaus S, Luft FC, Jordan J. Water-induced thermogenesis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Dec;88(12):6015-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2003-030780. PMID: 14671205.

6. Vij VA, Joshi AS. Effect of ‘water induced thermogenesis’ on body weight, body mass index and body composition of overweight subjects. J Clin Diagn Res. 2013 Sep;7(9):1894-6. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2013/5862.3344. Epub 2013 Sep 10. PMID: 24179891; PMCID: PMC3809630.

100 Evidence-Based Ways to Lose Weight without Exercise

Exercise isn’t required to lose weight. All that is required to lose weight is an energy deficit. Good dietary and lifestyle choices are essential to losing weight. With the use of appropriate habits, weight reduction can be achieved without effort.

Your body burns a certain amount of calories per day depending upon your activity level, current body weight, genetics, and individual factors. The total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is this number of calories used per day after exercise is accounted for. The target for weight loss is approximately 500 calories per day less than TDEE. This will lead to 1 pound (3,500 calories) of weight loss per week.

The most important thing for weight loss is your diet, not exercise. It is much easier to not eat 500 calories than to exercise for 500 calories. Would you rather skip dessert or run 5 miles?

It’s all about calories in versus calories out. (1)

With that in mind, I will share 100 evidence-based ways to lose weight without exercise by increasing your daily calorie deficit. If you are serious about weight loss, you should check out our free effortless 30-day weight loss challenge.

Evidence-Based Proven Ways to Lose Weight without Exercise

1. Drink more water –

This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight. It removes all doubt about whether you are truly hungry or actually thirsty. Studies have shown time and time again that increased water consumption causes reduction in fat.

Drinking 500 ml (16.9 oz) of water increased metabolic rate by 30% in a study of 14 people (7 men and 7 women).The effect was apparent within 10 minutes and lasted approximately 35 minutes, resulting in a thermogenic response of around 24 calories. The boost in metabolism occurs as the ingested water is heated from 71.6F to 98.6F. (2)

2. Eat more protein –

Eat more protein at every meal. Protein increases metabolism and helps you lose weight. It can also help prevent muscle loss while losing weight. A study found that protein increases the metabolic rate more than carbs and fat. (3)

Protein requires more energy to be broken down in your body than carbohydrates or fats, which can result in a boost to your metabolism. Protein takes the most energy to digest, and as such it causes the greatest increase in one’s metabolic rate.

Your metabolism increases by approximately 4% for every 100 calories of protein consumed in a day.

3. Increase fiber intake –

Psyllium husk is a great, inexpensive source of fiber. It increases fullness and decreases hunger. (4)

Increasing soluble fiber in your diet improves body fat, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin in overweight adults. (5)

Soluble fiber soaks up water and becomes thicker and gel-like.  As a result, it slows down digestion, increases fullness, and decreases hunger. A reduction in appetite translates to a lesser calorie intake per day.

4. Eat less or avoid sugar –

Avoid sugar or limit your sugar intake to under 50 grams per day. Sugar is the main culprit for weight gain, not fat.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to include this in your daily routine is to stop drinking sugared drinks like Cola. Calorie sweetened beverages are notorious for weight gain. (6)

Added sugar was

5. Get enough sleep –

Sleep deprivation can cause weight gain. Lack of sleep increases hunger and appetite. Sleep deprivation has been associated with a slew of unpleasant consequences, including increased hunger, food cravings, and eating larger serving sizes. (7)

The body’s rhythms are based on the 24-hour day. This is known as our circadian rhythms. This is the wake and sleep cycles that regulates our body’s biological processes and is known as our molecular clock.

As darkness sets in, the body’s biological clock instructs the cells to slow down and prepare for a restorative night of sleep. This is a result of melatonin release. During sleep, our body goes through numerous vital processes that are necessary for us to function at our best.

6. Start a food log –

A food diary might be a fantastic method to discover how we eat. We generally underestimate or overestimate how many calories we eat per day. (8)

By starting a food log, we can become aware of our eating habits. This awareness might result in improved food choices.

7. Calculate daily calorie needs –

In this articles intro, I highlighted the importance of calories in versus calories out when trying to lose weight. That is the most important consideration.

The best way to actualize weight loss is to find out how many calories you burn per day.

Here’s a free TDEE calculator I use.

TDEE Calculator: Learn Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure

8. Make a calorie goal plan –

If you followed step 6 and step 7 above, you know about how many calories you eat per day and how many calories you burn per day.

The next step is to figure out a calorie goal plan.

If you want to lose a pound per week, then you will need to reduce calories by 500 per day.

9. Weigh yourself weekly –

This is an important step.

Weigh yourself at the same time and on the same scale. This is important since our body weight can fluctuate drastically throughout the day.

I advise weighing yourself on the same day each week. I usually weigh myself on Sunday to prepare myself for the upcoming week. This reinforces my habits if my weekly goal was met. If the goal was not met, I have the opportunity to reevaluate my current plan.

10. Increase healthy fat intake –

Fat has been demonized in the past but is starting to be more understood as an important macronutrient. Dietary fatty acids function as a signaling molecule with a wide range of impact on physiological processes. One of those signaling molecules is leptin which plays a role in hunger.

Fat is known to decrease hunger and reduces blood sugar rebounds which cause cravings later in the day.

Not all fats are created equal though. Trans-fats are horrible for your health and can lead to weight gain. Eating high-fat and high-carb meals increases weight gain.

Increasing healthy fats in your diet can lead to an increase in fat oxidation or the bodies ability to burn fat. (9)

11. Decrease carbohydrate intake –

Carbohydrates are known to rev up insulin secretion. This spike in insulin leads to hunger and cravings which often results in increased caloric intake.

Even though it’s not the only macronutrient, carbohydrates have been villainized. This is due to its role in insulin secretion which can lead to increased hunger.

Also, it has been shown that high-carb meals can increase weight gain over time.

According to some research, a low carbohydrate diet may be more effective for weight reduction than exercise. (10)

12. Practice mindful eating –

Put your attention on how you feel when you eat, chew more, and savor your meal. This will aid in digestion and slow down eating. Taking longer with each bite allows leptin and hunger hormones to react. It takes the body about 20 minutes before satiety or fullness is realized. By increasing time chewing and eating, overeating is reduced. (11)

In addition to avoiding overeating, mindful eating has been shown to significantly improve numerous other weight loss measures. People have noticed a reduction in food cravings, better portion control, lower body mass index, and reduce body weight. (12)

Mindful eating is an fantastic way to lose weight without exercise.

13. Don’t snack –

Snacking can be a significant contributor to eating excess calories. The typical snack food is generally high in sugar, highly processed, and very calorie dense.

Snacking at night is particularly harmful if you want to lose weight. (13)

14. Skip breakfast –

Intermittent fasting has received both positive and negative attention lately. There are passionate supporters on both sides of the debate, with some studies supporting both viewpoints. While there are probably tons of factors behind the lack of consensus, it boils down to do what’s best for you.

If skipping breakfast is easy for you and you enjoy the catecholamine energy boost you get from it, do it. It can provide an easy way to reduce your total daily caloric intake. (14)

If you need breakfast and feel awful when you skip it, eat breakfast.

15. Don’t skip breakfast –

If you read above, one of the tips is to skip breakfast. If this doesn’t sit well with you, my advice is to not skip breakfast. Studies support this method as well for weight loss.

I came across a research on meal timing for early vs. late eaters. It consisted of 42 nonsmoking homemakers using the Mediterranean diet on a 600 calorie deficit. One group ate the majority of their calories in the morning hours while the other group ate more in the evening hours. The researchers found that individuals who ate early in the day had better weight reduction than those that ate later in the day. (15)

16. Drink 16 oz water 30 minutes before meals –

For 8 weeks, 50 overweight girls were told to drink 500ml (16.9 oz) of water three times a day, half an hour before each meal for the purpose of weight reduction. The body mass index (BMI), as well as a body composition score, were used in the research to assess weight reduction. The subjects improved across all three parameters in 8 weeks, with no additional therapy beyond drinking water 30 minutes before each meal. (16)

Drinking water before meals can improve satiety and reduce calorie intake. This is a good strategy to implement before meals.

17. Eat eggs –

Eggs eaten for breakfast reduce the calories consumed later in the day.

A three-way crossover randomized study was conducted to evaluate the influence of different meal types at breakfast on eating throughout the day in 30 healthy men. They ate eggs with toast, cereal (cornflakes) with milk and toast, or a croissant and orange juice. At 30-minute intervals, pictures were used to assess subjective hunger, satiety, and fullness. The amount of food eaten was measured by weighted ad libitum (eating as much as you want) lunch and evening meals. The egg breakfast improved satiety, hunger, and desire to eat later in the day among participants. (17)

18. Eat more nuts –

Nuts are a wonderful source of nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, and fiber, all of which assist you to feel fuller for longer.

Nuts are energy-dense yet not linked to weight gain owing to their appetite suppressing effects. (18)

19. Reduce alcohol intake –

Alcohol contains a lot of empty calories and drinking large quantities over time can add pounds to your waistline.

Alcohol also tends to reduce your inhibitions which can lead to overeating and other unhealthy behaviors.

The occasional glass of wine or drinking in moderation is associated with minor weight gain and is much healthier than excessive alcohol consumption. (19)

20. Eat less at night –

Significant weight loss has been observed in subjects who ate their largest meal at breakfast and reduced calories as the day progressed. This makes sense since we generally need to utilize calories throughout the day and require them less in the evening. This also supports the study showing reduced eating at night helps circadian rhythms. (16)

21. Plan a cheat meal once per week –

Restricting your diet can lead to overindulging once the restrictions are lifted. A better option is to have a cheat meal once a week and schedule it. This will prevent you from overindulging in unhealthy foods.

This will also keep cravings at bay while allowing you to enjoy delicious food guilt-free. This will increase adherence to a healthier eating lifestyle.

22. Move around more –

Sedentary behavior is associated with weight gain and cardiometabolic risk. (17)

The best way to combat this is to move more throughout the day. If you realize you have been sitting for a while, get up and walk around. As crazy as it sounds, fidgeting-type behavior has been shown to have thermogenic and calorie burning effects. (18)

I am not suggesting you nervously fidget about but interrupting long periods on inactivity with movement can help increase weight loss and decrease cardiometabolic risk.

23. Gut health –

Obesity is caused by imbalances in the gut microbiota, which inhabit the intestines. (19)

Probiotics, prebiotics and resistant starch promote weight loss by improving gut health. The best options are foods that contain healthy bacteria for your gut health. Probiotic foods such as yogurt, pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, and kimchi are ideal for this.

Increasing fiber intake can also promote the growth of healthy bacteria. Resistant starch is simply fiber that resists digestion and continues to feed your gut microbiome with healthy bacteria. Psyllium husk is another beneficial supplemental fiber.

24. Try a standing desk –

If your job requires extended sitting, a standing desk may help reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting. After all, prolonged sitting and sedentary behavior are directly related to weight gain and a range of negative health consequences. (20)

25. Go outside –

Exposure to natural light helps regulate circadian rhythms and supports weight loss.

Vitamin D is also essential for a healthy metabolism and adequate exposure to sunlight helps maintain proper vitamin d concentrations. (21)

After all, vitamin D deficiency was 41.6% in US adults. The highest rate was seen in African Americans at 82.1% and Hispanics at 69.2%. (22)

If you are unable to get outside more, consider supplementing with a vitamin D supplement containing calcium for increased absorption.

26. Drink tea –

Both green tea and black tea contain caffeine which has been shown to enhance fat burning in humans. (23)

Tea is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and cardiovascular benefits in addition to other health functions. (24)

27. Drink coffee –

Tea is great but coffee really packs a punch with its caffeine content.

Caffeine is a well-known metabolism booster and fat burner. (25)

A few cups of coffee each day can help keep your burners on and your metabolism running like a well-oiled machine. Just make sure to add some healthy fats and protein and avoid sugar for best results.

28. Avoid diet sodas –

Studies have shown that by simply replacing diet sodas with water you can lose fat while reducing fasting insulin levels. (26)

29. Use a food tracker app –

This one may seem like a no-brainer but food tracking apps are extremely beneficial for weight loss. Keeping track of your calories, macros, and nutrient intake is important to not only lose weight but keep it off.

If you don’t know what you’re eating how can you make better choices? Tracking takes the guesswork out while helping you become more aware of your eating habits.

30. Don’t drink your calories –

If weight loss is your goal, you need to reduce the amount of calories you drink.

This includes alcohol, juices, energy drinks and soda. These items should be eliminated if possible or at least limited as much as possible.

If you want to lose weight without exercise, eliminate drinking calories.

31. Learn about nutrition –

There is no better way to become healthier than to learn how nutrition and food affects the body. As you become more aware of how food affects the body, it may become easier to eat healthier.

32. Understand the glycemic index –

The glycemic index (GI) is a system that ranks foods based on the impact they have on your blood sugar.

Lower glycemic foods have a minimal impact while high glycemic foods cause drastic spikes in the blood sugar.

Eating low glycemic foods is beneficial for weight loss as it helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and avoid insulin spikes that lead to fat gain.

33. Try meal prepping on Sunday –

Making a plan is a great way to stay on track and easier than trying to make healthy choices when you’re hungry.

Preparing a meal plan for the entire week or even month takes a lot of stress out and makes sticking to your diet plan much easier.

34. Pack a lunch –

Eating out or picking up lunch during the work week can add hundreds of calories and carbohydrates to your daily intake.

Instead, bring a nutritious lunch that you cooked yourself. You may also save money by doing this.

35. Keep your fridge stocked with healthy options –

We have all been there. It’s getting late and you forgot to defrost some meat. You go to the refrigerator and discover that you have nothing to prepare. As a result, you order in.

By keeping healthy options readily available, you can avoid these types of situations and stay on track with your nutrition plan.

36. Eat out less –

It’s enjoyable to eat out, but it may be a quick path to weight gain. Restaurants tend to have meals that are very calorie dense. After all, this is what leads it to tasting so good. High carbohydrate and high fat meals are generally very tasty. Every once and a while is fine but eating out frequently can lead to weight gain.

37. Choose healthier options when eating out –

When you do go out and eat, there are ways you can minimize the damage. Most restaurants have a “healthy option” on their menu. This could be an alternative to eating calorie dense food.

38. Take half your food to-go –

If you are eating out, consider taking half of your meal to-go before you even start eating. This precludes the need to eat everything on your plate. This is especially beneficial to reduce caloric intake since some entrees contain upwards of 2,000 calories!

39. Avoid buffets –

Buffets are some of the worst places to eat while trying to lose weight. The food is laid out like a smorgasbord and it’s almost irresistible. The sheer variety and size of the portions is mindboggling and it may be too much for anyone to handle.

There is also the desire to “get your money’s worth”. This means eating as much food as possible which is definitely not good for your body composition.

40. Reduce screen time –

We are a society that is addicted to our screens. TV, computers, cell phones and other electronic devices have taken over our lives in many ways. We use them for entertainment and information gathering, but they may be affecting our health in a negative way.

Screens emit blue light which suppresses melatonin and disrupts your circadian rhythm. This can lead to poor sleep which leads to weight gain. If you are spending an excessive amount of time in front of a screen, the chances are high that you are sedentary as well. These two risk factors can lead to weight gain.

Try to limit screen time for better overall health.

41. Eat a healthy snack before eating out –

This can help you avoid eating too much appetizer food, which is known for having high amounts of carbohydrates, fat, and calories.

42. Control your portions –

Most people don’t realize how much they eat. But studies show that we tend to eat around 20% more than the recommended serving size.

Controlling the portion size is a great way to reduce total calories consumed. (27)

43. Try intermittent fasting –

Intermittent fasting means intermittent eating. You cycle your food intake into an 8 to 12 hour window. For example, you may only eat between the hours of 8am to 8pm.

This allows your body to fast in between these periods which boosts growth hormone secretion and fat burning.

44. Relax –

Cortisol is a stress hormone, and it plays a role in your ability to metabolize fat. It can also cause cravings for sugar and craving.

Too much cortisol can be bad for your health, so try to reduce stress as much as possible. This will allow you to have better control of your calories consumed.

45. Try Meditation –

This tip goes hand in hand with the above tip to relax more. Stress and obesity are linked. (28)

Meditation can be a great way to reduce stress and improve sleep quality.

There are many studies that show how positive effects meditation has on the body and mind. (29) (30)

46. Don’t eat and watch TV –

Distracted eating can lead to overeating. (31)

This is especially bad if you are trying to limit your caloric intake. A good way to combat this is mindful eating.

47. Eat at the same time –

Regular meal patterns can improve sleep, circadian rhythms, and decrease bodyweight. This is linked to a decrease in appetite as well as other benefits derived from improved sleep. (32)

48. Choose a parking spot at the end of the parking lot –

Walking burns calories. (33)

Why not do little things that promote walking more per day.

You not only burn more calories, but you also decrease the likelihood that someone will scratch or hit your automobile with their door.

Win, win.

49. Use smaller plates –

While the research is mixed, using smaller plates for normal weight individuals can lead to eating less. (34)

In theory, using smaller plates should reduce total calories consumed but there are many other variables at play. It doesn’t hurt to incorporate this technique in addition to others discussed in this article.

50. Use red plates –

The color red has been demonstrated to reduce snack food and cola intake. (35)

The findings suggest that red acts as a subtle stop signal that works outside of focused attention, lowering inadvertent food and beverage intake.

51. Don’t keep unhealthy food in the house –

“I can resist anything except temptation.” – Oscar Wilde

Temptation is the enemy of weight loss.

Don’t keep unhealthy food in your house if you want to lose weight. Out of sight, out of mind.

52. Be wary of diet food –

Aspartame and sucralose are zero-calorie sweeteners that are commonly found in sugar-free foods.

Unfortunately, these can lead to weight gain and other negative health consequences. (36)

53. Keep your house cooler –

A colder environment can lead to a higher metabolism. (37)

The body’s response to cold burns through glycogen stores. This also occurs during exercise. Exercising in cold climates could also increase calories burned compared to more temperate environments.

54. Make small behavior habits –

Adherence is the name of the game to lose weight without exercise. Making minor adjustments to your present routine might help you achieve your goal.

But don’t worry about making major life changes to achieve weight loss. Big changes often fail and you’ll likely rebound at some point. Begin with a few simple changes and increase them little by little. This can have a significant impact on your habits over time without you even realizing it.

55. Create healthy habits and track them –

One of the biggest reasons why people don’t achieve their desired results is that they lack a plan.

Tracking healthy habits can provide insight as to why some behaviors work and others don’t.

Start monitoring your habits, weight, and overall success now so you may achieve your long-term goals.

56. Consider talking to a licensed nutritionist –

Behavioral counseling has been shown to have positive outcomes in regard to cardiovascular health as well as achieving health related goals. (38)

Whether you choose to meet with a nutritionist, coach, or activity specialist, consider talking to someone who can help motivate you.

57. Cook your own meals –

The more control you have over your food, the better. There are a plethora of restaurants nowadays that serve high-calorie meals with large portions.

It’s critical to know what you’re eating and how many calories it contains.

You may save money by cooking at home and also have peace of mind knowing that you’re eating healthier.

58. Keep your healthier foods in sight on the shelves –

If you keep your healthy foods in plain sight, you won’t reach for something less healthy like ice cream or chips.

There’s also a growing body of research suggesting that a “health halo” effect may occur with healthy foods, meaning the more healthier food you eat, the more healthier food you will eat in the future.

59. Eat more veggies –

Veggies are typically higher in fiber and have a low-glycemic index. This means they can result in fullness faster without a rebound hunger later in the day.

60. Eat more salmon –

A diet rich in fish can have positive effects on cardiac health as well as lower levels of inflammation. (39)

In addition to the health benefits, people with higher fish intakes generally have lower levels of body fat. This is especially true in populations that eat fish as their primary staple.

To reap the health benefits, it is currently advised that you eat fish twice a week.

61. Eat more beans –

If you have made it this far in the article, you are aware of the benefits of fiber on weight control, hunger, and insulin sensitivity.

Beans are high in fiber and protein, which makes them excellent for satiation.

Legumes or beans are typically high in fat fighting compounds called saponins, which aid the body with reducing inflammation. (40)

62. Eat less bread –

Bread is one of the most popular sources of carbs.

However, it can also promote weight gain in some individuals when consumed excessively.

Bread can be very high in calories considering the small portion size.

For example, one slice of bread is about 80-110 calories.

If you have bread at every meal, that can add up to around 400-500 calories.

63. Eat spicy food like chilis –

A growing body of evidence is finding that adding chili peppers to meals can positively impact weight loss, insulin resistance, and markers of inflammation. (41)

Capsaicin is the active compound in chilis that provides many of these benefits.

You can add it to your food during cooking or take a supplement containing the compound.

Research suggests that capsaicin could be a long-term aid for weight control. (42)

Capsaicin along with caffeine has been shown to be especially synergistic. A bioactive supplement containing caffeine along with capsaicin and catechins increased 4 hour thermogenesis by 90kJ more than placebo after eight weeks. After a hypocaloric diet, these bioactive components may aid in weight loss maintenance. (43)

64. Eat more avocados –

Avocados are one of the best sources of healthy fats that can reduce inflammation, help manage blood sugar, and promote heart health. (44) (45)

Avocados are also nutritious and satiating, so you’ll feel fuller longer.

Remember, they’re calorie-dense, so eat and enjoy them, but keep an eye on the calories.

65. No food near your workplace –

If you bring food to work and eat at your desk, that will increase the chance that you’ll mindlessly munch and not be aware of how many calories you consume.

To avoid this, keep no food near your workplace.

66. Try a dopamine detox –

The biological mechanisms of dopamine detox are helpful for monitoring and assessing our current behaviors, as well as identifying new approaches to improve them.

The premise is to reduce negative triggers that lead to bad habits. This is especially beneficial for binge eating or eat unhealthy foods.

I cover dopamine detox more thoroughly here.

67. Eat more cinnamon –

Studies show cinnamon can be helpful reducing blood sugar spikes. This is especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. (46)

It also indicated a reduction in waist circumference and other metabolic factors. (47)

68. Consider a vitamin D supplement –

Not everyone can go outside or be in the sun enough to get their needed vitamin D.

Therefore, you can take supplements or talk to your doctor about getting a vitamin D injection, if appropriate.

If you are at-risk for melanoma, you should avoid the sun or only get out in the sun for brief periods of time. Consult your doctor with any concerns regarding this serious subject.

69. Blue light blocking –

Blue light is present in screens especially our cell phones.

Exposure to blue light reduces melatonin. (48)

Melatonin is necessary for sleep health and a deficiency can lead to obesity.

Blue light blocking devices have shown positive benefits for reducing the negative effects of blue light. (49)

There might even be a blue light blocking setting on your phone that is worth checking out.

70. Eat enough calories –

Undereating can lead to overconsumption of calories later in the day.

Very low calorie diets also lead to a reduction in metabolism that can undermine weight loss goals. (50)

It is advised to figure out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) can eat 500 calories less.

Here is a calculator to figure yours out.

71. Take pride in cooking –

Preparing your own meals is one of the most powerful factors to weight management. If you like to cook nutritious foods, you’ll enjoy preparing them as a pleasant side benefit to your health-conscious goals.

72. Start gardening/yardwork –

Gardening or yardwork can be a great tool to control obesity. (51)

This is a fantastic way to enjoy the benefits of both the activity and being outside.

73. Try dancing –

Dancing can be just as beneficial at reducing weight as jogging or other similar activities. Middle-aged women who were overweight lost about the same amount of weight by performing low-impact dancing as they did jogging. (52)

74. Avoid packaged food –

Packaged foods are convenient but generally very calorie dense as well as unhealthy. Reduce these if you want to lose weight without exercise.

75. Avoid processed food –

Processed foods are often full of additives, sugar, and unhealthy oils. Processed food is also cheaper than healthier options. These factors lead obesity. If you can, avoid processed food in favor for fresher options.

76. Eat grapes or try resveratrol –

Resveratrol intake significantly reduced weight, and fat mass while also increasing lean mass. (53)

Grapes contain resveratrol as well as red wine.

While resveratrol may not have as many benefits as once believed, it has shown to provide some health benefits especially in regard to heart health. (54)

The Mayo Clinic does a good job summarizing the benefits of red wine and resveratrol here.

77. Eat enough dairy –

Calcium promotes fat loss especially in obese individuals in a calorie deficit. This effect was seen greatest in dairy products. (55)

Be careful with dairy and total calorie intake. Around 800mg of calcium through dairy is probably a good target to aim for. (56)

78. Try a calcium plus vitamin d supplement –

Since not everyone can eat dairy, a calcium supplement may provide the necessary calcium to aid in weight loss. It is best to take calcium with a vitamin D supplement to increase absorption. (57)

79. Complete darkness at bedtime –

Light exposure at night can reduce melatonin levels. (58)

If you have read the above tips on melatonin, you understand how important this hormone is for weight management and overall health.

A simple way to achieve complete darkness is through blackout curtains.

80. Traveling a short distance? Walk or bike –

Are you traveling less than a 1/2 mile? Why not increase your energy expenditure for the day and walk?

This is an easy way to burn more calories while being mindful of the environment.

Biking is another option to burn calories and reduce the burden on the environment produced by cars and trucks.

81. Play more –

Look for reasons to move around. Play with your kids or nieces and nephews. Walk your dog or a neighbors dog.

Once you start looking for opportunities to move your body, you will find more and more. This is an easy way to increase your energy while burning more calories every day.

82. Try yoga or daily stretching –

Yoga can be a great option for weight loss as well as overall health. (59)

Yoga can help to reduce cortisol levels through daily stress. A reduction in cortisol has positive health benefits that can help improve weight loss as well as reduce stress.

83. Keep busy –

Idle time to lead to bored snacking.

Keeping busy can also increase daily energy expenditure without the need for an exercise routine.

84. Walk around the house while talking on the phone –

If you talk quite a bit, an easy way to increase your daily steps is to walk around the house while on the phone. This is an easy method to reduce sedentary sitting while not even noticing the extra walking.

85. Try lemon in your water or tea –

Lemon can reduce blood sugar peak by 30% and delay it by more than 30 minutes. (60)

This is an easy way to limit the glycemic impact of foods.

Lemon polyphenols have been shown to increase fat oxidation and reduce body fat as well. (61)

86. Drink colder water –

At the beginning of this article, I highlighted the impact water has on metabolism. Part of the impact has to do with the requirement of water to be heated to body temperature.

Drinking colder water increases the energy required to do that.

87. Do body-weight squats or wall pushes randomly –

This may seem like exercise but its an easy way to break the habit of prolonged sitting. If you notice you have been sitting for a while, stand up and do 10 air squats or 10 wall pushes. It isn’t a workout but it will get your blood pumping and decreases harmful sitting time.

88. Switch out canola for extra virgin olive oil –

Canola oil has been shown to stimulate weight gain and obesity, while extra virgin olive oil reduces inflammation.

Extra virgin olive oil also improves insulin resistance which can have positive effects on body composition.

89. Keep a water bottle on you at all times –

One of the most beneficial activities you can do to maintain a healthy weight is drink more water. An easy way to do that is to carry a water bottle on you at all times. This increases water intake and reduces hunger since our body can mix the signals of hunger and thirst.

90. Eat more ginger –

Ginger could influence obesity through several pathways, including enhancing thermogenesis, reducing lipogenesis, suppressing lip absorption, and regulating hunger. (62)

Ginger water has been demonstrated to reduce body weight and improve energy expenditure as well. (63)

I am not advising anyone to drink ginger water but including ginger in your cooking could be an easy way to improve your health outcomes while practicing those new healthy cooking skills.

91. Grapefruit –

While the science isn’t completely in on the efficacy of grapefruit for weight loss, some studies suggest it is effective in curbing appetite and improving insulin resistance. (64)

92. Try a meal replacement shake –

Meal replacement shakes can provide an easier healthier alternative to eating on the go.

They typically have a high protein content and fiber to keep you full. I would check the labels though since some have high sugar content that can cause rebound hunger later in the day.

93. Don’t eat after 8pm –

Eating later in the evening can cause obesity due to effects from circadian rhythm disruptions. (65)

You don’t want to have calories late at night since it is close to melatonin production. These disruptions can lead to weight gain. (66)

94. Eat less carbs at night –

To add to the above tip, you especially want to avoid carbohydrates later in the evening.

Carbohydrates at night can stimulate hunger and extend the time between stopping your evening meal and morning calorie expenditure.

They are shown to disrupt sleeping patterns and circadian phases. (67)

95. Smile more –

Faking a smile can actually lead to being happier. (68)

Increased happiness can result in reduced stress hormones. Stress hormones such as cortisol lead to weight gain.

Fake it until you make it. 🙂

96. Volunteer –

If you have enough time at the end of the day, volunteer. This will not only increase your calories expended per day but it will help others. Helping others is a great way to improve your own mental wellbeing leading to an decrease in hormones that cause weight gain.

97. Mow your own yard –

This one isn’t fun. I dread mowing my own yard but by mowing your own yard you can save money and burn more calories.

Depending upon the size of your yard, you have the potential to burn a lot of calories. I use to pay someone to mow my own yard and it was much easier. However, I can honestly say that after I get done mowing, I feel pride in my yard and have a nice sweat going. If you are physically able, I would recommend mowing your own yard.

98. Stay away from fad diets –

Fad diets may sound like the best way to lose weight fast but they do not work in the long-term.

They are usually very calorie restricted and can lead to rebound weight gain once you inevitable fail the unrealistic diet.

99. Smart swaps –

An easy way to make healthier decisions is to swap out certain things you eat regularly for a healthier option.

This can be as simple as switching out that sugar filled coffee for an iced black coffee.

100. Check with your doctor –

Before you do anything that affects your health, check with a doctor.

If you can’t seem to lose weight despite your best efforts, there may be medical reasons behind it.

Conclusion

There you have it, 100 evidence-based ways to lose weight without exercise. It would be impossible to start all these at once but by picking a couple that resonate with you, you can start a healthier lifestyle today. I highly recommend taking a look at the first 15 tips in this article as a basis for your new healthier habits. I hope you enjoyed this article and ask you to share it with anyone that you think it can benefit.

Stay fit!

Five Ways to Get Fit without Leaving your Home

Today, with the hectic schedule most people have, exercising is often tacked on at the end of a long day. But what if you could exercise inside your own home with little effort? Here are five ways to increase your total calories burned without leaving your home!

Get in shape without leaving the house

There are many different exercises that can be done right in one’s home – and they don’t take much effort either!

Why should I get fit without leaving my home?

These five habits are great for anyone who wants a healthier body but isn’t interested in going to a gym or running miles on a treadmill. They involve little effort from the individual but have big impacts on one’s health and wellbeing.

Having these habits would definitely contribute towards being more fit without even realizing it! What makes these so special is that they require little physical exertion from the individual and can be done in the comfort of one’s own home.

These make it possible for those who want to be more fit but cannot afford a membership at a gym or find it difficult to motivate themselves to work out regularly.


Five Ways to Get Fit at Home

1) Walk around while talking on the phone or watching television

Did you know that it is actually possible to burn more calories by walking while talking on the phone or watching television? It might sound silly, but this way of working out can be made part of one’s daily routine.

The goal is to reduce sitting and laying as much as possible. Sedentary behavior is deadly. Epidemiological, physiological, and molecular evidence suggest that sitting too much contributes to obesity, more than 30 chronic illnesses and conditions, and high healthcare costs. (1)

2) Do simple yoga

Yoga does not have to be a demanding practice that only experts can complete. You may start with simple postures until you’re comfortable with them, and then build your routine up little by little. These poses are beneficial for people of all ages because they help keep muscles strong and flexible without causing any strain (which means less chance of injury). Yoga can burn calories as well as reduce stress, improve sleep quality, decrease fatigue, and improve well-being. (2)

Here is a simple yoga routine you can do at home.

That’s it!

Yoga requires little space and no special equipment. All that is needed is a yoga mat or even just some clean floor space to attempt these poses and feel the benefits of this activity on the body and mind!

3) Do simple body-weight exercises

Incorporate short bursts of activity each day, such as doing push-ups, tricep dips from a kitchen chair or wall squats while watching television. Throw in some crunches and planks and you’ve got yourself a short and simple workout! All that is needed to complete this routine is one’s own body weight.

Cardiorespiratory fitness may be improved in inactive persons through bodyweight training. (3)

4) Stretch before going to bed

It’s critical to stretch out all of your muscles after a long day of moving about at work or school. This will help you wake up feeling better than if you hadn’t stretched at all. Stretching may be fun, especially in the evening while listening to soothing music. If possible, relax in a pleasant room with the lights dimmed to help you unwind. This is a fantastic technique to get rid of your daily frustrations and prepare for restful sleep!

Stretching can help people with mobility issues who are unable to exercise because of their condition. (4)

5) Drink lots of water

This might sound obvious, but it is true that staying hydrated will help boost your energy, lower blood pressure, make you feel more active, and provide several health benefits. (5)

Studies demonstrate that drinking water enhances weight loss. This is one of the pillars of my 30-day weight loss challenge.

To keep track of how much water you consume, get a big bottle and fill it up every time you drink – making a mental note of how many big swallows it took to get to the bottle’s current level. Soon enough, this will become a habit, and you’ll be drinking more water than usual!


These activities don’t take very long at all, making them easy to work into busy schedules. Even just doing one of them for 30 minutes each day can help improve your health dramatically in just a few weeks!

1) Walk around while talking on the phone or watching television

2) Do simple yoga

3) Do simple exercises for your arms and legs

4) Stretch before going to bed

5) Drink lots of water

Exercise doesn’t have to be a difficult task that people dread doing at home. In fact, it may be quite pleasurable if done in the correct manner! These five methods may be used to integrate exercise into your daily routine from the comfort of your own home. Once they become habit, you might become one of those people who stays healthy without even trying. These pointers could help you wake up refreshed and ready for anything that comes during the day.


Conclusion:

The article discusses five very simple ways to integrate regular exercise into your daily life. The key here is to make them a habit, something you do automatically without having to think about it too much.

If you can develop this kind of automaticity in your lifestyle choices, then it will be much easier for you to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle in the long run!

Thanks for reading! I hope this article has helped you learn more about getting fit without leaving your home.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below or follow me on Facebook.

Stay fit!

How Long Does it Take to Get Abs?

The short answer is that it depends on your genetics, your current body fat, and the effort put forth.

You must get seriously lean to get visible abs. Your leanness is determined by the amount of fat you have or body-fat percent.

The key to getting shredded abs is a body-fat percent below 12% for males and 20% for females. The visibility of your abs increases as body fat decreases. So, your abs are much more noticeable at 10% body fat than at 15%.

Are you ready for abs?


Here are the four basic steps to get abs:

1. Reduce body fat

2. Build lean body mass

3. Strengthen your core

4. Be consistent


1. Reduce body fat

The most important step to get abs is reducing total body fat. This is accomplished by using more energy in a day than you consume. The tricky part is to eat enough calories to maintain a healthy metabolism while creating a calorie deficit.

The first step to reducing body fat is to reduce net calories per day.

Your net calories are the number of calories you eat minus the number of calories you burn per day.

Calories consumed – Calories burned = Net calories

If you want to lose fat, your net calories per day must be below zero. In other words, you must have a negative calorie balance to lose weight.

Running is a great way to increase the number of calories you burn per day. The best form of cardio training is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This form of cardio has many studies to back its efficacy as a fat-burner. You will burn calories even after you complete your workout due to its long-lasting boost to metabolism.

The second thing is eating more protein.

I cover the benefits of a high protein diet enhancing weight loss here. If you want to know the science behind a high protein diet during a calorie deficit, I reference tons of studies so this is a must-read.

In a nutshell, protein is more difficult for the body to digest. This increases its energy requirements during digestion. This energy requirement during digestion is known as the thermogenic effect of food (TEF).

In a study conducted at the University of Milan, high-protein meals had a TEF of 62 calories for a 557 calorie meal. The high-carb meals averaged a TEF of only 21 calories while the high-fat diet didn’t fare much better with a TEF of 23 calories. (1)

High-protein diets have been shown to decrease hunger in the short-term, over 24 hours, and in the long run. (2)

This will make reducing calories and not over-eating much easier.

Since you will no doubt be in a calorie deficit during your quest for abs, higher protein intake is essential to maintain lean body mass. It is possible to lose a ratio of 25% muscle to total weight lost during calorie restriction! (3)

Luckily, this can be avoided with a high-protein diet. (4)


2. Build lean body mass

Higher lean body mass burns more calories even at rest. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body burns at rest per day. It costs the body more energy or calories per day to maintain a body with more muscle. This means burning more calories while doing absolutely nothing.


This means you will need to perform some form of strength training.

I recommend using compound lifts such as bench press, squats, and deadlifts. These exercises recruit more muscle fibers than other exercises. Compound lifting spurs more muscle hypertrophy or growth while burning more calories.

If you need some lifting motivation, check this out.

It is possible to increase lean body mass by over 3 pounds (lbs.) and reduce fat weight by 4 lbs. in as little as ten weeks. The cherry on top is that the resting metabolic rate can increase by 7%. (5)

If you want abs, you need to start strength training today.


3. Strengthen your core

Everyone has abs. If you can’t see them, they are under a layer of fat. You will need to reduce that fat to show off those sexy abs. There is no point in having abs if they don’t serve a purpose though.

If you want abs, you want them strong and powerful. For this, you will need to include core training into your exercise routine.

Here is a simple routine you can perform at home in less than 15 minutes.


4. Be consistent

Success comes from persistence. If you want abs, you will need to put the work in. This doesn’t have to be hard though.

Exercise adherence or the ability to stick to a workout routine will the biggest determining factor in achieving your fitness goals.

In order to be consistent, you will need realistic goals. This means you will need to start with very easy objectives and increase them as your daily habits improve.

If your workout and nutrition plan requires minor changes to your current lifestyle, you are more likely to follow through with it long-term. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a desirable physique.


The 6-pack Abs Success Formula
Resistance training + reduced caloric intake * consistency = 6-pack abs.

Resistance training increases BMR and helps reduce body fat.

Eating fewer calories than consumed will reduce body fat.

Add these two together and throw in the final ingredient – consistency and you will have those abs you so desire.


How long until I get abs?

If you want abs, a slower approach way be more successful.

Now that you realize the importance of consistency, you are probably wondering how long it will take to achieve your desired results.

Most trainers recommend reducing body fat by no more than 1 percent per week.

Rapid weight loss is a bad idea compared to slower sustained weight loss. In this study, subjects consumed either 500-750 calories less or 1,000-1500 calories less per day for a total of 15 weeks. The slow weight loss subjects lost an average of 12.1 lbs. While the rapid weight loss subject experienced an average of 11.44 lbs. Both groups lost about 12 lbs. but the slow weight loss group lost 1.1 lbs. of lean body mass while the fast weight loss group lost about 3.3 lbs.! This supports the idea that faster weight loss is not always better. (6)

It is important to note that this study had participants eating only 15% protein per day. If you read this article about supplemental whey protein, you will see that eating more protein can prevent lean body mass loss while dieting.

One percent per week may be too much for some individuals.

This study recommends athletes reduce body fat by 0.7% per week for optimum fat loss. It also shows that between 1-2 lbs. of weight loss per week is superior for exercise performance. (7)
Since you are on this blog searching for tips about developing abs, I will assume you are not an athlete and simply want to have stunning abs. In that case, I will use the average American male and female for my examples below.

Here is your average American I will use for the examples below.


Free abs spreadsheet

I created a spreadsheet for the calculations used below. You can download it here.

If you find this tool helpful, please share this post with friends and family.

Getting abs as a man

How much weight do I need to lose?

The average male in the United States stands at 5’9 and weighs 199.8 lbs.

Kevin wants to get washboard abs. He is your average 20-something American male.

We are going to figure out how long it will take him to get abs.

I will make this simple and use his fat-free mass as a method of keeping track of his lean body mass or muscle.

At 199.8 lbs. with 20% body fat, Kevin has about 160 lbs. of fat-free mass.

The next step is to calculate how much weight he must lose to reach 10% body fat while maintaining his muscle.

I played with the numbers a bit until I reached a goal of reaching 10% bodyfat while keeping my fat-free mass a couple lbs. less than it is right now.

Again, I can’t stress the importance of eating a high-protein diet during this journey. I recommend whey protein shakes before the gym, after the gym, and before bed. Here is a detailed review of my favorite whey protein brands.

Unless you are genetically gifted or have high testosterone, there is a chance you will lose muscle mass as you lean up. With this in mind, I have included a little muscle loss in these calculations.

Kevin must lose about 25 lbs. of weight while only losing 2.5 lbs. of muscle.

With a conservative weight loss target of 1.5 lbs. per week, it will take him just over 16 weeks. If he really pushes it and loses 2 lbs. per week, it will only take him a little over 12 weeks.

How much to eat per day

This depends on your activity level, how many calories you burn per day, and current weight.

Using the example above, to lose 2 lbs. per week, Kevin must eat 2,126 calories per day along with doing his full-body resistance training program 3 times per week.

Bottom line:

If you are an average male like Kevin, you will need to lose about 25 lbs.

It will take a normal male about 16 weeks to get abs with consistent calorie restriction and exercise.

This can vary depending upon your current body-fat percent and the way you store fat. This is genetic.


Getting abs as a female

The average woman in the US weighs 170.8 lbs.

Meet Jill. She is recently single, ready to mingle, and wants to get abs.

She weighs 170 lbs. at 30% body fat giving her 119 lbs. of fat-free mass

She must reduce her body fat to 20% while keeping her fat-free mass relatively the same.

I estimated a loss of 3 lbs. of fat-free mass (keeping 116 lbs. fat-free mass) during her journey to abs. Typically, females have a more difficult time gaining and preserving muscle due to hormone levels.

Jill must lose 25 lbs to reach 20% body fat.

How much to eat per day

If Jill wants to lose 2 lbs. per week, she must eat around 1,428 calories per day in conjunction with a full-body resistance training program 3 times per week.

This is definitely on the lower end and not recommended. If she eats 1,688 calories per day she can lose 1.5 lbs. per week without risking her metabolic rate. Realistic goals will help her stick to her calories.

Bottom line: It will take a typical American female just over 16 weeks to get abs. This estimate is based on losing 1.5 lbs. per week. It is possible to reach this goal in a little over 12 weeks losing 2 lbs. per week.


Your plan for abs

Figure out where you are

You must know your body-fat percent.

There are many ways to determine your current body fat with varying degrees of accuracy. The most accurate is hydrostatic (underwater) weighing with other methods decreasing in accuracy as user-error increases.

If you want to spend a little money and accurately find out your body-fat percent, I recommend getting a bod pod assessment. It is as accurate as hydrostatic weighing and much easier. It will cost between $45-$60.

There are cheaper methods you can use at home. The two most popular methods are calipers and a tape measure.

The caliper method is relatively accurate depending upon the person taking the measurements. This method determines body fat by collecting skin-fold measurements. The most important part of getting an accurate reading with calipers is repeatability. You must use the same technique every time or your results will be inaccurate.

Skinfold Calipers

Circumference-based measurements using a tape measure are the fastest way to estimate your body-fat percentage at home. Simply collect the needed measurements with a tape measure and plug them into the US Navy Body Fat formula.

Now that you know where you are, figure out where you need to be to reach your body fat goal. This free online target weight calculator can help.


Figure out where you need to be

Once you figure out your target weight, you will need to decide how many lbs. of weight you want to lose per week.

Make this achievable and very easy in the beginning. The easier your plan is, the more likely you will stick with it. Sticking to your program is the only way to succeed. You can increase the intensity of your weight loss program once you get those habits built.

Calculate your target daily calories based on desired weekly weight loss. Remember, it costs 3,500 calories per pound of fat.

A simple way to determine how many calories to cut daily is to take the weight you want to lose in lbs. per week (for example 2 lbs. = 7,000 calories) and divide this number by 7. This will give you the number of calories you should reduce daily.

The Plan for Abs Summary:

  • Determine current body-fat percent.
  • Find your goal weight and body-fat percent.
  • Pick your weekly weight loss goal.
  • Calculate your calories per day.
  • Lift weights 3x per week.
  • Be consistent.

That’s it!



What’s the takeaway?

Consistency is key. Remember to aim for 1.5 to 2 lbs. weight loss per week.

An average person will get abs in 16 weeks of consistent calorie restriction and exercise.

Eat more protein and drink more water. If you want faster results, add cardio.

Genetic factors can play a role in metabolism and how the body stores fat. Everyone is different. If you want an individually tailored plan and don’t want to figure it out on your own, I suggest hiring a personal trainer.

Bottom line, if you want your abs to show then you need to reduce your body fat.

Is Whey Protein Good for Weight Loss?

I have noticed several users on Reddit and Quora asking if whey protein is good for weight loss. About a year ago in grad school, I recall reading a couple of studies showing whey protein’s statistically significant benefits on weight loss. I remember skimming a few of the studies. At the time, I was conducting pilot studies on caffeine so this information was quickly sent to my brain’s recycle bin.

Good news though! After reviewing some literature, I have the answer.

Whey protein has many wonderful beneficial health effects and promotes weight loss. Whey protein plays a direct role in improving satiety and decreasing hunger. In addition to reducing appetite, protein digestion requires more energy (calories) for digestion than carbohydrates or fat. This energy cost causes the body to burn more calories at rest. The long-term effects of whey protein consumption during a strength training program increase skeletal muscle mass and strength more than strength training alone. An increase in muscle mass leads to an increase in basal metabolic rate or the rate of calories burned at rest. A higher basal metabolic rate increases weight loss even at rest. Whew! That was a mouthful. Here is a summary of the benefits.

Whey protein benefits weight loss by:

  • Increasing metabolism
  • Decreasing appetite
  • Increasing muscle mass
  • Increasing basal metabolic rate (calories burned at rest)
  • Increasing acute post-exercise recovery time

I will cover each of these benefits in depth along with providing research to back up these claims below. If I haven’t bored you to death by then, you will find my whey protein recommendations near the bottom of this post.


What exactly is whey protein?

Whey protein is derived from a mixture of proteins isolated from milk during cheese production. It is heavy in amino acids, especially leucine which is known for its effects on protein synthesis and muscle formation.

Fun Fact: It takes 720 pounds of raw liquid to make one 5 pound bag of whey!

If you want to learn about the entire process of how whey protein is made, check this out.

whey protein from yogurt

What makes whey protein better than other sources of protein?

Whey protein boosts high essential branched-chain amino acids including high leucine content. This stimulates protein synthesis increasing muscle growth as well as decreasing muscle breakdown during dieting. Whey protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis better than other proteins such as casein and soy. (1)

As you continue reading, you will see why this is important in weight loss.


Does whey protein increase metabolism?

The thermogenic effect of food (TEF) is the calories required to digest food. TEF is higher with protein-heavy meals (to include whey) than carbohydrates or fat-based. (2)
The increase in energy consumption and heat to break proteins down into useable amino acids is thermogenesis. Thermogenesis means “heat creation” and is important to weight loss.

High protein diets lead to improved body composition and increased metabolic profile. These body composition changes last after weight loss due to increased thermogenesis, energy inefficiency, and metabolic changes from a high protein diet. (2)

Metabolic or energy inefficiency is desired when trying to lose weight. Since energy inefficiency causes the body to expend more energy to utilize macronutrients such as protein, the more inefficient your metabolism is, the more it burns calories during digestion.


Can whey protein decrease appetite?

Whey protein decreases hunger. This decrease in hunger has been shown to occur in the short-term, over 24 hours, and in the long term when a high-protein diet is followed. (3)

The easiest way to increase protein consumption is supplementation. Whey protein is better than casein protein for increasing satiety and decreasing hunger. (4) (5)


Will whey protein can lead to increased muscle mass?

People lose more fat, increase strength, and increase skeletal muscle better with whey than without while performing a resistance training program. (6) (7)

The key to increasing muscle mass while using whey protein is to lift weights. This study showed that over a year only participants that lifted while taking whey increased muscle mass. (8)

The good news is that both younger (6) and older (8) people see these results with a combination of whey protein and resistance training.

An increase in muscle mass will cause the body to burn more calories at rest by increasing your basal metabolic rate (BMR). (9)

A higher BMR leads to easier weight loss.


Does dieting cause muscle loss?

Dieters can lose lean body mass (LBM) or muscle during caloric restriction equivalent to roughly 25% of the total weight lost. (10)

After reading the paragraphs above about BMR and muscle, it is apparent this is bad if you want to continue losing weight or more specifically fat. The silver lining is that supplemental whey protein can enhance fat-free mass when combined with exercise. (11)


Can whey protein decrease recovery time and perceived soreness?

In addition to supplementation enhancing total body anabolism, it improves acute recovery times in resistance training routines. (12) (13)

A lack of soreness and increase in recovery time means more time exercising and more time burning calories for weight loss. Recovery time is an undervalued variable when improving your health and losing weight. Simply put, more time working out equals more time losing weight.


Are there any other health benefits?

Whey protein is a cost-effective supplement that provides many essential amino acids that can enhance immune function and provide anti-oxidant support on top of the weight loss benefits. (14) .

Supplementing after strength training reduces inflammation and improves metabolic function compared to placebo. (15)

Age-related decline such as sarcopenia, reduced skin frailty, and decreased immune function can be reduced with supplementation. (16) (17)


Best whey protein dosage for weight loss

Hopefully, I have convinced you of the wonders of this weight loss supplement.

You have told all your friends about whey by sharing this post. 🙂

And now, you are probably wondering the best way to use it.

Three times per day is the answer.

How much protein should I consume daily?

The recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8g protein per kg or 0.36g protein per lb of body weight. For a 180 lb person, this equals about 65g protein per day. The problem with only consuming 65g of protein during a diet is the inevitable muscle loss which leads to a reduction in metabolic rate. (10)

There exists a large body of scientific evidence to support protein intakes above the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) (0.8 g protein/kg/day) to promote the retention of skeletal muscle and loss of adipose tissue during dietary energy restriction. (18)

One study suggests athletes consume from 1.8g to 2.7g protein /kg of body weight while on a reduction of 500 calories per day during a weight loss or fat reduction cycle. (11)

However, daily protein recommendations to maintain muscle and increase fat loss during calorie restriction vary significantly from 1.2g /kg to 3.1g /kg. (19) (20) (21)

The question remains, “How much protein per day is ideal for weight loss while retaining muscle?”

This depends entirely on the severity of calorie restriction, amount and intensity of exercise, and individual metabolism.

For non-athletes and regular folks that just want to lose their love handles, the upper end of these recommendations may not be necessary. I would suggest 1.8g protein per kilogram or 0.8g protein per pound of body weight per day. This recommendation is on the low-end of the recommended intake during weight loss. However, it can be adjusted week by week as you fine-tune your fitness routine and nutrition.

Our total protein intake should look like this: weight (lbs.) * 0.8 = daily protein intake

For a 180lb person, this equals about 144g of protein.

This is an easily achieved goal with whey protein shakes.

How many protein shakes per day?

Free-living overweight adults experienced an improvement in fat distribution, insulin resistance, and other health markers by consuming three whey protein shakes (20g protein each) per day along with exercise training. (22)


When should I consume whey protein?

You should consume 20g of whey protein before exercise, after exercise, and before bed.

Pre-exercise whey dosing

There is an increase in muscle circumference, strength, and exercise volume in as little as 12 weeks when consuming whey protein prior to strength training. (23)

Consuming whey protein before cardiovascular exercise has shown to increase fat oxidation while decreasing the breakdown of protein or muscle especially in a fasted state. (24)

Post-exercise whey dosing

Muscle growth is increased and recovery is improved with supplemental whey post-exercise. (13)

Whey protein before bed

Athletes supplementing with whey protein before bed experienced improved recovery and reduced muscle soreness. (11) (25)


Is supplementing with whey protein safe?

I am not a doctor and this blog does not offer medical advice. Disclaimer.

However, based on research I have gathered, protein consumption above the recommended RDA is safe and effective for most people. For example, protein intake of 1.4g protein per kg body weight has been shown safe and effective for elderly subjects with metabolic impairments. (26)

It is important to note that chronic and excessive consumption can cause adverse effects on kidney and liver function. (27)

However, this safety concern is debated by researchers.

A meta-analysis of over 300,000 studies confirmed whey protein’s efficacy and safety profile. (28)

The key take-away is to supplement with whey intelligently and avoid excessive use. Even water is deadly in excess.

Side Effects

Most people do not experience side effects with whey protein. Some people especially with milk sensitivity can experience side effects with excessive doses. Side effects include (29)

  • increased bowel movements
  • acne
  • nausea
  • thirst
  • bloating
  • reduced appetite
  • tiredness
  • headache

Top 5 Whey Protein Products of 2022

I have been using whey protein daily just about my whole life and these are the products I use and recommend. These rankings may seem harsh but these are comparing my top 5 against each other.

Ranking my top 5 recommendations

I used four categories to determine the overall brand rankings. All metrics are weighted equally.

Value – This metric isn’t just the overall price of the product. Since these products vary in total servings and protein per serving, the price per serving and the price per 25g of protein were used to determine value.

Nutrition: This was calculated by the amount of protein relative to sugar, carbs, and fat.

Taste: This subjective ranking is based on my personal preference. There are many flavors but I only have experience with the chocolate varieties and this is how I graded this category.

Mixability: This is a semi-subjective ranking based on my belief in how easily the powders mix and dissolve into room temperature water. The same protein shaker cup was used for all products.


1. Amazing Muscle 100%

  • Size: 5 lbs
  • Cost: $44.99
  • Servings: 67
  • Cost per serving: $0.67
  • Total protein: 1675g
  • Cost per 25g protein: $0.67

Pros: Advanced formula with whey protein isolate as a primary ingredient along with ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate makes this whey protein #1 in mixability. It has 5.5g BCAAs along with 4g glutamine. This company boasts being a GMP-certified facility with purity and potency testing.

Cons: Contains 6g carbs. It doesn’t have the best macronutrient profile.

Bottom Line: Even though this whey protein product doesn’t have the best macronutrient profile, it leads the way in pricing, mixability, and has the second-best taste. I highly recommend it.


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2. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100%

  • Size: 5 lbs
  • Cost: $59.99
  • Servings: 74
  • Cost per serving: $0.81
  • Total protein: 1776g
  • Cost per 25g protein: $0.84

Pros: Banned Substance tested. This gives competing athletes peace of mind. Comes in a wide range of flavors. The mixability of this product is above average. It has over 5.5g of BCAAs and over 4g of glutamine.

Cons: It’s not the cheapest but it’s not the most expensive either. It is the second most expensive per 25g of protein.

Bottom Line: This product ranks first in taste and second in nutritional profile. There are many flavors so the chances of finding one you like are high. Here is a safe bet if you haven’t purchased whey before.


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3. Nutricost

  • Size: 5 lbs
  • Cost: $67.95
  • Servings: 64
  • Cost per serving: $1.06
  • Total protein: 1920g
  • Cost per 25g protein: $0.88

Pros: This product contains the best macronutrient profile with 30g protein, 1g net carbs (1g fiber), and 1g fat. Made in a GMP compliant, FDA Registered facility. This product contains to most total protein.

Cons: Most expensive with a cost per serving of $1.06.

Bottom Line: If you have the money, this is the whey protein to buy. This product contains the best macronutrient profile and once you account for total protein in the price, it isn’t priced much more than the Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein.


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4. MusclePharm Combat 100%

  • Size: 5 lbs
  • Cost: $52.79
  • Servings: 67
  • Cost per serving: $0.79
  • Total protein: 1675g
  • Cost per 25g protein: $0.79

Pros: Banned-substance tested. Gluten-free with no artificial dyes. Great flavors.

Cons: This whey protein sits comfortable in the middle of the pack on all measured metrics.

Bottom Line: This product sits pretty much in the middle of all categories. This is another safe bet if you are unsure which protein to go with. If you see a flavor you like, I would try this product.


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5. Body Fortress

  • Size: 5 lbs
  • Cost: $40.79
  • Servings: 45
  • Cost per serving: $0.91
  • Total protein: 1350g
  • Cost per 25g protein: $0.76

Pros: Contains some carbs which is beneficial especially post-workout. This product contains 30g protein per scoop which ties for the most overall.

Cons: Second most expensive whey protein per serving with the least amount of total protein. This product contains the highest carb and sugar count. This can be beneficial post-workout but not ideal before bed.

Bottom Line: Even though it is the second most expensive protein per serving, it still ranks 2nd overall in value due to its higher protein content and lowest overall price. If you see a flavor you like, this product may surprise you. If you find a good deal on it, I wouldn’t pass it up.


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There you have it, my top whey recommendations.

Overall best whey protein:

Highest quality whey protein:

Best value whey protein:


How did I go about ranking these products?

I ranked each product on a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest. Total scores were calculated by adding the total points in each category.

Conclusion
The scientific literature confirms that whey protein is beneficial to short-term and long-term weight loss. The benefits received from supplementing with whey protein should not be ignored. I hope that you learned as much from reading this article as I did researching it. Please share this article with family and friends who could benefit from whey protein.

Do you have any other brand suggestions or personal experience with these brands?

Let me know in the comments below!

30-Day Low Effort Fat Loss Challenge

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.

eating eggs to lose weight

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

Bottom Line

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.

I hope you found this article helpful, please share with your friends and family using the buttons below.

Running to Lose Weight

Is Running to Lose Weight Possible?

Weight loss is accelerated when running is added to a calorie restricted diet.

There are more benefits to running. According to a research review published in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, runners have a 25%-40% reduced risk of premature mortality and have a lifespan of 3 years longer than non-runners. Along with the obvious physical benefits of running, there are positive psychological benefits of losing weight. An increase of self-esteem from looking great while achieving your fitness goals is one of those benefits. So, are you ready to get started running to lose weight?

What is running?

Running is a method of travel allowing us to move rapidly across distances on foot. During this activity, both feet at some point are above the ground which is not the case when we walk. While running has always been a mode of travel for bipedal creatures, it took on particular significance in ancient Greece as the first Olympic games achieved success in the late 6th century BCE. It became popular among non-athletes during the running epidemic of the 70s and continues to be a popular past-time for athletes and fitness enthusiasts worldwide. With that in mind, is it possible for regular non-athletes to use running to lose weight?

Is running to lose weight a realistic goal?

Yes! Running to lose weight is one of the most effective and cheap ways to lose weight. To run, you aren’t required to get a gym membership, a new bike, or any other fitness gear except a pair of running shoes. The barrier to entry for this type of weight loss is ridiculously low… just you and a pair of running shoes. With that in mind, running to lose weight is easy to get started but will you lose weight? Yep!

running to lose weight shoes

Should I walk or run to lose weight?

For the most part, walking versus running a mile burns the same amount of calories. The difference comes from the time spent during the activity. If you are walking a mile you are probably traveling at 3 miles per hour. This means in one hour you will have walked 3 miles and burned approximately 300 calories. This is an approximation since there are many factors such as a person’s weight that determine how many calories they burn during exercise. On the other hand, you decide to run for an hour. Even running at a slow pace of 6 miles per hour, you will burn about 600 calories which is double what you would have burned walking.

If possible, choose running.

If you are physically capable, I highly recommend running even at a slow pace over walking if running to lose weight is your main priority. A study published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory surveyed over 15,237 walkers versus 32,216 runners on weight loss in free-living non-experimental conditions over a 6.2 years. The results confirm what we all know… running will help you lose much more weight than walking especially over time.


Two Major Types of Running to Lose Weight

Is all running created equal? No, it is not. I will cover two types of running. There are millions of training methods and techniques but these will work for the purpose of losing weight.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

It is my opinion that HIIT is the king of weight loss. High-intensity interval training is a method of training that consists of two primary phases. The first is an active phase and the second is a recovery phase. For example, running hard for 30 seconds followed by 60 seconds of recovery. With high-intensity interval training, you are taxing the body heavily during those 30 seconds. You want to push yourself to the edge and keep pushing until the 30 seconds are over. Once 30 seconds are up, you are either jogging or walking for 60 seconds. At the end of the 60 seconds, you should be ready to push it again for 30 seconds hard. If not, you may need to slow down or walk during your recovery phase until you have built up enough endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

Distance-based interval training is another HIIT option and is my favorite type. I prefer to do a ¼ mile high-intensity sprint followed by a ¼ mile recovery phase. There is another benefit to performing HIIT. With HIIT, your body will continue to burn calories even after the exercise is stopped due to a little biological process known as excessive post-oxygen consumption (EPOC). Without getting into the details and boring you, this means that your body has to use energy (calories) to clear out the by-products (oxygen debt) created during exercise. This thermic effect can last between 3 and 24 hours!

Running to Lose Weight HIIT track

Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS)

Let’s be honest. HIIT sounds like the ticket to success and it can be. However, HIIT is very taxing on the body and cannot be performed every day. This is where LISS comes into play. During this form of running, you simply run at a pace that you can easily maintain for an hour. I am talking about a pace where you can carry on a conversation without breathing heavily. Not only does LISS provide a nice addition to HIIT training, but it also allows you to continue exercising and losing weight every day which is something you could not do with HIIT alone. Low-intensity running gets the blood flowing and could benefit recovery as well as improve your exercise endurance.


Running to Lose Weight

Diet and Nutrition

Now keep in mind, some people have unrealistic exercise-induced weight loss expectations. Once you understand that weight loss occurs through the nose, might start paying more attention to the food you eat. This isn’t a joke.

Running to lose weight nose

Weight loss occurs via breathing for the most part. Inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide is the primary method that fat loss occurs. Now heavy breathing alone won’t cause weight loss. Breathing is part of the metabolic process during energy metabolism. This is just my way to show you that exercise alone isn’t the best way to tackle weight loss.

So if you are serious about losing weight, you will have to tighten up your diet in addition to heavy breathing via exercise. If you are unsure how many calories per day you are consuming, I suggest you track everything you eat for the next 3 days. I suggest using a food journal app such as MyFitnessPal (this is the one I use). With this app, you can even scan the barcodes of food you eat to make sure you are tracking your food accurately.

Once you have an estimate of how many calories you consume per day, it is time to determine how many calories you burn in a day while completely at rest. This is called your basal metabolic rate or BMR for short. Here is a BMR calculator. Once your BMR is calculated, you will need to determine how much weight per week you want to lose. Unless you are competing on The Biggest Loser, I suggest you aim for no more than 2 pounds per week. Extreme dieting can seriously mess up your metabolism and create rebound weight gain and a host of other problems for you in the future. Two pounds per week may seem like not enough but please don’t exceed that unless you are competing for a sport or are under a doctor’s supervision.

So how do we figure out how much food we should eat daily? This can be tricky and results can vary widely. To burn a pound of fat, you must create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. The trick is to maintain enough caloric intake to sustain your metabolism while trying to create that deficit. Your best bet is to start by overestimating your BMR and week by week make adjustments to fine-tune your nutritional intake based on your individual metabolism.


Prepare your Running to Lose Weight Plan

Here is a fictitious example of someone who would like to lose 1.5 pounds per week. She is generally inactive most of the day in an office job when she isn’t exercising. This is important when calculating her daily caloric intake.

Age: 25

Gender: Female

Height: 5’6

Weight: 180

Basal Metabolic Rate:

1,578 calories per day at rest

1,894 calories per day with minimum activity

Current daily calories consumed: 2,000 kcal

Weekly calories consumed: 14,000 kcal

Calorie deficit needed for 1.5 lb weight loss per week: 5,250 kcals (3,500 kcals per lb)

Running:

25 miles per week

Calories burned per week: 2,500 kcal

Calories to cut from eating: 2,750 kcals (5,250 kcal – 2,500 kcal )

Caloric intake reduction per day: 393 kcals (2,750 kcal / 7 days)

Daily calorie target: 1,501 kcals (1894 kcals – 393 kcals)

Summary:

If this individual who is currently eating 2,000 kcals per day wanted to lose 1.5 lbs per week, she would have to reduce her daily intake by about 500 kcals to meet the daily target of 1,501 kcals per day. She would also need to run 25 miles per week which is a little over 4 miles per day plus a rest day. As you can see, even at 1.5 lbs per week weight loss, the price can be pretty high.

I would never suggest a female go under 1,500 kcals per day and a male to eat less than 2,000 kcals. This scenario of just 1.5 lbs per week has this person at the bare minimum daily caloric intake I feel comfortable with. I am not a dietitian though and this is not medical or nutritional advice. If she wanted to lose 2 lbs per week, she would probably need to run an extra 17 miles per week.


Running Plan the Easy Way

If this was way too much math for you, it was for me too. There is a much simpler and probably only a little less accurate way to estimate your target daily calories to consume. Once you calculate your BMR on the BMR calculator link above, there is a daily calorie needs based on activity level chart.

Running to Lose Weight BMR

Take the activity level that best fits your lifestyle. For the example above, her daily calorie needs were estimated at 2,722 calories. She does have a relatively sedentary life except for intense exercise 6-7 times per week. We must create a weekly calorie deficit of 5,250 kcals to lose 1.5 lbs per week.

BMR: 1894 kcals

Estimated calories needed per day: 2,722 kcals

Daily calorie deficit: 828 kcals

Weekly deficit: 5,796 kcals

Keep in mind, everyone’s body is different. Your best bet is to err on the side of caution in your daily calorie deficit and fine-tune your weight loss as the weeks go by. If you start at a too aggressive weight loss strategy, it is possible to stall your weight loss due to your body down-regulating your metabolism.


Getting Started Running to Lose Weight

By now, you are motivated to run and have figured out how many calories per day you need to eat and how many miles per week you need to run. The next step is to figure out a running routine.

How many days a week should you run to lose weight?

This will depend on how many miles per week you have estimated you need to run to reach your running weight loss goal and the amount of time per day to run. In the beginning, I would probably start with only one HIIT session per week and fill the rest with LISS-style training. Beginners should probably start with 3 running sessions per week.

Example Routine

Using the example above, we will devise a running routine. She has calculated that she needs to run 25 miles per week. This is above to recommended 15 miles per week for beginner runners. This increases her chance of injury such as shin splints especially if she is heavily overweight or is completely new to running. For this example, we will assume she has the running experience to handle 25 miles per week. I will further reduce her risk of injury by only including one day of HIIT per week. You will want to increase your running mileage with progressive overload to continue to make progress. It is recommended by most running gurus to increase total weekly distance by no more than 10% per week to reduce the chances of injury.

Pre-Run Warm-up

It is vital to warm up properly and stretch before exercising. This will allow your muscles and joints to warm-up thus decreasing the risk of injury. I like to walk for about 5 minutes and then stretch before I run to warm up the muscles. Here is an example stretching routine:

Intermediate Runner Routine:

Monday – 4 miles LISS

Tuesday – 2 miles HIIT (¼ mile sprint / ¼ mile walk)

Wednesday – recovery (no running)

Thursday – 4 mile LISS

Friday – 5 mile LISS

Saturday – 5 mile LISS

Sunday – 5 miles LISS

This may seem like a lot especially for a beginner. This is less than an hour per day exercising for 6 days a week. However, new runners with zero experience should not attempt this routine.

If you are an absolute beginner, this routine may be a safer bet:

New Beginner Routine

Run 3 times per week.

Run 2 minutes followed by 2 minutes of rest

Repeat for target running time or distance

Add 1 minute to the run every week

Decrease the rest time every week

For example:

Week 1 runs – 2-minute run / 2-minute walk

Week 2 runs – 3-minute run / 1 minute 30-second walk

Week 3 runs – 4-minute run / 1-minute walk

Post-Run Stretching

This phase is just as important as the pre-run stretching. You can perform the same pre-run stretching as a cool down. I would suggest ending the run with a nice walk to bring your heart rate back down to baseline. This is especially true for HIIT training. During intense exercise, your body is under many physiological processes from clearing lactate to providing oxygen and energy. If you simply cease exercise without a cool-down, this is comparable to driving 60 miles per hour towards your house and slamming on the brakes just as you arrive. Your body will thank you for a proper cool-down after each run.


Bottom Line

Wow. If that seemed like a lot to digest, you can always start small with your weight loss goals. For example, start tracking your food daily and start the beginner running routine above. Increase your total weekly mileage by 10%. Monitor your weight loss and make small incremental changes to your daily caloric intake.

I hope this article has inspired you to take the plunge into running for weight loss. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask and if you found this information useful please share it with friends and family with the buttons below.

Do you run or plan to for weight loss? Let me know in the comments below.

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