Why is it Hard to Lose Weight?

So why do so many people struggle with their weight? in certain counties being overweight and obesity is Fitness & weight loss quotesbecoming more and more of a problem.

Some of the possible reasons why so many people struggle with maintaining a healthy weight

Ignorance – a pure basic lack of knowledge could be a possible reason. Simply not understanding the benefits or the potential side effects of not maintaining a healthy weight.

Easy access to junk foods – junk foods are so easy to pick up and most are cheap. It has never been easier to get hold of a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps/chips or something along those lines.

The government is partly responsible for allowing such easy access to these foods. In the UK almost all of the vending machines in public places consist of chocolate bars and crisps/chips.

The government complains about the strain and expense on the health service from health problems caused by being overweight, yet we are not seeing much change to the access of these foods.

The way we think – we live in a very instant gratification world, often people are not thinking about the consequences of their actions but rather just aiming for that instant fix to feel better or get pleasure from what they eat.

The most important reason for eating is staying alive and providing our bodies with the nutrients it requires. This is why we need to consume, basic and simple, however in much of the world this understanding or way of thinking has been lost.

These days in much of the world food is equal to pleasure, pleasure and instant gratification rule! this has happened because in richer counties food is in abundance and so easily accessible. The way we think doesn’t just apply to food and diet, it also applies to exercise as well. For many people exercise seems like an unpleasant thing, when they think about exercise they relate it too boredom, pain and generally unpleasantness.

There is some truth to this however there are many feel good benefits that come from exercise, most are just not as instant or obvious, again it comes back to the instant gratification culture that is so dominate.

This is a very difficult one because for this point to be useful it would require a change of thinking and as most of us know change is not easy, it requires a lot of work. It also requires us to consider that the way we think about food and exercise is wrong and this is something that many people are not willing to do, the emphasis here on being wrong in our thinking.

Why is it so difficult? the way we think which is possibly caused by our modern day societies, easy access to cheap junk food, advertising and of course there is always an element of personal responsibility.

Obesity is becoming a real problem here in the UK costing the government an ever increasing amount in health care costs. The government needs to change things before this problem will improve, cheap junk foods need to be less accessible and controlled with an increased amount of healthier well priced alternatives.

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Healthy Weight Chart

healthy weight chartSo how much should we actually weigh? using a healthy weight chart can give us an idea or our ideal weight based on our height.

This page has a healthy weight chart which you can look over, it will give you a rough guideline of the weight you should be aiming for.

However the chart here has limits, just like the Body Mass Index it doesn’t take into account the amount of muscle somebody has. Body builders may be heavier than the recommended weight because of their extra muscle mass, they may also have a lower than average body fat percentage, so it may seem surprising to some when they are considered over weight by such measures.

If you are into body building don’t be concerned if you are above the listed ideal weight, however most experienced body builders will already be aware of this.

It’s a good idea to know your ideal body weight. Having that knowledge can help to keep these things in mind which can help us to keep track of our weight.

The below chart is only designed to be used by adults above the age of 18, anybody below that age should use a chart or body mass index calculator designed for children and for those who are still growing.

  • Those that are underweight the cause of this 9 times out of 10 is just simply you are not eating enough, however there can be other reasons. If you strongly believe you are eating plenty each day, at least matching your recommended daily calorie intake amount it may be a good idea to contact your doctor to see if something else is causing the below average weight.
  • Those within the normal weight range, this is obviously a good indicator which means that gaining or losing weight is not of the up most importance. However this doesn’t mean somebody doesn’t have a little too much body fat or too little muscle mass, it’s all down to personal preference and what you are happy with.
  • Lastly for those who are overweight, the cause of this most of the time is simply too little exercise and too much unhealthy eating. Being overweight has a few different levels which are simply known as Overweight, then we have Obese and very Obese. Sometimes weight gain can be caused by other reasons other than a lack of exercise and overeating. If you are in the obese range it would be a good idea to visit your doctor to make sure there are not other health factors contributing to any weight gains.

Height - Feet and InchesMaleFemale
5' 0"117 - 136102 - 125
5' 1"122 - 141107 - 130
5' 2"125 - 145111 - 134
5' 3"128 - 148115 - 139
5' 4"131 - 151118 - 141
5' 5"133 - 154121 - 145
5' 6"135 - 157124 - 147
5' 7"138 - 160126 - 149
5' 8"141 - 163128 - 152
5' 9"144 - 166131 - 154
5' 10"147 - 170134 - 158
5' 11"150 - 176137 - 162
6' 0"154 - 183140 - 167
6' 1"160 - 192143 - 170
6' 2"165 - 202146 - 174
6' 3"171 - 208149 - 178
6' 4"176 - 215152 - 182
6' 5"182 - 220155 - 187
6' 6"187 - 227
6' 7"192 - 233
6' 8"197 - 237
6' 9"202 - 242
6' 10"208 - 248

Just in case you didn’t realize the weights in the chart are listed in lbs.

Healthy Weight Loss Tips

There is absolutely loads of information out there to do with weight loss. However because there is so much information out there, some if that information conflicts with each other, and it can all become a little confusing.

I aim to pick out all the best tips based on my research and personal experience, and I hope to put an end to some of that confusion.

Healthy Weight Loss Tips

One of the biggest tips that I can think of is not thinking of weight loss as a temporary activity or goal, instead make it a permanent yet gradual change. Completely rule out the idea of only a temporary change of habits, I don’t believe this way of thinking is very productive. It may be difficult to change the way we think about diet and exercise but I believe it is necessary for success in this area.

Be aware of things like your ideal weight and body mass index. Sometimes we fail to notice small gains in body fat, but over time it can lead to a surprising amount of added body fat. If we keep track of these gains they’re less likely to get out of hand.

Keep track of your calorie intake, sometimes people are unaware of just how much they’re eating. It may feel like we are not eating that much, however often people are eating far more than they actually realize. Having a rough idea of our calorie intake could help to prevent weight gain via fat increase by simply having that knowledge.

Understand the potential health risks to being overweight and the reduction to the quality of our lives. These risks range from diabetes, circulation problems, serious back and knee problems, also mental health issues like depression.

Balanced lifestyle! balance is very important. Balance between good healthy foods and our little indulgences, it’s okay to treat ourselves, however there has to be balance between to two if you want to control your body fat. As well as balance in our diets we also need a good balance between exercise, rest and relaxation.

Why do we need to eat? seems like a silly question to ask however it seems like many people have forgotten. When we feel hungry our bodies require nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals, that’s basically it, and that’s what we should keep in mind when we choose something to eat. This connection between understanding what our bodies need and hunger seems to be lost, many people just relate food to pleasure, and forget why we really need to eat. We should be enjoying what we eat however that basic reason for food shouldn’t be lost or forgotten.

I realize these are not your standard weight loss tips, which is good because there are so many of those floating around anyway. My final tip on weight loss and reducing your body fat percentage is this, be patient, results take time.

Should I Eat Carbs?

So are carbohydrates good or bad? carbs often get a bad reputation for being bad for us and being responsible for gaining body fat. However it’s not as simple as that, carbohydrates are a very important part of our diets.

Carbohydrates are the easiest form of energy that our bodies can use and also the main source of energy. Our muscles store carbohydrates as glycogen which is what gives them energy. Carbohydrates create glucose once it has been digested, then it will travel around the body by our blood where it will be converted to energy while it’s in our cells.

How do carbs make us fat?

When we consume excess carbohydrates which forms glucose, this excess glucose will be converted to glycogen, this glycogen is stored in your liver and in body fat (fat gain). This process is reversed when our bodies need energy when it can’t gain that energy from food we have consumed, glycogen will be converted back to glucose so it can be used by the body for energy (fat loss).

Good carbs and bad carbs

All carbohydrates are not equal, on one side we have what we call simple carbohydrates and we also have complex carbohydrates.

Simple Carbohydrates (simple molecule mixture)

This is the one that gives us a quick energy release, simple carbs provide instant energy and usually very little nutritional value except for some fruits which are classed as simple carbs. simple carbs are high on the glycemic index which means that they are metabolized by the body quickly. The following are examples of simple carbs, white bread, chips, white rice, biscuits, cakes, chocolate and soft drinks to name a few.

Complex Carbohydrates (complex molecule mixture)

These type of carbs have a low glycemic index which means that they are a slower form of energy release. Examples of complex carbs are whole wheat bread, brown rice, bananas, oats, vegetables and generally foods that are nutrient rich.

Why are carbohydrates so important?

  • Supplying our muscles with energy which is incredibly important for reaching muscular failure, the more energy our muscles have that much harder we can work them therefore resulting in better results.
  • The glucose we gain from carbohydrates not only supplies our muscles with energy, it’s also the main source of energy for our brains to function properly. Insufficient energy and nutrients for the brain can affect our mood, our mental ability and our personalities in general.
  • If the body gains sufficient energy from carbohydrates it will not need to gain energy from other nutrients, for example the protein that we consume will be used for its intended purpose and not for energy.
  • Your muscles will look larger when they have water and glycogen stored in them.

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How Does the Body Burn Fat

how does the body burn fatBody fat is basically just stored energy, if you consume more calories than you burn off then your body stores the excess energy as body fat.

Metabolism

Your metabolism is the rate at which your body converts food into energy. You may have heard that some people have fast or slow metabolisms, this is not actually true. Apart from a few exceptions everybody’s metabolisms is around about the same. With that being said, exercise does increase your metabolism, muscle usage and repair requires calories, this can make weight training very effective for burning calories and fat loss.

Energy from food

The first source of energy that the body uses comes in the way of sugars and glucose from carbohydrates, this gives us energy. When there is no more energy from our food the body then turns to burning body fat as a means of keeping us moving and alive. The process of the body burning body fat for energy is called Ketosis.

Don’t starve yourself

When the body enters starvation mode it will seek to gain energy from where ever it can. The body can break down muscle tissue quicker than it can breakdown body fat for energy, the process of breaking down muscle tissue so the body can use it as energy is referred to as a catabolic state. catabolic is the opposite of anabolic, anabolic is the technical name for increasing muscle mass.

So when you starve yourself you may lose weight, but you may not be losing body fat, you may be losing muscle. Something else to keep in mind when considering starving yourself to lose weight, is your body organs require energy and calories to keep on going, starving yourself could damage your organs, and you really don’t want to be doing that, for obvious reasons.

Genetics

Genetics do play a part in our body shape, including muscle mass and body fat. When it comes to fat loss alone and judging from recent studies in this area, your genetics only play a minor role in how much body fat you have.

There was a study on three family members, two of the family members were considered to be obese and the other was classed as morbidly obese. Their genetics were tested by medical professionals and the results were actually very surprising, all three family members came back with results that classed them as having good genetics. Their obesity was down solely to their lifestyles, a lack of exercise and poor diets. In fact our diets are considered to be the most important thing when it comes to weight loss and it’s even more important than regular exercise.

Does Building Muscle Burn off Body Fat?

You may have heard this question, does muscle burn calories? is there any truth to it? and if so how effective is it for burning fat and increasing your metabolism?Does muscle burn body fat

Our bodies burn calories around the clock, even while sleeping, so the idea of building some extra muscle to burn even more calories is a very nice one.

Does building muscle burn fat?

It takes an excess of calories to build muscle and muscles require calories to be maintained, this is fact. So to answer the question of whether muscle burns calories? the answer is yes! and if muscle burns calories it has the potential to burn body fat, therefore aiding you in getting lean and toned.

So now we have established that muscle does require calories to be maintained, so obviously the more muscle mass we have the more calories we burn.

The thing about muscle is, it consumes calories 24 hours a day, muscles need constant energy just to be maintained which potentially makes it very effective for burning and keeping off body fat.

Think about two cars, one has a small 1.0 liter engine and the other has a 2.0 liter engine. The car with the 2.0 liter engine requires more fuel just to move around compared to a small 1.0 liter engine, even if they’re traveling at exactly the same speed. Building extra muscle has a similar effect on the human body and energy consumption.

How many calories does muscle burn?

There are many different reports on this floating around the internet and these reports vary greatly on the actual amount of calories burned by building an extra one pound of muscle. Reports range from 5 calories to 150 calories burned per day per one pound of muscle mass. As you can see there is a huge difference in the amount of calories burned at either end of the scale. The effects of building extra muscle on fat loss is either minor or considerable.

Based on my research, the actual calories burned per pound of muscle seems to be in the range of 50 to 150 calories. This would make building some extra muscle mass a worthy consideration when thinking about reducing your body fat. Plus there are also many health benefits to adding a little extra muscle to your frame.

So yes it’s definitely worth building some extra muscle to burn off some extra calories around the clock. However don’t rely on this idea solely, think of it only as an addition to your fat burning plan.

Getting a six pack

how to get a six-packGetting a six pack or simply achieving a flat stomach is one of the most sought after and popular goals related in fitness, weight loss and dieting.

One of the main reasons why so many people struggle to achieve this goal is simply because of all the nonsense information that is available.

How to get a six pack?

This is very simple, you need to have a body fat percentage of around 10 percent or lower for any abdominal muscles you may have to become visible, therefore resulting in that six pack look. Training and developing your abdominal muscles via abdominal exercises will be pointless if you have too much body fat covering them, they just will not be visible. It really is this simple, no magic training routines or crazy diets or anything like that, forget all the advertisements about special abdominal training equipment, training methods and supplements.

The truth is just so straight forward and simple. You just need a lifestyle which includes more physical activity with improved eating habits to achieve your desired results.

How long will it take to get a six pack?

Well that’s mostly up to you. It all depends on your current physical condition, the amount of effort you exert in your training, how often you train and generally how active you are, and of course your diet and calorie consumption will make a significant contribution to your efforts.

Directly training your abdominals

Performing exercises to directly target and develop your abdominals is certainly not a bad idea, however it should not be your main focus. Abdominals exercises alone will simply not burn many calories which equals body fat, perform them, just don’t rely on them. There are many health benefits to having strong abs, plus developing your abs should help speed up the process of having visible abs. As your abs develop they will pop out which will make them more visible as your body fat percentage lowers.

Can anybody gain a six pack?

Many factors will be needed to be taken into account, such as genetics, metabolism, age and current body fat, the truth is it may not be possible for everybody the achieve this goal. For most people, with the right information, diet and activity levels it should be a realistic achievement.

What is a four pack?

Some people may only have or be able to achieve what is known as a four pack, this is for two main reasons. First reason is, the lower stomach area is one the hardest areas to lose fat from, so the upper and middle abs may only be visible.

The second reason is to do with your abdominal muscles themselves, they may not be developed in such a way where a full six pack can be fully seen, however targeting certain sections of your abs via the appropriate exercises maybe able to correct this.

How to get toned?

how to get tonedThere is much information available about getting toned, however much of it is nothing more than nonsense, myths and misconceptions.

So what creates a toned body?

Being toned is simply having a low body fat percentage and that’s it! it has nothing to do with actually toning your muscles. Muscles may become larger and firmer with weight resistance training, however if you have too much body fat you will not look toned, no matter what condition your muscles are in.

So if you want to look toned, you have one simple goal and that is reducing your body fat percentage.

To achieve your goal you need to increase your activity levels and control your calorie intake, it’s that simple.

Best exercises for toning your body?

Anything that burns off as many calories as possible, many cardiovascular exercises are ideal, including running, swimming, aerobics and even walking.

I was asked for some advice recently regarding toning up, specifically toning up around the upper arm tricep area, (bingo wrings) she explained that she had been performing tricep extensions to try and tone up her arms, (spot training myth), this is a very common myth and way of thinking. There are two problems with this idea, spot training doesn’t work, where we burn fat from is decided by our genetics, not by training specific areas of our bodies. Second, tricep extensions is not a good exercise for burning calories and therefore it’s not a good way for her to achieve her goal.

While reducing your body fat percentage is your main goal, you should also consider increasing your muscle mass, a little extra muscle will help to improve your body shape and help to appear more toned when you get to your target body fat percentage.

There is not much more to it than that, many people fail to achieve their goals simply because they listen to bad advice and fall for all those weight loss myths that float about.

How to get toned?

The reality is very simple, all you have to do is to burn more calories than you are consuming. You can achieve this by simply increasing your daily activity levels. If you want results quicker you should ideally start and stick to a high calorie burning workout program.

Having a calorie controlled diet, including healthy foods will also play a massive part. The healthier your body is, the better it will be at burning body fat.

High repetition weight training

You may have heard about high repetition weight training as a good way to tone up your body. Performing high reps will definitely burn more calories than performing low reps, however it’s not an ideal or optimal way of training to get the best results when it comes to getting that toned look.

Cardiovascular training, even going for a long walk will be more effective, however high rep resistance training may still be a useful addition to achieving your goals, as it will aid weight loss and muscle development, it just should not be relied on as a sole strategy to get toned.