2 smart ways to lose weight

October 5, 2015

Which diets take weight off best is the subject of heated scientific debate. No wonder: According to Statistics Canada, 59.2 per cent of Canadians are overweight or obese — a figure that has climbed steeply in the last decade and continues to rise. Here's how to cut the body fat.

2 smart ways to lose weight

1. Reduce your calories

  • In fact, guidelines reducing dietary fat alone "is not sufficient for weight loss." Instead, the real issue is reducing calories.
  • A key to doing it: cutting back not just on fat but also on carbohydrates, which many people mistakenly believe are virtually harmless when it comes to weight loss.
  • Today the pendulum has swung all the way to the other side: Nearly every new weight-loss program focuses on a low-carbohydrate eating.
  • The science of high-protein, low-carb diets is complicated, having to do with the way your body processes nutrients, the nature of your metabolism and the energy stores from which your cells draw their fuel.

2. Eat less, exercise more

  • But at the end of the day, no matter which diet you use, the basic problem is energy balance. To lose weight, you need to take in less energy (that is, calories) than you burn — by eating less, exercising more or both.
  • Even a small tip of the calorie balance can make a big difference over time.
  • The ideal diet leaves you with an average energy deficit of at least 500 calories a day (less than the amount in two peanut butter cookies), with a goal of dropping just a bit each week 500 grams (one pound).
  • When weight loss plateaus, as it usually does after three or four months, exercise becomes especially important for maintaining losses and building muscle, which burns calories more efficiently than flab.
  • Your weight loss may come slowly with these methods but consistency is key.

How many of your calories should be fat versus carbohydrate?

  • Cut back first on foods with heavy calories but little nutrition, such as cookies and ice cream — though you can indulge in them for the occasional treat or celebration.
  • Next, get more vegetables (staples of both low-fat and low-carb diets) and whole-grain foods: they're rich in nutrients and fibre, which fills you up and keeps cravings at bay.
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