Nobody is good at losing weight. Some people gain weight easier than others, but when it comes to shedding pounds everyone struggles. And when it comes to putting on fat, some of us are born luckier than others. Literally.
Everyone’s body is genetically predestined to produce a certain number of fat cells by adulthood, regardless of diet and exercise. What fluctuates is the size of our fat cells. By the time adulthood is reached, you’ve pretty much made all the fat cells you’re ever going to have.
When energy intake is greater than energy output, that extra energy is stored in your existing fat cells making them bigger. Fat cells only increase in number during adulthood at two times: pregnancy, or time of extreme weight gain. When people begin to become obese, that’s the only time new fat cells are made.
That is to say obesity is NOT genetic. A human adult is typically genetically coded to make 75 billion fat cells, the only exception being those born with physical handicaps such as dwarfism. The number of fat cells you possess influences how easy it is to gain weight. There are some certain genetic factors that can influence obesity, but no one is predestined to be obese.
The key to burning fat is balance in both diet and exercise. Here are some helpful tips:
1) Eat at least 1 low-calorie meal out of your other regular meals. If you fall short 250 calories of your basic 2000 calorie diet every day for one week, that alone is enough to help shed half a pound. Replace a morning omelet with fresh yogurt or try whole wheat pasta instead of white. Cut back 250 calories a day, then after a couple weeks try cutting back to 500 calories until you reach a healthy weight.
2) Stay away from foods with saturated fat. These are fats that are usually included in animal products, particularly dairy (milk, butter, ice cream, ect). However, don’t completely cut fat out of your diet. Your body needs unsaturated fat to process essential vitamins such as Vitamins D, E, and K. Try to stay within 20-30% of calories from fat.
3) Count your calories and keep track of your weight loss. The average adult human burns 2000 calories a day, so afford yourself roughly 600 calories for every meal. You can give or take a little depending on what meals you eat during the day, but it’s important to stay within 1400-1800 calories when you first start dieting. Never fall below 800 calories a day. Weight yourself about every week, too.
4) Don’t join a quick fix diet program. 95% of people who use weight loss diet programs end up regaining the weight they lost and potentially more. The best way to diet is to build a habit out of eating. If you eat a healthy breakfast every day, eventually it becomes habit. When you join a weight loss dieting program, you eat healthy dishes for about 8 weeks, but after that it’s back to your old foods and old habits of eating.
5) Eat 5 or 6 small meals rather than 3 big ones. The act of eating helps speed up your body’s metabolism. Eat little meals to stay satisfied but don’t eat too much or you’ll just gain more calories than your body can burn. Make sure your little meals are also healthy.
Exercise, even light exercise, is a beneficial part of any diet. 15 minute routines three times a day is all it takes. For more information about exercising, check out Fat Burning 101.
And remember, only diet if you really think you need to or if your doctor suggests you do.
During the summer, I lost 15 pounds over three months. Yet within the first six weeks of coming back to college, I’ve gained 5 pounds. Even I’m not immune to the temptations of soft serve ice cream, Starbucks, and buttermilk pancakes.