N umber 5: Do not eat after 7 pm at night.

This is a hard one for some people, but it’s a very important one. In fact not eating after 7 pm combined with intermittent fasting as well as exercising first thing in the morning is a very fast and efficient way to burn more fat. Why? Your body switches over to utilizing your own stored fats for energy when you are fasting. So the longer you are fasting the more fat stores you will use up. It’s also just easier to do the bulk of your fasting when you are sleeping and not thinking about food. So ideally if your last meal is around 7 pm then you want to be in bed no later than 10:30 or 11:00 pm. By doing this you will go to sleep before you start to feel hungry again. So your fast is easier. Your not likely to be thinking of eating when your asleep.

Number 4: Exercise.

For some reason a lot of people have trouble with this one so I’m going to break it down. You can read one of the previous articles (Why Exercise) I wrote on this to get some more data. But as a quick summary about exercise, it is absolutely necessary for a body to be healthy and to lose and maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise is an activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness. Exercise requires effort. This is where you have to be honest with yourself. Are you really putting in enough effort. For most the answer is no. Luckily we have trainers who can help. In fact come to the clinic and we can recommend a few individuals and places that may be a good match for you and your abilities.

Do your exercise first thing in the morning before you eat your first meal. This allows your body to burn more fat as your body is still in fasting mode.

One gem I think is appropriate to pass on here is what I call the Olen Dalton Rule (Not sure if this really is your rule Olen but I heard it from you first). As far as exercise is concerned, it’s really simple. 1) Never miss a Monday. 2) Never miss two days in a row.

If you really want to kick it up a notch and as your exercise tolerance improves advance to doing two a days. That’s right. Do two workouts in a day. One workout first thing in the morning and then a second lighter workout in the afternoon.

Number 3: Restrict your caloric intake.

Calorie reduction combined with increased calorie expenditure is the ONLY way a body will lose weight. It’s all about the calories. Bodies need all types of foods in the form of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Simply restricting one type of food (eating a carb free or fat free diet) or eating mostly one type of food (eating a high fat or high protein diet) does not do it. The only thing that leads to weight loss is overall calorie reduction. You just need to eat less. There are many tricks to eating less and still having energy and feeling good. Bodies need protein, fats and carbs to feel functional. One thing I feel helps with getting started on reducing the calories or amount of food one consumes is the timing of your meals. To get started on your way to intermittent fasting I suggest having your meals at 10 am, 2 pm then the last meal at 6 pm. This is assuming you go to bed around 10 or 11 pm and you get up around 6 or 7 am. So when you go to bed after timing your meals this way you won’t feel as hungry. Also eating your meals during this eight hour window throughout the day allows you to burn off the calories more efficiently as you are eating while you are up and active.

Number 2: High Intensity Interval Training.

I’ll make it real simple. The other day my dad was asking if he should do lots of cardio on a treadmill like walking or jogging for 30 minutes a day or something like this to lose weight. And rather than tell him the answer I asked my dad a simple question that I am now going to pose to you as well. Take a standard 400 meter track, you know your typical high school track around a football field. Four laps around this track is equal to a mile. I ask, what do you think takes more effort and burns more calories? Walking four laps around a track at a brisk pace. Jogging a slow continuous four laps to make a mile around the track. Or doing sprints on the straightaways and walking the curves of the track for four laps. I’ll tell you the answer. Sprinting or running the straightaways then walking the curves burns more calories every time. It’s the effort or intensity that is more important for weight loss than the duration. To quote a friend Kellie Liddell, “Walking makes you fat.” She is absolutely right. It is really a very inefficient form of exercise in that it takes a lot of time and burns very little calories. You are much better off increasing your effort by doing high intensity intervals on a treadmill or elliptical machine or stationary bike or a stair climber or floor exercises or whatever,…for 20 minutes than to just do a slow steady pace for 20 minutes.

Number 1: Get enough sleep.

I can’t stress the importance of this. This is flat out the most important first step to weight loss. So from a body or physiology standpoint it is really simple. Sleep deprivation leads to an increase in cortisol, a hormone the body naturally produces that has many functions. Increased cortisol levels lead to an increase in insulin levels. This increase in insulin levels lowers your blood sugar levels. This low blood sugar causes the body to crave ridiculous amounts of carbohydrates.

I’ll give you a real life example. When I was in my family medicine residency we had a physician call schedule. This was where you were responsible for all the admissions coming into the hospital for the night as well as any phone calls from patients from our group over night. This meant there were a few nights where you stayed in the hospital and got little to no sleep. When I was in my first year of residency I was chronically tired. Why? Every three or four nights I got no sleep being on call in the hospital. What did I crave? Carbs. Donuts, cookies, cakes, pizza,… you name the carb and I wanted it bad. Why? I was sleep deprived. See the paragraph above.

Okay quick break. True story. I put on so much weight, so fast my first year of residency. Once I was in the doctors lounge at the hospital eating my obligatory donut after dinner. (I ate way too much that year.) But I was tired and craving carbs all the time. So that particular night I stand up and exhale and let my gut out. That instant the button on my pants popped off and literally shot across the room never to be found again. Seriously it was like a movie. Luckily I was in the lounge by myself. That week I joined the gym at the hospital.

Another very important fact is when you are sleep deprived you are tired. You will not exercise. Or worse if you do you are more likely to get injured when you are tired and not focused.

Sleep deprivation kills the two most important factors in weight loss, eating less calories through diet and burning more calories with exercise. Not getting enough sleep creates the exact opposite effect that is needed for weight loss. When you are sleep deprived you will eat more and exercise less. This will cause you to gain weight.

Get sufficient sleep! It sets the tone for the day. How well you sleep is the most influential aspect of your day. It leads to what foods you are going to crave as well as how hard or how much effort you are going to put into your exercise.

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