PHOTO CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK
Fat burning matters
Here’s the truth: You didn’t gain those extra pounds overnight, even if that’s the amount of time it took for your favourite jeans to go from comfy to “did I shrink these?”
Every expert ever will tell you that crash diets don’t work, are unhealthy, and offer at best a temporary fix since you may end up gaining back more than you initially lost once you fall off the wagon. But that doesn’t mean losing weight has to be a slow, torturous process either. Yes, you’ll still have to eat few calories than you burn, but nutrition and exercise researchers have uncovered some scientifically tested ways to make that easier and faster than ever.
Good news, bad news
First, the bad news. There’s no such thing as negative-calorie foods and no magic combination of nutrients that will generate enough metabolic burn to widen your thigh gap. Things like caffeine, green tea, and spicy foods do mildly increase your metabolism, but not nearly enough to make a difference on the scale.
“You need a deficit of 500 calories per day to lose one pound a week,” says Stacey Pence, RD, a nutritionist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The only way to do that is to eat less or exercise more.
So what’s the good news? There are plenty of things you can do—or avoid doing—that will make it easier to eat less and move more. And that means the pounds will drop off faster than you can imagine.
Water isn’t just a calorie-free beverage, it’s also essential to the process of metabolizing fat, known as hydrolysis, says Pence. So it’s important to drink enough fluids every day—and you’ll need even more if you’re overweight. A good rule of thumb is to drink a milliliter of water for every calorie you consume. Not into the metric system? If you’re following a 2000-calorie diet, that comes to 67 ounces or just over a half gallon of water.
Pence says there’s truth to the idea that thirst is mistaken for hunger. “Your body monitors blood volume and when it notices that you’re dehydrated, it sends out a hunger signal,” she explains. So drinking water and waiting 20 minutes to see if your stomach’s still rumbling is a good tactic.