We have reviewed some tips for losing weight by intervening on nutrition to achieve a negative calorie balance in our previous post. Now we come to exercises and physical activity: if the goal is to lose fat tissue – because weight = visceral fat tissue – the methods by which we can do this are mainly two:
Low intensity exercises
The first is the classic and best known one: practicing a long-lasting and low-intensity activity. In this case, after 20, 30 minutes of activity we will begin to selectively consume fats. For example, after an hour of walking, or an hour of low-intensity cycling, fitwalking or Nordic walking, we will know that from 20/30 minutes onwards we will have selectively consumed fats.
Medium or high intensity exercises
The second system for losing fat is very effective and can be performed easily even if not trained, as long as we do it correctly. By doing about 20 seconds of medium intensity exercise – on the bench, on the treadmill, walking, swimming – we consume muscle energy, which is the so-called ready-to-use energy. If after 20 seconds of activity we stop completely – without doing any kind of active recovery – the body resynthesizes this ready-to-use energy by selectively consuming fats.
If we wanted to selectively lose fat then what could we do? Two or three times a week in the gym with the tools we alternate:
- 20 seconds of activity with 20 seconds of rest, all for half an hour.
- Then 20 minutes at low intensity, which we can do on the bench press, the treadmill or any cardio training equipment.
- During the weekend we could then take the time for a couple of hours of walking or cycling, but at a very slow pace.
In this way – walking or cycling – we practice another activity with which to selectively burn fat, reaching a negative calorie balance.
What does a dietician recommend?
According to most specialists, the most effective way to lose weight is to eat less or eat better: if we want to lose weight, we cannot ignore following correct eating habits. Physical exercise can then be used for three reasons:
- to get better health
- to optimize the effects of the diet
- to selectively burn adipose tissue
Above all, the last of the three points is important because losing weight, in itself, means nothing: to lose weight you need to lose fat, not generally weight, and this is the first reasoning to do. There are not only five ways to lose weight quickly, it is very important to specify it: and, first of all, if there is something wrong, it is wanting to lose weight quickly. Because any dietary approach that promises to lose weight quickly at best – beyond the damage and side effects it can create – significantly inhibits and blocks the metabolism.
So what happens at that point?
When I start eating normally – or even a little – I regain the weight I lost previously with interest.
Losing fat mass
I don’t have to lose weight generically, I have to lose fat, and not only that, I have to lose visceral fat, which is something else again. To lose weight, a diet combined with exercise must be aimed at losing visceral fat. It is not possible to lose that much visceral fat in a week, this must be very clear.
An example: a diet that works very well – and I am not talking about severely obese or pathologically obese subjects, but overweight subjects in normal conditions – allows at best to lose one kg per week. For subjects who are heavily overweight, it can reach a kilo and a half a week: but it is already a lot, if I want this loss to be stable.
If I had to give some advice …
First advice: Each person’s needs are individual
Consequently we cannot make diets with quantities that are the same for everyone, because each of us has his own consumption.
Having said that, from the point of view of nutrition it is essential to alternate the different types of nutrients as much as possible. As a rule of thumb – and subject to particular conditions – no nutrient taken less than twice a week is bad for you and any nutrient taken more than twice a week is likely to hurt.
Example: I take milk or yogurt in the morning, but not every morning, so I alternate dairy products with soy milk and oat milk. At midday I eat carbohydrates to give energy to the body, but I try to alternate foods: 00 flour I alternate with wholemeal flour, and perhaps with spelled, barley, couscous. In the evening, however, I must strictly avoid carbohydrates and have a dinner that is exclusively protein, but I have to alternate different types of proteins. So red meat, white meat – preferably fish – eggs, legumes, lean sliced, goat’s or sheep’s cheese. The more I alternate, the more peaceful I am.
Second advice: I favor carbohydrates in the first half of the day and proteins in the second half of the day
Carbohydrates in the first half of the day are a powerful metabolism accelerator and I consume them because I move – and above all I do sports – while in the evening the body needs proteins because it has to maintain tissues, organs, muscles, bones, healthy, especially when the body is less young.
Third advice: I try to have more meals a day than the three “classics”
It doesn’t mean that I have to go crazy having a big breakfast – the average Italian doesn’t like a big breakfast, wakes up at the last minute and goes to work or to the bar for coffee and croissants – but I try to make at least two microsteps in the morning, or one when I wake up and one in the middle of the morning, alternating between carbohydrates and proteins. Then I have my lunch, in the afternoon I have a snack ideally based on seasonal fruit – so I eat fruit between meals – and then as we said I have an almost exclusively protein dinner.