You probably know that diet and exercise are keys to weight loss, but what you may not know is how to best eat and how to best exercise to lose meaningful weight and keep it off. Knowing how to eat and exercise is just as important as knowing keys to weight loss. You must eat to keep insulin levels to a minimum and exercise to improve metabolism – improving metabolism not just while exercising but also while you are at rest.
Nutrition Keys to Weight Loss
When it comes to nutrition the keys to weight loss include keeping blood sugar and insulin at optimal levels.
To lose weight it’s essential that you keep insulin levels low as possible. Though insulin is a necessary hormone that helps drive glucose into the cells that cells use for energy, too much insulin leads to fat accumulation.
How do you keep insulin levels low? Insulin is secreted by the pancreas in response to carbohydrates in a meal. Sugars are the basic building blocks of carbohydrates. If sugars enter the blood stream too quickly, as is the case with simple sugars, insulin levels rise quickly and spike. If sugars enter the blood stream more slowly then the rise in insulin is blunted. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest slowly releasing sugar into the blood stream and thus insulin levels do not spike like they do with consumption of simple sugars. Complex carbohydrates also contain many other nutrients and are healthier than simple sugars found in snacks, sodas and processed foods.
When insulin levels rise past a certain point it becomes difficult for the body to burn calories from fat stores even during exercise. In addition, excess insulin promotes increased fat storage. Type 2 diabetics are overweight because their bodies become resistant to insulin causing the body to secrete more and more insulin to move sugars into the cells, but at the expense of promoting fat gain.
Carbohydrates that lead to a rapid and excessive rise in blood sugar and insulin are called high-glycemic. Carbohydrates that cause a slow and limited rise in blood sugar and insulin are called low-glycemic. For more information on the glycemic index go to www.glycemicindex.com. Consume foods with a glycemic index of 55 or lower, even lower if you have much weight to lose.
Exericse Keys to Weight Loss
When it comes to exercise the keys to weight loss include improving insulin sensitivity and burning calories by increasing metabolism. Exercise burns calories and improves insulin sensitivity. This means that it takes less insulin to move sugar into the cells. Both of these mechanisms contribute to weight loss. A third way exercise leads to weight loss is through the building of muscle. Muscle burns calories even at rest while fat does not. In fact, strength training will more likely lead to better fat loss than aerobic or cardiovascular exercise.
To be effective moderate to heavy loads must be lifted exercising the major muscle groups of the body – chest, shoulders, back, thighs/hamstrings, arms (biceps and triceps). Typically more calories are burned from moderate to vigorous strength training than from a session of aerobic exercise of similar duration. In addition, calories are burned at a higher rate following a strength training session as the body requires energy to repair and build muscles.
Short bursts of aerobic exercise, or what is called sprint training or high intensity interval training raises metabolism and keeps metabolism elevated longer than steady pace aerobic exercise. Short bursts can be as short as 8 to 10 seconds to as long as a minute followed by a recovery phase of lower intensity exercise and repeated over and over again. After a session of aerobic exercise metabolism usually returns to baseline in 30 to 60 minutes, but metabolism can stay elevated for hours after high intensity interval training sometimes for 24 hours or more.
Knowing what to eat and how to exercise are the real keys to weight loss.
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