So you want to lose weight? Chances are, you'll spend the next few days "pigging out" while in the back of your mind you resolve that ...Starting Monday, no more fried foods, no more between meal snacking, no more whatever it is you think is causing you to pack on those ugly pounds. So Monday rolls around and sure, you start out strong, eat right all day. Next day same thing, maybe you'll make it a week. Unfortunately, after a few days, you'll probably find yourself scoffing down a double whopper somewhere, and that will be it, the diet will be over, and you'll quickly gain back whatever weight you may have lost ?plus a few extra pounds just for good measure.
Guess what, this is the way our bodies were designed to work. Evolution has taught our bodies that if our eating patterns change drastically, it means we're having trouble finding food (a million years ago there wasn't a Burger King every half mile). To keep us from starving, our bodies conserve energy by slowing down. So, we start to feel sluggish on top of feeling deprived and hungry.
After a while, the temptation just becomes too much. We start eating again and once we do, our bodies want to make sure we "stock up" so that we'll be ready for the next time that food is unavailable. We usually wind up heavier then we were before we started "dieting".
So how do we go about losing weight? The answer is simpler then many people think. Focus less on what we eat and more on getting the right exercise. The right exercise in this case is weight training. That's right pumping iron actually helps you lose fat.
Weight Training attacks your fat stores in a couple of ways. First, the act of actually working out, as you probably expect, burns calories. However, with weight training, your body continues to burn extra calories long after the workout is complete. How? Well when you weight train, you are actually causing damage to your muscles. Your body needs to repair this damage and that burns calories. So you're actually burning calories long after your weight training session is over. Finally, simply having muscle requires extra calories. One pound of fat burns 3 to 4 calories per day, one pound of muscle however, burns roughly 50 calories per day. Add 10 pounds of muscle to your body and you'll be burning an extra 3,500 calories per week, even if you just sit around all day.
Now, you'll still have to watch what you eat. But by adding weight training to your overall fitness plan, your diet can be much less restrictive ---moderation is really the key. Try to eat a little better (c'mon you know what foods are bad for you) but don't starve yourself. It's not a race; you're trying to get fit and stay that way.
So next time you're motivated to go on a diet, why not consider adding weight training to the picture. You'll find that weight training along with a more sensible eating will help you to lose fat quicker and help you keep it off.
David Olsen is the founder of 40Something Fitness, the website that helps you defy middle-age. Visit us for more muscle and fitness articles today.