The weight loss industry is a multimillion dollar empire with new products, services and lifestyle options constantly imploring you to spend your hard earned cash in order to gain muscle, become fit and avoid obesity or premature death. The burden on healthcare systems around the world is rising as countries whose populations are overweight or obese, are becoming so at increasingly alarming rates, with factors such as diet and sedentary lifestyles blamed as the key culprits. Current ABS statistics estimate that 64% of Australians are overweight which equates to almost 2 out of every 3 people. The market has responded accordingly with gym memberships, detoxes, lifestyle plans, fitness camps, meal delivery services, personal trainers, weight loss pills, shakes and teas and the classic, in-home exercise equipment all competing for a share of the weight loss dollar. However, you do not need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to lose weight, but you do need to understand how the process works in order to take control of your weight loss and your body’s health.
In reality, losing weight is a straightforward maths equation: calories out need to be higher than calories in. However, although there are many ways to achieve this outcome, there are less that will encourage weight loss that is sustainable and healthy.
Most people understand that simply not eating isn’t along term option to lose weight, yet despite this awareness, the prevalence of detox regimes remains strong amongst weight loss circles. Detoxes whether they involve lemons, juices, teas, shakes etc. with periods of fasting will claim to reset your system in order to kick start weight loss and eliminate toxins. Your bank balance may be relieved to know that commercial detoxes are not supported by clinical evidence, nor have randomised controlled trials been conducted as to their effectiveness. In other words, don’t spend your money on these.
Skipping meals is also a disservice to weight loss, with research finding those that doare more likely to be overweight, under functionand are more inclinded to binge eat at another time. To lose weight,your eating habits should be healthier, and this too will save you money as convenience food is something to avoid and is not cost effective.
However, you need not spend big bucks on the latest superfoods and vitamin supplements to boost your nutritional intake – eating a wide variety of fresh food including as many different coloured vegetables and reasonable amounts of fruit is a great start when modifying your eating habits. In addition to expanding your meal time repertoire, eating a slightly smaller portion at each meal is also a way to lose weight as calorific intake over the course of the day is reduced. This doesn’t meanleavingyourself hungry, but can be achieved by techniques such as portioning a home cooked meal into three portions: one to put away immediately in the fridge/freezer for anther time, another main portion on your plate and a third smaller amount in a bowl to have as ‘seconds’ should you need a little more food after your main serving.
Unless you have a medical condition, health funds will do little in the way of rebates for cosmetic type weight loss treatments such as liposuction in Melbourne, Sydney or other major capitals. However, you may be eligible for rebates on procedures such as gastric banding or bypasses and for some extras cover, consultations with exercise physiologists.
The final consideration when losing weight is the amount of exercise that you perform. Perform squats, push and pull exercises two to three times a week in order to condition your muscles and stabilise your joints. You don’t need any expensive gym equipment to perform hundreds of exercises. Think body weight exercises such as mat Pilates, functional fitness and try to build up to plyometics. You can find props for all of these around your house and at your local playgrounds and outdoor reserves. Slowly increase the weight or reps as you become stronger.
A brisk walk, or other medium pace cardio activities on most days for around 30 minutes will deliver weight loss benefits, especially if your lifestyle was previously pretty sedentary. For best results aim for 150 to 300 minutes of this type of exercise per week, ideally closer to the 300 minutes. A convenient thing about moderate intensity is that you need not break out into a full sweat and red faced exhaustion in order to be receiving weight loss benefits.
If your base fitness is already established, add intervals to your cardio to kick start further weight loss. There are many free interval fitness apps or just use the chorus of a song as an indicator to bring yourself up to a higher/maximum level of exertion for a short period. For vigorous intensity, up to 2.5 hours of exercise per week is ample.
If group exercise is your thing, there are ways to reduce the cost if you shop around. Ideally find a local, council run facility, they willoffer better value for money classes and discounts for various concession types. If you really think the high end fitness studio will get you the best results for your weight loss, take a step back and consider how you can attend classes there for a reduced amount. Can you trade your skills in graphic design or carpentry in exchange for free or cheaper classes? Insider tip is to approach boutique studios in this manner as larger chains will be less likely to go for this suggestion.
Failing all this, a multi class pass will generally provide you classes at a reduced rate and encourages you to regularly attend. Be wary of direct debit memberships unless you can unequivocally commit to attending an amount of classes that will subsidise the ongoing costs. In this instance, be sure to clarify the terms and conditions and if you are eligible for any memberships holds should you need to travel or become injured/ill and are unable to undertake classes.