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Walk More, Eat Less, Lose Weight

Walk More, Eat Less, Lose Weight

If you’re overweight, obese, or just trying to get back into an active lifestyle, here’s what you need to know about how to lose weight effectively.

Increased walking alone isn’t the most effective tool.

Jogging doesn’t work.

Training and still eating like shit doesn’t work. The problem with most North Americans is that they will run for 30 minutes, burn 275 calories, then eat a cheeseburger that’s 500 calories because they feel like they earned it.

In the beginning, the most useful thing you can do is walk and reduce your calories. It’s that simple. Many people fail to walk for even 30 minutes per day. Why does something so simple seem too difficult for everyone to achieve?

Do You Need Proof?

In September 2017, Examine.com Research Digest (ERD) published the results of a 12-week randomized control trial that evaluated the effects of moderate walking for overweight and obese adults. There have been less than stellar results of just walking as a single activity for fat loss. Also, a decline in Resting Energy Expenditure (REE, or the energy required from your body to perform a basic task when resting) is a typical problem among people who are trying to weight loss or fat. When this occurs, weight loss usually stalls. A reduction in lean tissue and a slower metabolic rate are the culprits.

The study tested whether adding a walking program to an energy-reduced diet could maintain REE, enhance fat loss, and improve body composition compared to dieting alone. The subjects were overweight or obese men and women (ages 25-50) with BMIs between 27-35. The participants were randomly assigned to follow a low-calorie diet and a walking program or a simple low-calorie diet alone for 12 weeks. The walking group was told to walk three hours per week.

Everyone who participated was sedentary and free of metabolic diseases. The groups had caloric restrictions of 500-800 calories per day. The controlled diet included low-energy density foods (less than 1.3 calories per gram) to help improve satiety (white fish, tuna, legumes, low-fat ground turkey, vegetables, fruits, soups with bone broth).

The walking group lost 14.08 pounds during the 12-week study. The diet-alone group lost 10.56 pounds.

Benefits of Walking More

It helps support the function of brain neurons. Elderly adults who are least active have a 230% risk of Alzheimer’s compared to those who are more active. Also, the brains of those who regularly participate in physical activity are equivalent to being three years younger and have as much as a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline. Not to mention, you will be in a better mood.

Walking lowers hypertension. If you want a better heart, start walking. Nearly 60% of the U.S. population is at a higher risk of heart disease due to inactivity. I tell my clients to walk 30 minutes each day. The time can be broken up however they wish. They must make sure it equals 30 minutes. However, by just walking 11-20 minutes per day, it can lower your risk of hypertension by 12%. If you walk over 20 minutes, it’s 29%.

It helps reduce oxidative stress and muscle loss. Believe it or not, jogging CAN make you gain fat. Those 10-mile jogs promote an increased appetite for sugar, elevate stress levels, promote muscle loss, chronic inflammation, and free radical accumulation. Moderately intense exercise, such as jogging or cycling, can raise cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can illicit fat cell production in your body. Also, too much cortisol can lead to early aging.

Walking lowers stress. A study from 1973 determined that one hour of exercise at 80% intensity produced unfavorable increases in cortisol. In contrast, one hour of exercise at 40% produced a drop. When you walk, you’re reducing oxidative stress on the body and priming your body to reduce fat.

In addition, muscle atrophy can happen within two days of muscle inactivity. As we age, we must try to participate in activities that help support stronger bones and muscle maintenance. Walking is an easy way to accomplish this.

References

Stepping Up Weight Loss: Can Walking Help Dieters Shed Fat. (2017). Examine.com Research Digest, 35(1), 24-31.

Sheridan, M. (2014). Live It NOT Diet! Eat More Not Less. Lose Fat Not Weight. Columbia, SC: Lean Living.

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