This guide is if you want to have:
We want to keep it simple, so the 3 key areas in order of importance:
Why is sleep top of the list?
Sleep is very important – many people (particularly young people) are fatter because they don’t sleep enough.
When you haven’t slept enough, a hormone called Ghrelin stays high. This hormone controls hunger. So you feel constantly hungry and usually that is for food which is high in energy such as fat and sugars. This then leads to excess energy intake and you storing the excess energy as fat over time.
This is getting worse, particularly in younger people because of all the light we get from our TV’s and mobile phones. We often stay awake past midnight because the light keeps us alert. This ruins our sleep cycle and we don’t sleep for long enough.
Some people also think they need less sleep, unfortunately that almost never true. Pretty much everyone needs at least 7-8 hours sleep minimum. So you cannot sleep faster or more efficiently – I have tried it!
One of the more common and yet under-diagnosed conditions is sleep apnea.
If have to wake up in the middle of the night to pass water – then this could be a sign you are not sleeping well. Many people don’t realize this and think it is a bladder issue or they drank too much water before bed!
If you know someone that falls asleep really easily (like whilst watching TV), then they may not be sleeping well at night. You can try the Epworth Sleep Scale to check your score.
People who snore, or are overweight are at higher risk of having sleep apnea. Please speak to your own physician and consider getting a sleep study to assess your quality of sleep.
Sleep in a dark cool room
Relax before bedtime
Have some time away from light/screens before bedtime
Use blue light blocking glasses before bed
Sleep before midnight
Sleep 8 hours or more
Metabolism = Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) = Total amount of energy (in calories) you use per day for living and activity
Calorie (kcal) = Energy in the food = 4184 Joules
1 lb of Body Fat (Adipose tissue) = contains 15% water, 5% protein, 80% fat = 3335 kcal deficit
Why we get fat:
Your body tries to maintain a particular weight. This particular weight is set by your hormones and genetics. It is possible to change this “set” weight by influencing your hormones.
A lot of food we eat has carbohydrates which cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, this rapid rise in blood sugar tells your body to release insulin – a hormone that tells the fat cells in your body to mop up all the excess blood sugar and store it as fat. Insulin over time also raises your body set weight.
How you lose fat:
Maintain a low/steady insulin state
Can I not just starve myself?
If you fast, then yes – your metabolism will not decrease significantly and you will lose fat.
Assuming you have a normal metabolism – say 2500 kcal per day. If you starve (still drinking water) you would use all 2500 kcal from your own body (because you have no food to get the calories from).
Over a day that is 2500 kcal = 12 oz (340g) of body fat
Over a week that is 17500 kcal = 5lb 5 oz (2.4kg) of body fat
Be wary of any diet that says you can lose more than that!
Why fast and low carb rather than calorie restriction?
Calorie restriction however has been shown to decrease metabolism with time. So you may initially lose fat, but your body slows down your metabolism to counter your efforts. As this happens your metabolism decreases (TDEE), Fat loss steeply drops because your metabolism decreases (your TDEE) and in the long run it will be even easier to gain fat. You want to maintain your metabolism so you can maintain the same calorie deficit in the long term.
It has been shown that fasting does not reduce your metabolism. Low carbs reduce your insulin levels, so that your body goes into a fat burning state.
Can exercise make up for my bad eating?
No, unfortunately exercise just doesn’t burn that many calories! The main benefit for fat loss is the increase and maintenance of metabolism.
If you sit on the sofa for 1 hour you burn = 104 calories
If you run for an hour (5mph) you burn = 606 calories
So you only burn an extra 500 calories during the hour you spent running. You should still exercise, but the main point is that you cannot outrun your mouth – because a single chocolate bar could add on 500 calories easily. You have to monitor what you eat.
Eat and Fast in ways that keep insulin low/steady
Drink plenty of water
Maintain your metabolism (TDEE) (try this calculator)
Do not add extra calories for exercise (you already counted exercise in the initial TDEE calculation)
A lack of exercise is a major issue worldwide for health, making it more likely for one to get chronic degenerative diseases, strokes, heart attacks and frailty. Physical exercise has numerous benefits including reducing all-cause mortality (death).
I have osteoarthritis:
Evidence shows that progressive resistance exercise causes improvements in muscle strength and functional ability, and pain scores even in people with advanced osteoarthritis.
I don’t want to “bulk up” as a woman:
Many people confuse strength training with bodybuilding, they are not the same. Bodybuilding focuses on getting bigger not on strength, power or mobility. Even with bodybuilding, growing bigger muscles takes time, effort and is more difficult for women due to their hormones compared to men.
I’m old, it’s not for me:
Older adults may get the most health benefit from strength training, as they are most prone to muscle loss, bone loss, frailty and insulin resistance. Also as you get older you have anabolic resistance – so you need to eat more protein compared to someone younger.
Exercise reduces mobility:
This is not true – properly performed exercise improves mobility.
Walking is essential
What should I start with?
Walking is a great start for anyone who doesn’t have any experience with exercise, and it can be made easier with walking aids or more difficult by adding hills. A lot of people have weak muscles in their legs causing pain and imbalance, so it helps to walk forwards, backwards and sideways (both directions) to strengthen these up. Aim for 10,000 steps total or more (if you can).
Can I get more benefit?
Add a few repetitions of 30-60 second walking forward/backward/sideways with a weighted sled/sandbag attached. So you pull/push the weight in whatever direction you are travelling.
Add strength training
There is lots of strength training exercises out there and feel free to find your own, but here we choose some exercises that can add some strength and stability to your legs and can go from body weight to heavy weights if you wish. Legs have big muscles in them so they can burn more calories for the amount of work and having strong legs is important at any age.
The 3 exercises are:
Drink plenty of water
Add Strength Training
Eat enough protein (especially if older)
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This website and its contents does not provide medical advice. Results may vary: Causes for being overweight or obese vary from person to person. Whether genetic or environmental, it should be noted that food intake, rates of metabolism and levels of exercise and physical exertion vary from person to person. This means weight loss results will also vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as typical. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material, contained on this document is for educational purposes only. The content is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this document. The information and other material available from this guide come from a number of sources including the personal experiences of Dr. Nikhil Patel. This is not written to promote poor body image or extreme training regimes. We not be held liable for the interpretation or use of the information provided. We make no warranties or representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness, timeliness or usefulness of any opinions, advice, services or other information contained, or referenced to, in this document. We do not recommend or promote any particular diet or regimen