Achieve Lasting Weight Loss: 6 Essential Pre-Diet Habits

June 25th, 2024

By John Patterson

Staff Writer for Wake Up World

The question of “How to lose fat?” is more prevalent than ever as obesity rates continue to rise. But assessing whether you’re in the right place to start this journey before diving into weight loss strategies is crucial.

Improving your metabolic rate and developing healthy habits should be your primary goals. Mastering these foundational habits will make future weight loss easier, more successful, and more sustainable. Without these foundations, you might consume very low calories to lose weight, which is neither sustainable nor healthy for your metabolism.

Understanding Your Metabolism

Imagine a scenario where, at one point (Point A), you have a down-regulated metabolism and unbalanced hormones, maintaining your weight at 1600 calories. Fast-forward 3-6 months (Point B), and after implementing lifestyle and nutritional changes, your new maintenance is 2300 calories. This improvement means you can maintain your weight at a higher caloric intake, making future dieting phases more manageable and enjoyable.

Enhancing your metabolism and thyroid function increases your energy expenditure. When it’s time to lose weight, you can consume a higher caloric intake, making the process more enjoyable and sustainable. Let’s explore how to achieve this.

The Law of Thermodynamics

To lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit, following the law of thermodynamics (energy cannot be created or destroyed). Your energy intake (calories consumed) and energy expenditure (calories burned) determine your weight balance.

Components of Energy Expenditure

  1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): This energy is required for basic bodily functions and accounts for 65-70% of total daily expenditure. Increasing your BMR is crucial for sustainable weight loss.
  2. Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): This includes all body movements outside of planned exercise, like fidgeting or doing laundry. NEAT can vary significantly among individuals, affecting daily caloric burn.[1]
  3. Exercise: Planned physical activities like strength training or sports. While strength training doesn’t burn many calories during the session, it increases lean muscle mass, thereby boosting your metabolism.
  4. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): The calories your body uses to digest food.

Increasing your metabolism and energy expenditure allows you to eat more food while maintaining or losing weight. Let’s focus on the essential habits to improve your metabolic rate.

7 Habits to Boost Your Metabolism

1. Avoid Quick Fixes

Quick fixes like cutting carbs can lead to initial weight loss but are often unsustainable. Many people experience weight regain and metabolic crashes with restrictive diets. Sustainable weight loss involves balanced nutrition, not eliminating entire macronutrients.[2]

2. Cook Most of Your Meals

Processed foods are often energy-dense and nutrient-poor, hindering metabolic health. Cooking your meals with whole, nutrient-dense foods can significantly improve your metabolism and overall health.

3. Consume Adequate Dietary Calcium

Higher calcium intake is associated with lower body fat and weight. Calcium enhances thermogenesis and reduces fat synthesis, making it a vital nutrient for metabolic health.[3][4]

4. Stay Active Throughout the Day

Frequent movement throughout the day is crucial for a healthy metabolism.[5] Activities like walking improve insulin response and lower body fat. Aim for 8,000-10,000 steps daily to reap the benefits of regular movement.[6]

5. Strength Train and Build Muscle

Building muscle mass increases your BMR, helping your body burn more calories at rest. Incorporate strength training into your routine to enhance metabolic health and support weight loss.[7]

6. Track Your Food and Learn About Macronutrients

Tracking your food intake helps you understand your caloric and macronutrient needs. This knowledge empowers you to make better food choices and maintain a balanced diet, which is crucial for long-term weight management.

Embrace a Sustainable Approach

Mastering these habits will set you up for long-term success. Sustainable weight loss isn’t about quick fixes but about building a solid foundation of healthy habits. Focus on improving your metabolism and energy expenditure so your body works for you, not against you.

Article References

  1. Journal of Internal Medicine, Nonexercise activity thermogenesis – liberating the life-force
  2. Cell Metabolism 2010 Jan
  3. Journal of American College of Nutrition 2002
  4. International Dairy Journal
  5. Journal of the American Dietetic Association
  6. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2021
  7. Americal Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism

About the author:

John Patterson is an avid writer and researcher who delves into the latest scientific research. With an insatiable curiosity, he translates complex concepts into accessible narratives, allowing readers to embark on a journey of discovery. John bridges the gap between experts and the public through his work, igniting curiosity and inspiring meaningful conversations about scientific breakthroughs.