The Biggest Losers ended up bigger than they started.
According to a new study published in the journal Obesity, only one of the 14 Biggest Loser contestants studied weighs less today than when the competition wrapped.
The culprit appears to be the contestants’ metabolisms, which slowed down as they lost weight rapidly for the show, according to the research presented.
How can you avoid the mistakes of Biggest Loser contestants, stare a big weight loss goal in the face and come out the other side at a sustainable weight?
Well, for one, most weight-loss programs recommend that people lose about one to two pounds per week.
One reason for that, apart from keeping metabolism operational, is people who lose weight fast have a greater loss in muscle than those who lose weight at a more moderate pace.
Here are six ways to go about it.
6 Ways To Lose Fat The Anti-Biggest Loser Way
- Calories Matter (But So Does Activity)
The single most important change you can make to your diet to lose fat is to eat less food.
But a massive calorie deficit combined with way too much exercise is not the place to start.
In sustainable fat loss, a moderate approach where you eat a bit less and do a bit more activity, whether it be lifting, cardio, or just more low intensity activities in general, is key.
Take the stairs, you lazy ass. But no need to run up and down them with your trainer strapped to your back.
Your body sees a calorie deficit as a threat to its survival.
It’s always working toward homeostasis. In other words, it was happy where it was and your extreme dieting is cramping its style, man.
It’s why you get hungry, cranky and suddenly want to dive head first into the old donuts sitting in the lunchroom.
It’s the same principle at work when you’re on a rather prolonged “dry spell” and every Rosie O’Donnell lookalike catches your eye.
No one likes a desperate dude on the first date. And a desperate dieter is in the same boat in the early going.
Take it slow, bro.
- The Minimum Effective Dose to Start
Are you the type who starts a diet on January 1 from ground zero and throws everything at their body in an attempt to lose weight fast? Hardcore Crossfit WODs. 10 mile jogs. Starvation diets.
Sure, you might lose those initial 10 pounds fast, but what happens when you hit a sticking point? Up it to Six WODs a day? 20 mile run every night?
That’s the Biggest Loser approach, and we know it doesn’t work in the long run.
Excessively driving yourself into the ground isn’t the best idea when trying to lose fat.
Instead, introduce one change at a time and only do so when the scale warrants you need it.
- Resistance Training is Your Friend
Lifting heavy and lifting often is a given if muscle building is your goal, but if you’re a fatty you need to take a slightly different approach than the 150-pound scrawny kid. High-volume training that keeps your heart rate elevated is perfect for guys who lean more toward the endomorph somatotype.
Muscle increases resting metabolism, so focus on building as much of it as you can. Besides, what’s the point of losing all that weight if there’s no coat of armor underneath?
- Low-Grade “Cardio” Is No Foe
You’re a bigger guy. There’s no reason to destroy your knees running for hours on the treadmill. Low intensity activity can absolutely aid in fat loss. An hour walk with the dog, taking the stairs, or dry humping your wife while she bathes your cat all add up in the fat burning department without driving your recovery into the ground.
- Get Your ‘T’ right
If you’re a little older and heavier (i.e. the typical North American) you may have undiagnosed Metabolic Syndrome (pre-diabetes), which is associated with lower levels of testosterone.
In Natural vs. Testosterone Therapy by Lee Myers, he mentions a study that examined 64 obese men: their average testosterone was a measly 340 ng/dl (for reference LabCorp’s healthy reference range is 348 – 1197 ng/dl). The same study noted that weight was associated with increased estradiol (estrogen). So, basically, being overweight does everything negative possible to your hormone levels.
If your hormones aren’t optimal, you’re fighting an uphill battle in the fat loss department.
There are a number of ways to raise your testosterone naturally, first and foremost being weight loss. But for now, focus on adequate sleep, optimizing Vitamin D and magnesium levels, and minimizing alcohol consumption. For a 10 step cheat sheet to boost your T naturally, Get The Testosterone Boosting Cheat Sheet
- Why So Sensitive?
When you’re carrying around extra weight, you’re also less sensitive to insulin, meaning the carbs you eat are more likely to end up in those ever-expanding love handles.
Here’s a few ways to increase insulin sensitivity:
- Heat therapy, the sauna being one example. Soaking in a hot bath or sauna causes an increase in core body temperature that turns on the cellular “heat shock” response, which is what works to increase insulin sensitivity by suppressing inflammation and increasing blood flow to working muscles.
- Look into GDAs: Glucose disposal agents are another tool in your insulin sensitivity toolbox. They help carbs get stored as glycogen in muscles instead of fat. (They won’t make up for a poor diet of course.) Here’s my go-to GDAs:
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon not only helps insulin do its job better, but it has insulin mimetic properties, which means it can drive nutrients into the muscle even in the absence of insulin. This one is easy to implement into your diet right away. Everyone has cinnamon in his or her cabinet and it tastes good on a lot of things.
- Berberine: Many studies show that berberine can significantly reduce blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. In a 12-week study in obese individuals, 500 mg taken three times per day caused about 5 pounds of weight loss, on average. The participants also lost 3.6% of their body fat (source).
NOTE: Of course, this is #6 for a reason. Without diet and exercise, none of these will have a huge impact.
I get it. Fat gain has haunted you your entire life. I was once in your shoes. Need a helping hand? Get yourself a seat in my free fat loss course and discover three easy steps to (finally) see your weight loss goal succeed:
Mitch Calvert is a certified trainer and fat-loss coach. He discovered his love for fitness 14 years ago at 240 lbs – and now works specifically with men like his former self who have weight to lose and confidence to gain. He hosts Mansformation Challenges for guys looking to get over the fat-loss hump. Visit www.mitchcalvert.com