HabitWall

3 Practical Ways to Lose Weight (properly)

In April of 2020 I started to get into bad shape relative to my norm. At my peak, I weighed 184 pounds; normally I weigh around 165 pounds. Fortunately I was able to turn things around pretty quickly. In this article I am going to share practical, research-based methods of losing weight that you can apply to your life.

For context, I have provided a before and after picture below (there's also a video at the end). The 'before' picture was taken in April or May of 2020. And the 'after' picture was taken on September 24th. So there was about a 4 or 5 month gap. The 'before' picture wasn't necessarily me looking my worst, but it's what we have to work with.

Don't feel bad if you're currently super overweight and/or out of shape. Even if you're 400+ pounds it's okay we'll get focused to get through it. Positive. You can email me personally casey@habitwall.com and I will be more than happy to offer words of encouragement to help you progress toward a healthier weight. More importantly, we'll get you on the right track. 

Before and after pictures of losing weight

Habit #1: Exercise before consuming any calories and you’ll lose almost 2x the amount of fat compared to exercising after a meal.1,2

Although many experiments have been published comparing the amount of fat burned in a fasted state versus a fed state, there has been some ambiguity as to whether or not the fat you burned while exercising correlated with less fat at the end of the day. In other words, maybe our bodies offset the extra fat loss that occurs during exercise with extra fat storage when you finally do eat which would balance the equation. 

The following text is cited from a book titled 'How Not to Diet,' written by Dr. Michael Greger that addresses that possibility:

Researchers in Japan set out to investigate this possibility by measuring a twenty-four-hour fat balance after one hundred minutes of running either before breakfast or after lunch. On the exercise-after-lunch day, subjects burned a total of 608 calories of fat over the course of that day. In contrast, on the exercise-before-breakfast day, in the same twenty four hour period, they burned through nearly 90 percent more -- 1,142 calories of straight fat.

The researchers then conducted a study where the participants walked instead of ran since running for 100 straight minutes seems intense and less applicable to the general population.  Here is the research, as summarized by Dr. Greger:

Study subjects walked for sixty minutes at different times of the day -- before breakfast, after lunch, or after dinner -- and also had a control day when they didn’t exercise at all. Over twenty-four hours, they burned off 432 fat calories after exercising in the evening and 446 fat calories after walking in the afternoon. On the exercise-free control day, however, they burned through 456 fat calories. It’s almost as if the post-lunch and post-dinner walkers hadn’t walked at all. What about a pre-breakfast walk? The same amount of exercise before breakfast resulted in 717 calories of fat loss. Over the course of the day, timing truly does matter. 

Additionally, studies were conducted to see if maybe people burned more fat in the morning regardless of whether or not they ate breakfast. Research concluded that it's not just a morning thing, it's a matter of exercising before eating in the morning.3 

Habit #2: Two Tablespoons of Vinegar per meal

Here's a summary of what vinegar does (you can read page 295 of 'How Not to Diet' for a more elaborate explanation) Vinegar promotes weight loss by activating an enzyme called AMPK, which is responsible for flipping a switch in your body from storing fat to burning fat. This occurs when your body is low on energy and there is a build up of AMP molecules in pursuit of ATP. Think of AMP as a low battery (it has 1 phosphate -- the ‘M’ stands for monophosphate) and ATP as a charged battery (it has 3 phosphates -- the ‘T’ stands for triphosphate). 

AMPK activation leads to the formation of extra mitochondria (mitochondria are the power plants within our cells where fat is burned and ATP is created). As Dr. Michael Greger explains in his book How Not to Diet, “AMPK doesn’t just cause more fat to be shoveled into the furnace -- it causes more furnaces to be built.”

Here is the research as summarized by Dr. Greger:

Researchers in Japan performed a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the effects of vinegar intake on the reduction of body fat in 155 overweight men and women. The subjects were randomly split into one of three groups: a high-dose vinegar group drinking a beverage containing two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day, a low-dose group drinking a beverage with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar a day. Or a placebo control group drinking an acidic beverage developed to taste the same as the vinegar drink but prepared with a different kind of acid so it didn’t have any acetic acid. The researchers monitored the subjects’ diets and gave each of them a pedometer to make sure the only significant difference among the three groups was the amount and type of vinegar they were getting every day. The group taking two daily tablespoons were down a total of five pounds after three months. There was no change in their diet or exercise regimens.

Conclusion on Habit #2: Two tablespoons a day led to overweight people losing an average of 5 pounds over the course of three months without altering their exercise habits or diet.

Pro-tip: Blood sugar spikes were found to be dropped consistently by 23% when consuming 2 tablespoons of vinegar at the end of a meal. 4,5

Habit #3: Consume at least 50% of your calories before 2pm

There’s a term called “chronobiology” that gives meaning to how certain parts of your body function at certain times of the day. When it comes to calorie consumption, it’s much better to consume your calories in the morning rather than later in the day, especially when you need to lose weight. 

Here’s the research, as summarized by Dr. Greger: 6

‘Israeli researchers randomized overweight and obese women into one of two isocaloric groups, meaning each group was given the same number of total calories. One group was given a seven-hundred-calorie breakfast, five-hundred-calorie lunch, and a two-hundred-calorie dinner, and the other group was given the opposite -- two hundred for breakfast. Five hundred for lunch, and seven hundred for dinner. Although each group was eating the same number of calories, the group who ate the most at breakfast lost more than twice as much weight as the group eating the most at the dinner meal. In addition to slimming nearly an extra two inches off their waistlines, by the end of the twelve-week study, the breakfast group lost nineteen pounds compared to only eight lost by the dinner group despite eating the same number of calories.7 Eleven additional pounds lost eating the same number of calories. That’s the power of chronobiology.’

CONCLUSION:

Habit #1: Exercise before consuming any calories and you’ll lose almost 2x the amount of fat compared to exercising after a meal.1,2

Habit #2: Two tablespoons a day led to overweight people losing an average of 5 pounds over the course of three months without altering their exercise habits or diet.

Habit #3: Consume at least 50% of your calories before 2pm and there's a good chance you more than double the number of pounds lost compared to consuming most of your calories after lunch and especially dinner.

BONUS - A word on 'Habit #1':

Although it is effective to exercise before consuming any calories, you should not necessarily skip eating breakfast or delaying eating something simply because you have not yet exercised. This is because skipping breakfast leads to higher LDL cholesterol. 

Participants of the study referenced in citation #7 who consumed 50% of their calories at breakfast, 30% at lunch and 20% at dinner significantly improved LDL levels, dropping 60 points. 

Participants who consumed the inverse (20/30/50) significantly decreased LDL levels, increasing 26 points.

Check out our 30 day habit tracker for weight loss here. You can customize it, but we feel pretty certain it's good as is. 

REFERENCES

1. Iwayama K, Kawabuchi R, Park I, et al. Transient energy deficit induced by exercise increases 24-h fat oxidation in young trained men. J Appl Physiol. 2015;118(1):80–5.

2. Dr. Michael Greger, 'How Not to Diet' page 376-377; 2019.

3. Farah NM, Gill JM. Effects of exercise before or after meal ingestion on fat balance and postprandial metabolism in overweight men. Br J Nutr. 2013;109(12):2297–307

4. Johnston CS, Steplewska I, Long CA, Harris LN, Ryals RH. Examination of the antiglycemic properties of vinegar in healthy adults. Ann Nutr Metab. 2010;56(1):74–9.

5. Dr. Michael Greger, 'How Not to Diet' page 302; 2019

6. Dr. Michael Greger, 'How Not to Diet' page 323-324; 2019

7. Jakubowicz D, Barnea M, Wainstein J, Froy O. High caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013;21(12):2504–12.