The Best Weight Loss Plan? Eating a Little Less

  • By Kim Chul-joong

    April 02, 2022 08:47

    Decreasing metabolism often leads to weight gain with increasing age, and many people either starve themselves or resort to short, intense spurts of exercising to lose that weight again.

    But in fact sporadic changes in daily routines rarely achieve the intended results, or achieve them only in the short term. Instead, the Japanese have pioneered a diet regime known as the "three-percent diet" that simply means gradually eating a little less.

    Blood pressure increases after people surpass a certain weight, which also leads to rises in blood-sugar levels and cholesterol. But losing just three percent of body weight leads to noticeable improvement. 

    Researchers in Japan have found that 3,400 people who were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome due to hypertension and abdominal obesity and were coached for six months saw blood pressure decline by 4~5 mmHg, blood sugar by around 2 mg/dL and "bad" cholesterol by around 4 mg/dL after losing just three to five percent of their body weight.

    That means a person weighing 80 kg can achieve those results by shaving off just 2.4 kg. A slight loss in body weight may not lead to major changes in physical appearance, but it has a huge impact on health, and losing three percent of body weight can be done relatively easily.

    Fasting can cause muscle loss, which in turn leads to a decrease in energy consumption, so the body amasses fat instead -- a vicious cycle. Drastic cutbacks in food intake prompt the body to shift to emergency mode and stock up on fat to survive. This can also lead to cirrhosis of the liver.

    The ideal diet instead allows people to retain muscle mass while slowly burning away excess fat.

    The key to this diet is losing around 50 g of fat a day. Doing this for three months has the effect of cutting 4.5 kg of fat, which is equivalent to 300 kcal. In other words, people consume less food or increase physical activities to burn calories.

    This can be achieved by eating one third less food in two out of three meals a day, like 1/10 less pizza, turning down an extra serving of chicken, not eating half a slice of toast or eating one-third less ice cream per serving.

    It can also be achieved by jumping rope for 10 minutes or a light calisthenic workout for 20 minutes, walking for 20 minutes, climbing stairs for 10 minutes, or cleaning the house for 23 minutes.

    Avoiding habits that lead to weight gain can also be helpful. Stop eating late-night snacks, try to sleep more, and go for walks on weekends. And be sure to check weight change regularly, usually before breakfast. 

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