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The Key To Losing Weight

Walking meditation can help. You could walk like a Buddhist monk or a catwalk model

If walking regularly, you can practise walking meditation for about 15 minutes pacing back and forth between two selected points.  You can do this in both flats, heels or bare feet.

If walking regularly, you can practise walking meditation for about 15 minutes pacing back and forth between two selected points. You can do this in both flats, heels or bare feet.

All you have to do is breathe

Obesity is a growing problem in the developed world and up and coming countries such as China contributing not just to heart disease but also arthritis and back problem for the overweight, especially as they age. There are just too many processed calories around – food that’s too easy to digest and is assimilated into the body without been ejested. Our prehistoric physiology was programmed for food scarcity rather than abundance and any excess calories are stored away as fat for leaner times.

The key to understanding weight loss is to appreciate that it is happening ALL THE TIME. Between meals. Our inbreath consists of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and about 0.04% carbon dioxide alongside trace amounts of inert gasses. Our outbreath on the other hand has 4% carbon dioxide, 16% oxygen and an appreciable amount of water vapour, more than we would have inhaled from the surrounding atmosphere.

The additional carbon and water in the outbreath arises from the process of metabolism, the breakdown of sugars by the body for energy. Our bodies are powered at around the same rate as a 100W lightbulb (it can go up to 500W or fall to about 90W) – 100 joules produced every second. This is much higher than in cold blooded animals and results from the combustion of sugars with oxygen. We burn around 4-500g of carbohydrate per day. This leaves the body via the outbreath. Your outbreath is slightly heavier than the inbreath owing to the additional carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (just blow on a cold surface to see this water), within around 5%, but if you exercise, this weight of outbreath gets heavier as you burn more sugar – so you lose more weight.

(If you walk for an hour you could lose 50g by burning 200kCal, depending on your size & metabolism. Just divide the KCal reading on your app by 4.)

People who engage in water fasts – in other words, consuming no calories at all for a set period of time, say 3 to 10 days, notice a regular weight loss of 4-500g per day after the first day when all the glycogen in the liver is used up (the greatest weight loss happens on the first day of starvation).

If you want to lose weight all you have to do is to eat less and breathe out more! How we achieve both is the subject of an endless stream of books contributing to a multi-billion-dollar industry embracing gyms and various systems. It’s about motivation. The first tool may be a good pair of scales.

Here are some tips from the literature and personal experience

1) You can eat less if you consume more coffee and tea instead that can stimulate the body without filling it up.

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2) Proteins may help more than carbohydrate, something related to the Aitken’s diet.

3) Walking, being on your feet and exercising can help. Maybe you could take a dog or a friend out. The image used here is from with some basic guidelines.

4) Being out in the cold with light clothing rather than heavy clothing can help burn up energy in the form of extra energy needed to keep the body warm.

5) Use apps that quantify the number of steps you take, your calories consumed and even weight loss. A good walk could have at least 2K steps.

6) Use the parks and any open spaces you have close to you, especially in the evenings or early mornings for walking or running, you don’t have to spend on a gym.

7) You could motivate yourself experimenting with the clothes and shoes you wear - try something different like bodysuits, short escapades in high heels or other interesting sandals, shoes and unfamiliar underwear against the cold without wearing heavy coats.

8) Only consume about two main meals a day and consume roughage. Tried any fruit, kale or cabbage today? Eating oranges is better than drinking orange juice that provides easy calories that could add weight. Annual fasts could help if you are up for them.

Regular exercise can release endorphins and this can make physical activity slightly addictive. You can also combine it with spiritual aspects like Yoga or walking meditation for 15 minutes each day out in a park (Buddhist walking meditation can be pursued as a secular activity).

Most of us are lucky to have parks and quiet neighbourhoods for long walks. You can cover 10 or more miles in less than 4 hours so why not find a local walking group or find an excuse to go out? – maybe while learning a foreign language by using piped music or language courses to your ear. The age of watching television en-masse is now over thanks to smartphones. It’s time to subordinate the technology, by using it for exercise and other creative or domestic pursuits.

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