11 Effective Tips To Bio-Hack Your Body Into Losing Weight.
Everyone wants 'an edge' over the other. What if we tell you there is a way for you to hack your body to optimise its functions?
Yes, you read it correctly, the correct term I am trying to introduce is called bio-hacking. Biohacking is basically introducing anything to your lifestyle that can optimise the functioning of your body.
Biohacking aims at improving health, optimizing body functioning to boost longevity, or simply to boost day- to- day performance through strategic interventions. The strategies that you adopt during bio-hacking change the body’s chemistry and physiology with the help of scientific methods and self-experimentation.
Implementation and evidence of bio-hacking have been around for quite some time. The most quoted example being fasting. Introducing strategic forms of fasting such as the 5:2 method or TRE (time restricted eating) have been shown to help boost longevity. Here is one type of fasting/ eating pattern my partner follows:
There are many ways to hack your body such as with wearable technology, implant technology, dietary and lifestyle routines/changes, physiological therapies, etc. Bio-hacking involves everything from wearing devices that update you about your body status to using white noice to help you sleep deeper.
Some of the major reasons why people would want to hack their bodies are to:
- improve sexual performance,
- have more control over their health,
- improve professional performance,
- and disease management/ reversal
Bio-hacking for longevity?
This is a topic I am personally interested in. over the years, my focus has very much switched from looking physically fit to making lifestyle changes for longevity.
Everyone is going to age, but not everyone will be in the peak of their health as they age. In the search for longevity, researchers have taken a big dive into the ocean of possibilities to boost healthy lifespan.
From as bizarre as putting butter into coffee (worse idea ever!) or wearing headbands to improve brain functions, to taking FDA-approved drugs that slow down aging, we have seen a lot of approaches that are intriguing. But not all of them are scientifically effective. Some are downright snake oil portions sold in fancy, expensive bottles.
A study published by the American Journal of Public Health in 2011, understudied and collected data from 16,958 participants. The study concluded that the combined effects of 4 low-risk lifestyle behavior's namely - smoking, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, and sedentary life defines how one age's.
The study concludes that lifestyle behaviors are usually the main reason for chronic diseases and changing them to healthier patterns can exert a lot of influence on mortality.
Before we dig into bio- hacking tips for weight loss, lets first look at a few tips that help with longevity:
Better nutrition - The goal is to restrict calories while intaking the maximum amount of nutrient dense foods. Your plate should be abundant in vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber superfoods, nuts, fruits, and plant sourced fats. It is observed that people who consume more plant-based diets have a long and healthy life. So ditch dairy, eggs and meat.
Adequate sleep - It is not only about how long you sleep, but when you sleep and how deep you sleep. Sleeping as per the bodies natural circadian cycle, as per the sun's cycle is the key. A disruption in your circadian health manifests in terms of hormonal imbalance, excessive cravings for sugary and junk food and even a leaky gut. All of these, reduce longevity.
Regular exercise - Movement is of utmost importance. Even a 30 minute walk per day is enough to show an improvement in longevity. Most of us associate exercise with hours and hours spent at the gym. But that is not necessary, and might not even be healthy. You want to include moderate intensity movement and choose a form of exercise you most enjoy. Adding 30- 40 minutes per day is more than enough.
Hormetic stress - Putting your body through hormesis - which is exposure to minor bouts of stress to generate an adaptive response can help boost longevity. Methods like ice bathing, flotation tanks, dietary restrictions, as well as High Intensity Interval Training are a few example.
- Fasting - The practice of fasting has been in existence for a long time. The benefits of fasting are immense, it tends to reduce inflammation in the body, increases the number of mitochondria in the cells, promotes cellular cleansing as well maintain the blood sugar levels.
Top 11 bio-hacking tips for weight loss:
We live in a generation that understands beyond calories. For instance, all of us know that one person who does not eat much but tends to gain weight very quickly. We also all know someone that eat's a lot but doesn't seem to gain weight at all. If it were just about calories- in- calories- out, then everyone who starts a new diet plan should get the exact same results.
But our hormonal balance, gut health, stress levels and so many other factors influence how our body stores the calories we eat.
Besides this the science of calorie counting is really outdated and not even accurate. For instance, 100 grams of a carrot grown in Indian soil could have upto 25% more or less calories compared to the same weight in carrot grown in some other country.
As you also read below, you will understand that certain food groups and lifestyle tips can drastically increase weight, while others can help with weight loss.
1) Introduce Vinegar:
A study conducted in Japan involved 150 overweight individuals split into three groups - one where the subjects took 2 tbsp of vinegar with their daily diet, one where they consumed 1 tbsp of vinegar, and the last group with no vinegar.
By the end of 12 weeks, the group who consumed higher doses of vinegar was reported to have dropped 5 pounds without exercising or dietary restrictions, this result was enough to indicate that vinegar does have a significant effect on weight loss.
The use of vinegar to lose weight has been successful for the last 200 years. Vinegar is a diluted solution of acetic acid which on consumption activates the AMPK enzyme in the body.
This enzyme is essential for weight loss since it boosts the production of energy by breaking down fat, thereby increasing fat utilization in the body.
As a lifestyle change, adding just two tbsp of vinegar per day (no more!) with your meals, can accelerate weight loss.
Note, you do not want to consume vinegar empty stomach or by itself. Use it as a dressing to your meals.
2) Breakfast like a king:
It is strange but rather evident that eating right even at the wrong time may result in excessive weight gain. In the case of human beings, this inappropriate time for meal consumption means eating at night.
This study shows that even when controlled for the number of calories consumed per day, eating the calories later towards the evening leads to significantly more weight gain than eating the exact same calories during the day.
The reason why eating timings have a reasonable effect on the metabolic rate is quite simple. The answer is in the natural circadian rhythm of the body. Our bodies ability to breakdown glucose tends to shimmer down as we are getting ready to go to bed.
Meaning, we are more likely to store calories from the food we eat (irrespective of the macro nutrient content of the food) as body fat than glycogen if we eat late at night.
A simple lifestyle change to make breakfast and lunch your heavier meal and dinner your lightest meal can do the trick.
3) Introduce Variety in your diet:
One thing common among the longest living tribes across the globe is how diverse their diet is. Diversity is the key to gut health and gut health is the key to weight loss.
However, to accelerate weight loss many people started introducing fad or mono diets, where an individual is restricted to only one type of food. This is a bad idea and often leaves one with long term gut disorders. Read this article to understand more:
Alternatively, introducing diversity to your diet with a variety of whole- foods, boosts the population of the good gut microbiome and keeps your waist line down.
If you are worried about excess calories causing weight gain, then watch this:
As shown in the above video, eating as much as even 20 fruits a day was still associated with weight loss and even a drop in LDL levels!
Do not fear eating whole foods, embrace them. Aim to eat as much as a 100 varieties of plants in your diet per week. This includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, pulses and grains.
4) Introduce Black Cumin Seeds.
Black cumin seeds, also called as nigella sativa seeds are native to the Mediterranean and South East Asian countries. These remarkably magical seeds are known for their medicinal benefits in various cultures.
From aiding in diabetes management to weight loss, these seeds have been extensively studied.
A study published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011 found that supplementation with Nigella sativa seeds resulted in significant reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference in obese subjects.
This particular study included 60 subjects with a BMI greater than 30. The participants were randomly divided into two groups: one group received 500 mg of Nigella sativa seeds twice daily for 8 weeks, the other group received a placebo.
The groups were instructed to eat similar calories and also monitored to have similar type of a fitness regimen.
At the end of the study, the group receiving the Nigella sativa seeds had:
- A significantly greater reductions in body weight,
- A greater improvement in body mass index,
- and lower waist circumference
The same results were not seen in the placebo group. This further helps us understand that by just adding 1/4th of a tsp of nigella seeds to your daily diet has dramatic effects on weight loss.
Like with any spice/ herb, too much is not necessarily too good and may lead to gastric distress.
5) Introduce Fasting:
By fasting I really mean TRE(time restricted eating). Meaning, giving your stomach a gap from constantly eating. Stick to two big meals and one snack per day, no more is needed.
We live in a world of abundance, thus, are constantly either eating or thinking about our next meal. Somehow, this baseless idea that humans must eat every two hours has taken the center stage in the recent years.
Not not only is the same non- scientific, but can be dangerous in helping us reach our fat loss goal. If you are eating whole, plant- foods that are dense in micro- nutrients, you will not have the cravings to eat constantly.
Studies indicate that fasting boosts the circulation of FGF21 hormones ( an enhancer for longevity). This boost in FGF21 levels can also be achieved by restricting protein intake and increasing fiber-rich foods. This itself should be a reason enough for you to explore some form of fasting.
Read this article I wrote for more information on Intermittent Fasting, the type I personally follow:
6) Consume matcha tea:
Matcha tea is a similar yet more potent form of green tea. It is very well known that matcha is rich in antioxidants and poses more health benefits than consuming traditional green tea.
Matcha is abundant in a plant-based compound called EGCG which is excellent for boosting metabolism and has thermogenic effects on the body. As per a recent publication in Molecules, EGCG shows positive and strong effects against obesity.
The antioxidants present in Matcha help the body detoxify, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, provide energy, manage cholesterol, burn fat, enhance immunity and also contain anti-inflammation properties.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2005 found that consumption of matcha tea was associated with increased fat loss in men.
This was attributed to another compound called catechins, a type of antioxidant found in high concentrations in matcha tea.
The study included 10 healthy men, who consumed either a beverage containing 690 mg of matcha tea catechins or a placebo beverage. The matcha group lost slightly more weight without any other change in lifestyle.
Now note, like with any other bio- hacking trick here, matcha tea alone does not help with weight loss, but rather acts to aid in slightly faster weight loss. Bio- hacking tricks alone will not get you to your goal, they simply will help you reach your goal faster.
7) Activate boost brown fat production:
Brown fat or brown adipose tissues is found in higher concentrations in children. Adults have more white fat cells than brown fat. Brown fat generates heat in the body and increases energy expenditure, unlike white fat, that stores more fat cells. Thus, activating brown fat alone, can help burn more fat in the body.
Recent data shows that brown fat is also active in adult humans but it has to be induced using external influences like cold exposure or consuming Capsaicin rich foods.
One study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2010 found that exposure to cold temperatures increased brown fat activity and resulted in a significant increase in energy expenditure (the number of calories burned) in healthy men.
This was a small scale study with only 10 men who were exposed to a cold temperature (60°F / 15°C) for 2 hours a day for 6 weeks. Now this might not be for everyone, but cranking the AC up at night before going to bed is an easy way to achieve this temperature.
The researchers found that the men had a significant increase in energy expenditure and a decrease in body fat mass after 6 weeks of cold exposure. There was no control group, so it is hard to tell what the outcome might have been otherwise.
If cold exposure is not your cup of tea, then there is a good news for you. Certain foods too active brown fat cells int he body.
Capsaicin, a food compound found in cayenne pepper, jalapenos, etc. is one example. Only 30 minutes after the consumption of cayenne pepper you can observe a rise in the energy expenditure of the body. Hence, you can introduce spicy food into your diet to burn more fat!
8) Light exposure to weight- loss.
We all know that exposure to bright lights or blue lights at night, emitted from our phones, adversely affects our circadian rhythm thereby reducing the quality of sleep and may even contribute to weight gain.
In fact, increase in the evening and nighttime exposure to light has a direct connection to obesity. But what would to the body happen if we purposely increased the exposure to bright light during the day?
Testing the theory of phototherapy, a trial was published that studied two groups of overweight individuals. One group was exposed to normal lighting the other was exposed to the increased bright morning light. The study showed that the group exposed to bright light saw a reduction in body fat as well as increased physical performance.
But how does light exposure lead to weight loss? This is very interesting and must be understood.
Now our neurons when exposed to bright day light, trigger the release of a particular hormone called Melanocyte- stimulating hormone (MSH). MSH helps in reducing appetite. It literally makes you want to NOT eat food.
Here comes the interesting part, MSH is activated by ultraviolet light- sun light and daylight. So by just practicing sunlight exposure daily, you are activating MSH stimulation and also reducing appetite. This naturally makes you not want to overeat.
9) Introduce berries and other flavonoid-rich foods:
Flavonoid-rich foods like nuts and berries have thermogenic effects on the body. This helps you boost metabolism naturally. Heightened metabolism means you could burn more fat at rest.
This interesting study had participants either drink two glasses of purple grape juice per day (700+ kJ of additional calories added to their diet) or drink a grape flavoured placebo drink for two months.
What happens in a few months, the placebo group actually gains weight, while the grape juice lost weight and waist circumference in spite of consuming additional calories per day!
The researchers accounted flavonoids in foods to help boost resting metabolism and cause the difference in results.
Now I do not suggest grape juice consumption, but rather, eat whole fruits like berries, mango and grapes that are rich in flavanoids.
10) Pump up your NEAT:
Your NEAT or Non-exercise activity thermogenesis can help you pump up your weight loss game without the need for intensive exercise.
Yes, that’s right, an average individual can burn up to 500 calories in a sixty-minute workout depending on its type and intensity.
But with the help of NEAT, an individual can utilize the majority of his days; through smaller changes and burn even more calories. Watch this to understand more:
With the help of NEAT, you can engage your body to burn fat for 160+ hours a week than only focusing on 5-7 hours per week in the gym.
Even just covering 7700 steps per day has been shown to promote more weight loss than those who stay sedentary.
11) Include Flaxseeds to your daily diet:
Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, a superfood with cancer fighting properties.
There have been several studies conducted on the effects of flaxseeds on weight loss. Here is one example:
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2004 found that consumption of flaxseeds was associated with a decrease in body weight and body fat in postmenopausal women.
I insist my clients, particularly female clients to include flaxseeds to their diet every single day. They have phyto- estrogenic properties, protecting you from menopausal symptoms and post menopausal cancer.
The study included 78 postmenopausal women with an average age of 57, who were randomly assigned to one of three groups:
- a group that received a flaxseed supplement (providing 3 tbsp of flaxseed powder per day),
- a group that received a wheat bran supplement (providing 3 tbsp of barn per day),
- or a control group that received no supplement.
The study lasted for 12 weeks. The flaxseed group stood out with the best results in terms of fat loss and drop in body fat percentage.
If by just adding flaxseeds to your diet, you can accelerate fat loss, shouldn't you at least try it?
Your goal should be to be able to do the minimum work and still get maximum results. Excessive calorie cutting and overtraining often has negative consequences.
Instead, work smarter by introducing certain foods and strategies that can naturally accelerate your weight loss. For me personally, follwoing a whole- food, plant- based lifestyle has been a game changer!
Let's Just Talk. No Obligations.
I do free consultations every Tuesday's and Thursday's. Either way you will get some actionable tips to reach your fitness goals faster.