LOSING WEIGHT – THE PERMANENT WAY
There are no short-cuts when it comes to weight loss. Not in the long run. If you really want to lose the weight for good, the road is longer and slower than advertised on TV or the internet.
The reality is, losing weight and reaching your goals will likely be much harder than you think, and it will probably take longer than you envision, (unless you start doing ultra-race sports, have some cataclysmic health issues, or you are a growing teenage boy). The good news, is if you take the long and steady road built on the habits of eating right and having an active lifestyle, you can lose the weight and keep it off for life.
I have had countless family members and friends try very dangerous diets that produce rapid weight loss at first and have adverse long term side effects. Plus, they gain considerable more weight and end up incredibly discouraged. They suffer in extreme ways to lose the weight and then end up worse than when they started. You may have heard a person say, “I’ve lost 60 pounds this year.” You curiously inquire, “Really?” “Yes! I’ve lost the same 10 pounds, six times!”
There are 2 types of ways to lose the weight – the rapid way, and the right way.
RAPID WEIGHT LOSS:
1. KILLS YOUR METABOLISM
Usually rapid weight loss programs have severe calorie-cutting. Although you may have an initial “successful” sprint in weight loss, having less than 1200 calories a day has been shown to significantly slow down your metabolism. Many rapid weight loss programs slash your calories to less than 1,000. With severe calorie reduction the body believes that it is in starvation mode and it actually holds onto the weight so that you can survive the “starvation”. Your basil metabolism rate slows significantly, making it much harder to lose more weight and causes you to re-gain the weight very easily.
2. IS FRUSTRATING!!!
Let’s face it, nobody loves to be in starvation mode no matter how great your willpower is. People also don’t like to limit variety in their food or drink shakes all the time. Most people crack after a while, due to boredom or being “hangry,” binge more than before, and the weight soars.
3. YOU LOSE FAKE WEIGHT
Many times when you lose a lot of weight, initially it is water weight. If you continue to lose weight rapidly, you are likely losing mostly muscle mass versus fat mass. That is the wrong kind of weight to lose. Muscle mass helps you burn more calories so you don’t want to eliminate what is burning your fat! One pound of muscle can burn 50 extra calories a day at rest. If you lost 15 pounds and 10 of those pounds are muscle, you are losing a burning power of 500 calories / day.
4. YOU REGAIN THE WEIGHT YOU LOST AND THEN SOME
When you lose weight rapidly, your metabolism slows to a halt and your body becomes used to surviving on lower calories. You are not able to burn as many calories due to the loss of muscle. In this state, regaining weight (and then some) is a fast and easy process. The longer you’ve been overweight, the more your body will naturally want to get back to that higher weight. When you lose weight slowly, you give your brain, metabolism, and hunger hormones a chance to adapt.
5. ADDS MORE FAT CELLS
Most often, every time you gain a pound of fat, you are increasing the number of fat cells that you have. As you lose weight, you can shrink your current fat cells but the fat cells you have added, stay with you. By yo-yo dieting, (losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight …) you continue to increase the number fat cells which you cannot lose, you can only shrink them.
THE LONGER AND PERMANENT ROAD:
In our fast-food, microwave zapping, instant gratification culture, our expectations have become warped, unhealthy, and disillusioned. Half a pound, to one pound of weight loss a week is a healthy expectation to have. If you would like to lose 25 pounds, expect it to take about six months for you to get the weight off in a way that it will stay off. For those who are obese, 1% of your body weight each week in the first few weeks can be acceptable. For example, someone that is 350 pounds, 3.5 pounds / week for the first few weeks is healthy weight loss with little muscle loss. When an obese person is considering long-term weight loss, 10% of your body weight for a six-month time-frame is a healthy initial goal.
2. LONG TERM MINDSET – MAKE IT YOUR LIFESTYLE!
Diets don’t work. Only lifestyle changes work. This is why Weight Watchers is so successful – they focus on creating awareness and making lifestyle changes. Start eating and doing what healthy, fit people eat and do if you would like to produce similar results. Our habits are the most powerful things that run our lives. When you change your lifestyle, you change your life for the long term.
3. ACTIVITY LEVELS
Work up to it! If you have never exercised, start off slow with something basic like walking 10 minutes, 4-5 times a week. You can build up from there by adding another 10 minutes of activity per week. ACE Fitness says that you need 150 minutes a week of moderate cardio activity with weight training to maintain your health. A person needs 180 – 360 minutes of activity a week for weight loss. If you are obese or have always struggled with your weight, a good rule of thumb is about 1 hour a day of cardio, plus weight training a couple of times a week (after safely building up to it). Cardio training helps all of your systems work better, prevents metabolic diseases, and burns the calories. Weight training adds lean muscle mass which helps increase your caloric burn even when you are at rest.
4. DITCH EMPTY CALORIES: SUGAR, FLOUR, STARCHES AND HYDROGENATED OILS
These foods are very high in calories and are nutrient deficient. They don’t give you a feeling of fullness, they can be highly addictive, and they can increase your blood sugar, causing your insulin to spike, making you hang onto the weight. Minimize or eliminate these roadblocks to your weight loss success.
5. VEGGIES AND PROTEIN
Vegetables – (especially colourful ones that are low in starches) are nutrient dense, high fiber (which can help you feel full), and low in calories. You are getting the most nutritional bang for your calorie buck with veggies.
Protein increases satiety (the feeling of fullness), increases thermogenesis (the digestion process of protein causes your body to produce more heat and burn more calories); and helps to maintain muscle mass (muscle burns more calories and muscle helps your body burns calories).
Notice what you drink. We can drink a lot of empty calories that don’t satisfy our hunger or provide any nutritional value. I had a friend who lost 150 pounds over the course of 2-3 years simply because he cut soda out of his lifestyle. He was drinking 2,000+ calories a day in soda, when he shifted that one habit, he lost almost half his body weight. It also takes more calories to digest food, so when you eat your calories rather than drink your calories, you burn more in the digestion process.
The maintenance stage is as important as the weight loss stage. If you have lost a significant amount of weight and have plateaued, don’t discount it. Your body needs to adjust to a new weight set-point. Congratulate yourself that you are in the minority for not gaining the weight back. You may need to make a few tweaks from here before you reach your final destination … which is to ultimately maintain the weight loss.