By: Shana Perkins, HHC
Does losing weight frustrate you? Have you tried every diet on the planet only to wind up gaining all the weight you lost back the moment you go off it? Are you sick of being tired and cranky while you struggle with tiny portion sizes and “diet” everything?
If this is you, I’m here to tell you that there is a better way. Before I do that, let me first explain why all these “diets” you go on do nothing more than set you up for failure. First off, if you want to make any kind of permanent change in your physique, you have to make a permanent change in your lifestyle. Drastically cutting calories for a short time will NOT give you a better body composition. Sure, you may lose a few pounds but a good portion of that weight will be muscle (which burns more calories than fat). Not only that but your metabolic rate slows (how many calories you burn throughout the day), so when you start eating “normal” again you pack on pounds faster than before. This is generally why people end up worse off than before they started the “diet”!
Another big problem with this method of losing weight is it doesn’t take into account the type of calories you are ingesting. A calorie is NOT simply a calorie. Our precious bodies were not designed to run off processed foods with artificial ingredients. Our bodies don’t recognize these substances as food, but rather toxins that end up overloading our organs of elimination and causing our whole system to perform sluggishly. Some zero calorie “foods”, such as artificial sweeteners, can actually cause the body to gain weight!
In order to have a body and mind that performs optimally we have to feed it what it needs to thrive, whole foods. Whole foods are foods that are as close to their original, unaltered state as possible for consumption. Processed or refined foods are thereby definition not whole foods. When we feed ourselves the food that nature intended, everything gets better. Having all the critical nutrients we require increases not only our physical power but our mental power as well. You will find that as you continue on this path you will have a quicker wit, better coordination, healthier outlook, better sleep and so much more.
The toxins that are in these franken-foods get stored in the bodies fat tissues in order to protect our vital organs. When we switch to foods that actually nourish the body and don’t just contribute to the waste it has to deal with, it is much easier to release the fat. You will be much more satisfied and stable after a meal without the addictive damaging ingredients that are hidden in processed food.
The type of calories you take in may be the most important step you can take in ridding your body of excess weight, but the amount of calories you take in each day still makes a difference. Everyone has a certain amount of calories they burn each day at rest. This number is called your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), and it is important for anyone looking to lose weight to have a good idea of what their number is. You can get a good approximate idea of what yours is by finding a BMR calculator online. This is the number of calories you burn each day simply by being alive; this number does not include the physical activity you perform each day.
A pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories. To lose one pound a week you need to be in a deficit of 500 calories a day. This can be achieved through both eating less and exercising more. Of course you can always increase your exercise to burn additional calories and lose more weight more quickly.
It is always recommended when trying to lose weight faster to increase your exercise rather than cut more calories. If you drop your calories too much (under 1200 calories a day) your body will think you are starving and will enter “starvation mode”; this slows your metabolism and your body will hang on to your fat for dear life. Exercise, on the other hand, increases your metabolism and you will not only burn calories while you work out but you will continue to burn more throughout the day. Cardio is the best way to shed weight quickly and weight training is the key for achieving a better looking physique. Adding muscle does so much for your body. not only does weight bearing exercise significantly reduce your chance of developing osteoporosis, but every pound of muscle you add causes you to burn an extra 50 calories a day! Exercise also produces endorphins and increases the production of serotonin and dopamine, so you feel happy and keep that positive outlook naturally while you shed the weight.
So now we understand how important it is to be feeding ourselves quality nutrients and incorporating physical activity into our days. The next step is setting up meals. The trick to staying on any kind of eating plan is to not have to use your willpower constantly throughout the day. In order for this to be achieved we need to learn to keep our blood sugar stable. Adding a protein to each meal is the easiest way to do that. We want to break up our food intake into 4-5 meals (depending on how many calories you are consuming) making sure to always add a quality protein source and sometimes a healthy fat. This will keep your metabolism high and your blood sugar stable.
It is also very important to wait at least 3-4 hours between meals so your meal can completely digest before beginning another. When you snack on food that your body doesn’t need when it hasn’t completely digested the last one you wind up with protein that putrefies and carbohydrates that ferment, creating a breeding ground for bad bacteria in your intestinal tract and contributing to the waste in your system. This waste can cause constipation, acne, bad breath and many other common issues. Properly digesting your food is the easiest way to cut down on the waste in your body. Remember waste=weight.
One factor in weight loss that many people do not take as seriously as they should is hydration. Always make sure you are properly hydrated. Our bodies are approximately three quarters water and we need water for it to function correctly. This goes for every process in the body and losing weight is no exception. Not only does water flush out the waste, but it also fills you up without adding any calories. Dehydration will degrade a person’s ability to exercise and burn calories, and will reduce protein synthesis which is needed to build or repair muscles.
Don’t forget to add a significant amount of fruits and vegetables to your days. This will give you the much needed fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that so many of us are deficient in. Add in as many raw ones as you can to obtain critical enzymes and this will help all the processes in your body function at a higher level and make weight loss much easier. My favorite way to do this is to develop the habit of having at least one salad every day.
Making these changes will not only allow you to rid the weight you desire but you will also learn to enjoy your life so much more. All emotions you feel are filtered through your body so when your body is feeling good you will naturally feel better about yourself and your life.