Last week I went to facebook to ask for YOUR questions about weight loss. A great majority of you asked me for general weight loss advice, so I feel it important to fill you in on my general weight loss philosophy in hopes that casting a wide net will address a lot of these questions. Also, keep in mind that this is a very basic approach to weight loss aimed at being a primer for those of you who could benefit from knowing the basics. We can get into more specifics in future, but I’m hoping there is something here for everyone who asked for my help.
Simple and Healthy Food
First let’s start with simply prepared, fresh, clean food. Why? It’s no secret that many popular processed foods you find today have preservatives, chemicals, and other potential toxins. Some toxins are “water-soluble” and leave the body through your waste. There are other toxins that are not water-soluble and are therefore stored in fat cells. This means that as long as your body keeps ingesting toxins it has to maintain, or grow more, fat cells to store these toxins.
The solution… DON’T CONSUME TOXINS, and you can do this by eating fresh (organic whenever possible) foods that are not processed or laden with preservatives. Prepare these pure ingredients simply using natural seasonings, herbs, spices, and healthy oils. You can stay away from sodium-rich and preservative-heavy marinades and seasoning blends by using higher quality ingredients and allowing the natural flavors of the food become the flavor that you enjoy. All in all, once your body begins to rid itself of toxins, it can begin to rid itself of the fat that it needs for storage. This can also lead to improved health overall as your body becomes more pure.
But what about all of the other toxins in our environment?! It’s true that there are a lot of toxins surrounding us that we cannot avoid, but the food you ingest is one of the things that you CAN control.
This is easy to understand!! Calories are fuel for energy. Your body only needs so much energy to burn. If you are taking in more fuel than you need then it gets converted to fat. How much fuel do you need? That depends on your current age, weight, and fitness/exercise level. For most people the magic number is 2000 calories. There are a lot of great services out there that can calculate how many calories you need to consume, taking your personal factors into consideration, to attain your goal weight.
But only eating 2000 calories leaves me hungry!! Cravings are natural as your body becomes accustomed to your changing diet, and satiating those desires is not always negative. The question is, “what are you eating to calm those cravings?” A handful of chips? Some supposedly “healthy” snack that is laden with sugar and empty calories? Most popular chip brands contain about 100 calories for a mere 10 chips. You could eat 3 to 4 times as many veggies at that same calorie count, get that full feeling you desire, plus you are gaining added nutrients and natural fiber. Still don’t feel full or that satiated feeling doesn’t last? Your body is probably craving fat, and not all fat is bad!! Eat a half of an avocado or some hummus with your veggies to take that full feeling even further.
Stick to water! Take a look at your favorite “throughout-the-day” beverage and you’ll see that a majority of them are loaded with sugar and calories. Even most fruit juices (unless 100% fresh squeezed) and health drinks contain unnecessary calories. Diet sodas contain a lot of chemical sweeteners (potential toxins) and confuses your body’s metabolism by making it think it is about to receive sugar and calories, thus leading to you craving more calories whenever your body doesn’t receive what it wants. The answer to this is water. Need a little sweetness and carbonation? Club soda with a slice of lime can fix that. Need a little caffeine? Coffee or tea is calorie-free so long as you can stay away from the pump of vanilla syrup. Water is also key to flushing out the toxins released through weight loss and cleansing your system to help increase metabolism.
Adults need 15 minutes of moderate-to-intense physical activity every day. NO EXUSES! Do it. Are you doing it yet? Start now. Stop reading this blog post and go for a walk. Move something on your body!! There is no excuse (except for the one below).
But I’m sick/disabled! Consult your doctor or a physical therapist to determine activities that are available to you. Also, work with your dietician and physician to determine what your BMR (Basal Meditative Rate) is so you know the proper calorie intake should be for your personal level of activity.
I don’t believe in depriving yourself of all of the things you desire in life. My focus is on moderation. Moderate consumption of healthy food and moderate exercise can lead to a slow, but eventual, reduction in weight and increase of overall health and wellness. Fad diets do not work because they often involve extreme deprivation and are unsustainable. They act as a polar the opposite of extreme eating and often lead a person to dramatically swinging from one side to the other. You deprive yourself for the sake of one “cheat day.” As the suffering from the extremeness of the diet becomes too much, you cheat more and destroy the whole purpose of what you intended to happen in the first place. “I only ate 1000 calories on Monday, but then I cheated and consumed 3000 on Tuesday.” Moderation would have saved you all of that trouble (alongside the guilty feeling on Tuesday). Moderation works because too much rapid weight loss is bad for your health, starving yourself – quite frankly – sucks, and is something that you can continue successfully after you reach your ideal weight.
The ultimate takeaway is to be happy with who you are. If you’re not happy at your current weight or fitness level, take the appropriate steps to get to where you want to be. Most of all, BE PATIENT with your progress. Expecting too much too soon can lead to disappointment and a relapse back to the way you once were. You have to learn to take joy in small achievements. With every successive step you take, you will begin to feel better about yourself and become more encouraged to take further steps. Above all that, know that I believe that you can do it!!