No doubt like so many others you struggle to lose weight.
Being one of the largest markets out there, there are countless weight loss products, programs and equipment to be had. How much money have you wasted on them? And what really works?
Are you frustrated and fed up with all the methods, diets and pills you have tried?
Don’t make your weight loss more complicated than it is, and don’t be down on yourself for failing in the past. There is a way – you can lose the weight you want to! With our busy lives, and more and more technology being introduced all the time along with the conveniences of fast food, it sure is hard to stay active and eat a healthy, balanced diet. But if you know how to do it, it can be done, even with a busy lifestyle.
Everyone is busy in their own ways, so there has to be a way for everyone, right?
As you may have figured out, weight loss and staying fit are eternally linked. The less active you are, the easier it is to gain weight, especially as you grow older. But when you are active and you have a raised metabolism, you may just start losing the weight without even realizing it at first.
We are going to look at all the reasons why we gain weight, who we need to talk to when we decide we are ready to lose the weight, why keeping yourself on a schedule actually helps you to lose the weight, weight loss secrets, plus many other subjects that will help you on this road.
Why We Gain Weight
- We eat more calories than what our body needs in a day, so the excess gets stored as fat. Our bodies are designed in such a way that in times when it was harder to get food, our bodies could be prepared by having stored extra calories in times of plenty in the form of fat. Now, with as easy as it is to get food, a lot of people tend to overeat, and this is a severe problem that causes many to become overweight or obese.
- Genes play a factor as well by setting basic parameters on the metabolic efficiency of your body. People who are overweight many times have very efficient metabolisms, meaning they need less caloric intake than others, and they store the excess as fat. You have a greater risk of being obese if one parent is and an even greater risk if both parents are. However, genes only determine a tendency towards a higher or lower metabolic efficiency, not what your actual body metabolism will be.
- Your metabolic rate. Besides genetics, your metabolic rate depends on how active you are. It is said that every ten years past our mid-twenties we lose about 10% of our metabolic rate. This probably does not have to do completely with age, however, but instead with how active we are. The more active we are, the more muscle mass we can retain, or even build, and in turn the more fit we are because muscle tissue is metabolically active whereas fat is not. On the other hand, if we lead a basically sedentary life, we are much more likely to be able to gain weight as we lose muscle mass.
- Eating patterns. People’s eating habits make a huge difference in determining their weight. When foods high in fat or sugars are favored, this of course can cause much weight gain. Also, how you serve the food, i.e. do you put the portions on everyone’s plate or do you bring it all to the table and serve it the food family style where everyone can take as much as they want? Portion size is one of the main reasons people eat too much.
- Larger portion sizes. Over time, larger portions of food have become the norm, especially at many restaurants. Weight has also gone up because of this.
- Exercise or the lack thereof. Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle and to maintaining a healthy weight. When you exercise, especially when you include strength training in your workouts, you gain muscle mass and raise your metabolism and in turn the muscle helps to burn more fat. In turn, you will weigh less and you will look leaner and firmer because muscle takes up less space than fat. Plus, strength training helps reduce the risk of accidental injury, improves your bone density, helps with digestion and helps in lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
As you can probably see, even if you have a history of the genes in your family making it easier to gain weight than other people, diet and exercise are the two main factors that affect your health and weight.
Regular exercise is essential to getting to and maintaining a healthy weight – and so is what you eat, how you eat and how much you eat. Learning portion control, along with the macronutrient profile of your meals, is usually a huge factor for most people when they realize how much they are actually eating.
Try slowing down your eating as well if you have the habit of eating fast.
This way you can feel the signals from your stomach when you have had enough, before you stuff yourself full. When you have done that, you know for sure you have eaten too much. In reality, on a scale of 1-10 of fullness, we should feel right in the middle, around a 5, when we are done eating. It takes some practice, but you can learn this trick and you will feel so much better knowing you did not stuff yourself to the maximum capacity.
Another thing to watch of course is your intake of fatty and sugary foods.
We all need nutrients, including healthy fats, to keep us balanced, but eating a lot of junk food and sugary drinks will attribute greatly to us gaining more weight. Processed foods don’t generally have a lot of nutrients in them, or any at all, and they are high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
In today’s busy lifestyles, we may not realize how often we are eating these foods. If you are one who is always ordering out for work, or going out to dinner as well, this is not going to keep you healthy because you do not have the control as to what is being put in your food (except special ordering at a restaurant) and it is much harder to make sure you are eating the right kinds of things and getting all of your nutrients.
Going out to eat is fine every once in a while, but be sensible in what you are choosing, and you don’t have to clear your plate of the large servings you will most likely be given.
Is Dieting Necessary For Weight Loss?
When most people think of losing weight, they think of going on a diet. It is a shame that eating right is considered “dieting” in our culture.
Many times, what they mean is finding some fad diet that is probably popular at the current time, and trying to follow all of its crazy rules and recipes, like lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. But honestly, who enjoys these things? Do you like cutting out entire food groups such as carbohydrates or drinking crazy concoctions that simply do not taste very good and do not fill you up?
It is doubtful that anyone does. Yes, there are other diet plans out there that have a lot of merit to them, and if a diet is the way you want to go, then researching the different ones out there is very advisable so that you can find a reasonable, sensible diet plan that is not going to harm you or make you go crazy with hunger, causing you to fail in the end anyway.
The Downsides of Dieting
- Fad Diets – These diets usually consist of removing one food group entirely from your diet or drinking an unusual mixture of ingredients to get you to lose weight. Not only can these be unhealthy and dangerous at times, they can leave you feeling hungry or drained from not enough nutrients. In the end, even if you do lose some weight at first, these diets usually fail because they are too restrictive and as soon as you stop them you wind up gaining all the weight back, plus more sometimes.
- Counting Calories – Sometimes counting every little calorie we take in is very bothersome and frustrating to people. Because of this, some people may give up on their diet altogether. Even so, calories is a generic measure of energy. What TYPE of calorie it is becomes more important.
- Eating Too Little – Dieting for some people means just eating very little. If you do not follow a proper diet plan, and think that just not eating is the way to lose weight, you will quickly find out that besides being very hungry you will not feel good at all because you are not getting enough nutrients.
You are also confusing your body’s metabolism with this starving method – it might not make you lose weight much at first as your body starts to store all the fat it can when you do eat. Plus, on the serious side, if you do this extremely enough and long enough, you could wind up in the hospital.
Choosing The Right Diet Plan
When you are ready to choose your diet or eating plan, there are certain things that you must take into consideration to make sure that you are picking one that will help you to attain the weight loss goals you have and to make sure you are staying healthy. Some diets, as we mentioned, do not contain a balance of nutrition that your body needs, and can therefore make you very ill, and won’t help you to lose weight properly.
- Realistic Expectations: You must realize that losing weight takes time, and depending on how much you have to lose will depend on how long it will take you. You do not want to take on a plan that promises you to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, as that is most likely going to be a very unhealthy and unsafe option for you. After the initial two or three weeks when weight gain might be up because of water loss, you should be losing around 1-2 pounds a week to maintain healthy weight loss.
- The Right Nutrition: Make sure you look over any diet plans you are considering thoroughly and see what they allow or suggest for you to eat. If it has a balanced-looking diet to it with the right amounts of foods from the food groups, you are probably looking at a plan that is safe. Any of the fad diets that cut out whole food groups, or make you starve yourself or drink strange concoctions are not safe. You also want the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and to make sure you are getting no more than 30 percent of your calories from fat per day.
- Doable for You…or Not? While you are researching different diet plans, make sure it is something that you think would suit you and your lifestyle. If you are a very busy person who is not home a lot, look for a plan that has convenience as well as healthy choices. If you wind up choosing a plan that you don’t stick to for whatever reason, you will wind up failing and you will then most likely go back to your old ways, but now feeling worse than when you started out.
- Calorie Level: Make sure that the plan you choose has you eating enough calories. You essentially want to cut out enough calories so that you can lose those 1-2 pounds a week. You have to weigh this all against you and your activity levels, as how many calories you need each day will vary from person to person depending on how active they are and their weight. You might want to work with a nutrition coach to help you decide which is best for you.
Why Maintaining A Daily Schedule Is Critical
The next step in planning your weight loss goals is to set up a daily schedule for yourself. You need to decide when the best time for you to exercise is. For instance, if you are not a morning person, getting up two hours earlier than you are used to is probably not a good plan because you are likely to miss many mornings.
At the same time, if your job causes you to work late into the evenings frequently, scheduling your workouts for after work is not a wise idea either.
You can also schedule out your meals, including the times you eat each day, and schedule out what your meals will be. The best thing to do is to schedule them out for a week at a time, and make a list and stick to it, so when you go shopping you will not be as tempted to impulse buy or stray off of your diet.
- Keeping Yourself in Check: If you have a specific schedule to follow, you are more likely to stick to your goals by writing everything down in a journal or other recording device like a smartphone. But, if you do miss a scheduled workout, or have an extra snack, you can keep note of it and vow to do better the next time.
- Knowing What You Are Doing Each Day: Having what time you are supposed to be doing your workouts or eating your meals written down can keep you in the know ahead of time, and in this way you can schedule things around your workout times, rather than scheduling over them and just missing workouts altogether. This can be easy to do, and if you start doing this, it will eventually snowball into increased times where you are missing your workouts, until you are thrown off track completely.
- Lose More Weight: By keeping yourself on a schedule, you will tend to lose more weight in the end because you will be likely to not miss any workouts (or very, very few in the long run). If you keep going back and forth and missing your workouts, or skipping a meal and confusing your body’s metabolism, you will have a much harder time maintaining a steady rate of weight loss.
What You Should Never Do When Trying To Lose Weight
Dieting is a huge industry, and at times people get suckered into this fad or that, or the latest diet pills and supplements.
You need to be careful about what products you choose, or what methods you decide to use, and not fall for something that can actually cause you harm instead of helping you. There are several dos and don’ts when it comes to weight loss that you should know about, here are some of the don’ts:
- Never starve yourself, fast, or go on a diet that has too few calories. As mentioned previously, when you drastically cut major amounts of calories to lose weight, you are actually losing muscle mass and possibly causing yourself major health risks. In the end, you will also wind up gaining all your weight back. This method will lower your metabolism, the thing you actually want raised, and will cause a shift toward a higher percentage of body fat which increases your risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
- Don’t take supplements or over-the-counter diet pills if you are unclear as to what their effects are. These products are many times hyped up by a lot of empty promises that do not deliver, and they could actually cause you harm. Although the over-the-counter diet pills may not appear dangerous, they can still do you harm because they are loaded with caffeine and diuretics. These can cause you to become dehydrated and have imbalanced electrolyte levels. And just because a product says it’s made from all-natural ingredients it doesn’t mean it is safe or healthy for you.
- Drop the detox and cleansing plans. Cleansing your body to get rid of toxins is totally unnecessary. Cleansing only causes weight loss from water loss and stool, and they can be dangerous, plus you run the risk of becoming dehydrated and having electrolyte imbalance among many things. Losing large amounts of water, especially on top of fasting without medical advice is very risky. Your body is well designed and detoxifies itself on its own, so forcefully cleansing it out is totally unnecessary and could cause serious complications. Instead, you just need to be aware of what you are eating. If you really still feel the need to cleanse, eat foods with plenty of fiber and drink a lot of water.
- Stay away from all forms of purging. There is no safe way to do this. It includes forcing yourself to vomit, chewing up your food and spitting it out and abusing laxatives. The acid in your stomach is very strong, as it is meant to break down the food you eat. Repeatedly forcing it through your esophagus and mouth can cause erosion of the esophagus, mouth, and your tooth enamel. This increases your risk for certain cancers, tooth decay and more. You will also experience dehydration and again an imbalance of electrolytes as a result of a loss of fluids. Any form of purging is extremely dangerous.
- Don’t be obsessive about things like exercising. Extreme exercising can put you at great risk for injury, cause severe wear and tear on your body and cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Plus, you are psychologically turning exercise into a form of punishment for eating. The recommended doses of exercise vary greatly from person to person, but generally 3-5 days a week of exercising for an hour is advised.
- Do not use legal or illegal drugs for weight loss. Using drugs that are not intended for weight loss is a very bad idea that can be very dangerous. The risks that go along with abusing drugs such as cocaine, speed, attention deficit disorder drugs, thyroid medicine and diabetic medications for weight loss outweigh any health benefits by far that you might get from the weight loss itself.
- Do not rely on tobacco use for weight loss. Smoking has countless health risks to begin with, yet some people actually use it for weight loss because nicotine has been shown to be an appetite suppressant. But again, the risks from smoking far outweigh any weight loss benefits, as smoking harms almost all the organs in your body. It causes cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory and other disease and reduces the health of the smoker overall. Plus, if you do quit, weight gain is generally a very common side effect.
Who Should You See If You Want To Lose Weight?
This is easy!
While there are many others you could go to, including therapists, dieticians, and personal trainers, a nutrition coach takes the science of eating right and focuses it on application. What good is information if it is not applied? And since everybody is different and has unique needs, the application of a nutrition plan must meet the client where he or she is at the moment and help them at their current stage.
We don’t live in optimal settings, laboratories, or align perfectly with scientific studies. We live, eat, and breathe in the real world, with real responsibilities, and real challenges. A nutrition coach will give you the application you need to begin and conclude a successful weight loss journey.
If you need help, MacroLab’s entire purpose is nutrition coaching. My job is to meet you where you’re at, inspire change, and give you applicable measures to be successful. If you’re ready to change right now, I’m ready to help you on that journey!
P.S. Actions takers get results. Don’t sit on the sidelines and wish for things to happen – they won’t. Take action, work with me, and let’s get you that transformation you’ve been dreaming of.