As a nation, we have become complacent with our overweight and obese lifestyle. We view excessive weight as normal, and those individuals not carrying extra pounds are deemed underweight or thin. While our senses may be fooled, the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke rise exponentially with our weight, and a significant burden is placed on an already broken health care system.
We have the tools to combat this dilemma. Healthy weight loss requires understanding, time, planning and perseverance. We must remember that the journey to a normal weight and healthy life is not a temporary fix, but requires dedication to new way of life. A fad diet is destined to fail because it has a beginning and end. Only a sustainable lifestyle modification program with proper exercise will result in permanent weight loss.
Getting Started: Write Down Everything You Eat
In order to get a feel for the amount and type of foods eaten, start by writing down everything you eat in a given day. Be accurate with your quantities and weigh foods if necessary. Use a free online food calculator, to quickly see the number of calories consumed. It’s amazing to see that when eating out, especially at a fast food restaurant, the number of calories at one meal can exceed your goal for an entire day.
After a week of recording your meals, you’ll begin to get a good idea of the types of food which quickly drive up the calorie count. Although the body views each calorie as identical, all calories are not created equal. Studies show that many people are particularly sensitive to calories from high fructose corn syrup and refined wheat and corn based carbohydrates. Since these foods have not been part of our food supply during the course of our evolution, they lead to stress induced inflammation and insulin resistance. This ultimately leads to fat storage and weight gain.
Lifestyle Modification: Eat a Diet Balanced Between All Food Groups
Poorly designed diets eliminate or promote a particular food group, resulting in a diet which is difficult to maintain and possibly dangerous to health. The only diet which consistently promotes healthy weight loss consists of reduced quantities of lean proteins, nuts, seeds, monounsaturated fats and unlimited raw green vegetables. Fill up on the leafy greens and raw vegetables, and limit higher calorie options such as meats and starches. Work to the point where refined carbohydrates, sweets and fried foods are entirely eliminated.
Target a calorie reduction of 500 calories each day by replacing higher calorie foods with reduced calorie options. Eliminating 500 calories per day will result in a healthy loss of 1 pound per week. Resist the urge to drop weight too quickly and don’t drop daily calorie intake below 1000. The body uses fat to store toxins, and rapid weight loss can cause toxic overload if released too quickly.
Pump It Up: Combine Exercise with Diet
Exercise is an important part of any weight loss lifestyle. Physical activity causes the body to burned stored fat for energy and triggers metabolic changes such as an improved blood lipid profile and lower blood pressure. Exercise all different muscle groups using short burst resistance training and cardio to raise the heart rate. Studies demonstrate that as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise on most days is enough to initiate the fat burn cycle and promote weight loss.
While many people have placed weight loss on a back burner, health conscious individuals understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight range. Dedication is essential to make the changes required for a new dietary lifestyle. Changes need to be incorporated which include a new understanding of food, with physical activity used to compliment this new healthy way of life.