|Get healthy for good: Weight loss 101|
|Written by Randi Carlson|
|Thursday, 10 February 2011 09:41|
When we consume food, we are putting energy or calories into our bodies.
Throughout the day and when we exercise, we are using up this energy; the more exercise we do, the more calories we burn. In order to maintain a healthy weight, it is important to find a balance between the energy that goes in and the energy that goes out of our body on a daily basis.
If we consume more calories (energy) than we need in a day, those excess calories will be stored as fat. Therefore, in order to lose weight, the opposite is true — we need to consume less energy than we burn in a day to have a net loss of calories.
To achieve weight loss, appropriate alterations in eating and exercise habits are necessary. “Healthy weight loss” is considered to be one to two pounds per week. Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500-1,000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Lose weight the healthy way
Avoid Fad Diets
The key to losing weight, and keeping it off, is making changes in your diet that you can stick to, and that means for life. Fad diets refer to diets that promise a quick fix — “lose 15 pounds in two weeks.” Fad diets promote unrealistic food and calorie restrictions often eliminating certain food groups from your diet.
Generally, people lose weight very quickly on fad diets, but realize that it is impossible to adhere to the diet, and fall right back in to old routines, gaining back just as much (or more) than they lost. This leads to what we call “yo-yo dieting” — continually losing and regaining weight. Long term yo-yo dieting actually slows down your metabolism and makes you gain weight over time.
Moderation is key!
Eliminating foods from your diet may just cause cravings and dissatisfaction. Dieting is all about moderation — cut down on the foods that are bad from you and increase your consumption of the foods that are good for you. Remember, it is not bad to treat yourself every now and then!
Small Changes = Big Results
There are many small changes in the foods you buy and eat that can make a big difference in your diet. Substituting foods and ingredients that are high in calories with lower-calorie options can help control your total daily caloric intake and help manage your weight.
1. Eat whole-wheat products.
Whole wheat bread (and pasta, etc.) contains more fiber as well as vitamins. Fiber is a very important nutrient. Fiber can help lower blood cholesterol, help regulate blood sugar and also aid in weight loss.
High fiber foods generally make you feel full faster. Foods high in fiber generally have fewer calories for the same volume of food. It is important to introduce fiber into your diet slowly to prevent stomach upset, and to also remember to drink lots of water.
2. Avoid foods high in sugar
3. Avoid Saturated fats
These include butter, shortening and lard. Also avoid trans fat. Trans fats are found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils.
4. When choosing fats, olive oil is a healthy choice
Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, a healthier type of fat that can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels in your blood.
5. Avoid fried food
Try to replace frying with grilling or baking.
6. Plan ahead
Planning your meals in advance helps eliminate last-minute meals, which are generally not healthy choices.
7. Eat at home
When you eat out, it is hard to control portion sizes, and they are generally way larger than you would give yourself at home. You also cannot control what goes into your food — your “light vegetable pasta” might actually be dripping in butter and cream!
Whether trying to lose weight or not, everybody can benefit from exercise. Not only does it help burn calories, it increases longevity, helps prevent disease and increases morale and overall well being. If you are new to exercise, start slowly.
Just 30 minutes a day a few times a week is recommended. Remember, that 30 minutes could be composed of 10-minute intervals three times a day.
Exercise does not need to mean gym. Walking the beach, swimming, gardening and house cleaning all count as exercise. Anything that gets your heart rate going works!
Write it down
Writing down weekly goals can help you stick to your diet and exercise regimen, as well has help mark progress. Set realistic goals — if you set your expectations to high, it is easy to become discouraged and lose interest in your routine.
If diet and exercise aren’t working sufficiently to lose weight, there are supplements that can help you in conjunction with your program to help you reach your goal. Weight loss supplements come in five general forms:
1. Appetite suppressants
These are supplements that make you feel less hungry, therefore making you eat smaller portions and less frequently. An example would be acai berry supplements or hoodia.
2. Meal Replacements
These are lower calorie, usually drinks or shakes, that are intended to be eaten in place of your normal meals. They are generally high in fiber and nutrients and should keep you satisfied until it’s time to eat again. Examples of meal replacements include GNC’s Lean Shake or Slim Quick drink Mix.
3. Food Additives
These are weight loss supplements that you add to your food to make you feel satisfied faster, therefore eating less. One example is the Sensa Diet, also known as the “sprinkle diet.”
Sensa is a food additive that sends sensory messages to your brain to tell you that you are full (faster than your body would do so alone.) You therefore eat less and feel satisfied without having to change your diet.
4. Fat Blockers
Fat blockers actually stop fat being from being absorbed into your body. If you eat any fatty foods, they will go straight through you. An example of a fat blocker is “Alli.”
5. Fat Burners
These are supplements intended to speed up your metabolism so that your body burns fat more efficiently. These often contain high amounts of caffeine or other stimulants. Examples of fat burners are Hydroxycut Max or Ripped Fuel Fat Burner.
There are many weight loss products on the market, but please remember: It is important to research and talk to a professional before starting any weight loss supplement, as it might not be the best or safest option for you.
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