The truth is, most of us make losing weight too complicated. It doesn’t need to be. Let’s remove the walls and get you on your way to success. Listed below are the pitfalls most people make when trying to lose weight.
Doing anything temporally will give you temporary results! You have to get this, dieting is a temporary act and therefore it doesn’t provide long-term weight loss.
- Change your diet gradually. Many people jump right in and totally change their diet to the extreme. They go from the typical American diet rich in processed foods to a very restrictive diet. Any time you make sudden change in your diet and lifestyle you highly increase your risk of failure. Make the change slowly. Instead of taking foods away try adding healthy foods to your diet. You will begin to crowd out the harmful foods with healthy foods. You can do this by adding an additional vegetable to your daily diet for 1 week. The next week, add another one and then on week 3 add an extra fruit. On week 4 add another vegetable to your daily diet. By week 4 you have increased your vegetable intake by 3 servings per day and fruit intake by 1 serving per day. Can you see, we haven’t asked you to remove any foods, only to add healthy foods? This really works if you apply it. The aim is to slowly replace processed and refined foods with healthy vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds and a small amount of whole grains daily.
- Stop Stressing about life and losing the weight. Because we make it so complicated we get overly stressed. Chronic stress causes our bodies to release higher amounts of cortisol everyday, which is a fat building hormone. There is an association between stress and the appetite increasing hormone ghrelin. If you have stress from work or home you need to manage it or remove the source. Stress will make it almost impossible to lose much weight. In addition stress kills by increasing the risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalances and gastric diseases.
- Eat enough calories. Many people begin by drastically cutting food intake thus calories too much. If you go below 1200 calories for more than a few days your body senses a famine has arrived, it lowers your metabolic rate to conserve energy. You can even gain weight if you cut calories too much. If you stay in a severe calorie reduction under (800 calories or less, like anorexia) you body shifts to the catabolic effect of starvation and your body will begin to consume muscle and organs for its nutrition needs. The fact is, if you eat a mostly plant-based diet you would never need to worry about eating to many calories.
- Get your protein! Protein is important for building a healthy body and much more. But to much protein means you are ignoring foods that we also need like heart healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Use this formula to determine your protein needs. The DRI for protein intake under normal bodily demand would be .8 grams of protein for each kg of body weight. To figure your body weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, that number is your weight converted from pounds to kilograms. For the obese the protein intake would be .8 grams for every kg of muscle mass. For an athlete with heavy demands on muscle performance such as a body builder or an Olympic athlete the intake would be 1.6 to 1.7 grams of protein per kg of body weight meaning that same 200 pound man would consume 145 grams of protein at the high-end. An endurance athlete such as those running marathons, iron man events and triathlons requires less because they are not placing as much stress on the major muscle groups. Their needs can be met in most cases with no more than 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kg of body weight. The average person who works out in the gym and is very active hiking and playing organized sports does not need this level of protein intake.
- Do Not Skip Meals! You need to eat at least 5 times per day. It keeps blood sugar balanced and energy available. It also keeps the metabolism boosted. A healthy meal replacement shake is an option and can serve your body well. I recommend Vive, it was created for weight loss and energy and is packed with an abundance of nutrition!
- Keep a Food Journal. Studies show us that people keeping a food journal for at least 3 months tend to lose weight and keep it off. It keeps you aware of what you are eating, when and how much. It’s easy to do and there are several online resources with good free food journal systems. Try www.myfitnesspal.com
- Drink plenty of water. Many people will not drink enough water. It takes water to release and burn fat for energy. Water is so important for your health! You need at least 1/2 your body weight in fluid ounces daily. If you sweat a lot you need even more.
- Exercise. If you are overweight or obese you can lose weight for a short time by just cutting calories, however that will eventually slow and then stop. You must move more. Exercise does many wonderful things for our body. One benefit is that it speeds up our metabolic rate causing us to burn more calories through out the day! It builds muscles, improves balance, and improves immune function and much more. Just walking is a great exercise. Increase your speed and time as your fitness and health improves. I am an advocate of exercising multiple times per day. As an example; I would walk for 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes before or after dinner. You can split it up however you wish, just do it. To loss weight most of your exercise should be a form of cardio exercise like walking or cycling. You should also do weight bearing exercises to build more muscle. Muscles burn more fat. For good results you need to exercise at least 1 hour per day, 5 days per week. Before beginning any exercise program please consult with your doctor for their approval. Walk twice per day to speed up the weight loss!
- Stop weighing everyday! Your weight can change, up or down five or more pounds in any given day. You will set your self up for disappointment by weighing everyday. Weigh your self every two weeks. Do it first thing in the morning immediately after waking up and after your first pee.
- Stop beating your self up! No body is perfect. Treats are allowed, even unscheduled ones. If you have a treat, the next time you eat make a healthy choice. Bashing yourself will make you eat more.
- DO NOT DIET! It is our mindset to use the word diet and when we do we automatically set up in our mind that we will change our diet and lifestyle for a period of time and then come back home to that addictive food that got us fat to begin with. Plus, because you have starved your body (both calories and nutrients) in the past, your body senses this and begins to subconsciously increase your desire for fatty and sugary foods. Sure, you can lose 30 pounds and then you gain 50 back. Dieting will only make you fatter one diet at a time! Think lifestyle change!
- Sleep is Critical! If you are like most Americans you get less than 7 hours of sleep nightly. This can disrupt hormonal balances, reduce immune function, and reduce your energy levels, lower mental concentration and much more. When you sleep, your body is busy repairing tissues, making hormones, enzymes, red blood cells, white blood cells, antibodies, cellular antioxidants like Coenzyme -Q10 which is very important for energy production in the cell and heart health, Glutathione peroxidase and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) which are your cells most powerful defenders from internal and foreign invaders and other neurotransmitters necessary for good mental and emotional health.
- Nutrition Nutrition Nutrition!!!! The more plant based foods you can eat the healthier you can be. When your body is getting loads of nutrients it begins to clean and detox the body at the cellular level getting rid of toxic materials you have stored for years. Your body does not like to let go of stored fat unless it can detox adequately because your body stores many toxins in your fat. When depleted nutrient stores in your body get filled up and topped off by a nutrient rich diet, the bodies systems begin to come back into harmony with one another. Blood sugar begins to balance, cravings begin to disappear, energy improves, thinking improves, your hair and skin begins to glow, you have less infections and you sleep better. With great nutrition your body starts regenerating itself cell by cell into a new healthy and vibrant body.
- Get the excessive sugars out of your diet! Sugars from sources other than foods such as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, fructose, maltose, powdered sugar etc. cause a fast surge in blood sugars levels. This increases inflammation in your arteries, damages nerves and forces the hormone insulin to store the sugar as fat. It also increases cravings and disrupts the hormonal system and the immune system. Flour from grains causes the same problem. Avoid grain flours unless they are from sprouted grains like that from Ezekiel bread. Flour from grains are found in breads, gravies, cookies, crackers and pastries. Avoid white potato’s and white rice.
The bottom line is that weight loss and health do not come from a “diet” they come from living a healthy lifestyle. That’s it. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and watch your body change!
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
The contents of the email or written communication are not medical advice and should not be considered as such! This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have medical issues and before changing your diet or lifestyle or taking herbal or dietary supplements. Never start an exercise program with getting your doctors approval. Never quit taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.