Weight Loss tips and facts to get your diet off to a great start
Weight loss is a slow process – and we have used the previous 12 articles in this series to build a foundation for slow steady progress towards your desired weight. Early on we said dieting is something that needs to happen slowly. A rapid weight loss will cause your body and mind to assume you are starving. The parts involved are beyond your conscious control and there is little you can do to prevent the mental and physiological changes that will ultimately crash your diet on the rocks of hunger, food anxiety, depression and fatigue.
On the other hand, as we have discussed, excellent weight loss can take place if it is done slowly and if we take steps to slightly circumvent our normal physiology. Notice I said slightly; remember the old, somewhat cruel, description of the frog and the hot water. It goes something like this; if you try to put a frog into hot water it will jump out, but if you put a frog in tepid water and slowly raise the temperature, you will soon have poached frog. The same is true of your body, if you lose weight slowly your body will not notice (as much) and it will be more compliant with your diet.
Diets gurus and diet programs know that most people want FAST results. So they advertise 20 lbs. in 20 days or 5 dress sizes in 5 weeks – it’s always something catchy. We live in a fast paced world and they realize that advertising 20 lbs. in 80 days just won’t work. Therefore people try again and again to lose weight quickly. If they used all the time spent on fast diets and put it into a slow diet, they was have reached their goals years ago.
This is the 13th part of the Weight Loss & Dieting fundamentals series of articles and I thought it would be a good time to summarize in one place, all the tips and facts we have covered up until now. If you want the explanations, and I think they are very important, just search on my name and you will find them all on EmaxHealth.com.
- Learn to ignore those miracle diets advertised on late night TV and in supermarket tabloids. These diets are prepared by an industry that want you to diet forever and continually buy their products. They don’t want you to successfully lose weight and then maintain your new weight!
- Learn your numbers: BMR calories and calories burned based on your lifestyle
- Determine your BASELINE; then analyze your current diet: Use one of the excellent (FREE) online services to calculate your current caloric intake. This needs to be done carefully, you must find all the hidden calories in your diet.
- WARNING: 100 calories can easily hide from you. If you fail to find them, it will mean that every 35 days you will gain 1 pound, which is 10 pounds a year and 100 pounds in 10 years.
- Use your bathroom scale. If your scale is over 10 years old, it might be a good idea to buy a new one. Your scale is your only early warning device that can tell you that your diet has veered off course. You must get in the habit of using it daily. Remember it is an EARLY WARNING device. If you get on every 2 weeks, that’s a little like closing the barn door after the horses have bolted.
- Mark your daily weight on your calendar.
- Set yourself short-term goals. Trying setting a weight loss goal of 10 lbs. The goal is close and therefore REAL. Once you achieve that goal, move the goal post and set yourself another 10 lb. goal. Looking at big numbers is demoralizing and psychologically painful.
- REMEMBER: Weight loss is a lot more like a marathon than a sprint.
- Slowly start to introduce exercise into your life. Not all at once – but bit by bit. The more you move that faster you will lose weight and your appetite will be under better control as well. Your body will hate you if you start your exercise program with a 5K run. Add exercise slowly and progressively.
- REMEMBER: Try to calculate the calories burned with your extra activity and incorporate them into your updated BASELINE calculations.
- If you’re eating more calories than your BASELINE, then slowly start to trim the calories in your daily diet towards your BASELINE. Look for little reductions at first. Like weight loss goals, trimming calories should be done slowly (remember the frog). If you’re eating 500 calories per day more than your BASELINE, then find 100 calories that can be trimmed easily, then look for the next 100 and so on. If you try to immediately cut 500 calories a day from you diet your body will notice and it WILL revolt. Once your body starts to resist your diet, it is hard to turn it around – so go slowly.
- REMEMBER: Don’t expect to see weight loss until the calories you consume each day are less than your BASELINE.
- Stay hydrated. If you drink 2 liters of water per day then you know that whatever weight loss you see on your scale is meaningful weight loss and not water weight.
- Dehydration slows fat burning. Fats need water to be metabolized, which is another good reason to stay hydrated.
- Try to keep your body in the post-absorptive state, since this is when most fat is burned. We will talk more about this in article 14.
- Cut out sugary drinks
- Cut out drinks with artificial sweeteners
- Try not to replace these precessed sugar calories, but instead eliminate them
- Reduce the impact of your absorptive state by redistributing your nutrients in favor of more protein in your diet. Proteins produce a smaller insulin response by the pancreas, and that shortens and reduces the intensity of your absorptive state. In article 14 we will talk more about this.
- One pound = 3500 calories
- Losing 2 lbs in one week should be considered the maximum. Go over this and your body will know you’re trying to put it in hot water (i.e. your body is the frog).
- Your body is a calorie meter. It counts how many calories you consume each day. If you consume more than your BASELINE you gain weight; if you consume less, you lose weight; if you consume the same, your weight stays constant.
- To a very large extend your body does not know where your calories come from – you can over eat apples or candy – you’re body sees them much the same. Although, you will clearly reach your BASELINE faster using candy because of its caloric density.
- Try to drink 2 liters or more of water each day.
- Many studies have shown that people who are overweight often eat about the same amount as those with normal weights. The difference is that those with normal weights are more active. This means that being overweight is more about under-exercising than over-eating.
The next articles will look at HUNGER as it relates to the post-absorptive state. Hunger is the nemesis of every dieter. If we can keep it under control, weight loss is much, much easier and it can also be faster. So stay tuned for more ways to poach the frog.
I hope you will take a minute to share this series with your friends.
If you have any diet questions you want answered or if you have topic suggestions for future articles, you can reach me at Thomas Secrest