I skipped posting in March, so it feels good to get back to spreading the word about my favorite topic - wellness. Today I thought I'd share some information about how to, and how not to, try to lose weight.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but as I have said many times before, the amount and quality of the calories you bring in are more important in the weight loss equation than the amount of calories you burn through working out. Weight loss is 80% about food, and 20% about exercise.
Some people get desperate to loose weight quickly, perhaps because they are just fed up, and want immediate results. Because of that, they don't go about losing weight the right way, and are disappointed with the results, or lack thereof.
Here are some things to consider when trying to lose weight:
- Be sure that about 25% of your diet includes fats. When you take in less than that, your body stops burning fat, and starts storing it instead. Try 'Googling' which fats are good for you.
- Take in around 1200-1500 calories a day for weight loss. Any amount less than that and your body will respond by slowing down your metabolism. I found a link that will help you calculate how many calories you need to take in daily, for your gender, age, exercise level, and desired loss. It even gives you a completion date, if you stick with that number: https://www.caloriecount.com/tools/calories-goal
- Write down everything you eat. From there, you can easily look up the nutrition details, such as calories, and grams of protein, (the two numbers I think are most important) online. There are programs that you can use to keep track of everything easily. I am a firm believer in Weight Watchers International for many reasons, one of which is the application they have for calculating food intake. If you aren't into their smart points, you could follow their simply filling plan, where you don't even have to count points. I love the support you can receive from other members too, both online, and at the meetings.
- When you have a snack, make it about 60% complex carbohydrates, and 40% protein. The carbs will be stored in the muscles as glycogen, and the protein will take the body longer to digest. A good example would be some deli meat and a piece of fruit. Complex carbs are found in dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
- If you don't get enough sleep, it will mess with your metabolism. Plus, sleeping in a cooler room can help trigger the burning of brown fat, especially if the thermostat is down to 66 degrees, according to one study. Sleep deprivation can make your body age faster, too. With less sleep there is a greater chance of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and memory loss!
- Cut out white bread as much as possible. It is almost as bad as pure sugar because it digests quickly and will raise your level of blood sugar, thus releasing more insulin into the bloodstream, and transporting the sugar to fat cells for storage. While you're at it, eat fruit rather than drinking fruit juices, for the same reason.
- Have water with you at all times. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water, by then you're dehydrated. Remember, water is what transports nutrients and helps with muscle function. Make water and milk your drinks of choice, and forget about diet sodas, energy drinks and alcohol. Alcohol has empty calories and no nutritional value. Plus, when your body is metabolizing the alcohol, trying to excrete its toxins, your body can't metabolize sugars and fats as efficiently, making it harder to maintain a healthy level of blood sugar.
- Some people eat either too much or too little protein. Multiply your desired weight by .36 to calculate how many grams of protein you need daily. Also, try not to take in too much protein at one time. The body can only handle about 30 grams at a time, and the extra will be stored as fat.
- Don't forget to have three or more servings of dairy a day. It contains whey and casein. The whey boosts protein synthesis, and the casein stops protein breakdown and maintains your lean muscle mass. Whey powder is great in smoothies.
- Choose regular salt over sea salt. You need the iodized salt, because it helps in the production of thyroid hormones, which in turn helps your metabolism.
- Try eating the real thing, instead of fat-free or sugar-free substitutes. You might be lured into thinking you can eat more calories overall if you do that. Also, this is a lifestyle change. You should be able to have your favorite treats when you want them, just in smaller portions, and not when you're already full.
- Eat five servings of vegetables a day. There are so many nutrients, plus fiber, in vegetables. Shoot for a variety of colors in all your foods, too, so that you'll get a variety of nutrients.
- This last bit of information includes exercise. That's because people think they can spot reduce. Sorry. If you have a large tummy, the only way you can change that is by getting rid of the layer of fat on top of the muscle. That is accomplished by eating better, (of course), along with a regular exercise program that includes high intensity intervals. An example would be to alternate walking briskly for five minutes, then very briskly for one minute, repeating that sequence for about 45 minutes total. Some people just do hundreds of crunches a day. That would make the tummy stick out more, because you're increasing the size of the muscle that is underneath the fat.