Weight loss is the big topic these days. Why? Because most people want to look good, feel good and they want to prevent health problems associated with being overweight or obese. The other reason is the staggering number of people suffering from complications of being overweight. This includes diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, lack of energy, and shortness of breath, each of which make up the majority of medical causes of premature death.
Avoid Fad Diets
- What we see in the media is a huge number of different diet approaches, including diet plans, exercise plans and exercise equipment that claim miracles in terms of weight loss. But who can we trust? What to believe? I guarantee you that 80% of such advertisements are either completely untrue or have exaggerated claims. My point here is that losing weight is not what is most important. It’s about how you lose that weight and how you keep it off that is the most important.
- Simply starving yourself will not work. You may lose some weight, but you are sure to gain it back through the yoyo effect. In other words, you can't starve yourself forever. When you start eating again you’re most likely going to go back to your old eating habits, which will result in weight gain. The other problem with limiting diets is that they cause the body to go into shock, causing inflammation, tissue damage and premature aging. In a nut shell: it’s harmful for you.
Heart Health & Weight Management
- Exercising your muscles with free weights and machines may also contribute to losing weight, but that is all you will get: lose some weight and gain some muscle. It will not give you the benefit of improved cardio, which in turn benefits your heart and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes.
- Another concept on the market are diets which claim that they will make you lose weight with “diet” meals identical to regular foods: lasagna, pizza, mashed potatoes, etc. The idea behind the advertising of these diet plans is that you can eat as much as you want and you will still lose weight, but only if you buy their specific meals. In a nut shell this is total nonsense. You must reduce caloric intake combined with an exercise program that burns calories in order to lose weight. There is just no other way around it.
- The best exercise for losing weight is any cardio exercise and preferably something fun that we can enjoy. Examples are bike riding, fast walking, running and swimming. Hiking is also fantastic. This type of exercise burns calories but at the same time keeps your arteries and your heart in good shape. So you lose weight, which is the desired effect, but at the same time you are contributing to the prevention of the major killers in our society: diabetes and cardio-vascular disease.
Making the Right Nutrition Choices
- As far as what to eat: be smart. Don’t stuff yourself in the evening because you will produce fat at night, have a poor sleep, and wake up groggy. Eating late takes away your mental clarity and your ability to focus the next day.
- Stay away from simple carbs, as all they do is turn into fat. The products which are sneaky in this category are fruit juices, pop drinks and sport drinks. Most, if not all, are packed with sugar. Other examples are donuts and pasta. It’s OK to have a burger once in a while or some pizza, but remember not to overindulge yourself with these foods. It’s best to eat to the point of feeling slightly full and then stop.
- It’s much better to have many frequent and small meals than a few large meals. Large meals make us feel both sleepy and lazy because they drain blood away from the brain and direct it to the intestines to absorb the food. We then lay or sit down and usually don’t move much. What happens then? A large proportion of the food turns to fat.
- On the other hand, small meals are used primarily for our immediate energy needs and are not stored as fat. Other foods which are infamous for turning into fat are greasy foods including excessive cheese, French fries, potatoes, gravy and pizza. Be careful with all these.
Simple Lifestyle Tips:
- When you only have to climb a few stories take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- When its summer time take your bicycle instead of your car for small food shopping or when you go to the gym, bank, and post office etc. Anywhere where a backpack will suffice.
- When you park your car, don’t look for the closest parking spot. Take the further option, walk to the store and walk back carrying your purchases instead of using a cart.
- When cutting your lawn, use a lawn mower that you have to push. You will be amazed how much more effort this takes. Remember effort is healthy for you and sitting on your bum or having machines do the work for you is not. If you have the time, clean your own place instead of getting a cleaning lady.
- Clean your home and your car frequently. This will not only keep things tidy, but also burn calories.
- Make it a habit to exercise everyday throughout the week. It’s ok to take a break on the weekend to relax some, but try and exercise at least 20 minutes every day. If you are having a slow day and have a hard time motivating yourself to do cardio, do some weights instead, as they generally require less motivation to complete.
- Listen to music when exercising. This helps a lot with motivation. Personally I use my smart phone and a music app called Songza. Its free music and you get a lot of variety. When I first got it I was amazed at how great it is and yet also free!
- When you are hungry during the day fill yourself with a healthy salad, such as a spinach with some cucumbers, strawberries, onions, tangerines and feta cheese (just an example). It will keep you full, provide you with healthy nutrients that will not turn into fat and will keep you energized and focused when you work. Salads do not drain blood away from your brain like meals packed with carbs.
- Drink or supplement with green tea. It’s packed with antioxidants and will burn fat.
See you next time.