Every day we are hammered on TV and social media about crazy exercise plans with terms like savage, extreme, shredded, animal and so on. On top of this we are bombarded with information on diet plans and “miracle” pills that claim to make you lose fifty pounds in two weeks or some other ridiculous claim which is totally unrealistic and unhealthy.
The truth of the matter is that it is very unhealthy to lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time. Doing so makes the body go into shock. The consequence of this is the release of stress hormones which make us feel edgy, anxious, and stressed. Stressing the body in such a way causes inflammation, which as I mentioned in many of my previous blogs can have serious negative effects on our general health. We may also have serious problems with sleep and rest.
Of course regular cardiovascular exercise, and to a certain extent exercising with weights, is very important and healthy, but it is much more important to have a consistent and not too intensive exercise plan on a regular basis than an extreme plan for only two months or so that helps you (presumably) lose fifty pounds. The former choice makes us lose weight in a healthy manner while at the same time giving us all the cardiovascular benefits of exercise. It also sustains a low weight indefinitely as long as we stick to the plan. The latter choice, on the other hand, is unhealthy, makes us go into shock, and with all the effort and sweat we gain all the weight again when the magical DVD program ends. The same applies with so called “miracle” diet pills. Most of them make very misleading claims, losing great amounts of weight without any effort, for example. Even if the claims were true it would again be very unhealthy to lose so much weight in such a short amount of time.
So what is the best approach? As mentioned previously a regular exercise plan, even 15 minutes each morning, does miracles if done on a consistent basis. My choice, for example, is climbing the stairs in my twenty-story apartment each day. Adding some weight training is also excellent because it strengthens muscle and burns calories. But exercise alone rarely does the trick. Diet is also very important. More protein sources like chicken and fish with fibrous carbohydrates from vegetables and healthy fats like hemp oil, coconut oil, or flax seed oil is the diet you want to stick with. Also disciplining yourself not to eat past 8 pm does wonders. Anything eaten after this hour (that is if you go to sleep before midnight) deposits in our bodies mostly as fat, since during sleep we are not burning as many calories as we are when we are awake.
There is another very important aspect. The body loves making fat from carbohydrates (otherwise known as carbs). This is especially true of simple sugars (source examples are white pasta, white rice, pop, table sugar, sweets, donuts, etc.). A way to prevent this is to provide the body with carbs (which are needed to a certain extent as a readily available fuel source) in such a form that it takes a long time to digest the carbs and release them into the blood stream after absorption. The best choice are fibrous carbs found in vegetables (sweet fruits and fruit juices are actually not that good as they contain the simple sugar fructose). The best vegetables for this are cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, kale, celery, and beets, to name a few. An alternative choice is what are commonly called complex carbs. Examples are whole wheat pasta and dark rice. These sources are better than simple carbs because it takes longer to absorb them. However, they are not nearly as good as fibrous carbs. The complex carbs are still converted to fat to a certain extent.
There are also excellent natural dietary ingredients, such as garlic, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon that control sugar metabolism and prevent excessive fat production. These are also excellent choices for the prevention and treatment of diabetes, as excessive body weight, excessive sugar, and diabetes are very closely linked. I will talk more about these in my future blogs on weight loss. Along with a consistent and healthy exercise plan that you stick to on a daily basis (just 15 minutes a day!) you will be on your way to losing weight in a healthy and long lasting manner. You will also save yourself the trouble, frustration, time and money associated with desperate measures spent on “savage animal” exercise DVDs and miracle pills. Stay tuned for my future blogs on this hot topic. In the mean time, think twice before you act on anything that sounds too good to be true!