Friday, February 26, 2010

The Best Way To Lose Weight- What Works?

I was reading a health article today that talked about the MASSIVE amounts of health and weight loss information that's out there and how confusing it is to decide what to follow. The article said "If you did what you were told by every expert out there, you'd eat more of everything and less of everything, and you'd eat it earlier, later, and not at all. Fat would save you and kill you, carbohydrates would make you skinny and fat, and protein would turn you into Adonis and put you on dialysis."

I felt like that made a lot of sense. I hear conflicting information ALL the time. And I'm sure, with the right regimen, it all works or has it's place.  But what are the basics? How can an ordinary person keep it simple and lose weight without getting sidetracked with all the advice out there. The article simplified it into simple "Weight Loss Rules That Work".
  • Cut calories. Kind of a Duh thing. Regardless if you are going low carb or low fat, the end result is eating less calories.  In it's most basic form, weight loss is a math equation. Burn more calories than you take in= lose weight. Take in more calories than you burn= gain weight. So regardless how you go about it, the first and most critical step to weight loss is cutting calories.  My tip- keep a food journal for a few days without changing your eating habits to get an idea of how many calories you are consuming on a daily basis.  Then figure out how to cut back from there.
  • Eat Protein to Burn More Calories. "When you eat, your body has to expend calories to digest the food. Protein causes this inner fire to burn the hottest, followed by carbohydrates, followed by fat. Animal proteins increase thermogenesis more than vegetable proteins, so the best calorie-burning foods are lean meats. So eat some protein at each meal—build your dinner around lean chicken, beef, or pork. That way, you're burning the most calories through digestion at the end of the day, when your metabolism is slower." This was news to me! But the concept makes sense and I believe eating some protein at all meals is important to keep your energy up and avoid the sugar high crashes that can be caused by eating too many carbs.
  • Don't Eat Fried Food. (or obvious junk food of sugar and empty carbs!) Why? Because pretty much every diet plan agrees it's terrible for you. They cause your blood sugar to spike then crash, leaving you hungry and cranky, which usually leads to eating more junk which starts the cycle all over again. Even in a world with Atkins- no one has come up with the Fried Food diet yet- it's just not possible to lose weight and have your french fries every day too. (Sorry Nat!)

  • Eat Fiber! You know I loved this tip! :) The reasoning the article gave was: that fiber's effect is the opposite of snack foods'. When you have fiber in your stomach, food takes longer to enter the bloodstream, and your blood-sugar level stays steady. If you missed my Fiber blog- check it out HERE.
  • Omega 3 Fats won't make you a fatty! The heath benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats just keep growing. These healthy oils are found in in fish, nuts, seeds, and flaxseed and fish oils. Perks? They reduce inflammation throughout the body, which is not only good for cardiovascular health- but if you're working out? Bigger, less-inflamed muscles mean a faster metabolism, and speeding up your metabolism is crucial when you're trying to get lose weight. I currently take a daily fish oil supplement.
  • Make A Plan.  A successful diet isn't created out of luck, or by winging it.  Find or create a system that works for you and stick to it! The best plan (according to the article) is likely to include these elements:
    •  Meals and snacks are based on some lean protein source—fish, eggs, dairy, meat.
    •  More meals are better than fewer. Five or six meals and snacks a day is ideal.
    •  Low-fat and high-fat diets can both work, but one that cuts almost all fat is doomed.
    •  Nobody ever became obese from eating the best carbohydrates—fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And nobody ever died from skipping potatoes, pasta, rice, popcorn, and Wonder Bread.
Hopefully this helps you break through the overwhelming masses of info out there- it helped me to refocus on the core principals of weight loss.  I am BEYOND happy that today is Friday. Have a fun and healthy weekend!
PS. Article is available here if you want more info:
PPS. Picture at the top is from the Biggest Loser. I LOVE before and after pics- they are so inspiring!

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