View Full Version : Thinking to bcum thin? Secrets for weight loss

12-14-2006, 06:05 PM
If a safe and effective diet pill is what you’re waiting for, I’ve got some bad news for you. It doesn’t exist, and probably never will. If you’re overweight, you have just two options – either learn to accept the way you are or learn how to lose weight.

"Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities. And go to work." - H.L. Hunt

Yes, losing weight can be a lot of work. But the more you know about weight loss, the easier your task becomes. If you’re willing to accept the challenge, please read on for ND’s most helpful dieting and weight loss tips:

The 2 Most Important Facts about Successful Weight Loss

Before beginning any diet, it’s important that you understand these two important facts:

1. Weight loss depends on energy balance.
To lose weight, your energy intake must be less than your energy expenditure. This will always be true. There are no foods, pills, or potions that will magically melt the pounds off. The only approach that works is eating less and/or exercising more.
2. Permanent weight loss requires permanent change.
Don’t assume that you can spend six weeks on a diet and then return to your old eating habits. Short term diets only produce short term results. The only successful way to keep the weight off is to make small but permanent changes in your lifestyle. Coincidentally, this is also the best way to improve your health.

12-14-2006, 06:05 PM
Although many different weight loss techniques exist, nearly all are variations of just six basic principles. Study these principles, and make them part of your action plan:

Maintain or improve your health.
If you don’t take care of your body, it won’t take care of you. So, as a first step, make sure that your diet supplies adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, that you’re drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep and fresh air, and aren’t under too much unhealthy stress. Everything that you do to improve your overall health will help make weight loss more likely to occur.

Reduce your total Caloric intake.
To lose weight, you have to change your energy balance. (See Fact #1 above.) There are just two ways to do this – either consume less energy (Calories) or expend more energy (via exercise). The easiest way to reduce your consumption is simply to cut back on the size of your meals and/or the amount of high-Calorie foods that you consume. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up any particular food. In fact, completely avoiding a food can lead to strong cravings that derail your diet. A smarter approach is to just eat less of those high-Calorie foods.

To get a good perspective of how many Calories that you consume, it’s important that you keep a food diary. You don’t have to keep your diary going forever, but do track your daily intake for at least one week. The Running Total function of ND’s Pantry make this Calorie counting exercise especially easy to do, and also provides you with totals of all other nutrients as well.

Also beware of foods containing "hidden" Calories. For example:
Watch what you drink. What you drink during the day can have a major impact on the number of Calories that you consume. There is very little difference between the satiating effects of different drinks, so this is one of the easiest places to improve your diet. Water is almost always your best choice, but coffee, tea, and diet drinks can also help cut Calories.

Be smart about condiments and toppings. Butter, mayonnaise, and a lot of the "special sauces" used by restaurants are very concentrated sources of Calories. If you want to add flavor to your food, try using lemon juice, soy sauce, salsa or different spices instead.

Maintain or increase your metabolism.
One of the most common mistakes that dieters make is to get excited or impatient with their diet, and reduce their Caloric intake too far. If you do that, your body will respond by lowering your metabolism and slowing your weight loss. To prevent this downward adjustment of your metabolism, make smaller changes to your eating habits. Your patience will pay off in terms of more consistent weight loss, more energy, and fewer cravings.

For the best results, add exercise to your plan. Regular exercise not only expends energy as you’re doing it, but can also lead to increases in your basal metabolic rate, so you’ll burn more Calories even at rest. High-intensity exercises burn the most Calories, but don’t select exercises solely on their fat-burning potential. Instead, pick exercises (i.e. sports activities) that you enjoy, and want to incorporate into your daily routine.

Avoid hunger.
Hunger is one of your body’s strongest stimuli, and can be an evil challenger to your will power. Hunger is also relatively slow to subside, and can cause you to eat more than you intended. To break this unproductive hunger-overeating habit, always try to eat before you get hungry. This may seem counter intuitive to someone who’s trying to limit their Calories, but it’s a very effective concept. Two different techniques can help make this easier to accomplish:
Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Instead of three meals per day, try eating five or six smaller meals. By eating more frequently, there will be less time between your meals, and less chance of you experiencing such intense hunger. As an extra benefit, there is some evidence that suggests that eating more frequently can also help raise your metabolism.

Include more slow-to-digest foods in your meals. When it’s not possible to eat more frequently, make sure that your meals contain a mix of nutrients. In particular, fats and protein are much slower to digest than carbohydrates. While most carbohydrates leave your stomach within about two hours, protein takes approximately four hours to digest, and fat takes as long as six hours.

Note: The slower digestion of fats is one of the primary reasons that people on low-carb diets (like Atkins™ and South Beach™) experience less hunger than those on low-fat diets. It’s not necessary to completely eliminate carbohydrates from your meals, though. Most people on balanced-nutrient plans (like the Zone Diet™) also experience better hunger control.

Correct bad eating habits.
We eat not only for nourishment, but also as part of our social interactions. However, many people develop unhealthy habits that encourage overeating. Here are a few examples of bad eating habits that you should try to avoid:
Mixing food and entertainment. It’s easy to mindlessly eat a tub of popcorn, a whole bag of chips, or a carton of ice cream while you’re watching TV. Make eating a separate activity, and you’ll consume less.

Eating to relieve stress. There’s nothing wrong with taking pleasure from eating, but try not to use food as your primary stress reliever. Find other ways to dissipate stress (such as exercising, listening to music, or meditating) before eating.

Eating on the run. With the abundant availability of convenience foods, it’s easy to grab something from a vending machine and eat your meals in your car. But try not to make this a regular daily habit. Plan your schedule to include enough time to prepare and eat your meals in a quiet place, without the rush.

No one eats perfectly. However, if you continuously have trouble controlling what you eat, realize that correction of your eating problems may be beyond your own abilities. Please consult a psychologist or weight loss professional for additional help.

Make a record of everything you eat
When making changes to your diet, it's very easy to lapse back into your old eating habits. Keeping a food diary is a great way to help prevent that from happening. Buy an inexpensive spiral notebook, and simply write down everything that you eat during the day. If possible, keep your food diary with you, and make your entries soon after you've eaten. For maximum benefit, keep making entries for at least three weeks.

Keeping a food diary forces you to give conscious thought to everything that you eat. It may be a tedious task at first, but it will help you more quickly develop better eating habits. Your food diary will also be a tremendous asset if you later consult a dietician or health care provider for assistance with your diet.

When keeping a food diary, it's also a good idea to take the time to add up the total Calories and nutrients that you consume each day. For your diet to be successful, your total Calories will need to decrease from their original level, but your nutrient intake must at least meet your minimum needs. One of the easiest ways to determine this is with the Running Total feature of ND's Pantry.

12-14-2006, 06:06 PM
Nutritional supplements are not necessary for weight loss, but the following types provide some advantages worth considering:

Multivitamin. As you decrease your intake of Calories and consume less food, it becomes more difficult to maintain an adequate intake of all nutrients. Multivitamin / multimineral supplements provide some insurance that your basic nutrient needs are met. This type of supplement is available at most grocery and health food stores at a relatively low cost. Look for a balanced formula that supplies close to 100% of the Daily Value for each vitamin and mineral.

For a more customized approach, consider LifeScript, which will design personalized vitamin packets to fit your exact needs.

Nutrition Shake. While vitamin and mineral supplements provide your body with micronutrients that it needs, they do nothing to satisfy your hunger. A nutrition shake goes a step further. Good nutrition shakes are relatively low in Calories, but contain abundant amounts of high-quality protein and other key nutrients. Replacing one or more of your daily meals with a nutrition shake is a convenient and enjoyable way to fuel your body while banishing your hunger.

For the past several years, Met-Rx and EAS Myoplex have been among the most popular brands of nutrition shakes. Both are good products, but Phillips Performance Nutrition's new FullStrength shake is a better choice for dieters because it's more satisfying per Calorie.

12-14-2006, 06:07 PM
It is possible to lose weight without exercising, but exercise can greatly accelerate your weight loss progress. In fact, exercise can help you lose weight in three separate ways:

Your body will burn extra Calories while you are exercising;
If the exercise is high enough in intensity (i.e. significantly increases your heart rate and respiration), your body will continue to burn Calories at an elevated rate for an extended period after your exercise session has ended; and
If the exercise places a high enough load on your muscles, they will increase in size, and burn more Calories even when your body is at rest.
This last item (i.e. muscular adaptation to exercise) is an important factor for weight loss, because it enables your body to burn more Calories at all times. Muscle tissue is more "metabolically active" than body fat. With more muscle and less fat, your metabolic rate is naturally higher.

Muscular adaptation occurs most readily when the load placed on a muscle exceeds about 60% of its maximum contractile strength. This makes weight training one of your best exercise choices, and the most direct path to a sleeker, shapelier body.

How to Get Started With Weight Training

If you're serious about getting results, forget about the fancy machines in the gym and the made-for-TV products. Take the time to learn a few basic free weight movements, including the squat, bench press, dead lift, bent row, and shoulder press. These exercises activate your body's largest muscles, and will have the most dramatic effect on transforming your body. A good personal trainer at any commercial health club will be happy to help you get started.

If you can't afford the time to go to a health club, you can easily set up a weight training area in your own home. It really doesn't require much space or equipment. A good set of dumbbells and a sturdy exercise bench is all that you need. We personally recommend PowerBlock's dumbbells and bench. PowerBlock also produces wall posters that clearly illustrate all of the most effective dumbbell exercises.

What About Aerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise (e.g. aerobic dance, running, biking, etc.) improves cardiovascular health and can help you burn a considerable number of Calories. However, aerobic exercise does not usually place enough load on your body to create much muscular adaptation. Because of this, aerobic exercise is not nearly as efficient as weight training from the perspective of maintaining long-term weight loss.

All exercises make weight loss easier, though, so don't choose an exercise solely for its efficiency. The best exercise for you is simply the exercise that you enjoy and are willing to do consistently. Even walking is a wonderful exercise. Walking just 15 extra minutes a day will equate to about a pound of additional weight loss each month for the average person.

If your exercise program becomes boring, look for ways to make it more interesting and productive. For example, a weighted exercise vest could add a new twist to your morning walk. Keep challenging yourself, and exercise will become a very fulfilling part of your lifestyle.

12-14-2006, 06:07 PM
Although measuring your weight seems to be the most logical way to track your progress, weight alone is an unreliable measurement. Your weight may fluctuate several pounds over the course of a day, depending on how well hydrated your body is and on what’s currently passing through your digestive system. Weight loss is a gradual process. So if you do weigh yourself, we recommend doing so not more than once or twice a week.

Some diet plans make target weight recommendations based on your height, age, and sex. A target weight may be a good motivator for some people, but don’t get too hung up on that particular goal. Most weight recommendations are based on your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a ratio of your weight to height. BMI recommendations may be appropriate for the average person, but they don’t take into consideration a person’s bone structure and muscle mass, and are especially unsuitable for athletic people.

Unless you’re trying to qualify for a lower weight class at a sporting event, weight isn’t what you care about, anyway. We talk about weight loss, but what you’re really interested in is fat loss. You’ll know when you lose that extra fat, simply because you’ll look and feel better. If you want feedback on your fat loss, we recommend having your percentage body fat measured. Most health clubs will do a body fat test for you. There are also body fat calipers made for home use, such as the Accu-Measure Personal Body Fat Tester, which costs less than $20 and is surprisingly accurate.

12-14-2006, 06:08 PM
Over the course of your life, there will be times when you weight goes up instead of down, when you eat things that you know you probably shouldn’t, when you feel weak and depressed, and when it seems like you’ve really messed up your diet. There is just one thing to do when that happens: Don’t give up. One step backward changes neither you nor the facts about weight loss. So get right back up and do it again!

"Fall seven times, stand up eight." - Japanese proverb

12-14-2006, 06:08 PM
In summary, to successfully lose weight, you need to make permanent changes in your lifestyle that allow you to consume fewer total Calories than you expend.

Your best chance of losing weight occurs if you maintain your health, while reducing your Caloric intake and increasing your metabolism with exercise. It’s also helpful to try to avoid hunger and eliminate bad eating habits.

Selecting foods that fill you up with fewer total Calories can also help make weight loss easier.