Real Talk, Real Weight Loss
In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it is often difficult to find the time to take care of our bodies. Convenience becomes essential and ultimately necessary to achieve everything the modern person has filled their plates with; work, school, family, just to name a few…it seems there’s hardly even time to get a good night’s rest anymore let alone make time to exercise and prepare healthy and nutritious meals. What we need to understand is that the choices we make on a daily basis have a great impact on not only our waistlines, but our health and wellness in general.
Convenience, when it comes to one’s eating habits, often means grabbing something quick and easy. Unfortunately quick and easy often means processed. And eating processed foods is about the fastest way there is to pack and keep on the pounds. We’ll discuss more on that topic later.
First, let’s step back for a moment and talk about what it’s going to take to get started on this journey toward lasting weight loss. I’m going to be frank with you. There is no such thing as a quick fix. Period. While diet pills and fad diets may promise quick and dramatic weight loss, they are definitely not a permanent solution to your weight loss woes. Permanent weight loss will be a slow and deliberate change in life-style. It will take dedication and planning and is not for the faint of heart, but be encouraged; it is very attainable for just about anyone regardless of age, gender and current, unhealthy habits!
Take a deep breath, we’ll walk you through it!
You may feel completely overwhelmed at the thought of making this kind of lifestyle change, that’s perfectly normal. It’s not as daunting as it sounds and understanding why you’ll be making these new and healthy choices is half the battle!
To begin with, let’s understand why fad diets fail.
Fasting, fad diets and over-the-counter pills and shakes work–temporarily. Here’s why:
Fasting or liquid diets produce weight loss because your digestive tract empties. You’ll also lose muscle (bad news) and water. As soon as you start eating again your scale is going to go back to where you started within a few short days. If you’re not losing fat long-term, then why even torture yourself? Losing weight at a very rapid rate (more than three pounds a week after the first couple of weeks) may increase your risk for developing gallstones (clusters of solid material in the gallbladder that can be painful). Diets that provide less than 800 calories per day could also result in heart rhythm abnormalities, which can be fatal.
Cutting calories, while a better alternative, will just leave you feeling hungry and frustrated which could lead to binge eating later. Also, no good.
Processed Foods: What you need to know…
When you eat heavily preserved foods, your body can’t break them down to use the nutrients in them (if there are nutrients left in the first place after all that processing). Additives like high fructose corn syrup, sugar and MSG are linked to obesity, not just because of the excess useless calories and lack of nutritional value, but because of their “addictive” qualities. When you consume them, they actually trigger the release of dopamine in your brain, the same hormone that is released when an addict takes a needle full of heroin. Over time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same feeling, that of pleasure and euphoria. Foods containing these ingredients are actually engineered to create cravings and addiction. Pretty scary right? So what can you do? Stop. Stop giving your body useless junk that is just making you fat and sick!
In the end, it’s not really how much you’re eating, but ultimately what you’re eating that is going to determine your weight loss. The key to healthy, permanent weight loss is this: Eat whole, natural foods such as fruits and vegetables daily. These super foods are exactly what your body craves and needs as fuel to run efficiently. In addition to weight loss, fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eating the recommended amount (or more!) of fruits and vegetables each day can reduce the risk of chronic diseases AND help you slim down.
Exercise: Don’t sweat it!
You knew it was coming, and I’m pretty sure I heard that groan from here! Relax, you don’t have to start running marathons or become a body builder (unless you want to do either or both of those things, in which case more power to you!). What I am going to suggest to you is that you start small. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park a little bit further out in the parking lot at the store instead of circling 3 dozen times waiting for the closest spot to the door! These are small but effective ways to work a little bit more exercise into your daily routine.
Making these seemingly insignificant changes will have a big impact on how you feel and along with your new healthy menu, will really kick-start your weight loss! But don’t stop there. It may be a little bit more difficult than taking the stairs, but setting aside at least 30 minutes a day for a walk or a jog or any other type of cardio is going to make a HUGE difference and really get you results in your new weight loss journey. Don’t care for walking or jogging? Go for a swim or try yoga. Both of those activities provide a low-impact alternative and will really get your heart pumping while burning calories.
Hopefully now you’re feeling better about your choice to lose weight and get healthy. You can do it! Take it one day at a time. Clean out your fridge and pantry and replace that processed junk with fresh fruits and vegetables! Take a cooking class and learn how to incorporate these new ingredients into healthy and delicious meals! And lastly, get moving! You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel as you watch the pounds gradually and permanently fall off!