Lose Weight

Losing weight involves a positive attitude and making a commitment to adopting a healthier lifestyle. Weight loss involves either eating fewer calories and/or burning more than you need. A balanced approach includes doing both.

Very low calorie diets are not the answer as they often make you lose muscle rather than weight.  They also may lack in important nutrients. Whatever weight is lost tends to be put back on after the diet is stopped. A more gradual approach to weight loss involving eating less and exercising more is often more successful. As far as diet is concerned, there are a few simple tips to keep in mind. The first is to reduce intake of sugars and starches (carbs). They stimulate the secretion of insulin which is the main fat storage hormone in the body. Controlling the production of insulin helps the body to start burning fats rather than carbs. The kidneys also are better able to expel excess sodium and water out of the body which reduces bloating and unnecessary water weight. Sugary drinks and fruit juices should be avoided wherever possible as they are the greatest contributors to weight gain.

All meals should ideally include a protein source, a fat source and low-carb vegetables. Sources of proteins include meat, fish, and eggs. Protein is essential for boosting the metabolism and satiates hunger pangs to the extent that people will often naturally reduce their calorie intake by over 400 calories in a day. With regard to the low-carb vegetables, there are a considerable number to choose from and these include spinach, cabbage, cucumber, celery, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, etc. Lots can be eaten without fear of putting on weight. Other healthy sources of carbs include oats, rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fruits.

Healthy fat sources include cooking in oils like olive, coconut, and avocado. Butter can also be used. Coconut oil might be the healthiest as it has an abundant supply of medium chain triglyceride fats (MCTs) which are more filling than the others and can also boost the metabolism slightly.

An easy way to check if one is overweight or not is to check your body mass index (BMI). It uses a mathematical formula that measures both the height and weight of an individual and is calculated as follows:

(Weight in Pounds x 703) / (Height in Inches) / (Height in Inches) = BMI

People with a BMI of 25 or more are considered to be overweight while having a BMI over 30 places one at risk for developing obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. BMIs over 40 indicate the person is morbidly obese.  

Monitoring calorie intake is important to avoid over-eating. This goes hand in hand with how active a person is. People who exercise vigorously can eat more calories because they burn them off. People who lead relatively sedentary lifestyles need to eat less in order to maintain a healthy weight or lose it. Keeping a journal can help as a record of eating habits and quantities enables one to assess the food choices made.

Studies involving data from the National Weight Control Registry have shown that 60-70 minutes of moderate exercise like walking per day helps to keep weight off. For people doing more vigorous activity like running, 35-45 minutes per day is sufficient. Exercise helps with weight loss by speeding up the metabolism so that the body burns more calories, even while sleeping.  It also acts as a buffer with diet in that people do not have to be quite as strict in watching what they eat if they exercise actively and regularly. However monitoring one’s food intake is still important in order to ensure that more calories are being burnt than consumed.

Lifting weights helps with burning calories and keeping your metabolism up to speed. Other exercises that contribute to weight loss include running, jogging, swimming, and walking.

Getting enough sleep is also very important in maintaining weight loss. A 2012 study revealed that sleep-deprived people have a propensity to overeat more than people who are well rested. Another study published in 2013 showed that those who got only five hours of sleep a night gained nearly 2 lbs over a two-week period because of overeating.

To sum up, losing weight is possible by eating a healthy diet, exercise, and getting sufficient and restful sleep. The changes need not be drastic. Gradually adopting healthy eating habits will help to ease one into a permanent lifestyle change.  Likewise strenuous exercise regimens can be adopted by people who are athletically inclined. For those who prefer more moderate activity, regular brisk walks are more than sufficient. Losing weight too quickly can be harmful. Losing weight at a rate of 1 or 2 pounds a week till the desired body weight has been achieved is gentler and puts less stress on the body.