So you want to lose a few pounds. Sounds like a good idea but the word “fail” sticks in the back of your mind. After all, you’ve spent years searching for the right diet. You’ve tried them all – Atkins, Zone, South Beach, Nutrisystem, Mediterranean, Grapefruit, Jenny Craig, Abs, intermittent fasting, high-protein, low carb, and the list goes on. You may even have had some success. But chances are you went right back to where you were. And so you’re here, searching for some sort of magic method to make the weight disappear and stay off forever.
Well it’s not magic but it is a very simple concept. Calories taken in vs. calories burned – at the proper rate.. Reduce your caloric intake and/or increase your level of activity while keeping your body in a state of “balance”. You never want to introduce extreme changes to your body when dieting. If you severely restrict your calories, or eagerly spend too much time on the treadmill initially, you will put yourself on the path to wrecking your metabolism. This will cause you bigger problems in the long run and usually takes more time and effort to correct.
You must realize that you still need to eat. Reducing your calories by a sensible margin while still giving your body its required nutrients helps prevent severe metabolic adaptation. The body’s response to a restricted calorie diet is to adapt to this change in order to compensate for the depleting fuel by slowing down your metabolism. This is a normal response from your body, but an overzealous dieter can cause his metabolism to slow down to a crawl by overdoing it.
Crash diets don’t work
We see a new diet every week that claims to be the newest method to fast weight loss. It may even be endorsed by a celebrity. Don’t fall for the hype. Sure, you may lose weight rapidly on one of these diets. However, rapid weight loss almost always leads to rebounding. Often times your metabolism will adapt to your new radical eating patterns which can result in making it even harder for you to shed your unwanted pounds.
If you want to achieve permanent weight loss be sure to stay away from crash diets. A lot of these diets emphasize leaving out a particular food group. To remain healthy we all need the nutrition provided by a variety of foods. The best path to sustainable weight loss involves a diverse selection of nutrient-rich foods that are lower in calories and some level of daily activity.
True long-term weight loss can only be achieved when you learn how many calories are required to maintain your current weight and then make adjustments in how many you take in and/or expend without sacrificing nutrition. This is not hard but it does require a change in your eating habits. It’s actually harder to take on most crash diets, many of which cause uncomfortable and sometimes intolerable cravings which inevitably lead to needless failure. Adopting an eating pattern that is healthy and nutritious will better keep hunger at bay while putting you on the path to long-term weight loss success.
A healthy weight loss rate
In this day and age we have become accustomed to instant gratification. Technological advances in the past couple of decades have facilitated the ability to do many things quickly, remotely, and even on-demand. So naturally when we decide to complete a task, we automatically, to some degree, expect that we can in some way speed up the process.
Healthy weight loss, however, is a completely different ballgame. You can not lose 10 or 15 pounds in a week in a healthy manner – period! If your goal is losing weight permanently you definitely want to forget about fast. Why? When you lose more than 1 to 2 pounds per week you risk losing muscle mass instead of just fat. You want to shed excess fat, not whither your body away. Retaining muscle is vital in that it burns calories. So if you lose muscle you lose some of your calorie-burning ability.
Know that by burning approximately 3500 calories causes a 1 pound reduction in weight. So in order to lose 1 pound in a week you will need to reduce your daily caloric intake by (3500 calories divided by 7 days) or 500 calories a day. Alternatively, you could expend an additional 500 calories a day through exercise or a combination of calorie restriction and exercise (best results). Whichever route you choose, you are creating what we call a calorie deficit. At a healthy weight loss rate this deficit should be no more than 1000 calories a day.
Later in the site we discuss more in depth how to calculate your maintenance calories as well as how to reference your BMI or Body Mass Index to determine how much overall weight you should try to lose.
Do diet pills work?
Actually, most diet products do exactly what they are advertised to do – help you lose weight. They suppress your appetite or trick your brain in some way to make you feel fuller and eat less, therefore allowing you to create a calorie deficit. The problem with most diet products, however, is that they address ONLY your appetite. They generally don’t address your metabolism, your energy level, mood or any other variable, whether physical or mental, which may be necessary for your success at long-term weight loss.
Diet pills can help with portion control but they won’t help with educating you about smart food choices. So think of a diet pill as a temporary tool – not a permanent solution.
If you choose to use a diet product I highly recommend the Vfinity line of products. These products definitely make dieting a much less painfull process. They are formulated with natural ingredients and also allow you to get the nutrition you need while cutting calories.
Are there any good diets?
Don’t get the wrong idea about diets or weight loss programs. A lot are designed with sensibly limiting calories without being concerned with cutting out a particular food group or preaching high protein – low carbs or what have you. Some can still work for you and help you do the calorie math. However, as you reach your weight loss goals it would be beneficial for you to educate yourself with foods, portions, and calories so that you can choose what and how much to eat wherever you might be. A good reference for calories in foods can be found at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SuperTracker Food-A-Pedia.
Even though dieting is a 40 billion dollar plus industry, there is only one path to true, healthy, sustained weight loss. Following the principles of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Heart Association, this site advocates losing weight in a safe and healthy manner understanding that weight is controlled by calories in – calories expended, that it shouldn’t happen overnight (one to two pounds per week is healthy), and the fact that permanent weight loss includes a lifestyle which incorporates smart food choices combined with exercise.