How to Take Control of Weight Loss
If you’re looking for a blog on the top 3 secrets to get your beach body, this isn’t that blog. Rather, I want to discuss the realities of weight loss, headspace issues that accompany it, and some real and practical dietary considerations.
I think one of the biggest challenges with weight loss is that it’s BORING. Extremely boring. Sure you can come up with creative healthy dishes that aren’t bland, but the actual pursuit of ridding your body of excess fat in boring. At least at first…
If you’re trying to lose weight in a healthy way and not diving into a crash diet, weight loss can be slow in the beginning. If it’s not the first time you’ve tried losing weight, it can make you anxious and cause you to doubt whether or not you’ll be successful. It can also make you second guess your diet.
The good news is, most diets work for a while. If you’re coming off a recent weight gain, or you’ve been stuck at the same weight for a long time, any dramatic shift in your eating habits are going to cause a physiological reaction in your body. The issues typically arise when your body has adapted to that shift in eating.
If you really want to be successful, few things help more than having someone or a group of people to be accountable to. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this person be your spouse. While this may sound funny, generally speaking, your spouses probably care to much about you and their own self-preservation to hold you accountable on what can be a very sensitive journey. I would instead recommend a friend you hold in high regard who you wouldn’t want to disappoint.
Take before pictures. Take before pictures. Take before pictures! Again, if you’re losing weight in a healthy way and you’re simply relying on the scale, you will see the numbers occasionally go up and down. This can be disheartening if you feel like you’ve been doing everything right and you have a bad day on the scale. The before pictures will be helpful for you to reference and better appreciate progress you make.
With that being said, don’t weight yourself everyday. Settle on a time-frame, perhaps once or twice a week, and specific time of the day. My recommendation would be in the morning before your first meal of the day.
Vanity Isn’t Enough
Obesity is one of the biggest health challenges we face as a nation. The adverse effects of obesity are too many in number to list here. Your own health SHOULD be the reason why you’re trying to lose weight. I understand that it might not be, but it definitely should. In future blogs and in our past newsletters (subscribe…) we’ve discussed how far reaching the side effects of obesity are. Familiarize yourself with those consequences and try to shift your focus on weight loss to improve your overall health and quality of life, rather than trying to look better in pictures.
Diet is Everything
Working out is important for many reasons, but if we’re talking about pure weight-loss, diet is king (or queen). If we really look at the science behind exercise and break down the way calories are counted by fitness equipment and fitness watches, it’s clear that exercise simply won’t make up for bad dietary choices.
The type of food you eat definitely matters. Not all calories are the same. When we look at macronutrients like fat, carbohydrates and protein, they do different things to us physiologically. Even within those macronutrient groups, there are different types of fats that effect us certain ways.
Lose the Booze
This is one way to tell if someone is serious about their weight-loss or not. If you’re serious about losing weight, you should not consume alcohol. The calories from alcohol are empty calories. If right before you go to bed you consume a bunch of empty calories, the first thing your body is going to do is use them for fuel. Before it even thinks about burning body fat, it’s going to do away with those empty calories. I’m sure there are plenty of people that can lose weight and continue drinking, but why would you want to shoot yourself in the foot like that?
Which Diet is Best?
Again…they all work to some degree. Which one makes the most sense for overall health? From what we know, probably a diet that is very low in processed carbohydrates and sugar. Definitely low in sugar. How can something so sweet be so evil?
Ketogenic Diet - The ketogenic diet is hot right now. It’s not new, but social media seems to be flooded with keto-related posts. The ketogenic diet is a great option. You shift your food choices to be predominantly fats, moderate amounts of protein, and very low carbohydrate intake. Essentially what you’re doing is ridding your body of all of its stored sugar reserves (glycogen) and shifting your body into a state where it uses fat as fuel. In a way, you’re telling your body to use fat where it normally uses glucose. This also turns your body into a fat furnace.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen with keto is difficulty in shifting around your eating habits to include such a high amount of fat. It doesn’t feel right at first. You feel like you’re indulging, especially after decades of nutrition experts condemning fat.
Low-Calorie Balanced Diet - The fundamental principle of weight-loss is Calories in vs. Calories out. So you could simply lower your daily caloric intake. If you’re consuming a balanced diet, this approach will likely take slightly longer than something like a ketogenic diet, but you will still see results. The caveat really is the amount of time it might take, circling back to what we mentioned earlier about feelings of doubt toward your weight-loss.
Intermittent Fasting - If someone really wanted to lose weight, they could basically just stop eating. After looking into it quite a bit, it’s rather surprising how long humans can survive without food and still function normally. A long period of fasting isn’t very practical in our society, so a good compromise is intermittent fasting.
One of the easiest approaches is simply picking a 4-hour window of time each day in which you consume your food. For instance, you decide you’re going to have your daily calories between the hours of 4 PM and 8 PM. The next time you eat is the following day at, you guessed it, 4 PM. Simple, right? Other methods include having five days out of the week where you eat cleanly and relatively normally as far as calories are concerned, but you set aside 2 days where you eat extremely low calories. There are a lot of benefits to intermittent fasting, and it’s very effective for weight-loss.
The first step I recommend to people we work with is to start simple. DITCH SUGAR. Cut it out of your diet completely. We’re talking about added sugars here. It’s amazing the results people will see with that one change alone. Once you get comfortable with that, get rid of overly processed carbs, then bad fats like fried food, and so on. Do it incrementally, but definitely start with getting rid of sugar.