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Dieting and Losing Weight

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 9 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Losing Weight Dieting Yo-yo Dieting

There are that many diets around these days that all claim to be the best method of losing weight that the whole world of dieting has become confusing. Check out any reviews from people who have tried some of these well-known diets and there will be those who swear by them and others who’ll have tried the same diet but have said it was a waste of time.

Dieting is big business these days but what works for one person might not work for another. Rather than talk about dieting which often means you having to give up eating certain foods you love it’s much better to consider healthy eating for life as opposed to a diet as it will have a better effect in the long run without it being made to feel as though you’re suffering temporarily in restricting yourself of food in an effort to lose weight.

The Simple Facts About Eating

Let’s begin by shattering a few myths about why we put on weight. It is not about good food and bad food, although obviously some foods are healthier for us than others. The reason we put on weight is simply that we eat and drink more than the energy we use up. Think of it like running a car. If we filled the petrol tank up to full each day but didn’t drive anywhere, the tank would overflow. Likewise, with food, it’s not about stopping the burgers or the cakes completely and living off lettuce and carrots, but about a combination of eating a healthy, balanced diet and doing some exercise in order to burn that ‘fuel’ up.

Many people loathe exercising and think that they can simply diet all of their excess weight away whilst still vegetating in front of the TV. Whilst it may be possible to lose a little bit of weight this way, it’s going to take a lot more hardship and time to do so, and, you will not feel the health benefits that a healthy eating regime combined with regular exercise will provide you with.

Yo-Yo Dieting

Many people have become what are known as ‘yo-yo dieters’. This is where they’ll often go on a very strict diet in terms of reducing their calorie intake dramatically over, say, a few months, and they’ll shed the excess weight quite quickly. However, what they don’t appreciate is what happens next.

Once they’ve reached their target weight they’ll stop dieting. Meanwhile, their body has been in survival mode whilst they’ve been dieting. It will have noticed the lack of nutrients and/or insufficient food coming in each day and will have attempted to store some reserves. Therefore, it’s making the most efficient use of what limited food it is receiving. Consequently, when you stop dieting and try to just eat sensibly, your body reacts to the increase in food which is why you end up piling on weight quickly as the body stores it in case you are going to starve it again later. Not only does this defeat your objective in the first place, but it can be bad for your physical health too.

Eating Well and Still Lose Weight

The secret of losing weight is to dump the idea of the word ‘diet’ with all its connotations of depriving you of something and adopt the phrase ‘healthy eating program’.

This doesn’t mean a “salad only and never a bag of crisps will pass your lips again” mentality at all. It is OK to have the occasional burger, pizza or cream cake even on a healthy eating regime. It’s simply about moderation and understanding that these kinds of ‘treat’ foods are only to be eaten occasionally not as part of your regular weekly eating regime.

Healthy eating means a balanced diet based around carbohydrate foods such as pasta, bread, rice and cereals, all preferably whole grain, at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day – consider a ‘portion’ to be an amount that would fit in the palm of one hand, and cutting back on your intake of fat, especially animal or saturated fat, sugar and fatty processed foods. If you are looking to lose weight, remember that a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is the best way to not only reduce your weight but to keep the weight off. Any more than that and you’re in danger of putting it all back on again later.

And, don’t forget the exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the gym every day. A brisk walk counts as exercise, will make you feel good and can lead to you doing a greater of variety of exercises later. Ultimately, your exercise should eventually lead you to getting out of breath a little. In other words, you need to focus on cardiac exercises as opposed to muscle building ones. That said, however, if you are overweight and haven’t exercised for some time, you should seek some advice from your GP before you start.

Remember, the more exercise you do, the more you will be able to eat without putting on weight which might be a motivating force.

Why a Healthy Weight is Important

It makes sense to lose weight and to try and keep your body in trim. Not only will it usually make you feel more positive about yourself, it is also good for your health. As we get older, if we fail to tackle our own weight issues, then we end up being more at risk of heart disease, diabetes, back pain, joint problems and other serious health risks associated with carrying excess weight.

The beauty is that healthy eating doesn’t need to be painful and, once you’ve decided to commit to an alternative approach to your eating habits, you’ll often wonder why you didn’t do it years ago.

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