What if I told you that blaming your metabolism for your weight gain and difficulty in losing weight is just a bunch of hogwash?
Did that get your attention? If so, that was precisely my intent. Yes, your metabolism plays a role in your weight, but it is not the reason you have difficulties with your weight loss. Your troubles with weight loss are because you are consuming more calories than your body burns, no matter your metabolic rate.
Does a high metabolism allow others to eat more than you and not gain weight?
Yes, it does. But when it comes to taking off those unwanted pounds, it still requires the same reductions in calories for one with a higher metabolism as it does for one with a slower metabolism. If one person requires 3000 calories per day to maintain homeostasis and another requires 2000 calories per day, it still requires a reduction of 500 calories per day for both individuals to lose one pound per week, and the struggle to reduce that 500 calories is the same for both individuals. Your body wants to maintain itself at a certain body fat percentage, even if that percentage is not healthy for you. But, you can not use this as an excuse for not being able to lose weight. You can do little to change your metabolism, but what you do have direct control over is the foods you fuel your body with. As long as you continue to feed your body junk fuels, you will struggle to lose weight. The reason most diets fail you, even the expensive plans you can join, are because they allow you to continue to fuel your body with poor food choices as long as you “track” them. This sets people up for failure every time.
What role exactly does metabolism play in weight gain or weight loss?
Let’s first begin with defining metabolism. Metabolism or metabolic rate is defined as the series of chemical reactions in a living organism that create and break down energy necessary for life. More simply, it’s the rate at which your body expends energy or burns calories.
Our bodies burn calories in several ways:
Through the energy required to keep the body functioning at rest; this is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is partly determined by the genes you inherit.
Through everyday activities, including how much or how little you fidget.
Your metabolism is not your fault since it is largely based on your genetics. Some people are blessed with a faster metabolism, others are not so blessed. This is the reason why some people can eat more than others without gaining weight. You may not feel this is fair, but that does not change the fact you still have the control over the content and quantity of the foods you consume each day. It is not even debatable that a person with a slow metabolism will burn fewer calories at rest and during activity and therefore has to eat less to avoid becoming overweight. But the mechanism to lose weight is identical for both individuals and can be just as difficult for each. The struggle to lose body fat is the same for those who want to drop weight no matter whether they are beginning at 40% body fat or 20% body fat. The difference in the ability to lose weight is the discipline it takes to control your food intake which should be high nutrition, low calorie foods and to then not exceed the total amount of calories required to meet your goal.
You have to be an active participant in your weight loss goals, and not by taking bogus supplements that promise to raise your metabolism, or through fad diets. These will fail you every time.
The rising tide of obesity in this country cannot be blamed on an inherited tendency to have a slow metabolism. Genes do not change that quickly in any species. The causes can be tied to an abundance of poor food choices coupled with sedentary lifestyles. Consider this, how many times have you ever sat down in front of the television with a plate or bowl full of less than healthy food and then proceeded to continue eating past the point of feeling full? If we are being intellectually honest, every single one of us who have ever had a weight problem have done this. Regardless of whether your metabolism is fast or slow, our bodies are designed to store excess energy in fat cells. When you eat and drink more calories than your body expends you will gain weight. Conversely, if you eat and drink fewer calories than are burned through everyday activities (including exercise, rest and sleep), you’ll lose weight. While you don’t have much control over the speed of your basal metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. In fact, some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are usually just more active and fidgety than others. There’s no easy way to lose weight.
The foundation for weight loss will always be based on physical activity and diet. Take in fewer calories than you burn, and you will lose weight.
I wish I had a dollar for every time that I heard that when I worked for a major weight loss company. People commit to programs that allow added sugars and alcohol which keep them doing the same things that got them unhealthy to begin with, and very quickly, weight loss stalls. Although some programs promise easy or fast weight loss, neither can be an effective strategy for getting to your healthiest body fat percentage and staying there. As weight loss stalls, discouragement sets in and you are very likely to just ditch the whole idea of losing weight. There are ways to keep the number on the scale going down with just a little planning.
Photo from Pexels by Olya Kobruseva
Gung Ho, No Mo’
I used to swim endless hours in a YMCA pool. I paid a lot for that membership and used it most days of the week. Whenever January rolled around with all of the New Year’s Resolutions to get in shape, the pool would fill up with all those zealous new gym goers. It was so frustrating! It made it very hard to get a swim lane and seriously interfered with those of us who were somewhat fanatical about swimming. After the second year of watching those numbers plummet between the third and fourth weeks of January, I quit letting it bother me. I had figured out that these newly enthusiastic athletes would soon play out. Are you feeling like giving up on the whole idea of losing weight yet? Most people already have. Weight loss is just like everything else, the more you know, the better your chances of success.
The main reason that I write on this website is that I had a weight problem my entire life until coming to David’s Way to Health and Fitness. I know how it feels to be unable to find clothes that I like, that look good on me. I know what Hell swimsuit season can be when you drag another four swimsuits into the dressing room, under fluorescent lights, only to decide that this is just not the day for swimsuit shopping. I know what it’s like to swelter in full length jeans all summer because I couldn’t bear to face myself in the mirror in summer clothes. Since I have discovered the answer to all that, I want to share. So believe me when I tell you these things. They have been tried in the fire.
The Beginning of The Descent
Many times when I have been at my goal weight, I would decide that I just didn’t feel like cooking one night and went to the drive-thru window. Since I was at my goal weight, I might be a little slack about my order. Sugary, salty foods have an addictive quality and very soon after eating salty fries or a syrupy sweet milkshake, I would want to repeat that behavior. Salt builds serotonin which is your party neurotransmitter and sugar activates dopamine which is your reward center in your brain, so these foods are truly addictive. When we return to these quick “fixes”, the descent into nutrition Hell has begun.
DON’T SKIP MEALS!!!
Our brains and bodies need a steady supply of energy to perform at optimum levels and if you do not provide it in the form of good nutrition, you will succumb to the dessert buffet or it’s equivalent. It doesn’t matter what you intend. It doesn’t matter how “strong” you think you are or how accomplished you are at your healthy eating program, when your neurochemistry begins to suffer, you will cave.
Eat Protein and Fiber
Every time that I reduced my calories after a long period of not counting them, I would get RAVENOUS! Regardless of how much I wanted to lose weight, the hunger was maddening. Many years ago I discovered that if I ate protein and fiber together, the fiber would bind the protein in my stomach and I would stay full for a long time. I ran experiments with other food and the hands down winner every time to slay hunger was this power combo. I usually carried cheese sticks and an apple with me wherever I went and I was never caught hungry. Which brings us to…
Always Carry Snacks
Even if you think that you have eaten plenty and you will be home before you need to eat again, carry healthy snacks! You never know when you will get stuck in traffic, remember an extra errand to run or have an emotional meltdown in traffic, all of which will exacerbate hunger. It’s all too easy to whip into a convenience store for a Honey Bun and a cup of coffee flavored sugar and non-dairy coffee creamer to see you home. If you are a coffee drinker, carry coffee. Stopping “for just a cup of coffee” can be disastrous. Have you ever noticed all the cakes and cookies close to the coffee in a convenience store? If you go to the drive-thru for coffee, you just opened the gates of destruction. Individual servings of nuts and seeds and plain full-fat Greek yogurt and apples will see you through anything. Carry your sweetener of choice with you. I also carry a little something extra to add to the yogurt such as water enhancer drops. It works great and can transform a plain cup of yogurt into a culinary delight. My current crush is Tang mixed with vanilla extract added to yogurt for an Orange Dreamsicle Delight that will keep you satisfied for a couple of hours.
Carry Healthy Food to Events
It doesn’t matter if it’s a family dinner, a church event or a party, carry healthy food. If you go to an outing believing that you will just avoid the trigger foods, guess again. The social atmosphere, traditions, habits and not-so-well-meaning “friends” and family will sway you until you crash. If you have a favorite healthy recipe with you, successfully navigating this nutritional nightmare is much more likely. We have many healthy recipes and if you want something special, just let us know. We have everything from pizza to Low Carb Bacon Stuffing to a Sugar Free Maple Walnut Muffins right here on these links.
Whenever we reach a goal that please us, the temptation is to skip our workout whenever we feel like it. One missed workout will turn into two and then the downward spiral is on. After losing a significant amount of weight our metabolism will naturally be a little slower so rather than slack up on our workouts we need to turn it up a few notches! A lighter weight body requires fewer calories to maintain so after your medical doctor approves, turn up the burn.
Eat Your Protein
Many times whenever we are asked to look at someone’s nutrition, we are appalled at what we see. I have a family member who was eating a mere 20-30 grams of protein a day and was wondering why she wasn’t healing good after surgery. It takes protein to build the tissues of the human body. However you like it, make sure to get it. Read David’s article Protein Supplements for guidelines. Protein will stoke your metabolic fire and keep you satisfied between meals.
Eat moderate amounts of complex carbs in the form of beans and other legumes, whole wheat, brown and wild rice, oats, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Carbs are your brain’s main source of fuel and if you try to do without them, you will have terrible brain fog and NO energy. Avoid simple carbohydrates like added sugar, white breads, white rice and white pastas. They quickly degrade into glucose in your body and cause unwanted insulin spikes.
This is not a diet. There is no stopping point. This is simply eating healthy for the rest of your life so don’t get overly emotional if every day is not perfect. The important thing is to actually do the best that you can do each day. That won’t be the same every day, necessarily, because we are not the same every day. Allowing yourself to get upset sets the stage for trouble because it sets off our stress hormones which cause cravings and feelings of self-loathing that make us feel justified to binge. It’s a journey, not a race. Remember what David says, “You don’t own your level of fitness, you are merely paying rent.” which means that it has to be tended to every day, for the rest of your life, so settle down and learn how to be the very best that you can be. We’re here for you, free!
Today, I read a statement on a weight loss social media site that I found to be quite profound.
“Today is the first day in thirty five years that I did not feel like I needed to lose weight”.
The young lady who made this statement has felt ashamed of her weight since she was five years old. Thankfully now, she has finally achieved a healthy body fat percentage and weight. Whether some people will acknowledge feeling ashamed about their weight or not, the reality is, most do feel ashamed to some extent or another. But, the larger point I want to drive home is the fact this woman has felt shame since she was a young child, and she is far from being alone in feeling this way as a child. No child should ever feel ashamed of how they look or feel for any reason. Our children are our most precious and important resource and causing them stress
in early life can affect their dietary, physical activity, and other health behaviors, which increases
their risk of becoming overweight or obese. It is our duty as parents to nurture their every need during the formative years in order for them to grow up to become mentally and physically healthy adults. Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It’s particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that were once considered adult problems — diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression. We owe our children better than this. We allow our children to become obese when we allow too little physical activity and feed them far too many calories from food and drinks which are the main contributors to childhood obesity.
Risk factors we allow for our children!
Diet. Regularly eating high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks, can cause your child to gain weight. Candy and desserts also can cause weight gain, and more and more evidence points to sugary drinks, including fruit juices and sports drinks, as culprits in obesity in some people.
Lack of exercise. Children who don’t exercise much are more likely to gain weight because they don’t burn as many calories. Too much time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games, also contributes to the problem. TV shows also often feature ads for unhealthy foods.
Family factors. If your child comes from a family of overweight people, he or she may be more likely to put on weight. This is especially true in an environment where high-calorie foods are always available and physical activity isn’t encouraged.
Psychological factors. Personal, parental and family stress can increase a child’s risk of obesity. Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress, or to fight boredom. Their parents might have similar tendencies. (1)
These risk factors above are all factors we as parents have, or should have control over.
Physical complications of childhood obesity include:
Type 2 diabetes. This chronic condition affects the way your child’s body uses sugar (glucose). Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure. A poor diet can cause your child to develop one or both of these conditions. These factors can contribute to the buildup of plaques in the arteries, which can cause arteries to narrow and harden, possibly leading to a heart attack or stroke later in life.
Joint pain. Extra weight causes extra stress on hips and knees. Childhood obesity can cause pain and sometimes injuries in the hips, knees and back.
Breathing problems. Asthma is more common in children who are overweight. These children are also more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which a child’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This disorder, which usually causes no symptoms, causes fatty deposits to build up in the liver. NAFLD can lead to scarring and liver damage. (1)
Be a positive example and role model for the children in your life to follow.
Parents, guardians, and teachers can help children maintain a healthy weight by helping them develop healthy eating habits and limiting calorie-rich temptations. You also want to help children be physically active, have reduced screen time, and get adequate sleep.
“YOU” can help children develop healthy eating habits!
Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products, including cheese and yogurt.
Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.
Encourage your family to drink lots of water.
“YOU” can limit calorie rich temptations!
You can do this by reducing the availability of high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks which can help your children develop healthy eating habits. Only allow your children to eat these foods rarely, so that they truly will be treats!
By encouraging your children to be active with regular physical activity they will develop many health benefits, including:
Decreasing blood pressure.
Reducing stress and anxiety.
Helping with weight management.
Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day. Children ages 3 through 5 years should be active throughout the day. Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should be physically active at least 60 minutes each day. If your quiet time is more important to you than your child being active, you have failed them.
Children ages 3 through 5 years should be active throughout the day.
Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should be physically active at least 60 minutes each day.
If we are being honest, sitting your child down in front of the television or video with sugary foods and drink is one of the worst things we have ever began doing as a society. Ask yourself who benefits most by sitting your child down like this, is it you or the child who benefits? If you have ever paid attention to kids on a playground, you have to know that most are naturally physically active and love to move around. This is what children are supposed to do!
No child should ever feel ashamed about how they look. No one should ever wake up one day and no longer feel as if they no longer need to lose weight after thirty five years. As a society, we can and must do better and what is right for our children’s needs if we want them to grow into healthy adults who can raise their own healthy children.
Whether we want to discuss them or not, we all know that our bowel movements are an integral part of a healthy life. Our movements, or lack thereof, affect how we feel and to an extent how we look in the case of belly bloating. Also, if you have followed weight loss fads and gimmicks, you have seen, or may have even tried, any number of the numerous products available that promise that you will lose weight by better pooping through the use of their magical weight loss pills. These product manufacturers usually market their products through the use of carefully crafted messages where they promise that you are going to be de-toxifying your body with a bowel movement first thing in the morning. But, what is the real scoop an this?
Is pooping an effective weight loss strategy?
Well, of course you are going to weigh a little bit lighter after a bowel movement, but this little bit of difference is about as meaningless as losing water weight from your body during exercise. It has zero impact on your body fat percentage no matter what these product hucksters will tell you. To lose disease-causing body fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume. You can do this by exercising more and changing your dietary habits by cutting out added sugars, processed foods and increasing your fiber and water intake. You do not need any type of laxative in your life in order to lose body fat.
Well, if we only lose a little bit of weight when we poop, why do we feel so much slimmer finally pooping after being constipated or after a large meal?
It’s because pooping reduces gas and bloating. This generally helps you feel more comfortable. The longer poop stays in the intestines, the drier and heavier it will become. While most people poop once a day, it’s considered normal to poop as frequently as three times a day or as little as once every three days. All of this can be controlled through good nutritional habits and exercise.
But dietary fiber has been linked to lower body fat by keeping you regular!
Well yes, fiber does help keep you regular in the bathroom, and it is a good weight-management tool. But here is why – high-fiber foods help control blood sugar levels, and they tend to be more filling, which means you’re likely to eat less of them. Fiber-dense foods also tend to be lower in calories than many others.
When we consume unhealthy, processed foods chronic, low-grade inflammation is often caused . Foods high in processed sugars, like cereals, candy bars and other snack foods, can raise the risk of chronic inflammation in the body and may potentially affect digestion and weight. No amount of laxatives or toxin reducing magic weight loss pills will ever fix this for you if you do not change your nutritional habits. This point is not even close to being medically or scientifically arguable. You have to change your habits! You can help yourself by ensuring you consume enough of two different types of fiber (soluble and insoluble), both of which are important in promoting good health and digestion. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, nuts and beans and is known for slowing digestion. Insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains, adds bulk to your stool and helps food to pass more quickly.
A lot of people confuse abdominal distension from bloating as being fat. The reality is that there are certain causes of bloating, such as lactose intolerance, celiac sprue, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth which make an individual feel as if they can’t lose the weight even though they may be.
The bottom line is the most fundamental cause of weight gain is the mismanagement of calories by eating low nutrition, high calorie foods. Everything we do wrong regarding food and exercise is compounded by the lack of this fundamental principle. That is why so many efforts to manage weight appear to be futile.
For access to over 1000 free articles and recipes to help you lose or manage your weight, subscriptions to David’s Way are free and easy. By subscribing, you will receive our newest articles straight to your email. You can also follow along on our Facebook page Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way. Be sure to also check out our Facebook support group for weight loss and management.
“Continuity” is sometimes defined as “the unbroken or consistent existence of, or operation of something over a period of time” or “the maintenance of continuous action and self consistent detail…”¹ and it is so important that huge studies in sociology have been conducted to determine it’s power in changing not only specific people groups but the course of the history of humankind. How much more power does it have to change the individual?
Years ago I had the opportunity to see this in action on a small scale when I was at work. I usually worked with a man who was pretty slack with the rules. Even though, at first glance, that seemed to create a low stress environment, I discovered different when he was unable to report for duty one day. In his absence, not one but three separate supervisors covered for him. These employees were known for their attention to detail, their strict adherence to the rules. As I entered the workplace, I noticed a completely different atmosphere. There was no drama. There was no confusion. There was no variance. Everyone present knew that in this situation, their only option was to just do their job the way that they were trained. The smoothness of that day was astounding! Everything worked the way it was intended to work. When unique situations presented there was no chaos because guess what? We just went “by the book”. I quickly learned the concept of “continuity”. The outcome was efficient productivity.
This is a key to successful weight/wellness management. Quite often we make a valiant effort to lose weight or work out or improve our sleep…for a while. We “try” every day not knowing exactly how long we can endure. After an enthusiastic start, we slowly lose momentum and when hard things present themselves in our lives, we use those dark times as an excuse to ditch our health initiatives. The changes that were wrought begin to lose their hold and the scale begins to go up or we skip a workout altogether or just forego our sleep initiative and pretty soon, not only have we lost our progress, we have moved in the opposite direction. The variance produces confusion and chaos and we become emotional and dramatic and spin out of control. When we commit to “the rules” with little or no room for variance, we automatically know exactly what we are supposed to do and if a question arises, we pursue the correct answer. We don’t look for excuses to vary from our program. How avidly we pursue continuity is an accurate indication of our sincerity and devotion to our health initiative. Are we really intending to change or are we merely going through the motions, getting through from day to day, working our plan at a very low level and never attaining any goals? If we desire a different life or body or mindset we must do the things required to get those things.
We have all known the individual who was unhappy with his/her life but was unwilling to make the changes necessary to be happy. I was one of those people. I had been beyond unhappy for so many years that I almost didn’t remember being happy. I talked about it, a lot. One day a well- meaning woman looked me in the eye and said, “Brenda, nobody can do anything about that except you.” It was like ice water thrown on me. In one moment, I realized that all the talking in the world would not fix my life. I had to take action. I made a post on social media about wide-sweeping changes coming in my life and set out to do just that. I had not been playing by the rules. A well known definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. (Albert Einstein) I had been doing just that. The rules dictate that if we want change, we must change and the reality is that it must be a continual change for ongoing change in our lives. I am the happiest that I have ever been after making such drastic changes that my former life is not identifiable anywhere in the life that I have now. Within three months of that post, my former life was dissolved and I continue to re-enforce this new life daily with the activities necessary to fuel it’s existence. I must be proactive in my ongoing creation of this life. A large focus in my life now is physical strength because it has far reaching positive influences across the board. This strength defines me now. I’m known for it and I follow those rules, working out, pursuing rest and eating healthy. Continuity, or the lack of it, is the key to contentment or chaos. It creates the goal that it moves towards and without it our lives stagnate into pools of depression and inefficiency with our hopes and dreams broken on the rocky shores of the sea of confusion brought on by having no clearly defined plan to see them come to life. I wish that I had made these changes before I did. I challenge you to make a plan to live your best life, now. Without adherence to continuity, your stress and ghrelin levels will soar. Ghrelin is your hunger hormone and excessive amounts will make you ravenous and can cause you to veer off-course from your goal.
The first step to a fulfilled life is to set goals that will give you satisfaction. Again, make those goals attainable. If they are attainable you can easily design a clear course of action to get there. Make your statement of your goals detailed. These details will be some of steps you need to take to get to your ultimate goal. If you want to lose X number of pounds, a detail could be to lose 5% of your body weight which will give you great improvements in your health. Read David’s article, How Incremental 5% Weight Losses Benefit You for information about how this goal can make a lot of difference!
Once you have set your goals, commit. There will be schedule changes. There will be upheavals. There will be every demon in hell trying to prevent your success. Press on. Don’t stop. See it through. Keep seeing it through and do it again. Never stop. That’s how you make sweeping life changes. One commitment to Continuity at a time.
Here are a few good tips to help you in your weight loss journey. This list may not encompass everything, but it should be enough to help most in losing weight initially, getting over a plateau and then maintaining.
Decide your “WHY”
If you are in need of shedding a few pounds off of your glorious body, then one of the first things you need to do is to have a solid reason “WHY” you are doing so. Is it strictly a vanity issue, or is it more a health and wellness problem which needs addressed in order for you to be the best you possible for your family and friends. The best thing for you to plan is that your “Why” is for a solid reason, a reason which is of the upmost importance for you. A reason(s) which truly has a deep and profound meaning to you. The more your “Why” means to you, the more apt you are going to be in achieving and keeping your goals once you have arrived there. You can have many “Why’s” just ensure that you have one identified in your heart which will never lose significance during your battle with the scale. One that will always be your constant, because as your body changes, your mind is likely to begin changing some too.
Set long term goals for yourself!
Unless you only have 5 or 10 pounds to lose, make sure to set yourself a long term goal of where you think you want to be. Once you have set your goal, develop several short term goals to be reached in order to meet your long term. Never completely forget the end point, but if you only concentrate on a few pounds at a time instead of 50 to 100 pounds for example, there is less stress in worrying about lets say 5 pound increments. Remember, you did not gain all of your weight over night, and it is certainly not healthy to try to lose it all over night.
As a part of the short term weight loss goals, while I would advise to weigh yourself once a week, do not, DO NOT, get all hung up on the numbers each week as you will retain some water weight on some weeks and then not retain it on others which accounts for rapid up and down swings in either direction on the scale. What you want to watch for is a trend for each month where you can take your end of month loss and divide it by the number of weeks and determine if you are actually meeting your weekly goals, If you lose 4 to 8 pounds in a month, then you are on a healthy trajectory with your loss even if you had a week where the number did not budge or may have actually went up. The human body will fluctuate naturally every week even once you have reached your goal. Just getting real here, a few cups of coffee and lack of bowel movement in the morning can make it appear you did not lose any weight. Your monthly trend matters far more than your weekly and for heavens sake, do not think you need to jump onto the scale every morning.
Some people can weigh themselves every morning, yet it seems there are far too many who only cause themselves undo stress every day when they do not see the numbers drop daily. News flash, you should not see a daily drop once you lose that initial weight in your first few days or weeks which are mostly water weight anyhow. That first big weight loss in the first week or two is almost entirely water weight which comes from your body not holding onto it as a result taking in fewer carbohydrates.
Figure out your body fat percentage
You can easily figure your body fat percentage by having a family member or friend take measurements of your body around the neck and belly, then entering those figures and your gender, height and weight into easily accessible military body fat calculators online. If you are female, then you will need to take a measurement around the hips too.
I personally believe most people would be better off concentrating on trying to reach a set body fat percentage over a number on the scale as this can help to keep you from stressing over a number on the scale. Too much stress only increases your cortisol levels which contribute to you retaining body fat. What ever your body fat percentage may be, the scale number can fluctuate a few pounds without changing your percentage. For instance, if you are female, you are at an athletic level of body fat if yours is between 14 to 20 percent. Ladies, if your body fat falls anywhere between those percentages, then you are going to not only look good, you will feel good too, no matter what your weight is. Men, this is true if your body fat falls between 6 and 13 percent. And remember, these figures are for an athletic build. You can be perfectly healthy at a higher percentage. Ladies, a healthy acceptable body fat percentage is between 25 to 32 percent. Men are considered healthy acceptable between 18 to 24 percent.
Educate yourself! This is a biggie. Educate yourself on the healthiest manner to reach your weight loss goals and then formulate a plan. The worst thing you can do is blindly follow some fad diet plan which may cause you to rapidly lose weight, only to regain those pounds and possibly more than you lost to begin with. Know the ins and outs of your body’s nutritional needs and then develop a plan to meet those needs every day. Seriously, if there is one thing I would contribute to folks not being able to lose weight besides building a personal discipline to do so, it is a lack of nutritional knowledge. If you want that sweet treat every now and then, you owe it to yourself to know how to meet all of your body’s nutritional needs first so you can work the junk in. Going at weight loss all willy nilly without a shred of nutritional knowledge is about as dangerous to your well being as sending your teen age kid out to drive a car all by themselves for the very first time. This kind of action is highly likely to end with a crash….
Remember that even with a well laid out diet program, good people fail to meet their goals every day because they have no concept of nutrition. Even the best of nutrition programs require some basic knowledge.
Move your body!
If you are new to exercise or have not done so in a long time, first get your doctors clearance. You do not want to find out the hard way that you should have made that visit first.
Next, and this is speaking specifically to exercise newbies, pick an exercise which you are going to not only enjoy, but one that will be sustainable for you. Pick an activity that you can slowly build into in order that you avoid hurting yourself by advancing your body before it is ready. You also want to avoid pushing yourself harder than you can adjust to which will only serve to cause you to burn out.
If you are interesting in running, there are apps out there such as Couch to 5k which will have you begin with walking and then progressing to being able to run a full 5k, or 3 miles. Know that if you progress too fast, you will end up with joint issues in your ankles, knees and hips. And you can stand the risk of developing shin splints which are quite painful and will sideline you from running.
If you are interested in strength training, then by all means begin using light weights, Lighter than you might even feel necessary and also begin an established program based on linear progression where you are able to see and track progress from session to session and week to week. You can remain on a linear progression program for a year or better as you build yourself to an intermediate level of strength.
What is an intermediate level? Probably not what you think. An intermediate level lifter is not based on how much weight they can lift, but this level is based on how well your body can recuperate between sessions and your gains have slowed. IE, you are no longer able to put more weight on your barbell from session to session.
A couple things about most exercise, while most activities you can engage in are not rocket science, there will be many things you do not know that you do not know. Some of these things you do not know will hurt you. For example, you can attack some killer sets and reps with weight training on some random bro advice you picked up from some Schmoe in the gym. You might assume that because this guy has really swole and pumped arms, he must know what he is talking about. You try to follow his lead because it looks easy and you learn the hard lesson that sometimes your muscles gain strength faster than your tendons and connective tissues. Next thing you know, you are sidelined with some sort of tendonitis. You may go out and run in cheap shoes that do not fit your feet properly, which do not provide proper arch support, and next thing you know, you have shin splints or plantar fasciitis.
Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on your new activity first. And by all means, do not bite off more than you can chew at first. You want to enjoy your workouts and to know that you can remain at it for the long run Ensure your activity is sustainable. Make sure it is something you can do year round or at least for half the year and then have a secondary activity that you can pick up on during months of cold and inclement weather.
Be kind to yourself
Being kind to yourself kind of fits in with what has been addressed already with nutrition knowledge and exercise. But, what I really mean is to not beat yourself up with every set back. We all have them. WE ALL HAVE SET BACKS! No exceptions, we will all fall short of our plans from time to time, yet it is the ones who are kind to themselves that will be forgiving of their shortcoming and move on.
One way to be kind to yourself is to know your caloric needs for the day in order to lose, maintain, or to even gain weight depending on your goals. For instance, it takes a 500 calorie a day deficit over 7 days in order to lose 1 pound of body fat. One day of over consumption is not going to hurt you as long as you do not exceed the total you would need in a week to lose a pound. If you have a need of 2000 calories a day to maintain, then you will consume 14,000 calories in a seven day period. As long as you do not exceed that 14,000, your body fat will remain unchanged. Lets say you are going to aim to lose 1 pound per week and you need 1500 calories in a day to do so, then you will have 10,500 for the week. You can eat over your 1500 calories in a day as long as you do not exceed your 10,500 for the week and still lose.
Forgive yourself if you have an over indulgence one day, just move on. It is long term trends which matter.
Do not eat SUGAR
Do not eat sugar, nor processed foods which usually contain added sugars. If you do, you will quite possibly never kick your cravings for sweet foods and will always struggle to lose and keep your weight off. I will not tell you what to eat, only what not to eat. Sugar. I would advise that you eat a higher protein diet with low glycemic index foods during your weight loss phase as the added protein will serve to keep you satiated longer. Once you have met your goal or are closing in on it, then I would advise to add in more complex carbohydrates to your diet as our body’s need them as much as we need protein. I will also advise you to eat fats such as olive and coconut oils, nuts, oily fish, avocados etc.. Our bodies need fats to properly process our vitamins and minerals.
As for the percentages of protein, carbs and fats you need, that is really individual to the amount of vigorous exercise you do. For instance, I strength train quite heavy 4 days per week and try to get in 4 hours of cardio per week. Therefor, my body requires more protein than that of a sedentary man who is only counting calories to lose weight. Know that the percentages of each macronutrient you need can and will change over the course of time as your body composition changes. It is folly to try to make up a set percentage of macronutrients and try to make that fit everyone across the board. You will need to experiment and while doing so, you still must ensure that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs for a healthy body and mind. A problem you will occasionally see with vegans is folks who go at that life style not fully informed will end up unhealthy as a result of not consuming all the essential amino acids the body needs. There are 20 amino acids of which your body produces 11. There are 9 essential amino acids your body has to have which only come from food sources. Your body builds it’s own protein with these amino acids and if some are missing, then some of the proteins your body needs to produce are not going to be produced, replaced or repaired. This can and will have an impact on your health at some point.
Eat a well rounded diet where you fulfill all of your nutritional requirements and you will find that by doing this and eliminating sugar and processed foods, your body and soul will all that much healthier for doing so.
God bless and thank you to all my new readers and a most humble and sincere thank you to my faithful readers who have catapulted David’s Way to Health and Fitness to having been read in 160 countries now.
When you are losing weight through diet and exercise, do you know what is actually happening within your body?
Do you know what becomes of all these fat cells as your body leans out?
At David’s Way, we believe for one to be successful at weight loss and management, it is imperative that you know and understand what is happening within your body. Knowledge is the key simply because just going through actions is truly not enough. If you do not understand the physiology of your body, you are more likely to put your undesired weight back on after losing it.
Of course, most all people understand that when we consume more calories than our body can burn, fat cells increase in both size and number. But what becomes of these cells when we diet and exercise?
When you lose fat, your fat cells actually shrink in size, while their number remains roughly the same. The primary reason for changes in body shape is a reduced size of your fat cells, not the number of them. When you lose weight, these fat cells remain and if you do not remain vigilant and steadfast in managing your weight, these fat cells are going to enlarge themselves once again. This is one of many reasons why maintaining weight loss is so difficult for most people. This is exactly why healthy nutrition and physical fitness need to become a part of your lifestyle rather than something you just want to get through in order to be ready for the beach in the summer.
How fat loss works.
When we over eat, or consume the wrong foods, the excess calories from fats or carbs is stored in fat cells in the form of triglycerides. This is how your body preserves energy for future needs. Over time, this excess energy results in a fat surplus that can affect your body shape and health. This is why calories consumed versus calories burned is important to weight management even if all we eat is healthy foods. Excess calories are excess calories no matter who you are. You have to be in a caloric deficit in order to lose fat. If you are on a diet and the fat is not coming off, you can be guaranteed that you are still eating more calories than you are burning.
When we maintain a consistent calorie deficit, fats are released from fat cells and transported to the energy-producing machinery of the cells in your body called mitochondria. Here, the fat is broken down through a series of processes to produce energy. This is a process that is occurring within your body 24 hours per day, but for some, the process is hampered when it is still having ten pounds of junk being shoved into a five pound bag. Excess calories overwhelm this process! You must maintain a calorie deficit in order for fat stores in your body to continue to be used as energy, which is the only way to reduce your body fat.
Carbon dioxide and water are the byproducts of fat loss.
When we consume fewer calories than our body burns, our body composition begins to change. Carbon dioxide and water are released when your body fat is broken down for energy through complex processes within your cells. The carbon dioxide is exhaled during breathing, and the water is disposed of through either urine, sweat, or exhaled air. Disposal of these byproducts is greatly elevated during exercise due to increased breathing and sweating.
The Bottom Line
Of course genetics and medical reasons can make it difficult to lose weight, but they do not make it impossible. Fat loss is a complex process influenced by a number of factors, with diet and physical activity being two of the major ones. With a sufficient calorie deficit and proper exercise regimen, fat cells shrink over time as their contents are used for energy, leading to improved body composition and health.
When you ask most people what causes obesity, their answer will always be “over eating”.
Well duh, that is the most obvious answer but there is far more to the problem than just over eating. Not only do we often have emotional ties to our comfort foods, we also can have emotional ties to our obesity. It is because of this, that we will regularly watch as someone who has had great success at losing weight turn around and put it all back on. The emotional bondage to our obesity can actually be stronger than our addiction to sugar and simple carbs. It is a hurdle that a good many have to face when losing weight, but most people won’t. Obesity is often a symptom of deeper, emotional problems that can come from a multitude of issues that are not always your fault. If you are one who has an emotional block to losing weight, there is no shame in seeking out professional help. You have to know that losing pounds off of your body may not bring you joy to your life, if your emotional connection to your obesity is not addressed. You may not realize the depth of your attachment to something that causes you misery, but these attachments are quite real my friends. Weight loss is not only a physical adjustment. It’s psychologically complex too, and may not always bring about as much happiness as a person may expect.
Emotional challenges that come with weight loss are:
Realizing that losing weight doesn’t necessarily equal happiness: A person may not feel as happy or content as they may have expected. This can come as a shock following dramatic weight loss if a person is not yet mentally prepared for it. Because of this, we recommend you only try to lose no more than one or two pounds per week. It takes time for your mind to accept your new look. It takes time for you to not see yourself as being obese. Your mind has to adjust to your new look, and despite how you might feel better physically at a lower weight, you are probably not going to be happy with your look if you see a lot of excess, sagging skin when you look in the mirror.
Losing weight might make you feel vulnerable: For a person who has been obese, their larger size will often provide a degree of emotional protection. This can come as an emotional sense that they could ‘hide’ their true selves. Psychologically, losing this ‘fleshy protective barrier’ can leave a person feeling somewhat ‘exposed’ to the world around them.
Losing weight casts a spotlight on a person: Adding to feelings of vulnerability, dramatic weight loss can bring about a certain amount of attention from others which may not be all that welcome. Although positive comments given about the change in physical appearance are meant to be complimentary, they can actually make a person feel all the more exposed and vulnerable. Our friends and loved ones will almost never understand that losing such a lot of weight is quite an adjustment, on multiple levels. Coping with the attention of others in a way that isn’t familiar at the same time can be challenging, and can sometimes feel a little ‘too personal’ for others to be acknowledging. Additionally, for some people when all of the attention dies down and passing comments no longer happen, this can become emotionally problematic. When the compliments subside, the individual can feel as if they are failing in their health initiative even though it is natural that others will get used to the new look and stop acknowledging the change.
Losing a lot of weight can make us feel angry: When other people start noticing our new look, it can spark anger for some. Positive remarks will not necessarily be received as flattering when they come from others who never gave them the time of day before. In learning to cope emotionally with changes to a persons body, it can make them feel as if others are shallow and superficial if they’re only now treating a person positively after they have lost weight. Some people have also experienced negative remarks, commenting that they no longer look ‘healthy’. It is a shame that people think of being over weight is a healthy look!
Losing a lot of weight loss can make a person a little self-absorbed: Making such a dramatic change in day-to-day life can become a little all-consuming for the person going through it all. A person may not be feeling all that negative about the changes they’ve been through but can still become very lost within themselves. While this can be understandable, our family and friends may not be as gracious about it if taken too far.
Losing weight may not automatically give any of us a sense of self-confidence, nor should this be expected. This is especially true if you were not in the habit of being outgoing before you began losing weight. Self-confidence will need to come ‘from the inside’ while learning how to cope with the physical changes, happening ‘on the outside’. Learning to dress in smaller sizes may help towards positive feelings about dramatic physical changes to the body. But, it’s not uncommon for to find ourselves still shopping for clothes at the size we were before or dressing in the usual ‘over-sized’ comforts. As I have said, it takes time to get our minds wrapped around the changes we go through when losing weight.
When we decide to lose weight and to be healthy, it requires a lifelong commitment. A person may have goals to set and accomplish, but there is no real end to ‘the journey’. Losing and maintaining a healthy weight will continue every day. Dieting is not the answer, a change to your nutritional habits for life is the answer. If you are prone to being overweight, then this will be a permanent problem for you if you do not adapt to a new lifestyle of healthy nutrition and exercise of some type that is right for you.
Check out our Facebook page Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way! Give us a like and a follow. Or, you can subscribe to the website and receive our newest articles straight to your email as we publish them.
The mere thought of losing a few pounds can really get some, if not most people stressed out. They will often lament about all they are going to need to give up while not considering what they will actually gain, and how little weight loss it takes to feel better and to gain significant health benefit.
Does the taste of a daily sweet treat outweigh being able to walk your children around a zoo or park all day without being out of breath and worn out?
Would you rather spend time with a pizza and beer or would you rather be able to enjoy quality time with your grandchildren either now or in the future?
Set short term and easily achievable goals to achieve your long term goals.
If you are significantly overweight, the thought of losing a great amount of weight can be pretty daunting. Because of this, I would suggest you only concentrate on losing 5% of your weight at a time. This will take a lot of the stress off of you since it is easier to focus on lets say 5 to 10 pounds at a time instead of 50 to 100 pounds at a time. By focusing on a smaller amount, you are more apt to succeed in healthy weight loss over the long haul. Small victories add up and are actually more satisfying than one huge victory. If in the past you’ve not been able to lose as much as you would like, you may assume there’s little point in trying. But if you lose even a small amount of weight, you’ll reap benefits that will make a big difference in your health.
It only takes 5% weight loss to realize significant physiologic changes!
If you weigh 200 pounds, a 5 percent weight loss equals 10 pounds, bringing your weight down to 190 pounds. While this weight may still be in the “overweight” or “obese” range, this modest weight loss can decrease your risk factors for chronic diseases related to obesity. Shedding just 5% of your total body weight does a lot – it’s enough to decrease total body fat, visceral fat (the dangerous kind that hugs your organs), and liver fat. Plus, it can lower your blood pressure and improve your insulin sensitivity and lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes. We all can acknowledge that vanity can play a role in weight loss, but, you need to stop making weight loss all about your pants size and make it about healthy, longer living.
5% Eases pressure on Joints
Just 10 extra pounds add 40 pounds of pressure on your knees and other lower body joints. That can wear them out quicker. Extra fat can also cause inflammation – when chemicals in your body damage your own tissues over time, including your joints. Losing even a little weight can ease these effects. If you keep it off, you’re much less likely to get arthritis later in life.
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If you’ are genetically prone to developing type 2 diabetes, weight loss is one of two ways to prevent or delay it. If you weigh 160 pounds, you could lose just 8-12 of them to get the benefit. If you already have diabetes, losing that weight can help you take less medication, keep control of your blood sugar, and lower the odds that the condition will cause other health problems.
A “Good” Cholesterol Bump
You can lower your LDL or “bad” cholesterol with healthier food and medications. But it’s harder to raise levels of the “good” kind of cholesterol, HDL. That’s the type that clears bad LDL from your blood, so the more you have, the better. Exercise and losing body fat can get you into the ideal HDL range: above 60 mg/dl, which lowers your odds of having heart disease.
Bring Down Triglycerides
They’re particles in your body that transport fat for storage and energy. High levels (more than 200 mg/dl) mean you’re more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. You can get closer to healthy levels (around 150 mg/dl) if you slim down a little.
Ease High Blood Pressure
Extra body weight makes your blood push harder against your artery walls. That makes your heart work harder, too. You can lower the pressure by about 5 points if you trim 5% from that number on the scale. Cut your salt and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy, and you may lower it even more.
Stop Sleep Apnea
People who are overweight gain extra tissue in the back of their throat. When your body relaxes when you sleep, that tissue can drop down and block your airway. It makes you stop breathing over and over all night, which causes all kinds of health problems, especially for your heart. Slimming down a little can often help with sleep apnea — sometimes enough that you can stop using the bulky breathing devices that treat it.
Reverse Insulin Resistance
Body fat, especially in your belly area, gives off chemicals that make your body stop reacting to the effects of insulin, a hormone that keeps the level of sugar in your blood normal. Even though your pancreas works harder to make more insulin, your blood sugar can get too high. A little bit of weight loss can help reverse this effect.
A Better Mood
Weight loss may help chase your blues away. Scientists are still trying to work out why, but better body image and improved sleep may be part of the reason. In one study, depressed people who were very overweight felt better after they lost an average of 8% of their body weight. Other research shows you’ll continue to feel better, even after 2 years — as long as you keep the weight off. (1)
Why slow weight loss is better for you emotionally.
When we lose a significant amount of weight, it takes time to get our minds wrapped around our new look. Our new look does not register right away in our minds, especially if we have been over weight for a significant number of years. For many, the psychological adjustments of dramatic weight loss are an intensely emotional experience, and a very personal one at that. Dramatic weight loss isn’t just a physical adjustment. It’s psychologically complex too, and may not always bring about as much happiness as a person may expect. Contrary to popular belief, a good many people may not feel as happy or content as they may have expected they would.
This can often come as a shock following dramatic weight loss if a person is not yet mentally prepared for it.
Comparison is the thief of joy!
When we lose weight, we really need to focus on ourselves without comparing ourselves to others. For an obese person, dramatic weight loss is primarily about getting to a healthy physical state, and should not lean towards a superficial outcome which often leads to a perpetual state of disappointment. Self confidence will not be automatic and will need to come ‘from the inside’. It takes a little time to learn how to cope with the physical changes, happening ‘on the outside’. You have to know that being thin does not necessarily mean being happy.
None of us ever got overweight over the course of a few days, and none of us can lose our excess weight in just a few days, nor should we ever try. We recommend you only try to achieve a 1 or 2 pound per week weight loss objective. Take it slow and easy, you will reap far more benefits than you ever would with a quick and temporary weight loss gimmick or fad diet. Meaningful change takes time. Always keep your non-scale victories insight and consider all the ways your small improvements have done your body good. Shedding excess weight the right way leaves you healthier and happier. Follow us here at David’s Way and we can help you with this!
This cold, first Monday morning of the year as I was drinking my first cup of coffee and perusing my news feed, I observed a few advertisements for the newest, most modern weight loss systems to be had on the market. They are all variables of the same theme though – take our expensive supplements and you will be rocking your swimwear at the beach this coming summer. They all promise that their revolutionary and proprietary blend of herbs, green coffee bean and green tea are going to get you slim with no effort on your part. One of these brands have you adding an appetite suppressant combined with vitamins to your drink of choice in the morning, and then another blend of magical voodoo to another drink at lunch and dinner. And lastly another concoction to make you have a bowel movement the next morning. Here is what was reported by the Federal Trade Commission on one specific supplement business I am referring to:
FTC alleges Neora, formerly known as Nerium, operates an illegal pyramid scheme
The FTC has announced a lawsuit against Neora, LLC, formerly known as Nerium International, LLC. The FTC alleges that Neora, an international multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells dietary supplements, skin creams, and other products, is an illegal pyramid scheme. The FTC also alleges that it deceptively promotes its Nerium EHT dietary supplement by making unproven claims that it’s a breakthrough antidote for serious brain diseases.
Are you going to trust your health to a shady pyramid scheme?
Besides the obvious health risks that come from fad diet schemes and supplements, they will also doom you to weight loss failure because they require nothing from you except to hand over your hard earned cash. They really do not require you to actually plan ahead and think for yourself about how to successfully manage your weight in neither the short nor long term. Successful weight loss and weight management is not rocket science, but it requires planning, and action on your part in order for it to be lasting and meaningful. Your plans do not have to be long and drawn out, but you must always plan ahead as you would with anything else in your life.
Would it not be reasonable to assume that our health is the most important component of our lives?
We should be able to agree that without good health, most everything else becomes secondary when we can no longer live to our fullest extent possible, when we cannot take proper care of our families, when we struggle just to enjoy being alive because we are too sick and hurt all the time. While there are certainly conditions that can just happen to any of us, there are also a great deal of ailments that are a direct result of how we live our lives. Metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, most heart disease, and several others are a result of us living in the moment and not planning ahead for the future by living healthy lives in the first place.
When it comes to weight loss, we’d all like a quick fix. And plenty of diets promise that, advertising results that sound too good to be true. But the truth is, successful weight loss and management comes down to a formula we have always known: we have to eat a variety of healthy foods in reasonable proportions and combine that with exercise. The changes you make to your lifestyle should be ones you can live with forever. There’s no finish line when it comes to healthy eating and being active, I don’t even like using the word ‘diet’ because so many people think of it in terms of something you do for a while and then stop.
You shouldn’t need special supplements or equipment to eat a healthy diet. You are an individual who is capable of your own thoughts, instead of going on a fad diet, make small changes in your habits that you can sustain. Take the time to get to know yourself and what your body needs to be healthy! When it comes to fad diets, it doesn’t matter which one we’re talking about. It’s the idea that you need to go on a diet in the first place that needs challenging. You deserve more that a temporary solution to what for many people is a lifelong problem.
If you really need a plan set up for you to follow, then follow this one. It is simple, easy and requires no hard earned money out of your pocket other than what you spend on your groceries anyhow:
Keep a record of what you eat. If you feel you need structure to help you lose weight, log what you eat for a few weeks. This will help you identify bad habits, and give you a general idea of how many calories are in various foods.
Move your body. Do something you like, do it on a regular basis, and do it for more than 20 minutes. If you enjoy it, you’ll be more likely to do it regularly. You don’t have to be a hard-core triathlete to be active. Start with 10-minute walks and move up from there.
Each week, set two small goals. For example, if you love doughnuts, pledge not to eat them for one week. Instead eat an extra serving a day of something healthy, such as a fruit or vegetable. If you succeed with that small goal, you’ll feel good about yourself and gain momentum for adopting healthy behaviors.
Try new things. Eat the healthy things you know you like, and also experiment with new tastes to stave off boredom and cravings for junk food. You probably haven’t tried every fruit and vegetable available at your local supermarket. Learn to get creative in your kitchen with herbs and spices.
Always remember to consult with your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise regimen.