How to lose weight and keep it off

How to lose weight and keep it off

  • If weight reduction is your goal, then you must choose a proper method for losing weight. What is necessary is a change in thinking and lifestyle

"Lose Weight Without Feeling Hungry!" "Lose 10 lbs in One Week!" How many times have you heard these pitches? Did you ever spend money on a book or pills because of such promises? Most people go on and off diets several times during their lives for one simple reason: diets don't work!

Every diet is somewhat insidious. In the beginning, the dieter usually loses several pounds with ease. But those lost pounds are often gained back fast as soon as the diet is finished.

Why does this happen? According to numerous scientists, if we start to deny our body its usual foods in the quantities to which it is accustomed, and because our body cannot differentiate between purposeful dieting and real hunger, it automatically goes into a defensive mode and tries to store fat.

Fat does not want to melt

In the beginning fat deposits are not affected at all as the body uses easily accessible energy sources, which are located mainly in the liver and muscles: sugars or one of its derivatives - glycogen. Therefore, initially a body loses glycogen and water, because every gramme of glycogen is tied to four grammes of water. Rapid weightloss in the beginning of any diet can be explained, therefore, by a significant loss of liquid from tissue.

The body starts to burn fat only after three to five days of dieting. Even then, however, the body has an array of defensive mechanisms. It tries to protect the status quo by shifting to an "energy-efficient" metabolic regimen, lowering it by as much as 30%. After the initial period of weightloss due to water loss in the body, weight reduction takes place very slowly.

At the same time, when calorie intake drops, certain hormones and enzymes are activated. For example, the enzyme LPL (lipoprotein lipase) fights to protect fat deposits. This enzyme is activated constantly with another hormone - Noradrenaline. As a result, any diet burns fat only partially, but it affects the highly desirable muscle mass. Also, once fat cells are in the body, they cannot be eliminated by dieting; they will only shrink.

Life after dieting

During the first few days after finishing a diet, the body's metabolism is characterised by a high degree of inertia as it programmes itself to use nutrients more economically.

Also, the highly active enzyme LPL ensures that fat cells are getting filled quickly. As a result, those pounds, which were lost with enormous effort, come back with a vengeance. Those who jump from one diet to another run the risk of damaging their metabolism - metabolic inertia on one side and super activity of the enzyme LPL might become chronic.

If weight reduction is your goal, then you must choose a proper method for losing weight. What is necessary is a change in thinking and lifestyle. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you will need to follow a proper diet for life - and combine it with exercise. Analyse your eating habits and present diet according to the following points:

Ideal path towards "ideal weight"

Accept the reality of your body type (ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph). Your ideal weight is that weight when you are healthy and energetic.

Choose a weightloss diet you can follow as an overture for your subsequent diet for life - well-balanced and nutritionally complete with a variety of wholesome foods.

The more slowly you lose weight, the less chance your metabolism will get out of control.

Understand the psychology of your eating: think about when and why you eat. Do you eat when you're sad? Do you often eat in restaurants? This is much more important in the long term than counting calories.

The second most important weapon (besides proper nutrition) still remains physical activity. Those extra calories you spend at first seem unimportant - one hour of dancing, for example, is only 300 calories. Sustained physical activity, however, stimulates the metabolic rate, which remains high even 15 hours after exercise! Take advantage of that by doing muscle-building exercises regularly - even 20 minutes of weight training, three times a week, will do wonders for your metabolism! Physical activity also mobilises bowel activity, lowers the appetite, and improves one's mood.

When you feel better, you will enjoy the increased feeling of energy and vitality your new eating habits are giving you. Suddenly, you will no longer be "dieting", but simply eating properly. When you do that, those extra pounds will melt off and you will eventually reach your ideal weight - a weight that can be maintained for life.

The most important thing to remember about dieting is that fast diets don't work in the long run. If you go on a diet, you will eventually have to go off of it and a yo-yo pattern of weight gain and loss will set in. Determine your body type, accept it for what it is and eat a well-balanced wholesome diet with a regular exercise regimen you can live with.

Miracle diets do not work; a proper diet and exercise plan will!

How to lose weight and keep it off

Tate McClellan, MBA/ MS is ACE Health Coach (USA), former Miss Georgetown/Washington, DC, fitness competitor, classical pianist and Positive Psychology Specialist.