The Key to Weight Loss is…
In this article:
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. In other words, it is the amount of energy (calories) your body burns to maintain itself.
The number of calories your body uses to carry out basic functions, such as breathing, blood circulation, growing, movement and sleeping, is known as your basal metabolic rate - what you might refer to as metabolism.
Basal metabolic rate accounts for 60 to 75% of the calories you burn every day.
Two other factors determine how many calories your body burns daily. They are:
Thermogenesis (processing the food that you eat) - This consists of the digesting, absorbing, transporting and storing of the foods you consume. Thermogenesis accounts for an additional 10% of the calories you burn daily.
Physical Activity & Exercise - Accounts for the rest of the calories your body burns daily.
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Why FAD Diets Don't Work
You can initially lose 5 to 10% of your weight on any one of a number of diets, but then, as most of us know - The weight comes back!
Why? Because very low calorie diets will slow down your metabolic rate. The lower your calories, the slower your metabolism. This is why,even after prolonged dieting, you can consume very little food and still not lose weight.
Low calorie diets cause loss of muscle tissue, because your body is looking for ways to conserve energy. Since muscle is metabolically active tissue, getting rid of it is the body's way of decreasing drains on its energy. Numerous studies have proven that low calorie diets, withOUT the benefit of exercise, will cause 40-50% of weight loss to come from muscle NOT FAT!
Losing muscle is NOT good because muscle INCREASES metabolism.
More importantly, many of the more popular fads diets today can be dangerous to your health. They are solely focused on losing weight, with many being deficient in a variety of nutrients our body requires on a daily basis.
So, before you spend hundreds of dollars on a diet program that simply focuses on the types of food, or the amount of calories you consume, try the simple basics listed in this article.
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Losing Weight for those withOUT Underlying Medical Conditions
For the majority of us, losing weight is simply a matter of ensuring that we burn more calories than we take in.
As stated, "Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. In other words, it is the amount of energy (calories) your body burns to maintain itself."
It powers everything we do from – growing to moving to thinking. Without it, we cannot survive.
It involves a complex network of hormones and enzymes that not only convert food into fuel but also affect how efficiently you burn that fuel.
After food is eaten, molecules in the digestive system called digestive enzymes break down the proteins we eat into amino acids, fats we eat into fatty acids, and carbohydrates we consume into simple sugars (e.g., glucose). These nutrients are absorbed into the blood, and then transported into the body's cells, where they are stored as energy (i.e., fuel). This energy can be released for use by the body when needed or stored in body tissues, especially the liver, muscles, and body fat.
Remember that the process of gaining weight results when we consume more calories than we burn.
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The six things you need to do, to successfully lose weight are:
- STOP dieting!
- Start Aerobic Exercise
- Add weight training 1-2 times weekly.
- Throw away the scale.
- Consider some helpful supplements.
Let’s look at these in more detail…
A simple rule of thumb is to cut out all processed foods (i.e., this means everything prepackaged as well as foods available at fast food franchises and take out). Make homemade: cookies, hamburgers, steaks, etc. to your heart’s content, just don’t buy them in “eat ready” or “heat and eat ready” condition. If you can do this, you’ve already won half of the battle.
Processed foods tend to contain more calories in fat and sodium, while skimping on the nutrients. Cooking your meals at home ensures that you use fresh or fresher ingredients, than you would get from store bought, take out and fast food meals.
Whenever possible, buy organic. “Organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat.
Non-organic produce, such as fruits and vegetables are treated with chemical fertilizers (to promote plant growth), insecticides (to reduce pests and plant disease) and herbicides (to manage weeds).
Purchasing organic is especially important if you are a red-meat lover. Commercially sold meats have various combinations of hormones, such as: estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormones are given to cattle during their growing cycle to fatten them up. When humans eat hormone-tainted beef, measurable amounts of these hormones are transferred to humans. Consumption of these hormone-laden meats can also fattens us up as well.
Buying organic tends to be more expensive, yet in the long run the costs you stand to save on healthcare and doctor visits, is more than worth it.
Moreover, by implementing our very next instruction, you will find yourself eating less!
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One of the main keys to losing weight is portion control. When you chew your food slowly, it allows your gut time to signal your brain that you are full.
Ann McDonald, editor of Harvard Health Publications confirms what scientists have known for some time: "- a full stomach is only part of what causes someone to feel satisfied after a meal; the brain must also receive a series of signals from digestive hormones secreted by the gastrointestinal tract."
Chewing your food SLOWLY helps to prevent you from eating too quickly. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to realize you have eaten enough. If you continue to eat for another 20 minutes, you will most likely eat more food then you need.
Another ‘perk’ of chewing slowly is that chewing is the most effective way to stimulate the secretion of the digestive enzyme amylase from the salivary glands.
Amylase begins the digestion process. It breaks down starch and other carbohydrates into the basic unit glucose. When starch is properly digested, the body is able to use glucose as a fuel rather than storing it in its fat deposits. Therefore, proper digestion of carbohydrates with amylase can contribute to weight loss.
So, slow down, chew your food carefully, and give your brain the chance to realize it is full.
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Start aerobic exercise
Among the best ways to boost your metabolism is to exercise. This includes aerobic workouts to burn more calories in the short term, and weight training to build the muscles that will boost your metabolism in the long run.
In this section, let’s focus on aerobic exercise.
Before you begin, speak with your doctor to ensure there is no underlying reason preventing you from beginning an aerobic program. The goal of aerobic exercise is to get your heart rate into the target heart rate zone. In this zone, your blood is pumping, your breathing is faster, you sweat and this all means your body is burning calories. When your doctor gives you the “green light” to commence, you will want to estimate your target heart rate.
According to the Mayo Clinic, for vigorous exercise, aim for a target heart rate of 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). Your MHR (roughly calculated as 220 minus your age) is the upper limit of what your cardiovascular system can handle during physical activity.
These numbers are estimates that provide an average value. Many people have a higher or lower MHR, sometimes by as much as 15 to 20 beats per minute. Disagreement exists on how to most accurately estimate your MHR and what percentage range to target.
If you're looking for more than an estimate, consider discussing your target range with an exercise physiologist or personal trainer.
Our #1 aerobic exercise of choice is walking, because you can vary the intensity to match your fitness level. Lower impact options include: swimming and cycling.
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Add weight training 1-2 times weekly.
Healthy weight loss REQUIRES basic strength training.
Personal fitness trainer Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS, ACE, , author of Feminine, Fit and Firm, notes that every pound of muscle in our bodies burns 35 calories a day. While 30 minutes of aerobic exercise may burn more calories than 30 minutes of weight training, Calabrese says, "…in the hours following the cessation of exercise, the weight training has a longer-lasting effect on boosting metabolism."
Losing weight is not just about calories. While it’s true that consuming less calories will result in weight loss, it’s your lean body mass (that muscle mass underneath your body fat), that will allow you to eat the same, or more calories, without gaining weight.
The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. The higher your metabolism, the easier it is to burn excess calories. However, if you simple starve yourself, you will not only lose fat, you’ll lose muscle, and your metabolism will begin to slow down – which will in turn decrease your ability to lose weight.
Some women are concerned that they will add too much bulk with weight training. However Calabrese, says not to worry. "Women don't have the hormones necessary to develop those huge muscles, so you can feel good about doing weight training," she says.
And finally, remember that muscle weighs more than fat, which is why we recommend the next step: Ignore the bathroom scale!
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Throw away the bathroom scale!
As we have just mentioned, muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore, the bathroom scale will not give you an accurate marker of how much body fat you lose. Consider that losing bone mass would reflect a loss of weight, and this is not the sort of weight you want to lose. Nor, again, do you want to lose muscle.
Mike Adams, editor of Natural News, says it best…
“Your body has a number of ways to lose weight that have nothing whatsoever to do with losing body fat or enhancing your overall state of health.”
Adams suggest using a “fat scale” or a caliper, which is the best way to measure body fat. Body calipers measure the thickness of body fat around your body.
Calipers are easy to find, and are available at Walmart and Walgrens as well as many other drug stores.
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The Four Obstacles to Weight Loss: If you can't seem to lose weight no matter what you do, you may have an underlying medical condition that prevents weight loss. In the following article you will read about The Four Obstacles to Weight Loss.
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