I saw someone in the gym the other day
that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I didn’t recognize her at first because she was half her size. She lost a lot of weight.
When I asked her how she lost all that weight she said, “I got real.”
“I simply started eating the right foods, eating within my calorie limit, and exercising regularly and harder.”
Focusing her efforts in these areas paid off big for her with weight loss.
It may seem obvious to you that it would, especially if you’ve succeeded at weight loss yourself.
But the fundamentals of weight loss aren’t obvious to everyone,
especially to those just starting on a weight loss path. Mainly because there are so many self-proclaimed experts out there peddling their own, unique prescriptions. And to make it even worse, the media frequently misreports the results of scientific studies about diet and exercise. These mixed messages have gotten people doubting the basic science we know to be true.
The confusion is enough to stop people from making positive changes in their lives, and we can’t have that.
I posted the videos above to YouTube to help those who may be struggling, trying to get it right with weight loss.
It’s not so easy to figure it out these days. Even I can say, before I went to school to study physiology in depth, as well as biology and biochemistry of nutrition and the body, I had a pretty hard time deciphering how to eat right and exercise myself.
But after about 10 years of schooling in the area and even more years of helping others with successful life changes, I can say that most people really do know at least the basics of how to lose the weight they want, and how to get the health and the body they want. They just need to stop being pushed and pulled around by pundits.
In the videos and below I delve a little deeper into these three, big weight loss areas.
Despite what the fad diet and fad exercise proponents want you to believe, following these three, super-simple tips can help anyone to have a healthy weight and a fit body for life. These practices continue to work effectively with my clients when it comes to getting them off the weight-loss roller coaster. They work for me, with maintaining my own optimal health and fitness. And of course, they won’t work for anyone who isn’t consistent.
Tip 1. Eat as many foods in their natural state as frequently as possible. Not foods from a bag or a box.
I’ve coached many people where the first thing we did with their diet was take out most of the processed food and substitute them for real foods, and I’ve seen amazing results just from that.
All the food that is OK for human consumption has a healthy version and an unhealthy version. Even a fruit or vegetable can be unhealthy if it’s been deep fried and/ or covered in “unknown stuff”, or stuff that you know isn’t good for you!
Unlike what some fad diets want you to believe, not all carbs are bad, not all fats are bad, and not all meat is bad. In fact, you’re better off eating a little of as many different kinds of foods in their natural form as you can so that you can get all of the nutrients that you can possibly get, so your body and your brain can perform optimally and look and feel it’s best.
There may be some foods that you don’t eat because you have a reaction to them physically, or maybe you have a moral reason not to eat certain foods. And that’s OK. As a coach I work with people to find as many different foods as they possibly can eat, and eat them in their healthiest form whenever possible.
Tip 2. Have a balanced calorie intake.
Another one of the first things I do with people in the area of nutrition is have them record the food that they eat daily for at least 10 days. I’ll provide them with instructions on how to do most accurate recording possible, but it’s all an estimate anyway.
Don’t believe the hype that logging foods isn’t helpful. If you record your foods for at least a week, you are absolutely going to see where you might be taking in extra calories. And you may even find hidden fat and sugar that you didn’t even know about. Logging your food for short time, or even a few months will always be an excellent educational tool for you. All of my clients have their own revelations after doing it.
I don’t count calories every day, nor do I ask my clients to. But I’ve gotten enough practice that I can stay within my calorie range without much difficulty, no matter where I am in the world, or what food I’m eating. That’s where I try to get my clients as well, because it makes weight maintenance easy.
Tip 3. You need to Exercise.
According to the national weight control registry, 90% of people who lose weight and keep it off exercise regularly (1). In addition, only 20 % of Americans, 18 years of age and over currently meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for both cardiovascular and strength training (2).
Some people in the mainstream are saying you can forget about exercise and only focus on food if you want to lose weight. I say- Bologna.
Exercise does many things for your body that food doesn’t do. First of all, and most obviously, it changes the shape and form of your body, and it changes the way you carry yourself. It changes the way you feel about yourself and your body in a very positive way.
And the benefits of exercise that you don’t see are plenty. Below is a short, incomplete list of those benefits for those who are regular at it. Exercise will:
- Improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance so your blood sugar regulates easily
- Increase the size and number of your blood vessels and nerves which improves how well your body functions (and if you can do more, you can burn more calories in exercise and in life.)
- Increase the size and number of your muscle cells which improves your strength and metabolism
- Increase the number of mitochondria in your muscle cells (the fuel- burning components) which also improves your metabolism
- Help you to sleep better (aids in workout recovery so you can benefit from your time at the gym)
- Increase bone mass and prevent bone loss so you can stay standing tall for a long time
- Improve your brain function and help you to resist dimentia
- Improve your cholesterol profile
- Reduce your blood pressure
- Strengthen your heart and lungs
- Reduce stress
- Improve mood- even in people with depression.
All of these things will help you to lose weight, either directly or indirectly, and also have a long, healthy and vital life.
You’ve got to do different activities to get all of the physical benefits (a topic I’ll review in the future). Yet, exercise doesn’t have to be complex or stressful. You just take small steps and start to move your body and if you keep going with it you will find that things get easier, and become more of a natural part of your life, and you’ll probably even begin to have some fun with it.
And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to kill yourself every time you exercise. It’s really more about being regular and going to your own personal limit that day, than it is about crawling out of the gym every time you workout. I can’t stress enough the importance of being regular with exercise. I mean, you’re regular with food, right? We eat every day. So, exercise needs a little of that.
Of course, there’s more to know about losing weight and living a healthy life. But anyone who focuses on these three areas will be well on his or her way to success, just like the person I spoke about above.
Comments are open.
Go ahead and let me know what you think below.
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1.) National Weight Control Registry Facts. http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm
2.) CDC Facts about Physical Activity. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.htm