The U.S. Experiences More Weight Gain than Weight Loss
Statistics show we are going in the WRONG direction regarding our weight and corresponding health.
In 1999 almost 108 million Americans were overweight or obese (terms which I will use interchangeably for purposes of this article). And unfortunately, this health issue is on the rise, with numbers of overweight people steadily increasing. Obesity continues to be a serious problem and is predicted to reach epidemic levels by the year 2020…EPIDEMIC LEVELS—will you be part of it?
Health Risks Associated with Being Overweight
The following diseases are only a handful of the health problems you could face due to being overweight.
- Heart disease
Losing weight can help to prevent or at least control the severity of these diseases and many more.
To maintain proper health you must be at the appropriate weight for your body type. This also includes the appropriate fat index.
But with today’s choices for nutrition (or lack of nutrition), hectic lifestyles, lack of a convenient selection of healthy food, all-white bread, pasta, rice, and so on, how do you maintain proper weight and healthy nutrition to support it?
Let’s Start with What To Do
Learn New and Correct Eating Habits
If you are overweight unless it is due to a “real” health condition other than just obesity, you have over time developed bad and unhealthy eating practices. In order to lose weight AND sustain the weight loss, you MUST learn new eating habits.
Overweight people have BAD eating habits. Period. Your mind is programmed to eat incorrectly. To become a “lean, healthy, and at the correct weight” person, you need to reprogram your mind. You MUST learn the right eating habits. You need a “how to eat” overhaul.
You MUST learn to eat to live, NOT live to eat!
Learn Correct Eating Eating Habits
- Anything WHITE associated with grains is bad. Period. White bread, white rice, white pasta, and so on ALL have been stripped of their “brown” which is the part that provides the nutrition. With the brown part removed, all you are getting is a starch, which is a carbohydrate, which your body turns to sugar which then is stored as FAT! You need the BROWN for nutrition which contributes to great health. THE EXCEPTION: Whole Wheat Bread is a no-no! Eat Ezekiel bread instead. It is rich in healthy nutrients and fiber.
- Know that even though it might be hard in the beginning, once your brain and your taste buds become accustomed to the “new” taste, the “new” taste becomes the “normal” taste and you will like it…at least your brain will tell you that you do. It will be alright. Just plow through it; all becomes good.
- Learn new eating patterns. Stop binge eating and eating between meals. There are THREE meals per day for a reason. You do NOT need more. If you get hungry between meals, drink a large glass of WATER, eat a piece of fruit, have a carrot or radish…yes eat vegetables. Vegetables are very healthy providing nutrients and fiber our bodies need. And they are very LOW in calories!
- Stop eating FAST! Add to your schedule more time for each meal. This only might be an extra 15 minutes, but ADD it! If you have an hour for lunch, spend 45 minutes on eating. If you have a half-hour for lunch, bring your food and eat at work. This gives you more time to eat. This allows you to eat slower. As a result, your brain has time to catch up to your stomach and realize you are full.
- Learn to eat smaller portions. This is a gradual decrease in portion size, not go cold turkey!
- For each day add a little less food to your plate. It makes such a huge difference over time.
- When adding food to your plate, take small amounts of each food you want. Eat what is on your plate. Take a break. Wait 10 minutes before going to get more. This gives your brain time to catch up with your stomach and realize you are really full, not still hungry. You need to give your stomach and brain time to synch up.
- If you are still hungry get a much smaller amount of food and repeat.
- Drink WATER.
What You NEED to Do
You need to learn to rely on yourself. You must Change Your Eating Habits.
- shoveling fast food junk into yourself on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
- overeating and binge eating.
- eating food with no nutritional value.
- eating sugar! YES, white sugar is a huge enemy…sorry.
- eating carbohydrates. These are almost as bad as sugar!
- drinking sugary soda and drinks like sweet tea.
- eating fried foods (this includes nuts).
- eating salads without a ton of salad dressing. YES, VEGETABLES.
- eating whole grains. Things with brown (brown rice, pasta, quinoa, bulgur, oatmeal) that you now only eat as white.
- drinking almond or coconut milk, not cow’s milk.
- using coconut oil in your cooking rather than other oils.
- eating fresh, whole nuts, berries, fruits, vegetable, etc.
- eating fruit for snacks.
This is not a complete list for either the “Stops” or the “Starts”.
Get The Fat Loss Remedy: 27 Natural Remedies for Weight Loss & Fitness to guide you toward achieving healthy eating habits. This is the guide I use to maintain my weight, shed excess pounds when necessary (like after the Christmas Holidays), and for achieving and maintaining overall health. It is a must-have for all serious health nuts!
Understand the Health Hazards of the Typical American Diet
I am not into “sugar coating” anything. Your health and life are at risk if you continue with the standard American diet. Yes, the In-N-Out burger tastes great. It is an orgasm for your taste buds! I get that. But have you checked out the calories in that burger?
For the following information, ACTIVE means “having a regular, aggressive, calorie-burning, daily exercise routine”. On average, an ACTIVE, healthy man needs 2500 calories per day to maintain current weight and an ACTIVE, healthy woman needs about 2000 calories per day to maintain current weight.
To lose weight a man needs 2000 calories per day to lose ONE pound of weight per week. A woman needs 1500 calories per day to lose ONE pound of weight per week.
To give you perspective about this let’s consider In-N-Out fast food joint. Don’t get me wrong…I like fast food just as much as you all reading this. BUT IN MODERATION…meaning maybe once a month as a TREAT! Remember how excited you got as a kid when you got something special—a treat. Think of going to a fast food place like “you did as a kid getting a treat”. You will appreciate it a whole lot more. Anyway, I digress. So back to the caloric intake example.
I want this number, 885, to sink in. JUST ONE MEAL in our average lives…885 calories.
The meal—burger, fries, and a soft drink (whose calories are averaged since different drinks have different calories)—with the fewest calories averages 885.
If you are dieting and want to lose more than ONE pound per week, as a woman you need to average about 1000 to 1200 calories per day and as a man, you need to average 1300 to 1500. Remember, ONE pound per WEEK is 1500 calories per day as a woman and 2000 as a man. AND this calorie intake assumes you also exercise.
So one meal with 885 calories leaves, for women, only 115 to 315 more calories for the WHOLE day. For men, it leaves 415 to 615 (lucky guys!) for the WHOLE day. And keep in mind this 885 calories is not the double burger with a whopping 670 calories. If you were to have the double-double instead of the burger, for women, that leaves 35 to 235 calories left for the WHOLE day. And for men, it leaves 135 to 335 left for the WHOLE day. Not a lot of calories for either sex based on each of these two scenarios.
I hope you are beginning to see why we are so overweight as a nation. It does not take much in our culture given our eating habits and lack of exercise to accumulate the daily calories necessary to sustain our weight, nevermind dieting to lose it.
When I started to become aware of just how many calories I was accumulating a day, I was SHOCKED! I really had no idea how many calories I was consuming EVERY day. No wonder I was gaining weight and not able to recognize myself in the mirror. I never even thought about how many calories are in a fast food burger. And the french fries… the light of my life at McDonald’s! Almost 400 calories and that is certainly not the large size!
The food industry is not giving us many choices other than to be fat.
But What Can I Do? Fast Food, Unhealthy Food, Non-Nutritional Food is All Around Me!
What Not To Do
Fad Diets and Quick Weight Loss Methods. These are only band-aids and offer no permanent solution.
However, they have spread like wildfire. These diets initially allow you to lose weight but do not provide lasting results. More often than not, dieting methods involving dietary drinks, foods, and supplements or pills do NOT work. If they do, the results are just temporary and you have spent a lot of money!
If you have tried any one of these diet types? Did you lose weight? If you did, did you lose the averaged amount advertised? Did you keep the weight off once stopping the diet? Did you check out the ingredients in the food given? Is it nutritionally healthy or crammed full of words you cannot pronounce or spell?
If you can answer yes to losing weight AND keeping it off, congratulations! Really, I mean it. Losing weight is a hard and challenging thing to do. Keeping the weight off can seem nearly impossible faced with foods lacking in nutrition and laden with the wrong fats and unnecessary sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Fad diets and quick weight loss tactics are just schemes. Very effective initially because they do work…but only temporarily. Of course, they work…you are eating far fewer calories than you did before the diet. Fewer calories equal weight loss. So you lose weight. But once you lose the weight and are at your “ideal” size, you stop the diet. You go back to your old eating habits because these diets have not taught you to eat differently by adjusting your brains eating patterns. So, eventually, you gain the weight back because you have changed nothing. Your brain still tells you to eat your old way which is what allowed you to become fat, to begin with!
Why don’t these diet fads and quick weight loss diets teach you different eating habits? Because if they did, then you would not need to repeatedly come back. Coming back means you spend more money. Spending money to eat their diet food means they keep making money off YOU—the repeat dieting customer. They want you to do this for your entire life which allows them to make even more money! See where I am going with this?
What to Do
Become aware of how many calories you do eat.
Keep a journal.
For example, over a week time-frame, write down every food item you eat each day. For every food you eat, look up its calorie count and write it down. At the end of each day, add up the calories you have consumed for the day. After seven days add up each day’s total calories to see how many calories you consumed in one week.
Take this exercise one step further and look up the nutritional value of each of the foods you consumed. For example, in Google, type in “Nutritional value of an In-N-Out double-double burger” (if this is what you ate) and see what comes up. Write this information down in the journal you create for calories. After the seven days, check out how well you eat in a given week.
Become aware of your choices.
Start taking your weight into your hands.
- Become educated about which foods provide nutrition and with what calorie count.
- Make time to prepare at least some meals at home.
- Take your lunch with you.
- Eat smaller portions of healthy nutritional food.
- Eat more vegetables and fruit instead of pastries and chips.
Remember what I said about the brain? It becomes accustomed to what you eat. You might just find yourself liking vegetables and finding the greasy fried chicken to be kind of gnarly!
That cola you used to drink might now taste like sugar syrup.
Applying Healthy Methods to Lose Weight
You MUST set realistic goals. Do NOT expect to lose a lot of pounds in a short span of time.
Here are some tips on how you can lose those unwanted pounds, the healthy way:
- Do not starve yourself.
The key to a healthier way of losing weight is: Do not think of it as a diet.
You might feel that you are losing that unwanted flab on your belly and thighs by skipping meals. But remember this won’t last long. Your body cannot tolerate having insufficient food to fuel the energy that you use up every day.
If you get used to skipping one or two meals a day, your stored calories get up instead of using the energy that should have been provided by your meals. So if you just eat one huge sandwich in a day, it ends up going straight to your problem area (i.e., thighs, buttocks, hips).
- Start your day right.
Have a healthy meal in the morning to jump-start your metabolism.
Your food intake after you wake up is used to burn fat all day long.
- Eat small, healthy meals frequently.
Five small-servings per day are better than three hearty meals. Eating more frequently, and in small servings, prevents over-eating. This also increases your metabolism and makes calories burn faster.
Do not start out eating such small servings that you never feel full. Start with eating just enough to feel full without being stuffed. Gradually decrease the serving size until you get to the optimal portion that is a combination of “you feel satisfied without hunger” and “the proper caloric intake”.
To calculate the “proper caloric intake”: multiply the calories per meal by the number of small meals per day. This should equal about 1000 to 1200 calories per day for women and 1300 to 1500 per day for men.
- Decide how much weight you want to lose.
Keep your goals realistic. In the long run, it is virtually impossible for you to lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks. Have a mindset that you want to eat healthy to stay healthy for the rest of your life.
Once you have decided on a weight loss plan or program, stick to it and make sure that you follow your own set of dieting rules.
- Drink a lot of water.
Your body needs sufficient water to burn fat and keep your cells hydrated and healthy.
- Avoid white sugar.
Plan your meals around fruits and vegetables, some whole-grain bread, brown rice or pasta for healthy carbohydrates, plus lean meat, including fish, and protein-rich foods such as whole nuts and legumes.
Sweets such as pastries, pies, candy, and donuts as well as soda and sugary drinks should be once-in-a-while indulgences only.
- Watch your fat intake.
Fat is not the culprit to being overweight. You need this to keep your weight at the proper level.
But you need to concentrate on healthy fats. Coconut oil is the best to use, especially for cooking. The high temperatures do not break coconut oil down. Olive oil is best to use for salads and cold items. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, Pacific sardines and Atlantic mackerel have omega-3 fats which are good for the heart as well as having low levels of Mercury.
Don’t like fish. Get a phytoplankton supplement. Phytoplankton is rich in amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Get into a routine that supports basic Aerobic—with oxygen—exercises such as walking, jogging, and dancing as well as Anaerobic—without increased oxygen—exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, dips, using the ab-wheel and weightlifting.
For those who want an exercise for the mind as well as the body, Yoga is unmatched.
Walk to close destinations and work if within a few blocks or a 15-minute walk.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Ride a bicycle or take up skating.
Go to the gym. Reward yourself after with an activity that you enjoy but do not get to do often.
Whatever exercise you choose, make sure it is regularly scheduled for the number of days per week you are comfortable with. No matter how busy your week is or how much you hate to exercise, YOU NEED TO DO IT! Twice a week might not be optimal but it is better than not at all.
Mindful Keys for Success
It does not matter how much weight you plan or need to lose. What is important is that you set realistic goals for yourself.
Go slow. Pace yourself and do not get discouraged. Most people lose weight up to a certain point and then plateau. Once you plateau, instead of getting discouraged and binge eating, give yourself a break by eating sensibly for a day or two, no more, and then continue with the goal of losing 5 more pounds.
Once you have made up your mind that you ARE going to lose weight, then make a plan to use baby steps for weight loss combined with learning new and healthy eating habits. these are the keys to permanent weight loss.
Eat healthily, drink lots of water, ensure you get enough sleep, and go exercise. This provides you with a higher chance of losing weight and improving your health, which results in a new, healthier you.