Getting to Grips with Weight Loss
If you’re desperate to lose weight but disappointed by diets, it’s time to try something different.
Why is losing weight - and keeping it off - so difficult? Perhaps part of the problem lies in the fact that we tend to take our bodies slightly for granted. We know they are amazing machines that keep on working and can take massive amounts of punishment. But look a little deeper below the surface and you discover some quite astonishing facts.
Your Body's a Metabolic Miracle
The human body is a calorie-burning machine: that's part of what it's designed to do. In prehistoric times, before fast food and processed meals, there was no danger of overeating or of consuming more food than necessary. Often the kill might have to feed an entire family for days, and every part of the beast was used in an attempt to extract as much nutrition from it as possible.
Things are different today. We have more choice and we no longer need to go out and hunt the food we eat. In some ways things are too easy, food is too convenient, and the temptation to gorge ourselves on fatty sugar-filled delights can be hard to resist.
Luckily, our bodies have the answer built in to them. It's called the metabolism. The more active you are, the more calories you burn, and the higher your metabolic rate. The secret to successful weight control is to let your metabolism burn those calories away for you.
You Can't Eat and Cheat
Of course, once you know that your body burns away calories, it's tempting to think you can eat whatever you want, do the minimum of exercise, and things will work out fine. But that's not how it happens.
You can't cheat your metabolism into doing the work for you. If you're determined to get your weight under control, you have to decide to play the game fair and square. You have to make a conscious decision to make the numbers add up to what they should be, taking into account the daily calorific intake of the average person of the appropriate age and sex.
Here are the statistics you should be working toward:
- Men - the average calorie intake for a man is 2500
- Women - the average calorie intake for a woman is 2000
These are just numbers, it's true; but if you aim for somewhere near these numbers you won't go far wrong.
The Wrong Way to Diet
So far, you'll probably agree, it seems pretty straightforward. So why is weight control such an ongoing struggle for so many people?
Every individual will have his or her own story to justify why the weight just won't seem to drop off. The truth is, though, that in most cases we're just not aware of what's going on in our own bodies. Counting calories will help, but it has to be the right kind of calories. Foods filled with fat make it more difficult for your body to digest, while sugary snacks are full of empty calories and little nutrition.
Imagine eating a three course meal at a restaurant, downing a few glasses of beer or wine, and then coming home and making yourself a sandwich before going to bed. It's not an uncommon occurrence these days. Depending on the kind of restaurant, however, that one "meal" alone will probably contain more than the recommended daily calorie intake. And no matter how you look at it, there's no denying that's the wrong way to go about controlling your weight.
Metabolism Boosting Tips
You can help your body's metabolism function at its peak, which will naturally enable it to burn off the maximum number of calories on a daily basis. Here are three simple ways to do that:
- Drink plenty of water - if your body is dehydrated it won't be able to burn off the calories as efficiently as it should. It will look for hydration from the foods you eat or from the stores of fat already in your body, and that will sap your energy and make you think you're hungry even when you're not. That's why sometimes what feel like hunger pangs can be eliminated with a glass of H2O.
- Eat regular meals - it may sound counter intuitive, but eating regular meals keeps your metabolism ticking over. Leave too much of a gap between meals and your metabolism will slow down, because it doesn't have as much work to do.
- Get off your butt - you don't have to take out gym membership, but keep moving. Go for a walk, mow the lawn, do some gardening, paint the walls, clean the garage, play games with the kids in the yard, or anything else that keeps your body in motion. Do some stretching exercises, take a yoga class, or get a bicycle. Moving uses muscles, and using muscles burns calories.
Don't Skip Breakfast
Too busy for a glass of orange juice and some toast in the morning? No wonder you can't lose weight.
Breakfast is a combination of two words; break and fast. At breakfast time you "break the fast" - in other words, while you've been sleeping your body has been fasting. If you don't eat anything until lunchtime, for example, it's likely your body will have gone up to 16 hours without any food. And that's why you start to feel lethargic and edgy round about then... your body is crying out for some sustenance, some energy, some nutrition that will keep its metabolism in good working order.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It's the impetus that kick-starts your metabolism for the hours ahead. Skip it and your body will struggle to keep operating at peak efficiency.
Ironic as it might seem, eating regularly helps control your weight. Do yourself a favor and give your metabolism a helping hand.