Weight Loss

Lasting weight loss takes thought, time, and a new outlook on eating and exercise. Lifestyle changes are probably going to be necessary since lifestyle is usually what leads to weight gain. If the issue is anything else (pregnancy or illness, for instance), then be gentle with yourself and even consult a doctor about realistic weight loss goals. Expect thinning to take longer if you are battling post-pregnancy bulge or health-related gains simply because your body needs time to recover.

checking waist sizeSlim vs. Fit

Beware the tendency to confuse “skinny” with “fit” or “healthy.” Many very thin people are unfit and unhealthy. Their diets lack proteins, minerals, and vitamins. Without enough energy they are unable to exercise and very thin people (unless they are naturally thin) have an unhealthy attitude to food.

Many larger men and women are actually quite fit. They work out regularly, are strong, and their resting heart rate would make any cardiac healthcare professional proud. These men and women could run rings around their lethargic, skinny friends. What they both need, however, is a lesson in the interrelation of food, mood, and body function.

Brain Power

The brain needs food. It uses a huge percentage of your daily caloric intake, requires sufficient hydration to remain active and alert, and also requires amino acids gained from fats. That’s right: fat is not your enemy. Every body needs healthy fat to keep their system operating, and those fats are found in natural foods like avocado, fish, and nuts. These fats contain the omega oils essential for brain function and are easily absorbed to fulfill their natural purpose.

Good Carbohydrates

You need these for energy, while many carbs also contain assorted minerals and vitamins such as beta carotin, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. The more color the food in your plate displays, the greater array of vitamins and minerals you are consuming. A fruit salad is a complete meal if it is comprised of berries, bananas, and nuts or seeds. An extra benefit is that berries contain antioxidants which fight free radicals: cells that breed cancer.

Drink More Water

Lethargy, fatigue, and headaches are often caused by a simple but potentially dangerous lack of water. Juice, tea, coffee, and pop are not sufficient: you need clean, fresh water without sugar (that is, not energy drinks, ice tea, or alcohol). Water will cleanse your body of toxins including those left by refined foods such as sugar, but also the ones you inhale just by breathing the air around you. If you crave extra flavor, drop some fresh fruit into your water.

Protein Please

Iron produces red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout your body. Without it, you feel tired, dizzy, and engaging in any form of exercise is out of the question. You can’t think straight, are unable to concentrate, and might feel too confused to finish school work or assignments on the job. Eat lean protein such as fish, chicken, and beans. Nuts and avocado (mentioned above) are also great. Small portions of lean meats are great as are eggs and olives. Dairy products contain protein plus calcium for strong bones. Muscle production is also related to protein.

Muscle

You have a picture of what is involved in the maintenance of a strong body. Now let’s talk about how strength helps you lose weight. Scientists and personal trainers have seen the relationship between muscle development and weight loss many times. The density of your muscles directly influences how many calories you burn just by getting up in the morning.

At rest, you burn more calories when you develop biceps, triceps, abs, butt, thigh, and chest muscles. Actually, any muscle development is good. Your weight might seem to go up as these areas grow, but if you have a large amount of weight to lose, the numbers will start to fall again as the need to feed those regions draws calories away from areas where you tend to lay down fat.

Exercise

If you hate exercise, then it’s tough to pick up a program and stick with it. There has to be an incentive if your success is going to last. You might choose a short term goal like training to run a race and then become addicted to the feeling of accomplishment. Assuming you don’t succumb to injury, that race might be the first of many as you push to improve on each race time and position.

Another goal is to make exercise time your opportunity to socialize. Often, parents find it hard to justify taking time for their personal needs, but if they combine chatting with a run, brisk walk, or stretching class, they can combine what they need with what they want. If finding time means getting up earlier in the morning, someone else is depending on you: crawling back under the covers is not an option.

Mental Health

Long term weight loss depends on your outlook; on whether you regard the actions you take as “have to” actions or “want to” actions. Viewing changes in behavior and diet as being forced upon you makes them unappealing and automatically covers them in a negative pallor. Learn to associate change with positive notions. Select activities and foods you can really stick with. Involve other people in this positive change so they can support you.

If there is a mental health issue contributing to your weight gain, address it. Depression might not have been the cause, but it is usually an outcome of putting on pounds and having to go up a few dress sizes over the years. Usually, though, something triggers a need to eat more, often emotional stress or even a deeper, darker problem.

Don’t run from it thinking no one will understand. A counselor has seen this kind of cycle before and can help you get to the root of what causes you to eat more than you should. When the cause of your negative cycle is identified, you can embark on your path to wellness and weight loss.

 


Weight Loss
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Todd Stohrdahl

Todd Stohrdahl keeps a close eye on fitness topics and will never turn down an opportunity to play competitive sports. He’s a fierce competitor and brings his “hustle and muscle” mentality to our editorial team.

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