When searching for a safe and successful weight loss plan we may be a little unsure of which way to turn since there are so many conflicting reports out there. In order to lose weight successfully we need to know what works and what does not. Many dietary myths prevent long-term weight loss and can actually harm our health, therefore it is extremely important to lose weight the right way.
Take a look at some facts and myths that can influence safe and successful weight loss.
1. Calories Per Pound of Body Weight.
Approximately 3,500 calories equals one pound of body weight. The rule of thumb for weight loss is that if we reduce our calorie intake by 500 calories a day we would lose approximately one pound a week. This applies whether they are food calories coming in, or energy calories going out.
Recommended daily calorie intake varies from person to person. Age, height and weight, level of daily activity and body composition are among the factors that must be taken into consideration. On average, it is approximately 15 calories per pound of body weight. For example, someone who weighs 160 pounds may consume around 2,400 calories each day to maintain his or her weight ( 15 calories/pound x 160 pounds = 2,400 calories).
A balanced diet combined with any type of exercise are the key factors in fat loss and weight reduction. If we eat more calories than we burn off throughout the day the result will be that the calories are stored as fat.
For long term weight loss, aim to lose one to two pounds a week. Losing weight more rapidly means losing water weight or muscle tissue, rather than fat.
2. Eat Slowly to Lose Weight
From the moment we start eating it takes the brain 20 minutes to start signaling feelings of fullness so the amount of calories consumed before we begin to feel full can vary depending on how quickly we eat. Give the 20 minute signal a chance to set in by eating slower and shed those extra pounds.
3. Calorie Shifting to Boost Metabolism.
Many people find that after six weeks or so, their weight loss levels plateau. The reason for this is our bodies anticipate these amounts and adapt so our metabolism slows down. We can trick our body by adjusting our calorie intake. Changing the kinds of food, the nutrients and the calories we eat every few days will keep the body guessing and force our metabolism to kick start into action again.
A cheat day once in a while works well – as long as binge eating isn’t involved – not only does it confuse our metabolism into thinking more fuel like this is coming the next day resulting in a faster digestion rate, but it also gives us a mental break to help keep ourselves motivated on the days we diet.
4. Dietary Fibre to Maintain Weight Loss
A diet high in fibre consisting of fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods help us to feel full, without adding calories. Foods high in fibre are generally lower in calories and can help maintain weight loss.
1. Foods Labelled Low Fat Mean Fewer Calories
Low fat or fat-free claims on labels do not necessary mean these foods are calorie-free.
Foods labelled as such sometimes contain high levels of sugar. Always check the ingredient list on food labels. Watch out for other words used to describe sugar such as sucrose, glucose, fructose and hydrolysed starch. The higher up the ingredients list they come, the higher in sugar the foods are.
Many of us mistakenly think that by eating a lower fat version of a food, we can eat more of it but this will only undermine our efforts and will inevitably lead to weight gain.
2. Eliminating Carbohydrates to Lose Weight
Carbohydrate means carbon plus water – thus the body’s preferred energy source. It was once thought that the key to weight loss was eliminating all high carbohydrate foods, including potatoes, pasta and rice. Cutting out carbohydrates can produce significant weight loss in a short amount of time, but the results are not long-term. As soon as we start eating normally again, the weight returns, even more than before. Good carbohydrates in moderate quantities are necessary for long-term weight control and any healthy diet must include them. It is only when we add butter, cheese or cream to them that we turn them into a fattening food.
3. Avoiding all Fat is Necessary for a Healthy Diet
It is important to have some fat in our diet because fat is necessary for energy and a source of the essential fatty acids that the body cannot make itself. Include a healthy balance of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and even a small amount of saturated. Trans-fats should be avoided altogether.
Too much fat consumption provides more energy than we actually need so we gain weight. Since fat contains more than twice the calories per gram compared to protein and carbohydrates, to lose weight on a calorie-controlled diet, we need to monitor our overall fat intake, our total calorie consumption and our portions.
4. Skipping meals Leads to Weight Loss
Skipping meals lowers our metabolism and causes sudden hunger and food cravings. It is much better to eat 4-5 smaller meals than 2 or 3 large ones. Many people skip breakfast because they think it will help them to lose weight.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals you can have.
When we wake up in the morning, our metabolism is already low because it has been many hours since our last meal and our bodies have had very little to do in that time. It needs food to stimulate it into burning off calories, which will give energy for the morning ahead. Missing out on breakfast means that our bodies miss out on that energy rush and begin to crave high fat snacks, sweets and sugary drinks.
Providing we eat less calories than we burn each day we will lose weight. For successful weight loss, remember that gradual weight loss promotes long-term loss of body fat, not just water weight that is quickly regained but more importantly, rapid weight loss reduces muscle tissue which in turn is replaced by fat.
For any weight loss program to be successful, it should include the three basics – An eating plan that reduces the amount of calorie intake, any type of physical activity and some modification to our existing lifestyles.