In the US, there are millions of citizens who are trying to diet at any given time. There are thousands of “lose weight quickly” diet books available to us as well as pamphlets, magazine articles and TV shows that tell us how to lose weight healthfully. The reality is that most diets will end in failure. Most people will lose weight initially but will eventually return to their old eating patterns and will gain the weight back, often gaining extra pounds in the process.
The biggest problem in those who are trying to lose weight healthfully is that they restrict their calories way too much and they reduce their metabolic rate as a result. What really happens is that the body perceives that it is in a famine or starvation state and it holds on to every calorie you get in. When you stop the process of dieting and go back to eating processed junk food, your lowered metabolic rate will pack on the pounds, trying to make up for the self induced famine.
Exercise can help us increase our metabolic rate by pushing the rate up through activity. This can help us lose weight as long as we can keep it up. If we stop exercising, our weight will go up. Muscle happens to be more metabolically active than fat so by building up our muscles, we burn more calories. If you reduce your calories too much, you will be too tired and dragged out to exercise so you need to watch the problem of severely restricting calories.
The problem comes when you become sick of eating grapefruit and cottage cheese and are burning very few calories in your diet. When you return to your fast food diet, filled with doughnuts, burgers and pizza, you become even more fat and you haven’t been able to lose weight healthy. You actually begin to gain all the weight back. This all begins a vicious cycle of dieting and gaining that you don’t want to be in.
How then, can you actually lose weight? You first need to negate the idea of being on a diet. Diets, by their very nature are temporary events that cannot be sustained. You need to bring in dietary changes that you can tolerate, those that help you lose weight healthy. You can’t eat junk food but you don’t have to starve yourself either. You have to live somewhere in the middle of eating a strict diet and eating whatever you like. It has to be balanced.
Stick to fresh vegetables and fruits. Try lean meats, including fish and poultry products. Eliminate the processed foods and foods that are packaged or highly starchy. More protein will help you build muscle during exercise and will bring up your metabolism. Don’t obsess over the amount of fat in your diet. If you eliminate most processed foods, you will be eliminating the fat in the diet as well.
Start a lifestyle change that includes plenty of exercise that builds muscle and helps increase your metabolism. Lifting weights helps this process but it needs to be combined with a good cardiovascular program. Try body weight exercises, involving deep knee bends, jumping jacks and push-ups. Do these in quick succession and you’ll get your heart rate pumped and will get the cardio in as well. Sprinting alternating with walking will also be helpful. Start with those exercises you can do and build up to harder and harder exercises.