Thursday, May 06, 2010

Successful strategies to lose fat and keep it off....

Today's Post: Thursday, 5-6-2010

I found an article in my incoming health emails, I think in the Everyday Health service that Jillian Michaels is connected with.

It had 5 things that people did who succeeded in losing enough weight to make a difference and who kept it off for a year.

But I noticed that some of the points were partly incorrect and that even the correct ones could be upgraded to work better or be easier to do.

This post is the result.

I quote what I found for each one & then list my upgrade which I believe to be better for helping you lose fat.

“Studies show that people who lost at least 10% of their body weight and kept the weight off for more than 1 year share several characteristics:”

1. “Exercising for at least 1 hour each day”

OR for 2100 calories of exercise a week which with vigorous exercise can take less than an hour a day & often works better.

You CAN walk an hour each day and burn 300 calories.

OR you can do 15 minutes of strength training and 10 minutes of interval cardio in a bit less than half an hour and burn 200 calories directly and another 200 from the calories you burn after you are done from the directly increased metabolism and from the increase in calories used by the new muscle you will add.

Of course, if you have a whole hour and can to the 15 minutes of strength training and the 10 minutes of interval cardio and then do a half an hour walk for another 150 calories each day and burn a total of 550 calories that IS better. But if you only have half an hour, you can do the job well with interval cardio and strength training alone.

And, if you only have 10 to 15 minutes a day, doing strength training 3 days a week for 15 minutes and doing 10 minutes of interval cardio on the alternate days, you can get some results for fat loss and a LOT of boost for your health.

The hour a day idea makes fat loss look undoable for busy people. Brief sessions of interval cardio and strength training, particularly if done at home, WILL do the job. So such exercise IS doable for most people.

2. “Eating a low-fat, low-calorie diet”

OR, better, eliminate all junk carbs and oils + eat more nonstarchy vegetables + include other planned calorie cuts + do eat health OK oils and protein foods & some fresh fruit and for some people some 100% whole grains.

Our knowledge of fat loss is a good bit better and more comprehensive than it was when the “low-fat” craze was at its peak. But the most critical lever on fat loss IS some kind of sustainable and consistent calorie restriction.

However, foods such as partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), oils high in omega 6 such as corn and soy and canola AND high fructose corn syrup, foods made from refined grains, more than a tiny bit of sugar and drinks such as regular AND diet soft drinks make you fat and sick or MORE hungry instead of less.

So, simply eliminating all of those foods and drinks will cut calories and do so without making you more hungry IF you have some health OK oils, protein, and nonstarchy vegetables instead.

In fact, people who have some health OK oils each day, such as nuts, avocados or guacamole, omega 3 supplements or wild caught fish, and extra virgin olive oil, have been shown to be MORE successful at fat loss instead of less. But this is true if and only if, they have eliminate ALL the bad things and control their overall caloric intake by eating mostly lean protein, spices, and nonstarchy vegetables the rest of the time.

3. “Eating breakfast each day”

BUT only eating health OK foods & be sure to include some health OK protein and fruit.

For women particularly or for people exposed to junky treats at work that lack of breakfast can make it harder to turn down, always eating breakfast is a HUGE help.

In addition, it seems that eating breakfast increases your metabolism all day so you can literally eat MORE in a day you eat breakfast and still lose weight and fat. People who always eat breakfast take in more calories a day and weigh LESS than people who do not do so because of this!

Plus, you can get away with eating some sugars and carbohydrates at breakfast when they would tend to fatten you later in the day.

That means if some days you want a whole grain food such as “Old Fashioned” oatmeal or shredded wheat, breakfast is the meal that is by far the best meal to use to eat such food.

In addition, one glass a day of some kind of fruit or vegetable juice has been shown to improve your health and even to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, having a serving of whole fruit once a day also boosts your health, particularly if you often eat berries as they are so nutritious.

Eating those foods at breakfast can enable you to have and enjoy them without preventing your fat loss.

Lastly, many of the traditional breakfast foods such as cooked eggs are very high in protein which cuts your hunger the most and longest of the different kinds of foods. So always eating some kind of health OK protein at breakfast helps you avoid morning cravings for junky treats.

4. “Weighing themselves regularly and often”

OR weighing and measuring very regularly and reliably + take extra actions on bad readings but do it less often such as every other week or once a month instead of daily.

The regularity and reliability of always measuring and weighing are important. So is making an extra effort if you don’t lose some weight or inches between times.

But I’ve found, personally that doing it more often can be de-motivating since you may not see a change day to day when you are losing a tenth of a pound a day that will total 3 pounds at the end of the month.

Similarly, if you do all the things in your list of strategies to use every day, you may still have days when a special event or something causes you to be upset by your weight going up for a few days. But, you’ll still lose just fine at the end of the month by doing the right things all the other days. By only measuring at the end of the month, you avoid worrying about the short term uptick. Even worse, some people see that uptick and quit thinking their program isn’t working or is undoable when that’s not the case.

My preference is to avoid that and save the time and grief of doing that every day.

In addition, I tend to make a consistent effort every day to be SURE I get good results at the end of the month.

But it is also true that if you don’t measure regularly at all even once a month, and if you don’t make some kind of extra effort if the results aren’t good, you’ll lose control of the process.

5. “Eating the same diet on weekends as they do on weekdays”

OR eating mostly the same but eating only health OK other things and do NOT pig out on quantity of the other foods.

Other than the special Sunday Brunch my wife likes to fix, I find it works well to have the same kind of breakfast on Saturday that I do on weekdays.

And, unless we go out to dinner or to a special event, I eat the same kind of lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday that I do during the week.

And, if we go out to dinner, I ask for two servings of vegetable instead of a vegetable and a starchy item like potatoes or rice; I order a small salad as an appetizer instead of eating the bread served when I’m most hungry; and if we order a dessert as we usually do not, we often will split one.

If we go to a special occasion, I make sure to eat the protein dish, some of the salad, any fresh fruit, and ALL the vegetables and pass on all or most of the bread, potatoes or rice, and some of the desserts.

And, I hardly ever pig out. Even better, though I do eat much more at Thanksgiving, by using my eating style I eat far fewer calories and carbs than most people do even then.

This strategy works for the end of the year holidays too. One year that I was doing well on my exercise program, I remember stuffing a bit at the holiday meals; but my weight stayed exactly the same. I’d just lost 30 pounds then and I gained NONE of it back. My weight and measurements were the same in December and January that they had been in November before the holidays.

So, if you eat a bit differently on occasion but you usually eat the same and you eat the right things when your meals are different, you will sustain your fat loss on weekends.

Conversely, the reverse is DEFINITELY the case. People who eat right on week days and eat large amounts of bad things on week-ends lose no weight or fat at all on such weeks.

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