Most dieters want to lose weight quickly. The problem is that plan tends to backfire. You can lose weight fast or lose weight forever—but not lose weight fast and forever. Most dieters regain about two-thirds of their weight loss within a year and all of it within 3 to 5years.
If you have lost weight quickly, your body will fight for food as a response to having been starved. You’ll have to white-knuckle the situation for as long as you can (but you’ll unlikely win the war against extreme hunger).
If you have lost weight slowly, here are some tips to help you maintain that loss of undesired body fat:
--eat fewer fatty foods
--watch less TV
--have strong social support
--sleep more than 5 hours a day.
Chewing gum can help lean people consume fewer calories, but that is not the case for obese gum-chewers. (Perhaps the act of chewing increases their desire to eat?)
To stay on track, successful dieters should plan ahead by predicting everything that could possibly go wrong with their eating plan and develop strategies to deal with the unexpected. For example, if the waiter serves the salad soaked with dressing (the dressing is not served on the side, as requested), the dieter knows he or she can
Which is the more effective way to lose undesired body fat: add on more exercise or knock off more calories?
According to Dr Jim HIll, speaker at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual convention, knock off the calories. While a combination of exercising more and eating less is a good idea, the key to losing undesired body fat is to eat fewer calories. Subtracting food seems to be more important than adding on exercise for fat loss.
While aerobic exercise like running or cycling does help create a calorie deficit, a smart choice is to also lift weights. This helps preserve your muscles. Otherwise, more of the weight you lose will be in the form of muscle.
Exercise becomes more important when you are ready to maintain your fat loss. Research suggests that dieters who have been obese need about 60 to 90 minutes per day of exercise. (Having been obese seems to reset the metabolism and creates a strong biological drive to regain the weight). Walking is a popular exercise among dieters. Pedometers are helpful tools to guide people to ramp-up their activity, with a goal of 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day.
Do you know how sumo wrestlers "get fat"? They skip breakfast!
To their detriment, many athletes think skipping breakfast will help them "get thin" by saving a few calories. Wrong! Think again!
My typical weight-conscious client complains, “Every time I go on a diet, I end up blowing my diet and gaining weight.” This has little to do with will power but rather physiology. Just as a person cannot breathe normally after staying underwater for too long, a dieter cannot eat normally after having eaten too little food for too long. That’s the physiology of hunger. The body wants to overcompensate for the perceived “famine” (diet).
My words of wisdom to dieters are: If you want to lose weight, enjoy a hearty breakfast and lunch, and then “diet” at the end of the day so you can lose weight when you are sleeping, not when you are trying to train and perform well. Please, do not eat like a sumo wrestler!
With best wishes for high energy and low body fat,
For more information, refer to the weight reduction section in:
“I’m hungry all the time,” my clients commonly complain. They just don’t understand why they are hungry all the time, even after having eaten meals. Is this a personality quirk? Are their bodies different from everyone else’s?
The answer is plain and simple. Hunger is a request for fuel. If we did not get hungry, we would waste away to nothing. These active people feel hungry all the time because their bodies ARE hungry. They have not eaten enough food to accommodate their needs.
To live hungry is abusive … Would you withhold food from a crying (hungry) baby? No. That would be called child abuse. Please, do not abuse your body by withholding food from yourself and living hungry all day.
“But if I eat more, I’ll get fat…” is the common fearful response to my suggestion to enjoy double portions at breakfast and lunch. These hungry athletes fail to understand they are more likely to “get fat” from skimping at breakfast and lunch, because they will later undoubtedly succumb to too much dinner or evening snacking. Excess evening calories are indeed fattening.
You will be better able to manage your weight if you fuel adequately by day, and feel fed and satiated. You can then lose weight at the end of the day by chipping off 100 to 300 calories from dinner and evening snacks. How about this for your motto today: “Fuel by day; diet by night”?
Eat wisely and feel great,
For more information on how to abate hunger, lose weight and maintain energy to exercise, read Chapters 15 and 16 in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.
For personalized advice, consult with a sports dietitian. The referral network at www.SCANdpg.org and can help you find a local expert.
“I don’t keep peanut butter in the house”, reported Sarah, a working mom and fitness exerciser who wanted to lose about 10 pounds. “If peanut butter is there, I eat way too much of it.”
The solution I offered Sarah was scary – eat peanut butter EVERY day for the next week. Eat it three meals a day, if desired, and two snacks a day, as well.
Sarah left my office fearful she would gain several undesired pounds of body fat. When she returned a week later, she was amazed that her weight was the same. She had eaten a lot of peanut butter, but also had eaten less and less of it as the days went by. Peanut butter no longer “called to her” and no longer “invited her” to eat the whole jar. She knew she could eat it whenever she wanted, so it was no longer “forbidden.”
The best way to take the power away from a binge-food is to eat it more often— every meal, every day until you get sick of it. Knowing you can have it as often as you want makes it less appealing. Think about it. Do apples have power over you? Doubtful—because you give yourself permission to eat apples whenever you want. But what would happen if you were to ban apples? You’d likely start to binge on them when given the opportunity.
This week, how about surrounding yourself with a food that has power over you and make peace with that food? … Ice cream anyone?
For more information on how to find peace with food:
“If I eat breakfast, I feel hungrier all day” complained a working mom who came to me looking for help with losing 10 pounds. She was a breakfast skipper. She believed skipping breakfast would save her some calories and help her shed a few pounds. Plus, when she ate breakfast, she reported she felt hungrier the rest of the day.
The reason she felt hungrier when she ate breakfast was because she did not eat enough breakfast. She’d have just an English muffin with a dab of jelly. That was only 200 calories. Her body wanted at least 500 calories – English muffin plus a tablespoon of peanut butter on each half of the English muffin plus a banana plus a ½ cup of milk in her coffee!
If skipping breakfast was truly an effective way to lose weight, she would not have needed my guidance; she would have successfully lost weight on her own. But that was not the case. She described her eating as being “so good during the day, but so bad at night.” That is, the minute she got home from work, she’d devour cheese and crackers and then a big dinner and then graze some more.
She thought her nighttime eating was the problem. It was actually the symptom and the result of her having dieted “too hard” during the day. I suggested she experiment to determine if eating MORE breakfast would curb her evening appetite. Although she shuddered at the thought of eating more food, she completed the experiment and discovered that the heartier breakfast did stay with her and enabled her to curb her evening over-eating.
If you believe that breakfast makes you hungrier, think again and trust that eating a heartier breakfast is indeed the best way to start a day of dieting. Give it a try?
“I just have to get rid of this weight quickly. I can’t stand this uncomfortable stuff around my middle” she complained with disgust while grabbing the flesh at her waist. “I know everyone says to lose weight slowly, but that just won’t work for me... “
My client was clearly uncomfortable with her body and eager to transform her physique. Unfortunately, she failed to recognize that quick weight loss offers only short-term benefits. Quick weight loss inevitably results in long-term fat gain because of the physiology of starvation. That is, when you drastically reduce your food intake, your body’s physiology wants to binge eat to quickly regain all the weight you lost (and likely even more pounds).
As a human, your body requires fuel. The body perceives a strict diet as a famine. When the opportunity to stop the famine presents itself, the drive to eat becomes overwhelming. This overeating has little to do with “will power” and lots of do with the physiological response to extreme hunger. It’s sort of like how you have to breathe rapidly after having spent too long holding your breath. Your body gasps for air, just as it gasps for food after a “famine.”
Depending on your level of discipline, weight regain might not happen for a week, a few months, or a year, but it will inevitably happen. That’s because crash–dieters learn only how to white-knuckle weight loss, but do not learn how to eat appropriately. Inappropriate eating creates your weight problems.
If having excess body fat is an issue, your goal for 2010 needs to be to learn how to manage the overabundant food supply, manage stress and emotions without overeating; manage to find time to exercise, and manage to get enough sleep. Weight reduction has more to do with management of food, stress, sleep, exercise and emotions than it has to do with food…
Your best bet for learning how to chip away at slow but steady weight loss is to meet with a registered dietitian (RD) who can help you develop the skills you need to lose weight and keep it off for the rest of your life. To find a local sports dietitian, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org. Alternatively, my Sports Nutrition Guidebook has a strong section on how to lose weight and have energy to exercise.
When I counsel either casual exercisers or competitive athletes, I ask them what they typically eat in a day. I then do a more thorough food intake, gathering details of all that they eat, More often then not, they “try to stay away from” bagels, crackers, pasta, juice, bananas, and other “carbs.” I ask them “Why?” With embarrassment, they mumble, “Because they’re fattening.” The athletes know in their intelligent minds this is not true, but somehow they have fallen victim to fad diets.
If you are among those who “try to stay away from carbs”, think again. Remember that carbs are NOT fattening (excess calories are fattening) and that carbs (such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables) should be the foundation of each meal because they fuel your workouts. I invite you to enjoy whole grain bagels, sandwiches, and pasta – and also enjoy higher energy during your workouts.
Do you really want to never enjoy potato or pasta again.....???
For more information about carbs/weight, please read the chapter on how to lose weight and have energy to exercise in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook (www.nancyclarkrd.com).