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Dieting and Exercise for a Healthy Life - The Basics

Mar 13, 2008
Being over-weight can be an unbearable burden, but for a lot of people knowing how to break the cycle of eating the wrong food is the hard part.

Eating low fat foods isn't necessary the answer. These foods can be misleadingly labelled and be doing as much harm to your diet as good. How we look strongly influences how we feel and while I'm sure that some people believe that big is beautiful for most of us being overweight is the worst aspect of our lives.

We don't all long for super model bodies but for many it would be good to be able to get the most out of the body that we were given.

Dieting helps to shift the fat for as long as we make the effort but the joy of reaching our target weight can make us forget the effort involved in reaching it and sooner or later we get complacent and return to our old eating patterns, we are after all creatures of habit.

Unfortunately the backlash of frustration and despair as the weight piles back on can drive us into the dreaded yo-yo cycle until, scoffing and starving in turn we end up weighing more than we did in the outset.
This has led to the fallacy that dieting makes you fat.

It doesn't, eating more calories than you burn makes you fat. Permanent weight-loss is beyond most people's reach because of the methods they chose to use for shedding excess weight. Unfortunately as hunger pangs kick in we crave our favourite foods and the temptation is too great.

Add into this equation the low esteem and the secret belief that people have that they will never lose weight as their chosen method of diet doesn't work and you're set up for failure from the start.

As already mentioned to lose weight we need to burn more calories than we put into our body, do this and our body will react in the appropriate manner. For many of us the basics of this are cutting down on comfort foods, chocolate, biscuits and cakes and fatty foods and becoming more physically active.

This is a basic starting point but it's not the total answer. Ask any ex-dieter why they gave up and most of them will tell you that they reached a point where they just were not losing any more weight.

This point is normally reached when the body has gone through a prolonged period where it has taken fewer than the minimum number of calories onboard, this differs from person to person but is somewhere around 1000-1200 for women and 1200-1500 for men.

Fearing imminent starvation and in preparation for it the body hangs onto its reserves of fat and uses the energy that it does derive from food for heat production, digestion and other vital functions as economically as possible.

On average we use 60 per cent of the energy we obtain from food to keep our vital functions ticking over at rest this is called the basal metabolic rate.

The average sedentary person uses a further 20 per cent in physical activity but by becoming more physically active and participating in regular exercise both this and the BMR can be increased in people of normal weight and overweight people for up to 18 hours after exercise.

Dieting may be difficult and to or the reasons highlighted above seem fruitless to some people but that doesn't mean that you should join the big is beautiful brigade, being over-weight or obese (defined as being 20 per cent over your ideal body weight) is dangerous to your health.

Obesity is lnked to all sorts of medical disorders such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, gall bladder disorder, acid reflux, type 2 diabetes, snoring and sleep pleasant.

So the answer appears to be to make sure you eat the right amount of calories sensibly, don't starve yourself as you'll go nowhere fast.

Ensure you eat plenty of foods that stave off hunger pangs and steer away from sugar rush foods which give a high but give your body a low as well.

Fruit and vegetables seem the obvious answer but this may not suit all people. Nuts and raisins are a good source of energy that stave off hunger. Ensure you eat a good breakfast, porridge is a great start to the day as oats are a slow release energy source keeping you fuller for longer.

So don't give up on that diet, just put a little more thought into it. It could save your life.
About the Author
Chocolate Nutrition

You may not always agree with my writings but I hope to inform.

Harwood E Woodpecker
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