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The Real Secret To Weight Loss

Aug 17, 2007
This is the time of year for dieting, but the sad fact is 90-95% of people who lose weight gain it back, and sometimes more, within approximately three years. This is due to incorrect diet strategies that do not focus on permanent change. Luckily, however, the solutions are simple and can be employed effectively by everyone.

Most diets focus on the restriction of caloric intake only, usually resulting in a slower metabolism. This is known as the starvation effect (which may seem like an exaggeration, but in reality the deprivation of necessary calories and nutrients is in effect starving your body.) Slowing your metabolism not only hinders the weight loss process, it also increases the likelihood of regaining the weight and retaining more fat. This facilitates loss of lean body mass, and can result in a person who isn't overweight, but has a high body fat composition. Also, frequent weight fluctuations can increase the risk of heart disease.

This trend of yo-yo dieting stresses the body's mechanism to protect and sustain itself, which causes the retention of more weight after the diet even with fewer calories. The solution, however, is simple: permanent changes in habits and lifestyle are required to sustain healthy weight loss. Eating 3 balanced meals and 2-3 healthy snacks throughout the day generally is efficient. Increasing activity is also very important to boost metabolism, which in turn burns the calories your eating and thus keeping your weight down. Regular eating and exercise combined keep metabolism up, and weight down.

Exercise is not a part of many diet plans. As stated before, most diets don't require lifestyle changes, but to maintain muscle mass and weight loss exercise is needed. Increases of both anaerobic (weights) and aerobic (walking) activity are needed to utilize calories. Keeping a journal of what you eat, weighing yourself daily, and even buying a pedometer are all helpful in maintaining both your weight and your muscle tone and mass.

Monitoring body fluctuations allow you to catch the changes early and maintain your ideal body. It is proven that more active individuals are much more likely to lose weight effectively and keep it off. Aside from weight loss, exercise helps reduce the risk of heart disease and aneurisms by strengthening heart muscles. The fact is an active lifestyle promotes healthy living.

The main reason diets fail, though, is that they simply do not commit to lifestyle changes. Temporary changes in eating or exercise habits facilitate weight loss, but once the program is complete it is likely the changes will be abandoned and the weight will be gained back if not more. Monitoring diet and remaining active are the two most successful ways of keeping your weight off and your body healthy.

Those that are successful implement permanent changes, such as eating breakfast everyday. They also follow a high protein, high carbohydrate, and low fat diet. A good permanent dietary schedule is to eat small meals every 3-4 hours or 3 meals and 2-3 snacks throughout the day. Plan to snack or meal 1-2 hours before exercising, for energy, and eat a high carb meal soon after exercising to recover. This helps restore glycogen levels and keep muscles healthy.

Regular meals keep metabolism higher and maintains energy levels throughout the day. Eating protein, fruits and vegetables with every meal and every snack is ideal. Limit refined food such as white bread, cereals, cured and smoked products, soda, sweets, and alcohol. Eating whole, natural foods is your best bet for dietary success.

Dieting is a great challenge. A daunting 95% percent, in fact, don't permanently lose weight. There is hope, though, in making simple permanent changes to your life. It is not easy, but it is essential to achieve not only permanent weight loss, but also optimal health. Simply cutting calories is not adequate. Exercise and eating whole foods regularly are the keys, and the best news of all: absolutely everyone can do it.
About the Author
Steve Gray is the owner of DecideHealth.com, which sells products made by Herbalife, and offers strategies and solutions for health and weight loss that work.
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