How to lose weight, read this carefully! I have a friend who seems to be permanently on a diet.
One week she’ll announce with pride that she has lost five kilos. A few weeks later she’ll confide unhappily that she has regained it. But you can’t blame her or the millions of other people who struggle with extra kilos. Blame all the highly hyped too-good-to-be-true diets. “People who go on crash diets that promote large amounts of weight loss in a short amount of time almost always gain all their weight back.” says Stephen Farrell, associate-director of an aerobics research institute. “And some will gain back more than they lost.”
The latest fad is an update of a diet that’s been around for decades: the high-protein diet, where you sharply reduce carbohydrates and consume mostly protein and fat. Unfortunately, those kilos that seem to drop so miraculously are mostly water lost through dehydration, say researchers such as a Miriam Nelson of Tufts University, co-author of the best-selling book Strong Women Stay Slim. Nor are excessive versions of such programmes safe, she warns. “Protein diets may cause dizziness and extreme fatigue.”
Dr Charles Baum, associate professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, cites two other concerns: a loss of essential minerals from your bones and elevated lipid levels due to the increasing fat. An increase in lipids may cause cardiac problems.
So is there a way to lose weight quickly, without sabotaging you health or long-term results? Yes. And research shows-that you can do it a lot more easily than you may think – if you follow a few simple strategies.
Safe strategy 1:
For each half-kilo of fat you want to lose, you have to create a “caloric deficit” of about 3500 calories, according to Baum. But nature has programmed the human body to protect you from starving in times of famine. If you limit food intake too drastically, nature’s safety net kicks in and slows your metabolism down.
This is why Baum, Farrell and other researchers say you should cut your caloric intake by no more than 250 to 500 calories per day. And you should not feel deprived while cutting back. Dr Roland Weinsier. Chairman of the University of Alabama’s nutrition sciences department, recommends that you eat to your hcart’s contents long as it’s the right stuff.
According to Weinsier’s research, if people are allowed to eat as much as they want of vegetables, fresh fruits, grains and unrefined starches, they will eat almost half the number of calories than if they were choosing from sugars, meats, cheeses and fried foods. Part of the reason for this may be that high-fiber foods tend to be very filling and have fewer calories than other foods. Eating high-fiber foods is not only important for long-term weight loss, its essential UN for long term health.
Carbohydrates (vegetables, grains, fruits) should be about 55 percent of your total intake of calories, protein 12 to 15 percent, with no more than 30 percent of daily calories from fat.
For dropping kilos and maintaining weight loss, it’s safe to cut your fat intake even further, to 20 percent of yours calories says nutritionist Dr David Heber. In his book The resolution Act, Heber suggests that lean meat not occupy more than a third of your plate. That leaves you lots more space on your dish for vegetables, grains and starches. Bear in mind, too, that Lit takes a while for your brain to register that your stomach is filled up with food and you’re no hungry,” says Nelson. If you eat really fast, you’re going to be overeating before it registers.” Nelson suggests two tricks for those accustomed to wolfing down meals. Put down your fork after every bite. And eat your meals with other peoples, conversing between nibbles rather than gobbling nonstop.
Safe strategy 2:
Exercise and other physical activities can burn another 250 calories per day in addition to the 250 you cut from your diet, notes aerobics researcher Farrell. That s realistic goal,” he says. And doing that should result in about half a kilo of fat lost per week.”
In over two decades of study after study, experts have found that a weight-loss programme that relies solely on cutting calories is less effective in the long term than comprehensive plans that induced physical activity.
For people who favour an aerobics programme, brisk walking for 30 minutes a day is the most recommended activity. But forget the oft repeated slogan “No pain, no gain.” Aerobic dancing can trim you down as quickly as jogging or ceding, according to one study of mildly obese middle-aged women. Another study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that obese women on low-fat diets who upped their regular daily activities – by performing more gardening or choosing the stairs over the lift, and who increased walking – were better able to maintain weight loss than those is a more regimented aerobics programme, perhaps because lifestyle changes are easier to stick with than exercise programmes for which you must set aside time.
Yet a third study, reported by America’s Mayo Clinic researchers Dr James Levine, Dr Michael Jensen and Norman Eberhardt in the journal Science, shows that even listed daily activities can burn a significant number of calories. For two months the researchers fed 16 volunteers 1000 calories more per day than necessary to maintain their weight.