Why should you listen to me regarding weight loss? I'm not a health expert; I was trained as an accountant. As an accountant, I look for facts to base financial decisions on. It was the same for my own weight problem. At first I listened to experts, but weight loss didn't happen. So I did my own research. I found that my daily fat intake was double the recommended amount. I made simple diet changes, and presto, I lost weight. More importantly, I have maintained my ideal weight for more than 12 years.
I was watching a British television program recently that claimed it was a must see if you wanted to achieve weight loss. Pen poised, I started watching it to see if it was going to either confirm my findings, or it was going to rubbish all my years of research and observations.
As you will have guessed, the program didn't change my world, but it did provide me with some thoughts on the possibility that a person's daily fat intake can be correct, but they may still be overweight.
In the program, an overweight woman was convinced she had a metabolism problem because she exercised regularly, and ate a healthy diet. (Where have I heard this before?)
Tests done by the program confirmed her metabolism was normal. So what was making this woman overweight? Further tests showed her daily calorie intake was 3000 calories. For her lifestyle, it should have been nearer 2100 calories a day. (Calorie counting didn't work for me because my daily intake wasn't even 2100). What the program found was the woman was eating huge meals. Even if her meals were very healthy, such as a bowl of fruit, her meal size was big enough for 2-3 people. Weight loss was never going to happen with this amount of calorie intake.
In earlier articles, I discussed that exercise isn't the magic panacea for weight loss, and that your daily fat intake is far more relevant to your weight IF your intake is above the prescribed daily maximum for your height, sex and age. So let's revisit what we now know.
Exercise is not the panacea for weight loss as it is commonly portrayed
Daily fat intake should be limited to prescribed amounts.
Let us now assume your fat intake is correct, yet you are overweight. Why then are you overweight?
Answer; because your daily calorie intake is too high for your required daily energy requirements or calorie burn. This will cause weight gain. Reverse the situation and you will achieve weight loss.
When measuring your daily intake of fat or calories, it has been noted that people forget to record 50 to 70% of what they have eaten. This is going to dramatically affect your weight loss program if you do that. Be accurate. We know that overeating by just 100 calories a day can lead to a weight increase of 5 kilograms (11 pounds) over a year. That is about half a donut. Not a lot is it?
If you are very, very sure that your daily fat intake is at the correct level, there are several measures that are proven to assist in weight loss.
Don't skip meals, especially breakfast. Why? Because your body is looking for fuel required for the day. Your body will let you know that you haven't eaten by giving you those 10:00 o'clock cravings. And what do we eat for morning tea? Fat and sugar laden muffins or biscuits.
Change plate size. Most people clear their plate at mealtime. Look at the size of the plate you are using for most of your meals.
Count your daily calories. Most people need about 2100 calories a day. There are booklets available that give you the calorie count of different foods, and what you need for your lifestyle.
Don't blame your metabolism, genes or anything else you can think of. Just don't consume more calories or fat than you need. Simple.
Eat more protein. Add more protein to your diet because this means less room for fat or carbohydrates. Many people who are on weight loss programs and are combining exercise with diet changes drink protein shakes after their exercise. This satisfies the cravings for food after the exercise. A common problem after exercise is that most people choose the wrong type of food to stave off the cravings.
An interesting fact; soup digests slower that solid food. I am not suggesting all your meals should be in the form of soup, but if you have the opportunity to have soup for a meal, it will stave off hunger cravings longer.
If you find yourself at a smorgasbord, how often do you feel the need to have a sample of everything? Be aware that a wider choice of foods offered at a meal will lead to you eating more.
Another interesting fact; low fat dairy products help your body get rid of fat. Go figure.
After exercise, your body continues to burn calories for many hours after you have stopped. The big danger here is that your body will keep reminding you that more fuel is required to replace that burnt, (hence the protein shake).
Keep moving. It sounds simple, but how much exercise are you doing each day? No, I haven't changed my tune by saying exercise is needed for weight loss, it isn't, but if you lead a sedentary lifestyle your daily calorie requirement will be that much lower. Do you walk to your car, drive to work in your power assisted everything, automatic car, walk to your desk and sit down for the rest of the day? Invent ways to increase your activity level. Does your workplace have stairs?