Dietary Weight Loss Strategies for the Busy Professional
Have you ever struggled to lose weight? You're not alone. Weight loss is one of the biggest challenges we have been fighting over the past century.
Unfortunately, the challenge becomes infinitely more difficult as our schedules get busier and we are flooded with a ton of misinformation.
If you're like most people, you've tried numerous strategies but you just can't seem to keep the weight off.
You followed the advice from the experts- you ate less calories and even ran on the treadmill regularly.
This helped you lose a few pounds, but somehow your body weight plateaus, or you seem to gain it all back.
It is downright frustrating. Aren't you doing all the right things?
What if I told you that relying on eating less and doing cardio isn't always the best method for weight loss. What if counting calories is doing more harm than good?
Today, we are going to help you lose weight.
"According to the WHO, 35% of adults are overweight or obese.."
It is important to understand that weight loss is a long term commitment, and requires a great deal of focus and a great deal of discipline. As a busy individual, it is important to take things one small step at a time.
Today, we will take the first step.
This post is going to cover
-Calorie counting, and whether or not you should do it
-How to determine if the foods that you are eating are affecting your weight management
-Simple dietary weight loss strategies that you can begin to implement right away
Do I Need to Count Calories to Lose Weight?
If you were to ask most fitness experts how to lose weight, they will simply say that you must eat less calories and exercise more.
Unfortunately, it isn't always that simple.
Total caloric intake certainly plays a big role in weight management, but not as much as we think it does. Relying solely on caloric intake is the wrong approach if weight loss is your goal.
Calorie counting creates the notion that all calories are created equal and that our focus should be on the quantity of food we are consuming.
If you only ate absolute junk, simply consuming less of it isn't the answer. Going from 2500 calories a day of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to 2000 calories a day isn't something to celebrate.
You may hear of case reports of people doing extreme diets, which have led to unexpected results.
For example John Cisna, an Iowa high school teacher consumed 2000 calories a day of only McDonald's, while walking 45 minutes each day. He wound up losing 50+ lbs and improved his cholesterol levels.
While this is promising, it most likely represents an exception, and not the rule. He started at 280 lbs and significantly dropped his baseline caloric intake by a very large margin.
Simply looking at the numbers, 2000 calories a day is what an average 135 lb female should consume just to maintain her body weight and keep her hormonal processes working.
This drastic decrease in calories will always cause weight loss in the short term and an inevitable improvement in metabolic abnormalities.
But this is only temporary.
Your body has systems in place to fight these drastic changes and will do whatever it takes to prevent starvation. Any slip up from the regimen, and your body will store the extra intake as emergency fat, for when you try another stunt like that again.
I'm also pretty sure that no one else thinks that this is a reasonable diet to emulate.
There are plenty of other cases of people losing weight in a healthier and more palatable manner. No one makes documentaries on these stories, because they aren't sexy and don't make for an attractive headline.
Instead of counting calories, let's focus on the bigger picture.
Why Am I Fat if I Don't Eat That Much
I propose that you focus on quality, rather than quantity.
200 calories from Cheez-itz cannot be compared to 200 calories of berries, or 200 calories of an avocado.
The reason why 35% of adults are overweight or obese is because of the low quality foods that are prevalent in our diets!
Low quality foods are making you fat because:
- The macronutrient breakdown of low quality food is skewed, making it difficult to get an appropriate amount of healthy proteins and healthy fats
- They tend to be full of simple carbohydrates, an energy source that quickly turns to fat if they are not being used for energy right away
- Low quality foods have very little micronutrients, including the essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary for our bodies to function optimally.
When you focus on simply dropping your calories, you are more than likely to become micronutrient deficient.
All of the hormonal processes and metabolic reactions that happen in your body require energy and they require a lot of nutrients.
Lowering your caloric intake while eating low quality food will only decrease the amount of micronutrients you are consuming, which is already an insufficient amount.
And no... a multivitamin is not going to save you.
"The supplement industry is not regulated by any major organization. You may never know if you are truly getting any bio-available vitamins from those pills..."
An excess of low quality foods cannot be used to build muscle or to help you absorb the essential fat soluble vitamins- they will do what they do best. Be stored as fat.
"Overfed, but starving to death on the inside"
So, does counting your points on the weight watchers diet still sound like a good idea?
What is The Best Diet for Weight Loss?
The best diet for weight loss is one that allows you to consume a variety of real food.
The best weight loss diets also understand the importance of balance.
It is okay to eat a Twinkie or a bag of Doritios once in a while, but understand what this means. These foods shouldn't make up a staple meal in your diet.
If your diet is mainly composed of real high quality food, you do not have to be the awkward person that doesn't eat anything at a social gathering.
Real, high quality foods will provide your body with an adequate proportion of macronutrients, and a constant supply of all the essential micronutrients.
If we ate like we did before obesity was a problem, we probably wouldn't be seeing the levels of obesity that we see today.
So how do we implement a weight loss diet?
The easiest way to balance your diet is to simply add in healthy high quality foods to your current diet.
I didn't say substitute. I said to add in.
Before taking anything out of your diet, simply add a serving of vegetables to your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Add a handful of mixed nuts to your daily routine. Eat a serving of berries every single day.
Do this every day on a consistent basis. Once you begin to feed your body real, high quality food, you will begin to notice positive changes in your body.
These improvements will have such a profound impact on your body, unhealthy foods will automatically start to fall off your diet before you know it.
Abide by these 7 Principles:
- Focus on simply adding high quality foods to your diet
- Eat a high quality breakfast, not a bowl of cereal or a cup of coffee
- Drink A LOT of water
- Consume more healthy fats: avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil
- You cant eat too many vegetables. Try adding in a serving to every meal.
- Eat more fruits
- Make changes slowly. Allow your body to adapt to the changes over time.
High quality foods vary significantly in their caloric values. Some are 'high' in calories and some aren't.
This is one of those situations where quality > quantity.
How Quality Helps You Lose Weight
This is just the first step in your weight loss journey.
High quality foods are so abundant in their nutrition, consuming them will give your body a surge of building blocks.
It's like feeding your car premium gasoline instead of regular. Your body begins to run more smoothly, which improves your sleep, and inevitably improves your energy levels and your productivity.
Subsequently your metabolism (the true determinant of your body weight) will begin to increase, which will ultimately help in achieving your bodyweight goals.
"Eating high quality foods will help you body run more smoothly- which improves your sleep, and inevitably increases your energy levels and your productivity..."
Also nutrient dense food will fill you up, decreasing the chances of unwanted splurges.
Just think about how many times you got full off of cookies or hot pockets. Now compare that to the time you ate an entire apple with peanut butter or a vegetable omelette.
These foods curb your appetite, and force your body to work hard to digest them.
Whether you believe that the Paleo Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the Low Carb Diet, Vegetarianism, or Veganism is the ideal eating plan, they all have one thing in common.
They all agree that you should eat more REAL, high quality food.
Be sure to check out our diets made simple series, namely How to Diet without Counting Calories to learn other dieting strategies that you can begin using right away.
With that said, your diet is only one piece of the puzzle.
Next we will talk about another hack that you can use to lose weight: Simple Exercise Strategies for Weight Loss. Not many people know that muscles are your body's secret weapon for burning fat.
Have you successfully lost weight? How did you do it?
Post your comments and questions below.
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