WHAT IS NOT THE BEST PROGRAM TO LOSE WEIGHT.
The best weight loss program is probably NOT about diets, diet pills, fad diets, or even dieting! While it’s about physical activity…we’re all adults here, I’ll use the word…exercise…it’s NOT about pushing your physical limits, embarrassing yourself in front of the neighbors, joining an expensive gym, or hiring a trainer staff. It is NOT about joining a cult, avoiding friends, alienating your family, eating only unattractive and unappetizing foods, or feeling guilty and depressed. Above all, you should NEVER try to BE ALONE in your fight.
WHAT IS THE BEST PROGRAM TO LOSE WEIGHT!
Simply put, the best weight loss program is the one you stick with. Let’s modify that a bit and say it’s a healthy, doable, rational, flexible program that you’ll stick with…it works!
THE BASIC FACTS ABOUT DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS!
Diets don’t work. Yes! It’s that easy. Oh, if you want to drop 5 or 10 pounds to look good at your sister’s wedding, a crash diet might do the trick. But if you really do have a weight problem, as more than 50% of Americans do, it’s a lifelong condition and requires lifelong action. However, do not consider yourself condemned to a life without pleasure and happiness, and do not give up. Go back and read the first paragraph, and realize that there are things that CAN be done, and YOU CAN DO THEM. In the meantime, though, let me cover a few facts. Quick and dirty. You can scan them and get the basics. This article is not going to be big enough, or intimidating enough, to include everything.
WHY DIETS DON’T WORK.
Diets don’t work for many reasons, physical and mental, but I don’t have enough space here to cover them all. The main reason a diet won’t work is that your body has some really effective self-regulatory mechanisms. If you deprive him of his expected calorie intake for a period of time, he will adjust to need fewer calories. Although you will eat less (and definitely not enjoy it), your body will adjust to a new pattern and your weight will stabilize with only a small weight loss. Worse still, when you stop dieting, as you know you will, the body will maintain its new level of calorie needs while you return to your old eating habits. This brings us to another point.
THE BASIC LAW OF WEIGHT LOSS AND GAIN.
Everyone’s body works at its own pace and needs, but everyone follows the same law. If you eat more calories than your body needs, it will store the excess as fat. Bottom line. Done. End of discussion…almost. Using the information from the previous paragraph, you can see that when you go off your diet and go back to eating as before after your body has adjusted its needs downward, you now have MORE EXCESS CALORIES TO STORAGE AS FAT! This is why people often GAIN WEIGHT after a diet… or a series of diets.
SO WHAT IS THE BEST WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM?
As you can see, you are back at the beginning of this discussion, but with a bit more information. We can still say that the best weight loss program is the one you stick with, and now you know a little more about why. Since we are all different, the obvious fact should be that what you need to find is not THE best weight loss program, but YOUR best weight loss program… the one that YOU will follow. The big question on your mind is…
HOW DO YOU FIND “YOUR” BEST WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM?
There are many things you can do to improve your health, your life and your personal weight situation, like drinking more water, getting enough sleep, doing things you enjoy, for example. All of this can contribute to weight loss, but let’s look at two things for now.
1. Get more active: Notice, I avoided saying “exercise.” Oh! I said. Look, exercise equals activity. If you want to do the Richard Simmons and “Sweat to the Oldies” tapes, more power to you. If you choose to buy a Bowflex and in a few months you look like Grandma in her TV commercials, that’s great! Most likely, however, you just need to make some lifestyle adjustments and become more aware of the opportunities that exist to “exercise” in daily life. Sure, a planned and scheduled exercise program is great, but so is walking, gardening, swimming, housecleaning, or… well, you get the idea. The only need is for it to be regular, at least 4-5 times a week, and challenging.
Only you can assess what is challenging. What is challenging today may be simply walking to the mailbox and back. One lady started her “exercise program” with that simple step (no pun intended). Another gentleman began her program by walking to the end of her block. That first day she thought she couldn’t even go back to her house. A few weeks later, she was walking more than a mile. At one point in my life, he regularly ran more than 6 miles at a time. However, the first time I tried to run, I didn’t even get half a block. The key is to get started, do it regularly, and challenge yourself.
Becoming more active not only burns calories during activity (remember, the more calories you burn the less stored fat), but continuing the activity over time (you were going to do it regularly) causes your body to shift to a new level where automatically burn more calories than before. The facts behind this are not complicated, but they require a lot more space than we have here, and I said I was going to stick to the basics.
People drop out of “exercise programs” for many reasons. For your purposes, do the activity that fits your schedule, choose the activity you like, and vary the activity… if you cleaned the house yesterday, go for a walk today. By the way, if I told you to exercise, to go for a walk, you might start that avoidance process that causes people to abandon formal, planned exercise programs. Why don’t you take the grandkids to the zoo? If that’s not training, I don’t know what is. Be creative. It’s your “exercise program”, make it how you want it to be.
2. Eat sensibly: You know how you SHOULD eat, right! Return to basic. Lots of vegetables, reduce portion sizes, eat an apple instead of a cake or candy bar. Take the sugar out of your life. There are all kinds of dietary advice out there. Not a single one of them is worth a hill of beans…but a bunch of them add up to a lot more than a hill of beans. Changing just one thing probably won’t make much of a difference, but… IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE! changing seventeen things can make a world of difference, but there’s a secret…
Don’t try to do all seventeen, twelve or thirty changes at once. Start with one change and once it’s a part of your life, do the next. You may want to learn a bit about Kaizen. Small steps in the area of nutrition will help you get where you want to go, just as taking that short walk to the mailbox may one day lead to walking a mile or two at a time.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO STAY ON THIS WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM?
Well, for the rest of your life. That’s why it’s important to choose activities you enjoy and learn how to make better nutritional choices while still enjoying the pleasure of eating. Also, many people have trouble losing weight because they have personal problems with life. Your personal weight loss program, regular activity plus nutritional savvy, equals a sense of control over a situation that has many negative effects on your life. A sense of control over that situation allows you to eliminate many of those negative effects and move on to reorganizing other parts of your life that may need attention.
One last point. I’ve kept it as simple as possible, but it’s based on a lot of information. If you really want to create the most effective weight loss program for you, you’re going to have to learn a lot more than you probably do right now. The public library is a good place to start, as is the Internet. Keep in mind, however, that many people will try to tempt you with diet pills and quick weight loss plans. Stay focused on a lifestyle change that will last a lifetime. Even if diet pills, fad diets, and things like weight-loss belts or gadgets that are supposed to exercise for you work, their effect is short-lived (and sometimes dangerous), and, as noted above, once going off the pill or the program can gain back even more weight than you lost.
A FINAL TIP:
Find a weight loss partner. Share your goals and the information in this article with them. Make sure they are on the same wavelength. You might want to walk with them, you might want to shop with them, but most of all, if there’s no one else who understands what you’re going through…they will, and that’s worth more than gold.