Perhaps you are someone who has tried a few weight loss programs with no success and the extreme desire to lose weight has begun to take over. This causes the former ‘healthy approach’ mindset to recede further and further into the background. Where are you are at?
The majority of people do not take their weight loss to the extreme situation of anorexia, but they often sacrifice their health in order to lose the weight, or succumb to the temptation of the quick fix. The quick fix does not create habits and is not sustainable. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Is slimming down in an unhealthy way worth the possibility of reduced infections, illnesses and disease?
- If you feel awful and sick because of ‘how’ you lose the weight, what is the point of being slim?
You want to be able to enjoy being a healthy body weight after all of the effort you put into it.
Approaching weight loss with a healthy mindset means that you continue providing your body with the nutrients that it needs to function normally. Calorie reduction for most people is required, but this reduction needs to be from the excess you have currently been eating, not from what your body requires in order to survive. For the majority of adults, this means your calories should not drop below 1,200 calories/ day. When calories are lower than that, your body responds by slowing your metabolism (reacting as if you are in a famine situation) and holding onto fat. Your body will protect you against starvation at the subconscious level. Your body is so smart that it will begin digesting other important tissues in your body, such as muscle if it doesn’t get the nutrients and/or the calories that it needs.
It is crucial to note that those 1,200 calories need to be from nutrient dense foods, with a good balance of fat, protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Each of these macronutrients is absolutely required in order to stay healthy.
Additionally, choosing carbohydrates that are low-glycemic, (carbohydrates that break down slowly and do not produce a spike of your blood sugar) can make a huge impact on your ability to lose weight and subsequently maintain a healthy weight.
During the weight loss process, you are at risk of losing muscle as well as fat. Muscle acts like little calorie burning machines, therefore you need muscle in order to keep burning those calories. The sure way to prevent muscle loss during the weight loss process is to engage in weight bearing exercises. Please note that you do not need to become a body builder. Simple activities that engage your muscles on a daily basis are a good place to start if you are a weight training ‘rookie’. Examples include (crunches, planks, dips, step-ups and more exercises using your body weight alone can be found online).
When you begin to notice you are no longer being challenged by the simple activities noted above, then add in a program which includes lifting weights. In both situations you build up your muscles, forcing them to grow, strengthen and serve you in your weight loss journey. It is recommended that you perform weight bearing exercises and/or lift weights two to three days every week to avoid losing that important muscle.
To lose weight in a healthy way, and make a true lifestyle change, patience is required. It took time to put the weight on, and it will take time to slim down and create habits you can sustain. By sensibly reducing your calories, taking in proper whole food nutrition and starting a weight training program, you can expect to steadily drop the extra weight while enjoying increasing health and vitality.