First of all, let’s get this straight from the get-go. 90% of the time, people go on diets to get slimmer – not to lose weight. Sure, a few of you are doing it for health reasons. The doctor told you that you had a weight problem that was life-threatening, and you got scared. But let’s face it – most of you just want to look better.
Now the next thing to get out of the way is your motivation. Are you willing to end a lot of discomfort? OK, you’re not looking forward to it, but the last time you looked in a mirror, you got mad! So you’re motivated enough to give dieting your best shot.
Of course you realize in your heart of hearts that if you really want to look slim and stay slim, it’s not going to be good enough just to lose some pounds, and then go back to your old habits and ways. Maybe you’ve done that before. Surely you’ve seen other people lose weight, and then put it right back on again.
So in this article, I want to explore the various methods that are available for you to get trim, and stay that way – and hopefully you will find a way to do it
1) that does not cause a lot of discomfort
2) that actually works, and
3) that you will be comfortable with for a LONG TIME …
Let’s take a look at methods that DO NOT work, and see WHY they do not work. Then we’ll use what we learn to see if that can help us find a better way.
Cutting calories does not work
It seems intuitively obvious that if you want to take off some pounds, you can do it by just not eating as much. After all, if your body is not taking any calories, you’ve got to lose weight. So you start by only having a cup of coffee for your breakfast – you skip the usual bacon & eggs or bagel & cream cheese. Long before it’s time for lunch, you begin to feel hungry. Your body is not used to this, and it’s reminding you to please put something in your stomach.
That’s OK, though, you expected a little discomfort. So for lunch you have just a salad of raw veggies. By mid-afternoon, you’re not only hungry … you’re running out of energy, and can not seem to concentrate on your work. After a light, but more fundamental dinner, you sit down to watch the news, and find yourself getting a headache, so you go to bed early.
All right. At this point you may just give up. But if you have the power and motivation, you might stick to this punishment diet for quite some time. You keep track of your weight, and sure enough, you begin to take off some pounds. But after a while, you can not seem to lose any more no matter how little you eat!
* You’re losing water-weight, not fat.
* Because when you eat less, your body burns fewer calories.
* Your metabolism goes into starvation mode.
So cutting calories does not work! (scratch goal # 2)
Cutting fat does not work
What if you just cut way back on eating fat? That should prevent your body from gaining fat – if it does not get any, then it can not add any more, right? Wrong. This reasoning ignores the fact that your body can convert other types of food into fat. It does not need for you to eat fat in order to add more. Enzymes in your digestive system can easily convert proteins or carbohydrates (carbs) into fat if your body demands it.
So cutting fat does not work! (scratch goal # 2)
Cutting carbs makes you feel miserable. Several popular diet plans, including the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet, are based on cutting your intake of carbohydrates. This does indeed cause weight loss. However, carbs are your body’s main source of energy. So when you cut back on sugars, grains, etc, you feel weak and miserable. This is going to make it very difficult to maintain such a diet. Not only that, even after you’ve lost the weight, you need to continue to restrict your carb intake FOREVER – it requires a permanent change in lifestyle. Are you really ready for that?
So cutting carbs is not recommended! (scratch goals # 1 & # 3)
Strengthening your abs will not make you slimmer
OK. The original idea was for you to get slimmer. So why not just do what beautiful people do on the late-night TV infomercials? Get yourself an ab machine, and give yourself those 6-pack abs. It looks so simple to do, and just takes a few minutes a day.
You can certainly do this. But that layer of fat covering your abs will still be there when the muscles underneath are rock-hard … UNLESS you go on a diet to lose the fat. The only way to look slimmer is to have a proper program for losing weight.
In fact, even though exercise can help you to burn calories and convert some of your body fat into muscle, it’s not enough. You need to do an awful lot of exercise to take off just a few calories.
Here’s an example I worked out for you, to make it easier to understand this. A 155-lb man walking his dog for an hour will burn about 250 calories. That’s the same as the calories as he took in that morning eating his bagel & cream cheese for breakfast. He’ll have to keep walking a long time to burn off all the calories he consumes during the rest of the day!
So exercise alone does not work! (scratch goal # 2)
What can I do?
Let’s use what we learned above to see what you can do to get slimmer – without being constantly hungry. And let’s find a way to do this without drastically changing your lifestyle.
1) Look for a diet plan that allows you to eat foods from all major energy sources: proteins, carbs, and fat.
2) Spread out your eating over the whole day. Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
3) Use exercise as a means to better health – and to help you to convert some of your calorie intake into muscle instead of fat.