With all the different types of diets to choose from, it can be hard to determine which one is best for you. Of course when I say this, I assume that I am talking to readers who are looking for one that is healthy and leads to permanent weight loss. If one is simply after a diet that would yield the biggest results in the least possible time, then starvation is it. Hopefully, you wouldn’t want that as my goal in writing this article, as the title indicates, is to show you the big picture of permanent weight loss.
In their overwhelming desire to lose weight, people’s thinking sometimes become so clouded that they start doing things that are counterproductive and they do not even know it. In this article, we shall learn how to choose a nutritional plan that would lead to permanent weight loss using a logical approach or common sense.
Diets: Effectiveness is not the issue
There is no certain type of diet that will make you lose weight. Studies show that in general, commercial diets get basically the same amount of weight off after six months to a year. In other words, they are all equally effective. What determines the success rate when it comes to diets is the adherence level of the dieter. Thus, when considering a diet, the question you need to ask yourself is: Is this way of eating something I can live with on a long term basis?
My point is, if you want to lose weight for good and become an overall healthier person, you need to make a permanent change in lifestyle and the diet you will follow is simply one aspect of it. Therefore all fad diets and quick fixes are automatically out of the running.
As previously discussed, it is not a question of whether a diet is effective or not, it is your compliance to it that matters. The thing is, if you choose to comply with the terms of a temporary solution, the problem will never really go away. When you get to achieve your target weight, get off the diet and shift back to your old unhealthy eating habits, pretty soon you’ll balloon back to your old fat self, with maybe an extra pound or two thrown in.
If we take a balanced, healthy and easier to adhere to diet that will take off the weight at a slower pace and call it diet A, and compare it with an unbalanced almost impossible to follow starvation diet that will almost immediately slim you down which we shall call diet B, which one is better? With diet A, you are most likely to take the weight off and keep it off, even for a lifetime. But with diet B, your weight loss would only last for a few months at best. I guess the answer is pretty obvious.
Wisdom or information?
When it comes to weight loss, which of the two do you think is more helpful, learning how and what to eat and understand the reasons behind these, or knowing the required procedures of a certain diet?
It would perhaps be better if I illustrate this question with another diet comparison. Diet A is one which teaches you how to make informed decisions about your nutrition such as which foods to eat and which ones to avoid, how many calories you need to consume, manner of preparation, and when to eat. Diet B, on the other hand, gives you exactly the foods you are to eat and provides you with a schedule of when to eat them. With diet A, it will take a couple of months to reach your target weight but in the process you will be learning to eat properly thus you also get to keep the weight off. With diet B, you reach your target weight in less than half the time as diet A but to keep it off you need to be constantly eating the same diet bar or consuming the same special drink.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Diet A is not only exceedingly superior, it is empowering. You will not only get quality weight loss results, you also gain wisdom. Diet B just wants to spoonfeed you with products that are not even healthy. What it wants to do is make you dependent on their shakes, cookies, bars, or pre-made foods. You end up being a diet slave of sorts, or should you decide to discontinue taking the products, you end up being a fatter diet casualty. And you wouldn’t have any more practical use for the product dosage instructions you have come to know so well.
Any diet that does not teach you how to make wise food choices but merely supplies you with products and tells you when to eat them will, in the long run, cause you to end in failure.
A Word About Exercise
Everyone is already aware of the benefits of regular exercise so there’s no need to discuss that here anymore. What I want to emphasize is its positive effect on the metabolism. If you regularly do some form of exercise, your metabolic rate increases enabling you to burn calories more efficiently. This will allow you to consume more calories yet still be in a calorie deficit. Furthermore you will be able to maintain your lean body mass (LBM).
What is important to remember is that if you want quality and sustained weight loss, regular exercise must a major part of your weight loss program. Do not consider anything that doesn’t include this component whether it be a bestselling book, clinic or online video clip.
Focus on fat loss and not weight loss, not only in your exercise plan but in your nutrition plan as well. In order to make the most of your exercise routine, make sure to include the right exercises. Your main goal is to lose fat and maintain lean body mass (LBM). To lose fat you need to increase your metabolism and build up lean muscle. A person who has a high ratio of muscle to fat has an active metabolism. He or she burns calories more efficiently because muscle requires calories to maintain. Resistance or weight training develops lean muscles. Aside from increasing your metabolism this type of training improves the appearance of your physique and increases your daily energy expenditure. Compared to aerobics, resistance training offers more health benefits. This is not to say that there is no need for aerobic exercise, in fact you should also include it in your workout regimen as it is an effective way to burn fat and condition the cardiovascular system.
It would be best if you yourself understand what a good weight loss exercise routine should include such as the type of exercise, intensity level, duration etc. There are books and articles both printed and online that you can read to help you know more about this topic. Educate yourself, you will be surprised at how far it will take you, or in this case, how fruitful your weight loss endeavor will be.
The Psychology of Weight Loss
It has been said that everything starts in the mind. In the context of dieting and weight loss this certainly rings true. As dieters, many of us have experienced having sudden cravings which all starts as a thought. There are even diet pills that claim to curb hunger by tricking the mind into believing that the stomach is full even if it isn’t. Such is the power of the mind.
Let us start by taking a look at the findings of a study which compared the psychological characteristics of women who have successfully sustained their weight loss against those who gained it all back. The researchers found that those who failed to keep the weight off:
* Had a lack of vigilance with regard to weight control
* Had a tendency to evaluate self-worth in terms of weight and shape
* Had the tendency to use eating to regulate mood.
* Had a dichotomous (black-and-white) thinking style
The researchers’ conclusion was that psychological factors may have something to do with why many obese people who successfully lose weight, gain the weight back. In other studies, psychological characteristics such as “having unrealistic weight goals, poor coping or problem-solving skills and low self-efficacy” often predict failure with long term weight loss. On the other hand, psychological traits common to people who experienced successful long term weight loss include “…an internal motivation to lose weight, social support, better coping strategies and ability to handle life stress, self-efficacy, autonomy, assuming responsibility in life, and overall more psychological strength and stability.”
Based on the studies quoted above, psychology does play a role in weight loss success and failure. Although this area is generally not addressed in weight loss programs, there are some good ones that incorporate goal setting, motivation, and support. In choosing a program, it is preferable to have one that has these aspects covered.
The big picture realities of weight loss discussed above are intended to help you gain a better insight into the process of weight loss. It is my hope that you would use this knowledge to help you make the right decisions in your pursuit of healthy and permanent weight loss. Success is within your reach, let these truths guide you.
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