There are a billion messages out there telling us how to lose weight, and the quips usually include "Fast"! While the idea may sound enticing, there lies a problem. Our bodies may respond favorably to such a prescribed diet, but oftentimes this is just a temporary band-aid. In order to get lean and stay lean, there are a few rules we must abide by (not to exclude patience and understanding for ourselves). These recommendations are set by trained exercise physiologists:
1. The simplest of all rules (granted, not always the easiest): expend more than you consume in a day. Expenditure depends on three things: physical activity, how many calories we burn at rest (AKA resting metabolism, which is an impressive 1200-1600 cals per day depending on the person), and effective digestion/absorption of food.
2. To lose 1 pound of fat requires the expenditure of about 3500 calories. The healthy recommendation for weight loss is 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs) per week.
3. Given the previous rule, we can construct an exercise program: burn about 300 cals per day or a max of 2000 cals per week; which is approximately 30 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity exercise a day, and up to 6 days a week (NOTE: this regiment should be gradual. Start at 15 or 20 minutes of exercise per day, no more than 3 days per week...then work your way up as you feel comfortable.)
4. Always keep in mind what is healthy for your body! Consume a minimum of ~1200 calories per day, and expend a maximum of 500-1000 calories per day. And keep in mind your individual needs.
5. Always listen to your body and be patient. Change takes time, as does altering your lifestyle, but the rewards are great once we become more aware of our needs and accomplishments!
Good advice and important things to take note of if we want to see real results. The problem with the multi-tiered approach to me, however, is that there are just too many rules to adhere to, and when that's the case, it's very difficult to stay motivated. I'm not saying losing weight and being fit has to be a walk in the park, but there should be some enjoyable aspects to it. Keeping track of all the different "requirements" that are necessary to lose weight just seems like too much work for me, work that I'd rather be devoting to something else altogether. To me, the most useful rule you've listed here is "always listen to your body." I think that sometimes we have unrealistic expectations of what we should look like, so well-meaning attempts to lose weight can sometimes be deeply misguided. Making lifestyle changes doesn't necessarily have to mean excessive calorie-counting. To me, it's about balance. Work. Play. Live. Eat. Enjoy. Taking time to listen to your body can give you more of what you really need rather than what you THINK you need, according to someone else's guidelines.
I couldn't agree more. Those get slim fast gimmicks do more harm than good. I've commited to changing my lifestyle for the better. I'm posting each week about Building a Healthy Lifestyle and suggest one healthy change each week. I think the only way to get healthy and stay that way is to permanently integrate healthy habits into our daily lives.
Nirmala, I couldn't agree more. Getting fit shouldn't be a chore, and these rules are not there to add restraints or requirements. They are simply reminders of what is healthy when you are planning a long-term weight loss program. A little body science to keep in mind, but nothing to be intimidated by. So many diets claim overnight changes, but oftentimes fast mass weight loss can be both temporary and harmful to your health. And everyone is different! I simply encourage patience and taking the time to get to know our bodies...like a long-term, loving relationship instead of a casual fling:)