Before and after stories and images are powerful. If you’re struggling with something in your life, they can be just the catalyst needed to jump-start the new you.
But in the quest to accomplish something quickly and end our struggle, it might cause us to make a decision that, in the long run, takes us right back to square one. This is especially true of the weight-loss industry. It rivals the whole get-rich-quick industry with its promises of quick success. They have all the answers to your problems. Your struggles will be over – finally.
So what about those super restrictive diets?
Maybe you have friends use them to lose weight. There’s no doubt it’s going to happen. If you don’t eat as many calories as you’re expending, you’re going to lose weight. That’s just science. Sounds great! So what’s the problem? If only things were that simple – we’d all be millionaires right?
Impossible to Sustain and Dangerous for the Long Term
Often super restrictive diet plans suggest you should use the method short-term. They state they are not for the long term, but many are vague on what actually defines short-term use. This sets the enthusiastic dieter up for an unhealthy road. This is because it’s impossible to live on 500 calories a day and meet all your body’s needs. Long-term risks of such diets are muscle atrophy, electrolyte imbalances, cardiac arrhythmias, and osteoporosis.
Dieting is as much emotional as it is physical. Eating disorders are very real and very dangerous. The emotional toll of drastic dieting followed by binging after a drastic weight loss is an emotional rollercoaster. If you’re an emotional eater, which may be the key to your weight gain to begin with, it can set off a viscous cycle.
A huge part of physical health and long-term weight management is exercise. The 3 components are resistance, cardiovascular, and flexibility fitness. A drastic diet can’t supply you with enough carbohydrates (for fuel) and protein (for recovery) or other much-needed nutrients for a healthy immune system to be able to participate in the recommended amount of exercise for heart, muscle, bone, and joint health.
Extreme diets promise fat loss, but what they don’t tell you that you’ll lose precious muscle with it. Muscle is your best friend. This is incredibly important for women. The benefits of muscular fitness are increased bone density, decreased sarcopenia (muscle mass loss due to aging), increased ability to perform everyday tasks, decreased risk of injury, and a healthy metabolism. Muscle is a self-confidence booster giving you a feeling of well-being.
The Answer is NOT in a Pill or a Quick Fix
A kick-start to a new eating plan is fine. We all like a bit of success right out the gate. It feels good to see some positive change. But there’s a healthy way to make that happen.
Keys to Long-Term Weight Loss Success
Check with your doctor: You first need to make sure that your doctor feels you can begin an exercise and healthy eating program. If you are obese, your doctor needs to supervise what diet and exercise plan you’re undertaking. There are major health risks associated with obesity. Be safe and be smart.
Calculate calories: Calories needed are calculated by gender, age, height, weight, and physical activity level. Once you arrive at that number, lowering your calories by 500 per day would give you a loss of one pound a week. You must have a starting point. Not only will you have a realistic goal, but also a safe one that will serve you for a lifetime.
Set daily and weekly goals: Make them specific for you and your circumstances. An example of a daily goal might be “Today I will only drink water and no soda.” Starting with what you drink everyday is a simple and easy calorie finder. Many people find that just by eliminating all the calories they drink everyday they experience a loss of weight.
Read labels: Huge! You’ll be surprised at the amount of calories, sugar, and sodium you’re eating and drinking. Most labels use trickery knowing you’ll quickly glance at the label to check the total calories. Always check servings first. Look for sugar, sodium, calorie, and saturated fat totals. Label reading will cause you to make better choices before you take it home where you’ll likely eat or drink it. My favorite app for shopping is the Fooducate App, which gives alternatives and comparisons. It’s my grocery shopping secret weapon.
Keep moving: Thinking of taking on a huge fitness program can be intimidating, but fitness fits in throughout your day. My mantra is “No amount of exercise, no matter how small, is ever a waste of time.” The more you move throughout your day, the more energy you’re expending, and the more calories you’re burning. Be in constant motion as much as you can be. Even your sleep will be sweeter.
Be someone’s buddy: The typical advice is to find a buddy, but I say be a buddy. By focusing on being there to motivate someone else, you will be consistent and committed to helping them reach their goals. In turn, yours will be met by your commitment to them!
Find all the workouts and nutrition advice you need over at FreakingFitness.com. Just click on the blue FitStudio button and there’s a fitness program for every fitness level with sample exercises to make the most of all your bits!