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Eat Without Putting On Pounds

Weight Loss Tips for Getting Started

Researchers are discovering that eating too much has very little to do with lack of willpower

Losing weight is frustrating and an uphill task. We don’t have to tell you this. You’re hungry and dream of food all the time especially when you’re getting started. You have to eat the dessert. And once it’s finished, you’re full of regrets for succumbing to your weakness. You’re tormented the whole day by the thought of putting on extra pounds that you’re trying to fight off instead.

But the fault is not always yours.

Researchers are discovering that eating too much has very little to do with lack of willpower as we’re designed to eat as much as we can when food is available and to undereat when it’s not.

The problem is we have evolved from our cavemen days. Good news is (or bad depending on how you look at it) food is available to us throughout the year 24/7.

Susan Roberts, Ph.D., director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Energy Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University and co-author of The Instinct Diet: Use Your Five Food Instincts to Lose Weight and Keep it Off (Workman Publishing) observes that the mere sight and smell of our favourite dishes set off brain signals that compel us to experience the food. You secrete more saliva, your stomach muscles relax and pancreas releases insulin, causing your blood sugar levels to drop.

Overeaters’ brains “are excessively activated by fat, sugar and salt. And eating those [food] activates their brain’s reward pathways,” says David Kessler, M.D., a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (Rodale).

First, you thought you lacked the willpower. Now you have to fight your own brain chemistry. Tough isn’t it?

But don’t fret. Experts also say you can obey your body’s drive and still outsmart it. Follow these steps as starting points for you to lose weight, and you soon will be on your way to look better, feel better, live a healthier and enjoyable life.

Where to start?

First, ask yourself do you need directions to eat smart to lose weight? Probably yes. But if you’ve an underlying problem that causing you to eat poorly due to emotional, mental, or spiritual hitches, you have to address that first to make real progress in weight control. The lack that you’re experiencing would someway show up in the way you eat, either you overeat or lack appetite.

Studies also show that even those without eating disorder have turned to food for comfort. People who are depressed are known to overeat. So to learn to eat well and consciously, you may have to first learn to handle the problems that life throws at you without allowing the difficulties you’re facing to affect healthy eating and exercise. Remember also that many good habits are learned and introduced one step at a time rather than in one jump. Same goes to healthy eating habits. If you could not keep this up earlier, find out where you went wrong and learn from it.

Ready to diet again?

Oh, you’ve been there – keeping abreast with the latest diet that’s making the headlines and endorsed by celebrities. Most diets are effective for short term results. So focusing on quick weight loss can only lead to unhealthy eating and momentary success. Most diets can help produce quick weight loss by slowing down your metabolism. Once your metabolism slows down, you tend to eat less and less to maintain or lose weight. This can discourage many dieters after some time resulting in many jumping from one diet to another. With a slower metabolism your body now already adjusted to, you’re back to regain the weight you lost. You could become depressed and start binging again. And the cycle continues.

Instead, focus on improving your health, through exercise and good eating habits and you can become slim and healthy.

Take control of what you eat

It is said that controlling what the tongue wants to taste is one of the hardest feats in life. But you can always be the master of your habit if you know your eating goals. For example, if your goal is to stay healthy and weigh a certain ideal weight, you don’t have to go frenzy at a buffet line or at a friend’s dinner party. You won’t eat everything that’s put on the table. But if you do, then you can also quickly discipline yourself to lose the calories through exercise or reduce your meal portions after this.

Eat frequently but eat slowly

Remember the advice, eat breakfast like a prince? There is a good reason to back it up. When you skip a meal or go on a crash diet your metabolism slows to conserve energy. If you lose weight quickly continuously for a few days, your body will switch into survival mode thinking it has been threatened by starvation and fights to conserve to store fat. The weight that you think you’re losing would mostly come from water and muscle, and without you realising it, you could soon look haggard because of this.

Instead of crash diets, eat healthy snacks between meals and avoid skipping meals – especially breakfast. By eating frequently you prevent hunger pangs and the binges that follow. It will provide you with consistent energy, and may be the single most effective way to maintain your metabolism efficiency – to burn food faster.

Eating slowly on the other hand will give your body time to tell you when it is enough so that you don’t overeat.

Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains

You know by now how important fruits and vegetables are. Besides being nutrients filled, they have almost zero cholesterol and have ‘healthy’ fats. Studies show that people who consume fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and limited amounts of lean animal protein, often find themselves eating as much as they want without gaining weight. Also, they are healthier and live longer than those whose diets are comprised mostly of meat, fried and processed food. Opt for healthy, natural food instead whenever you can.

Eat lots of fibre

Eating fibre filled food makes you fill full faster (Hey, that’s a good tongue twister). Fibre stays longer in the stomach than other substances you eat, slowing down your digestion rate and keeping you feeling full longer. For example, a single serving of whole grain bread can be more filling because of its greater fibre content than two servings of white bread. Fibre also helps fat pass through our digestive system faster so that less of it is absorbed.

Avoid white sugar, refined grains like white rice and processed white flour used to make white bread and sugary breakfast cereals because most of their fibre and nutrients have been removed. They turn into blood sugar (glucose) so fast to shoot up your insulin level. Because of this the body starts to store up fat instead of burning fat as it feels energy is readily available. So eat more fibre to keep your blood sugar at a consistent level.

Reduce sugar intake

Be careful about sugar in coffee and soda pop. It can add up quickly, and these drinks aren’t filling.

Watch for “hidden” sugar in processed foods like bread, ketchup, salad dressing, canned fruit, peanut butter, soups, etc. Be also careful with “fat-free” products. Sugar is often used to replace the flavour that is lost when the fat is removed. Fat-free does not mean calorie-free. The greater concern with the insulin spike is not that it tells our body to start storing fat but that the insulin spike is followed by a drop in insulin level that leaves you feeling tired and hungry and wanting to eat more, especially something else with a high sugar content.

Regulating your blood sugar level is the most effective way to maintain your fat-burning capacity.

Avoid ‘unhealthy’ food

Besides choosing healthiest foods, it is also important to find out how they are prepared. Foods like cheese, fried foods, especially deep-fried are highly fat-laden. Although meats like chicken and fish are considered leaner than beef or pork, they can contain more fat when they are fried.

The other mistake people make is thinking that by eating salads and avoiding non-fried food, they can easily lose weight. However many are not aware that salad dressings like mayonnaise, thousand islands, spreads and other condiments that usually go with salad to make it more ‘palatable’ are high in fat content which can greatly increase the calorie count. Remember, a gram of fat contains more than twice as many calories as a gram of protein or carbohydrate. Next time use fat-free alternatives like fat-free yogurt, lemon juice to complement your salad instead. But don’t avoid ‘good’ fats

In your haste to lose weight, don’t make the mistake of eliminating fats from your diet altogether. Dietary fat is necessary to maintain a healthy body. It is a vital component for building body tissue and cells, and it aids in the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. Instead eat more healthy fats that come in nuts, flaxseeds, fish, etc for optimal health.

Exercise regularly

Ah, here’s where the rubber meets the road. Studies have shown people who exercise regularly not only lose weight faster, but are more successful at keeping it off. Exercise makes it possible to create a calorie deficit and to lose weight without starving your body and slowing your metabolism.

It helps greatly if you incorporate both aerobic and strength building activities on a regular basis. The best part about exercise is that your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate long after you’ve finished exercising. Once you get the hang of it, you will not only exercise to lose weight but will enjoy it for the good feelings it gives you.

Begin now but take it easy

These are some guidelines for you to get started in losing weight. Remember you can achieve your ideal weight goal but don’t kill yourself to reach there. Occasionally enjoying your favourite ‘sinful’ food is okay as long you don’t do it often and find ways to burn the calories afterward. It will keep you sane too. Remember like all good things, reaching your ideal weight takes time if your current weight is not any closer to it. If you try and change everything too quickly, the odds are greater that you will feel bad, get discouraged, and give up if you can’t reach your goal soon enough. So be patient. Don’t jump from one diet fad to another. Learning to eat well and exercise is the only solution to long term weight loss… and remember to enjoy yourself along the way.

Now you know the steps. Start now.

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