So what to do to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight after?
In order to lose weight, nutritionists promote a change in your food intake. Nutritionists talk about eating healthy products, finding the right balance, eating fresh vegetables, and thus reducing calorie intake. And because they are scientists they talk about high-carb and low-carb foods, about proteins, about simple carbohydrates, about complex carbohydrates and other scientific stuff. Some of these experts make it so complex that you have to become an expert yourself in order to lose weight. Others try to explain it really basic and provide (simple) recipes and rules in cook books or on-line, but still you have to adhere to those rules and recipes to see progress. And very often that progress is very slow which is not really motivating.
What fitness specialists promote.
In order to lose weight, fitness specialists often promote a change in your exercise level. They say that you can start with 10 minutes per day and if you build that up to 20 or 30 minutes per day, you will get the body you always wanted. And then they show a 20-something year old with abs that are the result of being in the gym for 6 hours every day. Do you know how much exercise you need to lose one pound of fat? One pound is 3500 calories and walking consumes 255 calories per hour for a 200 pound person. Running at 5 miles per hour consumes 755 calories per hour for a 200 pound person (source http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/SM00109). So you have to walk for 13.72 hours to walk off one pound or run almost 5 hours!
What diets promote.
In order to lose weight, diets often promote to just eat low-calorie pre-cooked meals or consume low-calorie meal-replacement shakes. These diets are based on consuming 500 to1000 calories per day which results in losing up to 3 to 5 pounds per week. And that is easy to prove because one pound is 3500 calories. So if an average person eats 2000 calories per day, that person loses 1000 calories per day on a 1000 calorie diet, and that is at least one pound every 3.5 days. And 2000 calories per day is for an average person while an obese person often eats much more than 2000 calories daily.
So which of the three is the best way to get to a healthy weight?
Actually, all three are needed to get there. To lose weight in an acceptable amount of time, and to keep it off, a mix of all three is necessary. The advantage of a rigid low-calorie diet is that you will lose weight fast and losing it fast will motivate you to continue. Changing your food intake to healthy foods in order to lose weight may be wise, but it will not show immediate results so there will be a high probability that you will revert back to eating the less healthy – but often more tasty – foods. But in order to stay at a healthy weight, changing eating habits is absolutely necessary because eating the unhealthy foods in high quantities caused the weight gain in the first place! Exercising is healthy whether you do it to lose weight or to get stronger or to feel better so you should include (at least some) exercise in your daily routine.
So if you want to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight you have to change your lifestyle. You cannot lose weight by eating what you are currently eating and you cannot maintain the weight after a weight loss by reverting back to eating what you are currently eating. Do you know that only 15% of the people who lost weight maintain that weight for more than a year? That is because most people go back to the fast food lane after they stop the diet/exercise routine. They went on a diet but did not change their lifestyle.
So walk a bit more, avoid an elevator, forget the appetizers in the restaurant and do not (always) finish your plate, do not box the left-over and eat it at night, have one donut and not three at the celebration at the office, say ‘no thank you’ a few times when you are offered fatty foods at a party.
You will feel so much better when your BMI is close to or under 25 – look up your BMI at www.cambridgedietarizona.com – that you will want to maintain the weight that is associated with that BMI. And statistically, you will live longer too.