Things You Should Know About Weight Loss
With so much information available online, it is not surprising people don't know how to approach weight loss. As a society, we are constantly bombarded with information and new trends by health and fitness gurus. New diets and products are being marketed and sold as the 'best thing for weight loss'. Magazines and online websites are all promoting different ways to lose weight, follow this diet, eat this food and you will lose 20 pounds in 5 days, drink this tea and the fat will melt off.
We all know losing weight can be a struggle at times, however, knowing these facts will help you succeed on your weight loss journey.
Below you will find 11 things you should know about weight loss.
There is No Best Diet
No matter what people say, there is no best diet for weight loss. There is no one size fits all approach. What works for one person may not work for you. Just because someone lost weight eating only potatoes doesn't mean you have to do that too.
A successful weight loss requires an approach which is sustainable, and you can adhere to it in the long-term.
Avoid Doing Too Much Too Soon
Often when people begin their weight loss journey they do too much too soon. They look at losing weight as an all or nothing approach, but it's not. Avoiding throwing out all 'bad' foods from your kitchen and avoid making too many healthy living food swaps all at once.
Take small steps, every week introduce something healthy and new into your diet, or simply swap something you like for a healthier version. For example, swap white bread and for brown bread, white rice for brown rice, milk chocolate for dark chocolate.
Low-Calorie Diets Don't Work
Everyone knows low-calorie diets don't work. Sure you will lose weight, but at what cost?
Low-calorie diets are not sustainable or healthy.
A severe caloric deficit for an extended period can lead to a weight loss plateau, but it is also not healthy for your hormones. What often happens when you follow low-calorie diets for an extended period is that your reproductive hormones, your menstrual cycle, sex drive, bones and heart are as a result affected.
Our body undertakes these responses to save energy. Severely restricting your body of calories causes it to shut down reproduction as there are not enough calories for one person let alone two. Your body is more focused on saving energy for survival.
Furthermore, low-calorie dieting brings with it many negative side effects. Restricting your calories too much also increases both chronic psychological stress and cortisol production – two factors that are known to cause weight gain.
Low-calorie diets are the worst for PCOS, consuming low calories completely wrecks havoc with your hormones. It is crucial that you are looking to balance your hormones that you are feeding your body with enough food.
You Don't Have to Eliminate or Go Low Carb
While you can lose weight and live with no carbs, for example following the Ketogenic Diet, you do still need some source of carbs. Carbs contain fibre and fibre is necessary for a healthy digestive system.
Furthermore, carbs are also essential for female hormones.
Reducing your carb intake too low or eliminating carbohydrates from your diet is not good for your thyroid. It is vital for women especially that we eat carbohydrates for our fertility/menstrual health.
Your hypothalamus loves carbs/glucose; it is one of the key regulators of your hormones and it signals to your brain and ovaries that you are being fed. The hypothalamus produces the Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone; a low Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone is the cause of irregular menstrual cycles.
Many women with PCOS also suffer from insulin resistance.
Often Doctors suggest that women with PCOS should limit their carbohydrate intake. Reducing the number of carbs you eat can help.
Although, it is often assumed that eliminating carbohydrates from your diet will help treat insulin resistance. However, eliminating carbs from your diet does not treat insulin resistance, while you may think you are treating it, you have not healed it by getting to the root cause.
You do not have to eliminate carbs, simply opt for better carb options, complex carbs such as quinoa and buckwheat. These types of carbs have a low Glycemic Index and in turn, will not increase your blood sugar levels or your insulin.
It's Not All About The Calories
Contrary to popular it is not always about the calories. While you cannot disregard calories entirely because they are still important when it comes to weight loss, what you need to do is stop focusing on the calories and looking at food as purely calories, because food is more than that.
Your food choices have an impact on both your weight loss but also how you feel physically and mentally. Focus on eating better rather than less all the time, the quality of your food is also key weight loss.
If you are always focusing on calories, you are missing out on all the essential nutrients found in food. Look at the quality of your food too.
Next time you sit down to eat a meal look at your plate and ask yourself am I getting enough nutrients, is this meal going to keep me full and give me the energy to I need throughout the day.
For example, many people avoid high-fat foods because they are high in calories, such as salmon and avocados. However, these foods contain healthy fats that are important for our hormones and our overall physical and mental health.
If you are someone who is following a Ketogenic diet make sure you are eating the healthiest sources of fat, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. While this also applies if you follow a Vegan lifestyle make sure that you are opting for the best carb sources, complex carbohydrates and carbs which have been minimally processed.
Lift Some Weights
When people think of weight loss and exercise, they think cardio, treadmill all day every day. But that is not true! Cardio is not the only way to lose weight.
Combine both cardio with weight training, this will give you the best results. Having more muscle increases your metabolism and allows you to burn more calories at rest. However, also just doing cardio will not provide you with a lean physique, lift some weights to help you develop a nice body shape.
Avoid Fad Diets
Stop jumping from one diet to another.
As I mentioned above, there is no best diet for weight loss, and therefore you should avoid jumping from one diet to another. While there is nothing wrong with experimenting with different diet/lifestyle approaches, such as Keto, Paleo and Vegan, to try and find out what is best for you, just do not get caught up with all the diets that are out there telling you this one is best. You know your body more than anyone.
We all know diets do not work in the long run. Studies show that 95% of all dieters will regain the weight they lost in 1-5 years. A most common effect of beginning a diet and not 'succeeding' is yo-yo dieting. This cycle involves starting a diet for a period, stopping and then restarting it again. Many women can be on a dieting cycle for their whole life, not knowing that chronic dieting is doing them more harm than good. However, women often yo - yo diet because they believe they have failed the diet, not that the diet has failed them.
Studies have further shown that dieting is also associated with increased food preoccupation, binge eating, and eating in the absence of hunger.
It is important that you stay away from short-term and fad diets for weight loss, sure you will lose weight, but it is not true weight loss. These types of diets are not maintainable or sustainable. Such dieting methods do not instil healthy eating or life-changing habits. Once the extreme diet is over, you will have gone back to your bad eating habits and poor lifestyle choices.
Be flexible with your diet, allow yourself at times to indulge in foods you want and crave. Restriction almost always leads to binging. A flexible and balanced diet is more sustainable than a restricted one.
Many people who decide to lose weight restrict certain foods and food groups. They label foods a 'good' and 'bad,' 'healthy' and 'unhealthy.' When you start labelling and restricting food, you begin to develop an unhealthy relationship with food and begin to hate the journey and as a result quit or start binging.
There Will Be Ups And Downs
Weight loss is never linear; there will be ups and downs.
Don't get discouraged when you see the scale go up or if you ate a little too much one day, it is all part of the journey, it is a lifestyle change.
You Have To Be Patient and Consistent
Losing weight takes time, it does not happen from one day to the next. You have to be patient and believe in the process. You have to be consistent, you must conistenly undertake acts that will provide you with the results you want. You will not see change if you do not change.
Don't Compare Yourself
This is definitely important when on a weight loss journey.
Comparing yourself to others is pointless because we are not the same. Focus on being than your yesterday, work on being a better and healthier version of yourself.
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