Solutions to weight loss has generated a multi-billion dollar industry. Pills, powders, packages, and promises are sold in a variety of formats to people looking to fix their weight in a one-purchase-cures-all format. In our culture, we want everything fast. We want it now. Weight loss is no different. We are quick to lend an ear to anyone who promises us a solution to fast and effective weight loss. We see an ad on TV showing the man or woman who went from a pear-shaped blob to a chiseled stud all thanks to swallowing a daily pill. It’s understandable how intoxicating the promises of these weight loss solutions are to our psyche. This is the most common weight loss mistake people make: opting for the rapid fix rather than creating a sustainable change in their life. Some examples of these quick-fix weight loss solutions are:
- Diet pills
- All-liquid diets (juice diets)
- Sauna and sweat programs (dehydration)
- Cleanses (toxin purges)
- Low fat/calorie crash diets
People usually turn to these programs after having an “oh crap!” moment regarding their body weight. It’s happened to most of us. Our body weight gradually climbs over time until there is one horrifying scale reading, failed attempt at putting on a favorite pair of jeans, or a brutally honest comment from a friend.
Suddenly, there is an intense motivation to fix this problem right now. It’s good to be motivated to lose weight. But by taking the wrong approach, you can actually be creating more health problems for yourself than your excess body weight is currently presenting.
Low-calorie “crash diets” can deprive your body of the necessary nutrients to ensure proper health and brain function. Diet pills can create a world of problems of their own including dependency and heart health risks. Excessive exercise and “sweating it out” does little more than create the illusion of weight loss by dehydrating your body of its water weight which places a new world of health risks to your body.
Here’s the unfortunate reality about weight loss: it’s a slow process. There are no quick fixes or easy solutions. Like most things in life worth acquiring, it takes hard work and time to reach your goal.
Weight Loss Rule #1: Create a sustainable diet and fitness plan. Your objective in losing weight should not be to drop the pounds as rapidly as possible through means that, if sustained long enough, would literally kill you. This takes the juice cleanses, fasting, and diet pills off of the table as an option.
Your objective should be to eat how the person who weighs what you want to weigh would eat. That’s it. Simple enough. Only a person wanting to look like a skeleton in a coffin would consume nothing but colon cleanse alkaloid shakes or one small salad per day.
Weight Loss Rule #2: Figure out your calorie deficit. A pound of body weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Commit that number to heart. So if you ate 3,500 calories today more than you burned off, you would gain one pound. The key to weight loss is to run at a sustainable daily calorie deficit. A good goal here would be to consume 500 fewer calories than you burn each day. Use a calorie calculator to estimate the number of calories you burn per day. It varies greatly depending on body type, gender, and activity level. With this approach, you will lose one pound of body weight per week.
As you can see, weight loss is a slow process. But by doing it properly, we are training our body and mind to consume food in a fashion sustainable for us long-term. That is the goal, after all, right? What good is it to drop the pounds as rapidly as possible only to pile them back on because we never actually learned how to eat properly along the way? One’s aim should be to avoid major fluctuations in body weight. These variable changes to the cellular structure of the body heighten the risk of certain cancers.
Weight Loss Rule #3: Have fun. Losing weight does not have to be an agonizing process. Appreciate the process and savor the positive emotions you receive from looking in the mirror as the pounds start to fall off. Weight loss is just as gratifying as a bowl of brownies and ice cream, it’s just not as instant. One must appreciate the small victories along the way.
Here are a couple of ideas for making weight loss more fun:
- Do it with a friend. The challenges of life are always more enjoyable when shared. By having a friend to share in the struggles and triumphs with, success is more certain. Be open about your weight loss ambitions. Get people in your corner rooting for you and holding you accountable. The process will be a lot more fun with your Facebook friends or colleagues rooting you on.
- Get creative in the kitchen. Many people have an association that eating healthy is no fun. This couldn’t be further from the truth! There are some amazing healthy eating recipes all over the web. Experiment with making different calorie-responsible dishes. You don’t have to choke down Lean Cuisines and turkey sandwiches all along the way. Most of nature’s most wonderful foods are naturally low in calories and taste delicious. Pick up a copy of Food Rules by Michael Pollan and be exposed to the joyous wonders of eating a diet rich in foods our bodies evolved to eat before the processed food industry confused the equation so badly for us!