HI there everyone. Just like to share some information and net resources. This may look long, but I've poured over the documents sited in here, and they are all supported with many many similar views on the net. Whatever choices you make about weight loss, I just want to encourage everyone to take the time to inform themselves about weight loss so they can approach it in the most logical, systematic, healthy, relatively straightforward approach, for long term results.
Each and every one of these websites is worth a read. So bookmark them if you don't have time. At the very least, check out the two websites listed at the very bottom of this post.
I used to one of those girls who was angry if I didn't get on the scale each week and see at least 1KG loss. I thought I was a fialure if I didn't. Now, I would be worried if I lost more than 500g. Please read on. This is important stuff, and it does get more interesting after the numbers!
Use this resource to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate, that is , the amount of calories your body will consume at rest. That does not include any activity .
The BMR is designed to calculate the number of calories your body requires to perfrom it's basic functions - the AMR (Active Metabolic Rate) is an estimation of the number of calories you will use per day including activity. The average BMR for women is 1500, the average AMR is 2000, however these are just estimations.
I did some further research on the formulas the BMR, which you can read up on here. Very imformative, and being Wikepedia, a simply factual source.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basal_metabolic_rate
More very useful information: http://www.apinchofhealth.com/resources/BMR-and-calories.html
The most healthy approach to losing weight is to derease you caloric intake, slightly
, and to increase your activity level, even just slightly will do. It is widely agreed that a healthy amount of weight loss per week is about 500g, and never more than 1kg.
Don't let me lose your attention with all this calorie speak. You can find out a GREAT deal about your bodies requirments and about your habits, if you pay a little attention to these numbers.
At a minimum, your body requires at least 1500 calories per day (check your own BMR) at rest. Your body needs to burn this energy in order for the body to function effectively (organ function, breathing, etc). When you reduce your calories severely, you force your metabolism to slow and adjust to the number of calories you are providing your body, hence you are not functioning to the best of your ability. When you restrict your calories severely, alarm bells go off in your brain and your body goes into 'famine mode'. A few things will happen. Your body starts burning muscle tissue for energy, as this tissue contains nutrients needed to supply to body's basic functions, and you are not giving your body enough of these via food. When you consume very little calories, your body will begin to hold on to the food, converting it to fat and storing it in the body as it goes into 'famine mode'. Hence your weight loss will slow or stop. If you are losing weight it is most likely muscle tissue.
A much healthier approach is to figure out your Acive Metabolic Rate (using the resouce above, or google BMR), subtract 500 calories from this number, and aim to consume that number of calories per day, ENSURING that your calorie intake always AT LEAST meets you Basal Metabolic Rate.
When I first started my diet, this time, after many many failed attempts in the past, I decided I wanted it properly. I did a lot of reading and discovered that the 1000 calorie restriction that Optifast prescribed to me was extremely far below even my BASIC calorie needs, and if I continued to restrict myself in that fashion, my metabolism would slow and I would lose muscle mass. I have done a shake diet before. I lost 6 kg in about 6 weeks. At the time I was ecstaic. But within 6 months I'd put it all back on, plus 6 more kilos on top of that. I didn't have an attractive, lean and muscular frame - I was thin, but I had no defination to my arms and shoulders, it wasn't great!
If you've had success with shakes before, or if you plan to, I know what you're thinking. You'll lost the weight with the shakes, and then you'll switch to food. Well, have fun with that. Because of your calorie restrictions, you will have low energy and metabolism. Any time you go over the calorie intake your body has become accstomed to, you body will hold on to these calories. You won't have learnt any new habits about how to eat properly for life. You'll have to be on full alert.
Do it properly, EAT properly. A shake is like one of my SNACKS in my day, not a meal. That's no way to live. I'll be losing weight NOT starving, my body with be healthy on the inside, my metabolism with be revved up, and the deficit between the calories I need to maintain, and the calories I consumed to LOSE will be so slight that my body will be able to cope extremely well with the adjustment once I start eating to maintain ( hardly a difference in food amounts). My metabolism will be red hot and able to use all the calories as it was designed to - it won't feel the need to hoard the sudden surge of calories, because it hasn't been starved for weeks and months on end.
You need to be prepared to be patient. 3500 calories is equal to one pound (about 1/2 kilo) which is the maximum amount reccommended to lose per week for long term weight loss. That's 500 calories per day.
I have 10-12 kilos to lose, which means my weight loss will take 6-7 months. That's fine with me. What is 6-7 months? I tried all last year to lose weight by restricting myself, and I ended up aout 5 kg heavier at the end of the year.
I have switched to a very healthy diet of whole foods - whole wheat greans, inclueding cereal, bread and pasta, fruit, eggs (and yes the yolks too!)yoghurt, low fat dairy, vegetables and lean meats. I feel fantastic. At first, I had a LOT of trouble eating 1200 calories worth of healthy foods, as they are less calorie dense than junky foods. I had to work my way up to 1500 over a few days. There are a few tricks, such as including natural peanut butter, and almond butter. Yes that's right, are you reading me correctly?!! YES - there is NO starving. I have as MUCH healthy food as I can possible eat, and then some.
I was confused for days and days. I read until I found the answers though. I thought - I am full at 1200, maybe my BMR is lower than everyone elses? WRONG! Turned out I was eating too little, I needed to include more calorie dense health foods such as whole wheat patsa and avocados to get the calories up. Guess what guys? I averaged 1700 calories every day last week and I lost 500g this week. There was no starving whatsoever. In fact it was the polar opposite to starvation. If I want to throw a little treat in there I can, so long as I don't go over the calories. Bearing in mind though that simple carbs included processed foods, sugars, sweets contain little nutritional value and are therefore processed through the body in a few hours, compared to protein which can take up to a day. For that reason, simple carbs don't really help the function of your body, they give you short spurts of energy - they create high spikes in your insulin level, which makes you hungry for another hit again when it crashes. So I'd rather the nutritious foods. It takes the body energy (calories) to digest nutrient rich foods, but it takes hardly any work at all to store fat as fat.
You have to be prepared to put in a bit of work too. Why? When you go on a diet and restrict your calories, another way you can make sure that your body doesn't go into 'famine mode' and hoard all your caloies, and burn your lean muscle, is to do cardio. The body then thinks there must be an abundance of food and is less likely to hoard the calories. Furthermore, cardio burns fat directly. Resistance training and free weights are also crucial for making sure your preseve and build your lean muscle mass, and will raise your BMR - meaning you will burn more calories even at rest. More muscle mass = more calories burned, even when you're not doing anything. That's why guys can eat more - genetically, they naturally have greater muscle mass than women, hence more muscles that burn calories, hence a higher BMR, hence they need to eat more to fuel their bodies. (Ladies, don't ever attempt to match your boyfriend's food cosumption for the sake of equality!)
On top of that - I don't know about you, but I don't want to just be a bag of skin and bones, I want to be toned with lean muscles.
PLEASE PLEASE don't be fooled. You may be OVERJOYED when you see a rapid weight loss on the scales, but be aware this is not FAT it is lean muscle and water!!! Actually, on the inside, your body is storing away fat, and converting a lot of the foods you put into your body into fat (yes, even broccoli can be converted to fat if the body is desperate enough). So you may be losing scale weight but at what expense? A slow, broken and sluggish metabolism, and fat stores on the inside?
DO YOUR BODY A favour. If like me, you had been previously restricting yourself of calories, you need to do this. For 5-10 days, eat slightly above your BMR, to show your body you're not in famine mode. Then you will be ready to create a deficit and can begin the loss. Then decrease you calorie intake, slightly (your AMR -500).
Adjust as needed, until you're losing the correct amount (500g) per week. As ytou get lighter, your BMR will lower, so you'll need to adjust your calorie intake every 5kg or so.
ASK YOURSELF THIS - Do you want to do this properly, now, for the last time, and equip yourself with the knowledge of how to eat healthy nutritious food in the correct quantities, or do you want to starve yourself on shakes and apples, and then be scared stiff to ever eat real food again once you're done? Let me tell you, as soon as your calories go up, your body will be hoarding those calories like there's no tomorrow. A SMALL decrease in the amound of calories you usually consume to maintain will mean a less dramatic change once your return to eating to maintain. Your metabolism will be burning hot and it won't be an issue. And FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD. You can have a healthy, balance diet for life. Treats will always need to be in moderation, but we knew that anyway didn't we? We got where we are because we ignored that. But you will learn, though proper eating, that there's so much varierty out there - it's exciting learning about nutritious new recipes, and your appetite for sweets should lesson as you begin to feel healthy and energized on the inside. Sweets seem less appealing then, making you feel sluggish. When I reach my traget weight, I'll have the exact tools to maintain my weight. If I should accidenly, say, put on a kilo over Christmas, I will know that all I need to to is decrease my calorie intake by 500 calories (that's about 3 pancakes, by the way, or a few rows of chocolate) every day for two weeks, and then that pesky little kilo will be no more!! Oh the joy of it.
You have to inform yourself and make a choice!
Find an online calorie calculator (You may have to subscrube to Calorie King, but it is WELL worth it. I am a member of Optislim - I don't agree with their reccommendations, but it enables me to use the calorie counter - best resource I've ever had)
For those of you who start out eating clean, whole foods like me, and find it difficult to go over 1500 of health food, and begin to question that you ever went over 2000, I just want to let you in on a secret! I did an experiment, to see how many calories I really did consume when I ate 'normally' (my old habits included a bit of junk). Results? I reached 2200 without a problem. You can eat a LOT of healthy foods, which will have the same calorie equivalent to a few bits of junk.
I am going to paste some more sites now. I reccommend that you bookmark them and read them. I've only included the good stuff.
Oh - one more thing. 5-6 small meals per day to fuel the metabolism. Think of your body as fire - you need to give fuel to the fire in order for it to burn hot. You wouldn't dump huge logs on it three times a day - the fire would be smothered. You wouldn't drop a couple of sticks on it - not enough! For the fire to burn hot, and consistently, you need to feed it with kindling throughout the day - the right kind of kindly. Not paper (simple carbs and junk!) which wouldn't last. Good, frequent kindling.
Bear in mind that everything I've said here is only a result of reading and cross checking my sources. I can tell you though that I have lost weight, whilst eating a lot of nutritious food, and exercising just a litle more (nothing too extravagant, just a bit more). Also - I have pulled off what previously seemed impossibel to me - I controlled the amount I lost. Actually, I lost 500g in 6 days, which means I need to incread my calorie intake from 1650 up to 1700 per day. Oh dear, more food, it's a hard life!
The most important thing is that we inform ourselves so we can look after our bodies and do this right, just once. Read these pages and search for more yourself. Make your own choices.
One last thing. You need to trust this slow and steady process, trust that you are looking after your body and not starving it, and that you're creating healthy and long lasting habits. Even though progress may seem slow, trust and know that it is happening, and that your body will be MADLY IN LOVE with you for being so nice to it. Know that if you consume slightly less calories than you cosume every day (Only 500 per day) you will lose 1/2 kilo per week, as 3500 calories = 2 pounds (about 1/2 kilo). This isn't a thoery - it's a law of physics. http://www.weightloss.com.au/forum/posting.php?mode=reply&f=20&t=15137http://deepfitness.com/3102/The-Exact-Reason-Why-Cardio-is-Essential-Avoiding-The-Starvation-Response.aspx
http://www.apinchofhealth.com/forum/vbb ... php?t=4821http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_energy
Two more!!! If you are going to read any, at least read these.
http://www.burnthefatblog.com/archives/ ... damage.php