Three Critical Weight Loss Strategies
Steps to Permanent Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably doing it wrong. The way most Americans have structured their lives, creates an environment where weight gain is almost inevitable. Traditional diets tend to tinker around the edges. They may help for a while, but most are doomed to fail because they don’t deal with the fundamental problems in how we live.
Here are three things you need to address, if you want to lose the weight and keep it off.
First, clean out your kitchen and limit your food choices. The more options you have, the more likely it is you’ll keep on eating. Think about the last time you ate a large meal. After you finished, dessert is brought out. Even though you’re full, you can probably still make room for that added little treat. A slice of cake, a piece of pie or a couple scoops of ice cream that often hold 250 to 400 extra calories.
The technical term for what you’ve just experienced is “sensory-specific satiety.” When you eat something, the pleasure you get from each bite decreases. The more you eat a single food, the less likely it is you’ll want to continue eating that food. But if a new option is put in front of you, your desire ramps up again.
You can see this firsthand at an all-you-can-eat buffet. The more choices there are, the more samples you’ll put on your plate and the more you’ll eat. It’s a fundamental survival mechanism. Ten thousand years ago when our food choices were limited, it made sense for us to crave variety so we could get all the nutrients we need. But now with a nearly limitless supply of food available, it’s easy to overindulge in empty calories.
After you clean out your kitchen, focus on eating the same foods for at least a week. Make sure they’re nutritionally sound, so get plenty of vegetables and fruit. As long as you don’t have other options around to tempt you, it’ll be easier to quit eating once you’re full.
Second, you’ve got to do some kind of aerobic activity. The best recommendations from experts are to engage in at least 2.5 or more hours of cardio a week. It sounds great, until you put it on your schedule. When choosing between TV binge-watching, cruising social media and playing with our phones, cardio doesn’t even make the list. Who’s got the time?
Dump traditional cardio. No more jogging along at a leisurely pace. Start doing short bursts of high intensity interval training (HIIT). Over the last decade, researchers have found that short and intense bursts of activity provide the SAME benefits as moderately intense programs, but in about 20% of the time. You read that right, you can compress a one hour jog on the cardio machine to about 12 minutes of high-intensity intervals.
People with medical issues shouldn’t worry. Studies into high intensity interval training have demonstrated it’s significantly more effective than continuous training for patients recovering from heart failure; for overweight children; for reversing the risks of metabolic syndrome; it’s twice as effective in burning fat and it improves cardio function while building muscle.
Third, you’ve probably got to get more sleep. We are constantly bombarded with stimuli designed to keep us up and engaged. The problem with being up too long is that it causes your body to produce more of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. The longer you stay up, the more ghrelin your body makes and the more likely it is that you’ll eat uncontrollably.
Sleep deprivation can also cause leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full, to plummet. So even when you do eat something, you’re less likely to stop because your body isn’t recognizing that it’s full. People who aren’t well-rested tend to eat about 300 calories more a day. That’s an extra pound every eleven days.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that teens generally need 8.5 to 9.25 hours per night; while adults generally need 7 to 9 hours per night. If you’re getting less than that, take steps to get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
These three things are fundamental, structural changes that need to happen, for long-term weight loss to be successful.
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beginning any diet or exercise program.