Understanding Weight Loss

Losing Weight takes more than Eating Less

Diets and Weight loss are huge parts of many peoples lives. With obesity rates growing at epidemic proportions it really is necessary for a large group of people to lose some weight.

Losing weight can do wonders in improving your health right now and keeping you from developing chronic diseases later in life. It can literally extend your life.

But so many people go about losing weight the wrong way and in doing this they don't maintain a healthy weight even if their diet helped them drop those unwanted pounds initially.

The purpose of this article is to help you understand one aspect of the weight loss battle and in doing so help you to avoid some of the pitfalls I have experienced along with many other dieters -maybe even you.

The YO-YO Diet

Every year people decide its time to get healthy. Time to lose some weight. For most people this means a diet and maybe some exercise. And you know what, it does work. The weight starts to come off.

But then life happens and the exercise just takes too much time and so to keep losing pounds you might skip breakfast or cut back even more on what you are eating. And for most people the weight does still keep going down. But the problem is that weight that is being lost is MUSCLE, NOT FAT!

So when the "diet" finally starts to break down and you fall back into your old eating habits you not only gain back the weight you just lost, but you gain back even more.

It's a viscous cycle of weight loss and gain that is hurting our health not helping. This is known as the Yo-Yo diet.

The Magic Pill

No matter how much we dream, there are no "magic" foods or "magic" supplements that are simply going to make the fat melt away. Just like there are no "magic" pills to make us taller or smarter or richer. That is one problem with modern society; we are always looking for ways to get something for nothing. We don't want to work for it, we just want it handed to us.

Liposuction and Bariatric bands are two examples of this in the weight loss field. Yes they do get rid of the weight, but are the side effects worth it and are they really a healthy, lasting solution.

There are, however, certain foods and food groups that are healthier and better at helping in the weight loss department. There are also some supplements that can help in the process of losing weight and maintaining a healthy size. One example of a good supplement is Leucine. It actually has been shown to help your body keep the muscle while it loses the fat.

Understanding Weight Loss and Weight Gain

Understanding the problem of weight loss and weight gain is critical in order to be successful. Any great General will tell you that to win the war you must understand the enemy.

The problem is that whenever we lose weight we generally lose muscle mass as well as fat. To be precise, you lose about 5 pounds of muscle for every 12 pounds of weight loss.

The reason this is a problem is that muscle helps you by increasing your metabolism. Muscle needs more energy than fat so it burns more calories. Each pound of muscle burns about 50 calories a day, those 5 pounds of muscle you lost costs you 250 calories a day.

So if you have ever counted calories (and for us yearly dieters, who hasn't?) this means that you now have to eat 250 calories less every day in order to keep losing weight at the same rate we lost the first 12 pounds.

So for every 12 pounds we lose we need to keep reducing our calorie intake by another 250 calories. EEK!

It was hard enough to cut back to our original amount to lose weight. Now we have to cut back more!?!

I will use myself as an example. I went up to 250 pounds last year. That was a gain of 20 pounds for me. My New Year's Resolution is to take off those 20 pounds plus 5 more. I wanted to do this (hopefully) by summer time. So according to my little phone app I have to reduce my calorie intake to be about 1900 calories per day. But next month that will have to be around 1700 and still going down to keep losing at the rate I want.

Well, I am a pretty big guy (even without the extra weight) and cutting back to even 2000 calories seemed like I was starving to death so how was I supposed to keep cutting?

Now I (and hopefully you) understand why it's not so hard to lose the first few pounds but it really gets tough to keep losing the weight. We hit the dreaded PLATEAU!


Stay with me here and see if this describes some or your problems over the past years.

Last year I lost some weight (New Year's Resolution) but then I got sidetracked towards the end to the year. It was cold and I didn't feel like working out and those holiday meals and desserts are just too good to pass up. So I gained it all back.

I have gained and lost the same ten pounds so many times over and over again my cellulite must have déjà vu. ~Jane Wagner

The problem is that it came back as mostly FAT. I lost 5 – 10 pounds of muscle last year. That means I already have to be eating 250 – 500 calories less per day compared to 8 months ago just to MAINTAIN my weight. This means I am already starting in a hole.

And this is not my first year of losing and gaining it back. And gaining it back as FAT! No wonder our metabolism slows down as we age.

The results for me and most people is that we gain back more weight than we lost and we gain it back as fat so our metabolism slows and we gain weight even easier and of course it harder to get it back off.

So now you can understand the dreaded weight loss yo-yo!

HELP! What can I do to get off this rollercoaster?

Now this wouldn't be a very good article if I didn't have a solution to this muscle loss dilemma, so (drum roll please) here you go, the answer to your weight loss problems.

The first is to exercise. Exercise, especially resistance exercise (things like weight lifting), help reduce the amount of muscle you are losing when losing weight. But exercise alone can't do it all.

What you eat is important as well. Highly processed food is full of sugar and other man made chemicals that throw off you bodies balance. The extra sugar (on average we eat around 150 pounds a year) does not get burned off but turns in to fat.

Supplements can also help. Now I am not talking the magic weight loss pill from the corner drug store or online website, I am talking about natural food supplements that help you get the nutrition you need. Most fruits and vegetables, even organics, have less nutritional value today than they did 50 years ago. Leucine is just one example of a good supplement to help with weight loss.

So there are actually lots of things you can do to help with weight loss. It really comes down to lifestyle and making a change in how you think and eat and live. You can't simply force one change through willpower and expect it to stick.

That really is what a lot of this website is about, getting healthier and part of that is stepping away from obesity and the chronic diseases that come along with it.

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Michael Tomberlin


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