Health And Beauty: The Truth About Weight Loss

Weight loss myths: a magical pill to cure obesity? Read about the best and proven ways to lose weight.

For decades, weight loss fads have been all the rage in America. From the machines of the 1950s that promised to shake people to thinness to the muscles stimulators of today that guarantee toned abs, every gimmicky product had drawn hordes of customers to hand over a lot of money for a machine that simply does not work. Why are people so easily deceived? The answer is simple: we have become a lazy society, one that is accustomed to not having to do too much work in order to get results. While this philosophy may work well in the technological age, it cannot be applied to the body. By looking at the statistics, which say that America is the most overweight one in the world, we can see that the easy path is the wrong choice. Unfortunately, weight loss cannot happen magically overnight. It is the result of hard work and discipline.

How the Body Works

Before going any further, it is important that we discuss how the intricate machine that is our body works.

A certain amount of fuel is required to keep the body running. The calories from everything we eat and drink provide this fuel. When more calories are consumed in a day than can be burnt, the excess is stored away for later use inside the fat cells. If a day comes when the body uses all of the readily available food and still needs more, it will begin breaking down the fat cells' contents to provide it with further sustenance. Excessive weight gain occurs when a person regularly eats more than they can burn off, thus storing excess calories in the form of fat. Without changes in activity levels and caloric intake, the cycle of weight gain will continue endlessly.



Diet

The first solution come to by people interested in dropping a few pounds is to go on a diet. This method of weight loss involves drastically changing the type or amount of food consumed. While diets may provide the desired benefits initially, they are not a good way to keep weight down long term. This is primarily true because it forces a person to rely entirely on their willpower, which can weaken for a variety of reasons. Emotions drive a great deal of our eating habits. For instance, have you ever sought the comfort of a pint of specialty ice cream after a bad breakup? Have you celebrated a promotion with a steak the size of a computer monitor? Were you ever simply unable to resist a slice of chocolate cake for dessert? It is common in our society to treat rich foods as rewards, solaces, and distractions. For this reason, the popularly known diet is not recommended for those serious about weight loss.

Instead, the term "diet" will from here on signify the foods that are eaten on a daily basis. A healthy diet, as outlined by the Food Pyramid, should consist of whole grains, low fat dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and small amounts of fats and sugars. Foods that "remember where they came from" are essential for maintaining both health and weight. For instance, a baked potato is better than instant mashed potatoes, a whole grain bagel is better than white bread, and fresh pineapple is better than a pineapple smoothie is. The more foods are processed, the less of their beneficial nutrients they retain. Also, foods that have been heavily processed often require the addition of fats and sugars to make them taste good. In short, you can get maximum nutritional value for fewer calories if you choose foods that are as close to the original as possible.

Now that we have discussed what to eat, it is important to talk about how much to eat. The greatest problem in the American diet is portion control. In the fast food industry, everything can be sized up for just pennies. In restaurants, two pounds of meat are served beside a mountain of mashed potatoes. Even at home, a casserole big enough for six people is eaten for dinner by two. It is no wonder that a society that overeats as a matter of course has a weight problem. Pay close attention to the serving sizes on every food you eat. Measure out an ounce of meat if you have to. Just be certain that you stay within a single serving of everything you eat. Otherwise, you could easily take in a day's worth of calories in just one meal.

Exercise

Equally important in the "battle of the bulge" is regular exercise. In fact, by exercising regularly, you can boost your metabolism (how many calories you body needs to run) and give yourself leeway to consume more occasional treats. Simply put, any exercise that gets you moving is good for weight loss. When your body has to work harder than normal, it will start burning more fuel. More fuel (calories) burnt equals weight loss over time. A good exercise routine involves both aerobic (heart rate-elevating) and weight training routines. Buy a video, join a gym, or work out with a friend. All it takes is twenty to thirty minutes three to four times a week to see impressive results.

Of course, all of these weight loss guidelines are generalized and need to be tweaked to fit your needs and body type. A visit to your doctor or nutritionalist will help you come up with a weight loss plan that will give you the best results. It will also ensure that you do not put yourself at risk by too harshly cutting calories or trying an overly demanding workout routine. So consult a medical expert about any concerns and remember that it will take time, patience, and hard work to achieve results. However, all of your hard work will be worth it. Along with a smaller dress size, you will also earn bodily health and a longer, more enjoyable life.

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