Unfortunately many people these days just want to be able to eat what they want, not exercise at all and pop a pill and magically become model thin. Well, I hate to tell you but even if that pill ever does come to reality, you may be thinner but it doesn-t mean you are healthy.
Where most people fail when attempting weight loss is they try and diet and sadly in many cases the weight loss desire is just to look better in a bikini for summer or to fit into a wedding dress or for a special occasion and this is a bad practice. If you don-t address the real issues involved with being overweight and change the way you think about things, you most likely will have nothing but up and down weight loss; you know where you lose weight, get tired of the diet and go back to your previous weight or even worse higher than your previous weight.
What you need to realize is this, if you are overweight you can bet that if you don-t already have a serious health issue you are probably on your way to one; be it heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes amongst others. Our bodies are meant to be fat burning machines not flabby, fat storing, broken machines. When we allow our weight to get past the proper weight for our age/sex/height, we force our internal organs to work harder and harder and this can become deadly.
I suffered a serious neck injury 2 years ago which laid me up for some time, I gained 34 lbs because I became very lethargic and I was eating very poorly. After the injury healed, I found it hard to get started again on my old routine of fitness and healthy eating habits. One day at work I thought I had a heart attack and heart disease runs in my family, in fact, my father started having heart attacks at the age of 42 and being 37, I was scared.
I went to the doctor, they ran all their tests and thankfully it wasn-t a heart attack, just stress. But the doctor reamed me on what I had let my good and bad cholesterol levels get to and he placed me on niacin to lower the bad and raise my good cholesterol (remember HDL=good cholesterol, LDL=bad cholesterol).
Well if you haven-t had the pleasure of taking a cholesterol lowering medicine let me tell you that most have a really neat side effect that it is called flushing. Flushing is where you basically have a hot flash over your entire body and you can even feel it in your nerve endings, it-s just a lovely feeling /sarcasm off.
This whole scare woke me up like a cold shower and I decided not to diet but to work on my cholesterol levels with one goal in mind not to lose weight but to improve my health. I know it sounds silly but half the battle is won in your head so if you think about it, how much easier is it to eat healthy so you don-t die rather than eating healthy just to lose a few pounds for appearances sake. It works trust me I lost the 34lbs I gained in 2 months without any effort and I got a thumbs up from my doctor on my health improvements. Eating to improve your health will in fact allow you to lose weight and feel fantastic as well, plus it really is easy.
Ok lets get started; first, eating fewer meals will NOT help you lose weight and can be very unhealthy, in fact it is just the opposite; you need to eat more meals a day. Now don-t get too happy because there is a stipulation, you must eat less per meal. Let me explain, when you slow down when you eat and allow your stomach the time it needs to realize it is no longer empty, you will find you really need considerably less food than you think to be "full".
Now, you also need to redefine what "full" is for your body. Beat this into your brain, you do NOT need to eat to the point where you are "stuffed". You should stop eating when you are no longer hungry, that is full as far as your stomach is concerned, we aren-t bears there is no reason to eat like you are going to hibernate for the winter. Also be sure to drink a full glass of water either right before or with your dinner, it helps to "fill" your stomach faster and it is good for you as well.
Now you will find that eating until you are full instead of stuffed, that you will be hungry more often. Many people will say to this, I don-t have time to eat because I am at work all day long. Having been in the corporate world I know many people have what we refer to as a "junk drawer", you know the file cabinet or desk drawer full of snacks, candy, gum etc. Well empty that bad stuff out and keep a small cooler in your drawer with fruit in it, many fruits have natural antioxidants in them and that helps to clear the bad stuff out of your body and you can snack on fruit just like it was a meal. For me when I get hungry between main meals I fill in with wheat breads or nuts or fruit.
Another thing you must add to your diet is dietary fiber, the more the better. I suggest that you avoid getting your fiber from non natural sources; nothing bought from a store can match what you get from eating the proper foods.
You must eat breakfast, they have been saying it for years and guess what it is true, after 6-8 hrs of sleep and no food or water your body is in need of fuel and if you don-t give it to your body it begins to store fat, which is a bad thing. I suggest this, oatmeal is very high in dietary fiber and many other nutrients, so try to eat oatmeal in the morning with some type of fruit. Quaker makes an oatmeal that has 3 types of grains in it, you can make a weeks worth but instead of water use skim milk. The next day it will be clumpy but if you add more milk and nuke it in the microwave a minute or two and it will be as good as the first day. I also use honey instead of sugar and I top it off with blueberries or strawberries.
For dinner I usually eat chicken or fish most of the week and one day a week I have red meat. I try and eat 2 vegatables and occasionally some rice or beans with my meat. Later at night if I get hungry I-ll have some wheat toast or fruit; my favorite is a banana and strawberry smoothie. I take skim milk, fruit, a touch of honey, vanilla and a few ice cubes to thicken it up some. You be surprised how tasty and filling it can be and it is great for you as well! You want to drink more milk because it really does do a body good and is said to aid in weight loss.
Alright lets recap:
Eat less per meal
Eat more meals
Drink water with your meal
Increase your dietary fiber intake
Drink/eat more milk or milk products
eat more fruit
eat more chicken and fish
eat more grains
Remember your goal is not weight loss, your goal is to improve your health and lengthen your lifespan; the weight loss will come naturally as you turn your body back into the fat burning machine it was designed to be.
As far as non healthy snacks you can still have them in small portions but use them more as a treat. Maybe have your favorite indulgence one day a week and soon you-ll find two weeks go by before you have it and soon even longer. My vice was Vanilla Pepsi, I could drink a two liter in a day without any trouble, I just love the stuff! It has been months since I had any and I don-t miss it now at all. In fact, I have went down the soda isle to get a bottle to treat myself and then decided nah. I-ll get some next time. It really does get that easy to not eat or drink the bad stuff after enough time passes; I don-t feel deprived at all.
I know I didn-t touch on the exercise portion of improving your health in this article but I will in the next one that is dedicated to exercise for health. But use common sense, your body needs to use its muscles in order to help it burn fat the way it was designed to do, so get off the couch and go for a walk at least.
Chuck Dougherty has been involved with physical fitness for over 24 years. He shares this information with others and is also the managing editor of the lifestyle site http://www.MyChangingLife.com. Here you can find tons of FREE information from Chuck and other authors on dieting, health, fitness, finance, home based business and much more!