Posted on August 5, 2010 - No Comments
A successful approach to weight loss must include exercise (even if it is only an hour of brisk walking daily), proper diet and nutrition, and a positive mental attitude. The basic equation for losing body fat can be summed up as: energy expended must be greater than energy intake. In practical terms, this means reducing calorie intake and/or increasing energy output (the rate at which calories are burned) through physical activity.
To lose one pound per week, one needs to attain a negative calorie balance of 500 calories per day. It is difficult to reduce one’s food intake by 500 calories, and burning off 500 calories can be hard for someone out of shape (example: running for 45 minutes, tennis for an hour, a brisk walk for an hour and 15 minutes). The easiest approach is to do a bit of both: decrease calorie intake and increase energy output. Here are a few more weight loss tips to help you on your way.
Avoid large meals at dinnertime. Since we don’t usually do much exercise or hard work after dinner, and the metabolism slows down when sleeping, that heavy meal may be stored as fat.
Avoid simple (refined) carbohydrates for at least 2 hours before bed. Refined carbs include sugar, fruit juice, cereals, pastries, bread, pasta, white potatoes, and white rice. The insulin spike caused by these foods will lower the body’s production of growth hormone, which is crucial to burning fat and building muscle while we sleep.
Get plenty of sunshine. Sunshine stimulates hormonal balance, which encourages weight loss. It raises melatonin level (sleep cycle), which in turn raises seratonin levels (curbs carbohydrate cravings) and normalizes sex hormones, which also aid in balancing out body weight.
Eat more frequently. Spread your daily calories over 4 to 6 small meals. Infrequent eating causes the body to assume there is little food available in the environment, and it goes into starvation mode, hoarding fat and slowing the metabolism. Frequent eating (of the correct foods) will speed the metabolism up as the body becomes comfortable that there is plenty of food available.
Add a short burst of speed to your walking pace until you move at a consistently brisk pace. Brisk walking burns a lot of calories, while slow walking does little. A Chinese saying advises, “If you can sit, stand. If you can stand, walk. If you can walk, run.”
Join a weight-loss group. People in group-weight-loss programs lose more weight on average than those who go it alone. Find a support group, or create one. The more often a support group is attended, the more weight will be lost.
Get enough sleep. Two studies (in “Diabetes Journal” & “The Lancet”) show that not getting enough sleep causes your body to stop responding to insulin, which puts us at risk for obesity, diabetes and hypertension. We need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to maintain healthy insulin levels.
Acid vs Alkaline Blood: If a person is too acidic, they tend to hold on to water because the body is trying to dilute metabolic waste products and toxins. Minerals and chlorophyll rich foods (including “green” drinks) help promote alkalinity in the body. Acidifiers in the diet include processed foods, refined sugars and carbs, and excess animal protein.
Vitamin & Mineral Supplementation: Some nutrients are involved in the conversion of food to energy, others help defend cells against toxins. Both functions are essential to maintaining a healthy body weight. As well, extra nutrients allow the body to feel satisfied from less food.
Leveling out Blood Sugar: When insulin spikes, carbohydrates are stored as fat. Refined carbohydrates and sugars are the worst for causing this spike. Therefore, carbs are more fattening than eating fat itself. In fact, adding fat to simple carbohydrate (such as adding butter to a baked potato) slows the insulin release, which means the carbohydrate is less likely to be stored as fat.
Chew Your Food: Research has shown that obese people spend less time consuming their meals, and chew their food fewer times than people who are not overweight. Chewing stimulates the satiety center of the brain, which makes us feel full and satisfied. Chewing also triggers the digestive system to begin releasing enzymes and digestive juices. Chew at least 20 times per mouthful.
Enzymes: Many overweight people suffer from poor digestion and enzyme deficiency. When digestion is impaired, you still feel hungry even though you may be eating plenty of food. Consider supplementing your meals with a capsule of full-spectrum digestive enzymes. Also, raw seeds, nuts and grains contain enzymes inhibitors, and should be soaked or cooked to neutralize these inhibitors.
Fiber: Fiber, especially soluble fiber, which is less irritating to the bowel, stimulates regular bowel movements and curbs appetite, which contributes to healthy weight loss. Fiber also flushes wastes and toxins from the body, lowers cholesterol levels and assists in controlling blood sugar levels. JAMA noted that in young adults, the more fiber in their diet, the less likely they were to gain weight.
Liver Health: When the liver becomes overloaded with toxins, it causes imbalances that lead to weight gain, blood sugar imbalance, essential fatty acid deficiency and slowed metabolism. Consider using liver-supportive herbs (such as Milk Thistle), or doing a liver cleansing program. Liver supportive herbs, when taken as tinctures also improve digestion, since they are also bitters.