Healthier, Practical, Lifelong Weight Loss Rules
by Dr. Lauren Schofield
Statistics reveal that weight loss is America’s number one “New Year’s Resolution”, with 48% choosing to shed the pounds this January 1st. Gym membership soar, diet gimmicks rage and only 8% of those will succeed after 6 weeks. Sad, but true. I would like to suggest we rethink the “Rules of Weight Loss” with new ones. New rules that are healthier, practical and set for you to achieve lifelong success. I am happy to present to you a new way of thinking about the weight loss rules.
Old Rule – Count Your Calories
New Rule – Upgrade Your Calories
So this new Rule is all about Quality, not Quantity. Simply putting your focus on eating fewer calories than you burn is a losing strategy solely because this numerical approach is treating all calories as equal…and they are not! Our bodies require a balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) as well as micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, water, etc.) to function optimally. When we “diet” we miss consuming important elements, therefore our energy goes in the toilet, our hormones get unbalanced and our metabolism stops working efficiently. If there is any weight loss that occurs, you can be sure that once the “diet” is over, the weight will return. A diverse diet of low glycemic load and high phytonutrient index works BEST.
Here are four steps to getting more phytonutrients in your diet:
- Load up on Produce. Aim for 13 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Eat Color. Most of your processed foods are white, yellow or tan. Add a variety of naturally colorful foods each day.
- Be Adventurous. Try new foods each week…and new recipes. Make it fun, because it is!
- Maximize Combinations. Get the synergistic effect by trying different combinations of plant foods for an optimal benefit.
Old Rule – Fat Makes You Fat
New Rule – Good Fats are Good for You
Avoiding fat is a huge mistake, most experts agree. Taking in healthy fats is essential to proper body composition, function and overall weight management.
The key is understanding what are fats and the difference between good and bad.
- Bad Fats are:
- Trans fats
- Unstable or rancid fats found in processed foods.
- Good Fats are:
- Nuts, seeds, fish and meat
- Mainly those fats found in fresh whole foods.
Most nutrition experts suggest getting between 20-35% of your daily calories from fats. Getting more fat in the diet and staying away from processed “low fat” foods will ensure better brain and heart function, improved cell structure and higher nerve transmission.
Old Rule – Exercise to Burn Calories
New Rule – Exercise to Build Fitness for Life and Maximize Metabolism
Yes, exercise burn calories, and burning calories can help you lose weight. But exercising for improved fitness has many weight-loss benefits that go beyond the caloric burn. Being fit gives you a distinct metabolic advantage at the cellular level. Fit people have more mitochondria, the power houses of the cell. The more mitochondria you have, the more fat you burn! And since regular exercise also improves your energy level, confidence, emotional outlook and self-esteem, why not exercise for life!
Old Rule – To Lose Weight, Diet
New Rule – To Lose Weight, Nourish Your Body
While calorie-restricted diets can and do trigger temporary weight loss, they do have some unfortunate long-term consequences. When you take in fewer calories, your body can go into hunger, creating “fat-conservation” mode where your body actually thinks it is starving to death. Good bye, caloric burn. Hello weight rebound! Enjoy delicious whole, high quality foods in ways that nurture your body for the long haul.
So if your resolution this year is to become healthier and to lose weight, I want you to succeed. Try looking at the Rules and Myths in your own life, and put these tips in place. You will be amazed at the results you will achieve long term. Remember, the tortoise beat the hare!