Not Just Holiday Weight Loss Advice

Healthy Diet Advice for the Holidaysby Nate Ladin

I read once that people gain an average of 1 pound every year. The problem with that 1 pound is that it never goes away.

Around this time of year it’s popular to blame that weight gain on the heaps and heaps of holiday food. Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties, and other holiday meals… It seems that the meals are the guilty party.

The truth is that it’s our lack of discipline around the holidays that is to blame for our personal inflation.

You’re seeing tons of articles with titles like Holiday Fitness Tips or some such variation. The fundamental mistake in these “Holiday” tips is that they specifically belong to the holidays. Staying fit and healthy isn’t a short-term activity. It is an ongoing process.

Small Plates Save Guts

Ask any chef or restaurant owner and they will tell you the size of a plate greatly affects how a person sees their meal. When you’re portioning your meal grab a smaller plate.

Studies have shown that people with larger plates pile on more food… and eat more food. Start with a smaller plate and you’ll find yourself grabbing and eating less food.

Seriously Count Your Calories

Have you ever looked at the nutritional information on the side of a food or drink item? Do you pay attention to “serving size”? There is a box of ready-to-make pasta salad in my pantry that I use as an example to people. It’s one of those where you boil the pasta and add in a powdered mix to create the pasta salad.

The nutrition label on the side says that one serving contains 350 calories. A serving size is 1 cup (that’s 8 ounces). A typical can of soda is 12 ounces and has around 150 calories. That means in one 8 oz. serving of this pasta salad you would consume more than twice as many calories as you would for drinking a can of soda.

And Trans Fats Count Too

If you’re aware of the calories you’re probably savvy on trans fats in your foods as well. You might also be choosing foods that proudly advertise their zero grams of trans fat content. But take a closer look at that label and you’ll see that it says “per serving” right underneath that.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration made it legal for a company to say that their product has zero grams of trans fat if the actual trans fat content is 0.5 grams or less per serving. Imagine a bag of cookies that advertises “0g Trans Fats” where a serving size is 3 cookies. You just wolfed down 30 of them in one sitting without batting an eyelash. That’s up to 5 grams of trans fats you have just consumed (subject to how much trans fats are actually in what you’re eating). Be aware.

This is the proverbial “food for thought”. When you grab a few slices of the holiday bird and decide to garnish it with a couple of spoonfuls of a side dish, take a peek at the box that dish came from.

Keep Active

With the drop in temperature and the chance that the outside weather may just become downright inhospitable, the likelihood of people becoming increasingly sedentary over the winter season increases as the days go by. Most fitness experts say that keeping fit doesn’t need to involve being at the gym every waking moment of your life. The average recommendation is just 30 minutes of brisk activity at least 3 times a week.

There are easy ways to get a little bit of extra fitness in.

  • Go for a walk around your neighborhood.
  • When shopping park your car in the back of the parking lot as opposed to as close to the entrance as you can get.
  • You can even run in place for several 5 to 10 minute bursts.

Remember, there is nothing different about holiday fitness from normal rest of the year fitness. The hard part is keeping your discipline when that aromatic holiday ham makes its way past your plate. Don’t be afraid to indulge, just be careful not to overdo it.

Nate Ladin is a health and fitness enthusiast, and freelance writer with Slimband. Nate managed to drop 50 pounds and now he gives weight-loss insight and support to those in need of it.
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Carbohydrates & Fat Loss: Clearing Up The Confusion – Part 2

NOTE: I am an affiliate of Sean’s program and the links in this article are affiliate links. If you purchase Sean’s programs I will receive a commission.

Guest Post By Sean Nalewanyj
Fat Loss Expert & Best-Selling Fitness Author
www.HowToBurnFat.com

Healthy OrangesIn Part 1, we established that the ultimate goal of effective fat burning carbohydrate consumption is to keep blood sugar levels consistent and balanced. In doing so, insulin levels will remain under control, the fat burning metabolism will be maximized and the body’s energy levels and mood will remain elevated.

The only issue now is to determine which sources of carbohydrates will aid us in achieving that goal. This is where things get a bit trickier, as there are several factors that need to be addressed.

Carbohydrates are essentially broken down into two main categories: “simple” and “complex”.

Carbohydrates are basically “rings” of carbon/hydrogen/oxygen, and it is the number of rings and the manner in which they hook together that determines whether they are simple or complex.

Conventional wisdom used to tell us that we should limit our consumption of simple carbohydrates and focus on consuming complex carbohydrates. The logic behind this was that the simpler structures are broken down faster while the complex structures are broken down gradually.

We now know that this is not entirely accurate. For example, a white potato is a complex carbohydrate that raises blood sugar levels quickly, while an apple is a simple carbohydrate that raises blood sugar levels slowly.

This brings us to a more accurate tool: the glycemic index.

Rather than focusing on the notions of “simple” and “complex”, the glycemic index evaluates the rate at which carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels by assigning them a ranking between 0 and 100.

In general, a GI ranking of 55 or less classifies a carbohydrate as “low glycemic” (raises blood sugar levels very slowly)… 56 to 69 would be considered “medium” (raises blood sugar levels at a moderate pace)… while 70 and above is considered “high” (raises blood sugar levels quickly and sharply).

While the GI is a more accurate criteria to use as opposed to the “simple” and “complex” method, the drawback is that each ranking is based on that specific food source consumed on its own in a fasted state.

We never consume carbohydrates on their own (in order to maximize fat loss they should always be combined with a lean protein source), and we rarely ever consume them in a fasted state.

This is very important, because when carbohydrates are combined with other food sources (such as proteins and fats), their GI properties can be dramatically altered.

So while the glycemic index IS one useful tool that can be utilized as part of the overall picture, relying on it as the sole means of carbohydrate selection is an obvious mistake.

The next and final criteria that can be used is the issue of “natural” carbohydrate sources versus “refined” carbohydrate sources.

Refined carbohydrates are foods where the high fiber bits (the bran and germ) have been removed from the grain. White rice, white bread, sugary cereals and any item made from white flour are all examples of refined carbohydrates. These sources of carbohydrates are very simplistic in structure, low in nutritional value and raise blood sugar levels quickly and sharply.

Natural carbohydrates are simply those which have not been modified and still contain the whole grain, including the bran and germ. These sources are high in fiber, take longer to digest, are more nutritious, will keep you feeling full for longer, and have a negligible effect on blood sugar levels when consumed as part of a balanced meal.

To determine if a carbohydrate source is natural, look for the first ingredient on the package to be whole wheat flour, brown rice, rye flour, barley, or oats. Terms such as “rice syrup”, “corn syrup”, “sucrose” and “brown sugar” all indicate that the source has been refined, as does any product made from white flour.

As you can see, there is more than one criteria to be used when choosing fat burning carbohydrate sources.

Here is a summed up review that takes all factors into account…

  1. Refined carbohydrate sources of any kind should be avoided.
  2. Unrefined starchy carbohydrate sources are fine to consume as part of a balanced meal.
  3. Vegetables of all kinds are highly acceptable, particularly green fibrous vegetables.
  4. Fruit sources on the medium to lower end of the glycemic index are acceptable with a maximum of 2-3 pieces per day.
  5. Low fat and non-fat dairy products are fine to consume in moderation.

With all of that in mind, here is a basic list of carbohydrate sources to include in your fat burning diet…

Carbohydrate sources that should form the bulk of your diet

 

  • Vegetables of all kinds
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole grain breads
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Brown rice
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Lentils

Carbohydrate sources that should be consumed in moderation

  • Fresh fruits
  • Low-fat/Non-fat yogurt
  • Skim milk

Hopefully by now you have grasped the basics of carbohydrate consumption and understand which food sources are best to include in your diet and why.

To learn more about proper fat burning nutrition, including the topics of caloric intake, protein, fats, meal frequency, meal combinations and more, visit www.HowToBurnFat.com. You can sign up for my free 6-part fat burning email course and gain instant access to my renowned body makeover program, “The Real Deal Body Transformation System”.

About The Author

Sean NalewanyjOnce an awkward, out-of-shape “social outcast”, Sean Nalewanyj is now a renowned fat loss and muscle building expert, best-selling fitness author, and creator of the wildly popular online fat loss program: “The Real Deal Body Transformation System”.

Discover 2 unique exercises and 3 little-known foods that burn fat fast by visiting: www.HowToBurnFat.com.

Apple photo by fenias at stock.xchng
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Carbohydrates & Fat Loss: Clearing Up The Confusion – Part 1

NOTE: I am an affiliate of Sean’s program and the links in this article are affiliate links. If you purchase Sean’s programs I will receive a commission.

Guest Post By Sean Nalewanyj
Fat Loss Expert & Best-Selling Fitness Author
www.HowToBurnFat.com

Healthy LifestyleNo other nutrient out there is surrounded by more confusion, hype and contradiction than the all-too-famous carbohydrate.

Over the last decade a virtually endless amount of advice, fad diets and hard-fast rules have been put into place regarding proper carbohydrate consumption. As a result, most average beginners have been left clueless and without any rational guidance on the topic.

In this 2-part article I will attempt to provide a very basic and straightforward framework to help you choose which sources of carbohydrates to include in your fat burning diet. This will simply be a broad, overall examination of the topic in order to keep things as easy to understand for you as possible.

So… what exactly IS a carbohydrate?

Sugar.

Whether you consume a plate of spaghetti noodles, a bowl of grapes or a chocolate bar, carbohydrates will always eventually be broken down into their simplest form: glucose.

The main function of glucose is to provide fuel for your muscles and brain in order to carry out your daily tasks.

While the end product of all carbohydrates is the same, it is the manner in which they reach that final end product that is important to us in terms of burning fat.

When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, the body will digest and break them down into glucose, which is then released into the bloodstream to be used as a source of fuel. The main difference amongst different carbohydrate sources is the speed at which the sugars are broken down for use.

Some carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels quickly and sharply, while others are broken down and released at a slow, gradual pace.

As a person looking to burn body fat and maintain high levels of energy for your workouts, your primary goal when consuming carbohydrates is simple: keep blood sugar levels consistent and balanced.

Why?

It’s all related to insulin, which is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the bloodstream by moving it into the cells of the body.

When you consume carbohydrates that are broken down quickly, the body must release a large amount of insulin in order to compensate. The insulin will remove the sugar from the bloodstream very quickly, which will then result in lower-than-normal blood sugar levels.

Low blood sugar levels will result in feelings of tiredness and fatigue, and will also produce hunger pangs which can then lead to binge eating.

In addition, high levels of insulin increase the body’s rate of fat storage. When insulin is present in large amounts, fat cannot be used as an energy source by the body due to a rise in enzymes that prevent fat mobilization.

To put it simply…

When you consume carbohydrates that raise blood sugar levels quickly, you end up in a constant cycle of sharp rises in blood sugar followed by dramatic falls. This inhibits your ability to burn fat and throws your energy levels, appetite and mood completely out of order.

Because of the above-mentioned facts, the ultimate goal of proper carbohydrate consumption is to stick to meals that keep blood sugar levels balanced. This is accomplished by focusing on food sources that are broken down and released gradually in the bloodstream.

By always maintaining steady blood sugar levels, your body will remain in a continual fat burning state, your energy levels will remain peaked, and your appetite will be kept under control.

We have now established what the GOAL of proper carbohydrate consumption is, and in Part 2 we will discuss which specific sources can help you achieve that goal…

Go to Part 2..

About The Author

Sean NalewanyjOnce an awkward, out-of-shape “social outcast”, Sean Nalewanyj is now a renowned fat loss and muscle building expert, best-selling fitness author, and creator of the wildly popular online fat loss program: “The Real Deal Body Transformation System”.

Discover 2 unique exercises and 3 little-known foods that burn fat fast by visiting: www.HowToBurnFat.com.

Apple photo by lusi at stock.xchng
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Your Low Carb Diet Plan

Lady on scaleSo you’re thinking about a low carb diet. Good for you. And it’s very good that you’re looking for information about it before jumping in.

So What is a Low Carb Diet Anyway?

There are 6 main principles that low carb diets share. These were originally made famous by Dr Robert Atkins. Now they are shared by many other low carbohydrate diets.
The principle behind these diets is completely contrary to the low fat diets that have been popular for the past few decades. Dr. Atkins and others have seen the adverse affects that the low fat diets have on people’s health. They have put in lots of research to find out why these problems exist and it boils down to carbohydrates — carbs don’t have any use in the body other than energy.
The research lead them to a better understanding of how the body uses carbohydrates, proteins and fats. This understanding is what the principles of low carb diets is based on.

1. Zero Carbohydrate Foods are Unlimited

Some foods are considered zero carb foods. They are high in proteins and fats with very little carbohydrates. These include foods like meat, fish and oils. There are no restrictions on these foods in general.
There are certain types of food that fall into this category that you should still avoid for other reasons. Foods that are highly processed or contain harmful additives (like bacon) still need to be reduced or avoided completely.
Of course you shouldn’t eat just for the sake of eating. Impulse eating or emotional eating will still provide too many calories. But often you will find that you are less likely to do that on a low carb diet since your body is getting complete nutrition and feels satisfied.
The nice thing about these foods is that you can create a variety tasty meals. Lots of variety and enjoyment will help you stick to your diet plan.

2. Low Carbohydrate Foods are Limited

The next category of foods are low carb foods. These have a blend of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Foods like green vegetables, cheese, eggs, nuts and seeds fall into this category. You can eat them but most of the diet plans will have some form of restriction on the amounts.
Different diets manage this in different ways. For example, the Atkins plan limits you to a specific amount of vegetables and cheese. There is also a list of allowed vegetables. Eggs are unlimited but must be counted. Nuts and seeds are not allowed in the induction phase (the first two weeks) but can be reintroduced later in small portions.
All low carb diet plans have a minimum amount of vegetables. This is not optional!. Don’t confuse the idea of reducing carbohydrates and eliminating them, espectially those found in the vegetable category. It is very dangerous to cut out this source of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. And it will not help you reach your weigh goals any faster, so please eat your greens!

3. High Carbohydrate Foods are Very Limited or Eliminated

What is Ketosis?

The term ketosis is used to describe the state that your body enters when it switches from burning glycogen (sugars) to triglycererol (fat). This state can be dangerous in some cases if it lasts too long (i.e. months) but it is necessary in the early stages of low carb diets to begin using the body’s fat stores.
Sometimes ketosis is referred to as lypolisis.

The final group of foods is high carb foods. Anything made with grains or flour, corn, potatoes and other starchy vegetables are in this category. Most fruits are also high in carbs. And of course there is sugar. Sugar is what is known as a simple carbohydrate and comes in several forms. Most low carb diets will want to you eliminate the simple carbohydrates other than those in fresh fruits and vegetables.
At the start of your diet you will likely need to eliminate most of these high carb foods. Then you will be allowed to add limited amounts of them back in as you achieve your weight loss goal.
Although it may be tempting to cheat with these foods, even a small amount can knock you out of ketosis and stall your weight loss.

4. Water is Vital

Water is not an option — you must drink water. And it has to be water. Most plans will eliminate drinks that contain caffeine, alchohol and refined sugars. Water is vital to the processes that your body uses to consume energy, repair and build blood, muscle, bone and other tissues and to cleanse the byproducts of body processes from your system.
It is especially important for proper kidney function as a low carb diet can often put more stress on them.
Each plan may have a different requirement with regards to the amount of water you need. But you’ll probably find that it is drastically more than you are used to.

5. Exercise is Vital

Every diet plan, whether low carb or not, will work better when exercise is involved. The primary benefit is that it burns calories. In a low carb diet, this causes the body to use up the fat stores and leads to weight loss.
But that isn’t the only benefit. Exercise increases muscle and bone mass. This makes you stronger and also helps to raise your metabolic rate, burning further calories. Physical activity also helps to improve brain function leading to better moods, higher alertness, etc.
You need to have some physical activity every day. The intensity and duration depends on your current level of fitness. Walking is an excellent form of exercise and simple to add to your daily schedule. There are more intense exercise programs that you can pursue when your fitness level is able to handle it that will help you keep your body in its optimum state.
Your health professional is a great resource to help you find what type of exercise program will fit your current fitness level and allow you to exercise safely.

6. Supplements are Recommended

When you start a low carb diet you will likely need to take vitamin and mineral supplements. Previous poor eating habits will likely have depleted your body’s levels. Also, in the early stages of a low carb diet fruits and vegetables will be restricted and they are the primary dietary source of vitamins.
Your doctor or naturopath can help you determine what supplements are required and help you to find those which are right for you.

What’s Next

Now that you’ve gotten some basic principles of the low carb diet under your belt, you need to decide if this is the right way for you. I’ve read two excellent books in this field that I’d like to recommend.

Dr. Atkins’ Age Defying Diet Revolution (by Dr. Robert C. Atkins of course) explains how the low fat diet is helpful in fighting the diseases typically associated with aging. It outlines the Atkins Diet.

The Schwarzbein Principle by Dr. Diane Schwarzbein is a more technical book. This book really appealed to me since I love to understand how things work. Dr. Schwarzbein describes the science and gives case studies from her own practice in how the low carb diet has helped with people suffering from diabetes, heart disease, etc.

There are plenty of other resources available out there as well. So make sure that you do your research and find the plan that will work for you.

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Rev Up Your Metabolism For Faster Weight Loss

Lady on scaleWritten by Susanne Myers

One you first start watching what you eat, the weight starts coming off easily. Then after a few weeks, the scale stops moving downward and you hit a plateau. What’s happening? Your metabolism is slowing down.

As you eat less to lose weight, your body goes into survival mode and your metabolism slows down. A slowed down metabolism means you are burning less calories. Yikes! Not exactly what you were trying to accomplish, right. After all the idea behind losing weight is to burn more calories to get rid of all that unwanted body fat.

Let’s talk a bout some simple things you can start doing every day to speed your metabolism up. One of the first things you should do is to get some exercise. Any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up will also speeds up your metabolism not only while you exercise, but for hours afterward. Find something you enjoy and can stick with for the long run. Go for a walk, chase your kids around the yard, get an exercise DVD, or join a local gym. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.

The other strategy that seems to work really well for me in combination with walking every day is to eat several small meals throughout the day. My body doesn’t feel starved so my metabolism doesn’t slow down. This works best if you include some sort of protein with each meal. Lean meats, hardboiled eggs, protein shakes and lowfat cottage cheese are all great sources of protein. Combine them with some whole grain products or a piece of fruit for a small meal or snack.

Give these strategies a try and speed up your metabolism. You’ll lose weight faster and you’ll feel better with all this extra energy. Once you get in the habit of exercising and eating smaller, more frequent meals, it will become easy to stick with and the benefit is obvious. You feel better and have a smaller waistline.

Article by: Susanne has been losing weight by eating well and walking more. Visit www.walkingofftheweight.com to find out how you can start walking off the weight today and visit www.healthymenumailer.com for meal ideas that are healthy and low in calories.

Article Source: www.ladypens.com

Lady on Scale image by julosstock on stock.xchng

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Why Should I Do Weights?

So, you want to lose weight.  And you want to be healthy.  But you don’t want to do any weight training — diet and cardio workouts should be enough for any healthy weight loss program.
Well, they’re not.
You need to incorporate weight training (or strength training as it is sometimes called) into your weight loss routine if you want it to be sustainable and healthy.  That is because your muscles are key components in the healthy function of your metabolism.
I can understand that you don’t want to be a body builder.  I don’t either, but there are great health benefits to weight training that will not only help with healthy weight loss, they will help you to be healthier and more active as you age.  And a weight lifting program doesn’t need to build huge muscles.

Your Body’s Furnace

The muscles of your body are a key component in your metabolism.  They are used to burn up the energy that you consume as food.  Studies show very clearly that muscle mass continues to consume calories even when your body is at rest.

Weight training can provide a boost to your metabolism that will have your body burning fat calories long after the workout is complete.  Muscles will also make efficient use of protein and fat in your diet so that they don’t need to be consumed like regular calories.

While cardiovascular workouts and diet are still a very important tools to achieve your fitness goals, you must not neglect the advantages that strength training can provide.

Musculoskeletal Strength

Weight training does more than increase your muscle mass.  It is also critical in the building and maintenance of your bones as well.  Just like you experience with the muscles in your body, bones are built up based on the strain that is applied to them.  The bones that are used to regularly lift heavy objects will be strengthened by the body.

The expression use it or lose it applies here just as much as it does with your muscles.  There is evidence that weight training can lead to stronger bones as we age, reducing the risk of many diseases associated with age such as osteoporosis or arthritis.

The most important factor when looking at exercise to build your bone strength (also known as bone density) is that it must put stress on the bones.  Activities such as swimming or cycling may work the muscles and joints, but they don’t work the bones.  Weight training provides the stress on the bones that will trigger your body to make them stronger.

Equipment

Now that we’ve settled the benefits of weight training for your healthy weight loss plan, the next question is what equipment should you use?  This will depend a large amount on what you are comfortable with.  There are two main types of weight equipment — free weights and weight machines.

Free Weights

This is the typical weight equipment that you will think of when you think about body building — bars that you add weights to that can be used for a limitless arrangement of exercises together with a bench.

Free weights allow for an incredible range of different exercises.  This is very important for those who want to develop specific muscle groups (i.e. body builders) but less important for those who are seeking to simply build lean muscle mass for the health benefits.

One negative with free weights is the fact that they are more dangerous than weight machines.  For this reason it is important to workout with a partner who can spot you when doing potentially dangerous exercises such as bench presses.

Weight Machines

A weight machine is a device that is designed to make weight training more safe and simple.  They don’t have the flexibility of free weights, but there is less danger associated with them.

There are many different types of machines available, some that focus on one type of exercise and others that allow a broader range.  But there are two basic types of machines out there.

Weight

Machines that use weights are very similar to free weights in that gravity acting on the weights provides the load to work your body.  There is a system of cables and pulleys attached to a stack of weight plates that provide the workout.

These systems are heavy (well, d’uh) and cumbersome to move around.  They also tend to be quite noisy as the weight plates clank against each other.  However, they are simple to use and provide a much safer experience than free weights.

Resistance

Resistance machines don’t have weights built into them.  They use resistance of some sort to provide the workout for you.  This may be in the form of bands that stretch or carbon fiber rods that bend.

Workouts with these machines tend to be quieter and the machines are naturally lighter which can be handy if you need to move them around in your workout area.

What Now?

If you’ve decided to include weight training as part of your weight loss program (and I hope that you have) then you need to get The Real Deal Body Transformation System by Sean Nalewanyj.

You’ll get The Truth About Burning Fat 261 page eBook PLUS 7 Real-Deal Support Modules:

  1. Metabolic Ignition Workout Plan
  2. Perfect Form Video Exercise Database
  3. Customized Body Sculpting Meal Plans
  4. Fat Burning Food Reports
  5. Body Progress Tracking Tools
  6. 1-Month Private Forum Access
  7. Lifetime Product Updates

It all comes with a 100% satisfaction, 60 day guarantee so you have no reason to delay.  Get it now!

Note: This product is sold through an affiliate program which means that I will receive a commission if you buy it through my links.  The same is true of most of the products that you will find recommended on this site.

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What You Can Learn From A Tree

“I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay.”  Did you ever sing that song as a kid?  I did.  The funny thing about life is that now I really am a lumberjack.

Well, not a professional.  But I do own a chainsaw and the appropriate safety gear (hey, aren’t fluorescent orange chaps sexy?) and I spend time felling trees, cutting them to the right size, splitting them into firewood and then, eventually, keeping warm all winter from the fruits of my labour.

So, when I look at a tree I see winter heat for my family.  I mentally assess how much firewood I could get from it and how hard it would be to do all the work.  I’m sure that a carpenter or woodworker would look at the same tree and have a completely different thought process, but they’d still be seeing more than just bark and leaves.

But that tree will not keep me warm.  No matter how big it is or how many BTU’s of heat energy it could produce, the tree will not keep me warm.

I need to actually follow through on the process to turn that tree into firewood and then burn it in the wood stove to get the heat.  It takes work on my part to turn the potential of the tree into an actual warm, comfortable home.

The knowledge and tools for achieving (and maintaining) a healthy weight are a lot like that tree.  They are potential.  You can imagine how they will help you lose weight.  You can calculate how they will increase your metabolism or reduce stress.

But until you actually start to apply the knowledge and use the tools then you’ll be cold all winter long.

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The 4 Keys To Healthy Weight Loss

Ted’s House

Let me tell you a story.  It’s a story ’bout a man named Ted.  Well, technically it’s about Ted and his house.

Ted built a beautiful house.  It was constructed well and designed perfectly for his family.  But over the years, the house began to wear and run down.  It wasn’t going to be condemned or anything like that, but it was showing the normal signs of wear and tear.

The paint on the outside was dull and faded.  The carpets were worn and stained.  A small leak in the roof was dripping down into the laundry room.  You get the picture.  You see, Ted hadn’t been keeping up with the maintenance the way he should and now the beautiful home that he loved was looking pretty shabby.

The first thing that Ted did was run out to the hardware store and buy some flashy yellow paint.  Then he painted the living room.  It gleamed.  It glowed.  The house was beautiful again.  Sort of…

After a week Ted really found that the yellow paint in the living room wasn’t making the house beautiful.  So he ran on down to the hardware store and looked at paint chips.  “Wow,” he said.  “This neon orange ought to do the trick!”

So he repainted the living room in neon orange.  It gleamed.  It glowed.  In fact, it hurt your eyes just to look at it.

And so the cycle repeated itself.  Every couple of weeks Ted would run out and try a different colour of paint for the living room.  It made him feel better about his house for a while, but then it would start to look shabby to him again.  Nothing that he was doing was making the house better.  In fact, the house was getting worse.

Weight Loss is Like a House

I’m sure that you’ve recognized that the story of Ted’s house is an allegory.  No one who was looking after their house would think that repainting the same room over and over would be sufficient to maintain the whole house.

Yet when it comes to weight loss we often fall for the trap of focusing on one aspect of our body.  We join a gym and go nuts on the exercise equipment, usually focusing on either cardio workouts or strength workouts.  But we neglect other areas.

The fact is that you need to take a more inclusive approach to losing weight.  Just cutting back on the calories you consume will help us lose some weight in the short term.  But it affects your body in ways that make further weight loss difficult and even cause health problems.

There are 4 major areas that you need to look at in achieving your healthy weight.

Exercise

Your body is a well designed machine.  But it has been designed to be efficient at the tasks that it is asked to do.  If you do not exercise then the muscles, joints and even bones will atrophy.  Your lungs and heart will be weaker since they are never called upon to work hard.

Exercise is an important part of making your whole body stronger.  You also need to remember that different types of exercise are important.  Focusing on cardio at the expense of muscle development (or vice versa) has serious health implications.  You function at your best when you have a good balance of both.

The biggest benefit of building up your muscle mass (at least from a weight loss point of view) is that muscle burns energy.  It increases your metabolism and helps you to burn off the fat.  So just burning or reducing calories has less effect than increasing your metabolic rate.

Diet

This is another area where people tend to get out of whack.  Fad diets that eliminate one type of nutrient (low fat/low carb) or focus exclusively on a special food (grapefruit diet) fail to take into consideration the balance of nutritional needs of your body.

Fat and protein often have a bad rap today.  They have more calories per gram than carbohydrates.  That is an undeniable fact.  But they also contain vital amino acids, proteins and other building blocks that your body cannot grow without.  Your body does not break the fat and protein down for energy unless there is more building blocks than it needs.  So the caloric content of fat and protein is not the most important fact to consider.

You do need to keep in mind that not all fats (nor all carbohydrates for that matter) are good for you.  Some will affect your health negatively and are best to be avoided.  Just don’t fall into the trap of eliminating all fat/protein/carbohydrate from your diet.  Your body needs all of them.

Rest

There are two important things to remember about rest.  The first is that you need to get enough sleep every day to allow your body to function at it’s best.  Sleep is the time that your body and brain work to repair damaged tissue amongst other things.  If you don’t get enough sleep then your body will not be able to rebuild itself properly.  Over time you will begin to see the effects of this.

You also need to consider the resting time that you provide for your body between workouts.  People get fooled into thinking that if a little bit of something is good then a lot is better.  Your body needs to rebuild damaged muscle tissue after a serious workout.  It is very important to give your body the time it needs before another workout.

Spirituality

Finally, you need to consider your spiritual self.  I’m not talking just about religion here — that is part of it though.  I’m talking about spiritual and emotional factors here.

You need to take some time to get in touch with your inner self as well as being in touch with God.  We all have different notions about who or what God is (or if there is such a thing) but regardless of your concept of God, it is important that you spend time connecting spiritually.

Your spirit is the source of joy and peace in your life.  It is the place where you can combat stress.  And you’ll be learning a lot more about how harmful stress (and other negative emotions) can be to your physical body.  Learning to deal with them in a positive way will help your body to be healthier and stronger as well.

Conclusion

This site is dedicated to helping you learn as much as possible about losing weight in a way that is healthy and sustainable.  We’ll have articles that cover many different topics in these four main areas and a few related topics.  You won’t want to miss this!

You can subscribe to the RSS feed to keep up to date on new articles.  You can also sign up for the Healthy Weight Loss newsletter to get tips and resources in your inbox.

Let’s get our houses looking good, inside and out!

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Weight Loss Is Simple, But Not Easy

Stepping onto the scaleYou’ve struggled with losing weight.  Looking at all the different diets, exercise programs and equipment.  There are tons of theories and studies that try to tell you what to do and how to do it.

But the fact is that weight loss is really simple.  The problem is that it isn’t easy.

The Instant Society

We live in an instant society.  Our motto is “I want it and I want it now!”  So when we finally come to our senses and decide that we’re going to get slim, healthy and sexy again we look for the instant solution.

You’ll find some snake oil salesmen who will sell you the instant fix, but the solutions either don’t work, don’t last or hurt your health (not to mention your bank balance).

The Plain Truth

The plain truth about losing weight in a healthy manner is that it is not complicated but it does take some effort on your part.  You will have to make multiple changes to your lifestyle to achieve it.  You will need to make sacrifices:

  • you’ll need to change the way you eat and drink
  • you’ll need to adjust how and when you sleep
  • you’ll need to add physical activity (including workouts) to your schedule
  • you’ll need to make time for spiritual refreshment
  • you’ll need to reduce stress

You can make some progress if you change only one area of your life.  But to reach the ultimate goal will require changes in all areas.  Your body is a complex and interconnected system that is constantly in flux while striving to stay in balance.

The Benefits

So, as we said before, it is hard to lose weight in a healthy fashion.  But look at the benefits:

  • more energy
  • stronger body
  • less sickness
  • more focused
  • more attractive
  • balanced, low stress life
  • etc.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the benefits far outweigh the costs.


Photo by crossfire at stock.xchng
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I Need to Lose Some Wait

Exercise EquipmentI’m a procrastinator.  I have this nasty habit of putting things off until tomorrow.  Or next week.  Or next year.  It is something that I struggle with and I have as long as I can remember.

But I need to lose some wait!  If I want to lose weight then the procrastination has to stop.

I’ve spent over a quarter of a century putting on pounds of excess weight.  I didn’t get to where I am overnight.  But at any point along that journey I could have made the changes to a healthier life style and reversed the trend.  But I was always waiting for something.

There are many changes that I need to make to lose weight and be healthier.  But there is always a reason to wait before jumping into making those changes.

I know that I need to do some weight training to reach my goal.  But I didn’t have the equipment and I hate going to the gym.  So I waited.

Now I have the equipment.  We found a wonderful BowFlex unit at a garage sale.  It’s sitting in my garage all ready to go.  But we were reorganizing and decluttering the house.  The garage filled up with junk and I couldn’t get at the machine.  So I waited.

Now the garage is cleaned up (mostly) and the access to the machine is there.  But I’m not feeling up to it today.  So I waited.

But no more.  The waiting stops now.  I’ve set myself a goal.  I’ve made a plan to achieve it.  There is nothing left to wait for.  Well, maybe I could wait until …


What do you wait for?  How are you going to stop waiting?  If you have a story to share then post it in the comments below.


Photo by jvanglen at stock.xchng
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