It's a brand new year, filled with hopes and expectations. Many make New Year's resolutions to the effect of lose weight and exercise more. And with good reason! I'm going to start the blog this year with a focus on losing weight via lifestyle change through healthy eating and exercise. I'm not a nutritionist or personal trainer but I do have an interest in living a healthy lifestyle.
The average person gains 1 to 3 pounds over the holiday season. That weight will naturally come off if they return to their pre-holiday eating but folks tend to be impatient, wanting the weight off this minute without making any long term changes. That means they turn to diet pills or dietary supplements supporting weight loss, go on strange even health threatening diets, and worse. The reality is there is no magic pill or diet to lose weight,. The secret is creating a calorie deficit through eating less and/or increasing physical activity.
Folks fall into one of two categories for weight loss. The first group is within the normal range of their ideal weight. They want to lose weight usually for vanity or to prevent transitioning into the second group. The second group are over the normal range for their ideal weight. They need to lose weight for their health. Regardless of the reason for going on a weight loss program, it will not work unless you create a calorie deficit!
A note on dietary supplements: I take a lot of dietary supplements, always extremely careful to do the research. Two beneficial dietary supplements taken for non-weight loss benefits are MSM (methysufoylmethane) and Milk Thistle (silymarin). MSM can cause significant weight gain and Milk Thistle can slow or prevent weight loss. NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) is a good substitute for MSM or Milk Thistle without affecting weight. Raspberry ketones, Garcinia cambogia, green coffee bean extract, green tea extract and cinnamon are all used for weight loss. There are no good scientific studies for the efficacy of raspberry ketones or Garcinia cambogia although there are reported serious health risks associated with them. Green coffee bean extract may work for weight loss but the real benefit is in lowering blood pressure. Cinnamon supports sugar metabolism which prevents the sugar being stored as fat aiding weight loss however, the real benefit is in aiding circulation. I cannot stress this enough...if you are using or planning to use dietary supplement do the research as all dietary supplements have the potential for serious negative side effects.
I can't tell you what will work for you other than a calorie deficit will work. Seriously, you can lose weight on a steady diet of only chocolate bars as long a you create a calorie deficit. At the same time, you can gain weight on a steady diet of broccoli if you don't have a calorie deficit. While the primary goal is creating a calorie deficit for weight loss, the secondary goal is an awareness of nutritional values of the foods you are eating for your health and well being. Neither example will result in health and well being because they omit key nutritional components. The ultimate goal for me is eating for health and well being while creating a calorie deficit
I have been on a 360 calorie deficit per day, projected 0.7 lb per week weight loss goal since November 5, 2013. It is created mainly by increased activity but also smaller portions. According to the calculated projected weight loss I should have lost 5.6 lb as of yesterday but I've lost 7 lb so I'm pretty pleased with the results. That weight loss has been while at our vacation home where we eat out a lot more (aka less calorie control) and over the holidays. Now that we are home and with the holiday season just a pleasant memory, I expect my weigh loss will increase but more importantly my fitness level will also increase. Here is what I have been doing towards my goal of a healthier lifestyle:
- MyFitnessPal - This is an online site for weight loss, weight maintenance and general fitness. You can set your weight loss goals, calculate the nutritional value of your own recipes, track your calorie intake and calories burned and so much more. I like this site but there are other excellent ones as well. All have forums if you wish to participate for moral support or simply read for ideas.
- pedometer - The recommendation for healthy living is 10,000 steps per day. I use a Sportline ColorTrac pedometer ($15) that keeps track of my steps, distance and calories burned. I also signed up to Runtastic, another fitness site and use Runtastic pedometer (free/$4.99) on my iPhone, a pedometer app available in the App Store. It also tracks my steps, distance and calories burned then uploads each session to MyFitnessPal. Runtastic also has other fitness apps available both in free and paid versions. The purpose of using a pedometer is a physical reminder for me to get moving. That's it and really that is all that is needed. I average 7,500 steps per day simply doing things around our house!
- exercise - I use a Gazelle trainer at our exercise home and and elliptical trainer at home on a daily basis. While many use exercise equipment for weight loss and toning, I am actually using it for pain management and improving circulation. I also do calisthenics three or four times a week. Planks in particular are extremely effective for building core strength and toning abs!
- diet - We eat a fairly healthy diet by cooking at home and avoiding heavily processed foods, food additives, high fructose corn syrup, and high sodium content. So, my diet has not changed much. I am also a nutritional value label reader when making shopping choices. That hasn't changed. I have been more conscious on serving sizes. I did give up cream and sugar in my morning coffee for a savings of 35 calories per cup. I increased my water intake getting in 8 cups most days and working towards that amount daily on a consistent basis. When eating out, I have been opting for fish or chicken. We are eating more fish and seafood at home, regularly one meal per week but now two or three. I'm making changes to some of our favourite recipes to make them healthier. I continue to use butter, heavy cream, and natural sweeteners as I feel they present far less health concerns than their artificial substitutes. I have not given up rice, pasta, potatoes, red meat or any other food I enjoy.