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The Fat Loss Blue Print That is Failing You

June 18, 2015 4 Comments

imagesSummer is here – my favorite time of year; more daylight, beach trips, outdoor grillin, less clothing, etc. I mean it’s more fun without having to put on a coat, hat, or gloves. The summer months though can spell doom for those who’d rather hide behind their hoodies, sweaters, and sweats as the thought of less clothing is an unfortunate reminder of how the winter months were spent more in hibernation than in action. This is not to suggest that everyone needs to come out in summer as if right off the pages of a swimwear magazine. It only continues to highlight the fact that year in and year out the same mistakes are being made to create change that was hoped for back at the beginning of the year. There’s a great saying that says “keep doing what you’re doing and you’re going to keep getting what you’re getting.” When talking about weight loss what people really mean is fat loss. Weight loss is easy as so many fraudulent programs, tricks, and gimmicks prove and repackage again and again. Fat loss is different, very real, and very possible. You’ve just been misled and going about it all wrong! Here are some steps to going about it the right way.

Stop Dieting

The word alone spells doom – D I Et! A billion dollar industry exists and grows because people think they need to be on a diet to achieve optimal health or the physique they want. By dieting, everything from caloric restriction to avoidance of a particular macronutrient is blindly entered into with the hopes of a positive outcome. Short term, possibly; long term, no. After just 24 hours on a restricted diet, you can reduce your metabolic rate by 15 to 30 percent! When you go on a restricted diet, your body goes into starvation mode, slowing down your metabolism. This can actually cause you to store extra calories and hold more weight—plus, research shows 95 percent of weight lost through dieting is regained within 2 to 5 years. Ever heard the term  yo-yo dieting?

Stop Cutting Out Food Groups and Eat The Food You Love

Cutting out entire food groups can be harmful to your body. A low-fat diet can leave you hungry and unsatisfied as well as depleted of important vitamins. If you don’t get enough carbohydrates, you may experience fatigue, loss of focus, headaches and cravings, because your brain, muscles and nerves turn to carbohydrates first. When you slowly add carbohydrates over time, your body stores them since it has been deprived for so long. This can actually cause you to gain weight more easily—not to mention that you are likely to over eat carbohydrates because you have restricted them. Likewise, cutting out your favorite foods only causes you to want them more and can lead to overeating. Fitting in your favorite foods in the right amounts and in the right settings (not stressed, bored or emotional) can help your body stay at its comfortable weight.

Stop Putting Blind Faith Into Pills, Powders, and Potions

The supplement industry is a billion dollar industry that has grown and exists due to the emotional triggers they hunt and expose. Now, I’m not saying all supplements don’t have some value because as the name suggests, they can be used safely is so desired to supplement, be used in addition to an already healthy diet. They don’t however magically remove, reset, or cleanse a behavioral issue that is already corrupt. And if they promise to do so in days, be prepared to hit the repeat button in a not too distant future.

Stop Ignoring Intuition

Dieting is based on external cues to tell you when to eat, what meal plan to follow, etc. What everyone else is eating may dictate your day. But the research shows that taking a non-diet approach and following intuitive eating cues helps participants improve metabolic fitness and avoid psychological distress. If you’re hungry, eat! Just don’t eat the whole village!

Stop Eating Processed Foods

Don’t be fooled by the low-fat, low-calorie foods in the grocery store. Three things make food taste good: salt, sugar and fat. If something is “sugar free,” it likely contains artificial ingredients, not to mention more fat and salt to make it taste better. It won’t be as satisfying and can leave you wanting more. If you think you are doing good by eating low-fat products, think again. Fat contributes to satiety, and leaving out fat at your meals and snacks only causes you to be hungrier later—and probably overeat. Labels and packaging are designed to do one thing and one thing only – get you to buy more. If it comes in a box, really examine its health value, not it’s emotional one.

Start Putting Yourself First

It is important to find happiness and joy in your daily life. If you are running ragged and not getting enough sleep, food can be a source of comfort or relief. When this happens, eating is not as enjoyable, nor does it serve its purpose. A study researching the effects of stress on eating behavior concluded: “The overall increase in snacking during stress was reflected by reports of increased intake of ‘snack-type’ foods in all respondents, regardless of dieting status. In contrast, intake of ‘meal-type’ foods (fruit and vegetables, meat and fish) was reported to decrease during stressful periods.”

Love Who You Are

Accept where you are right now. Remember that genetics, social pressures and learned behaviors differ for everyone. In fact, 50 to 80 percent of weight is determined by genes, so it’s important to be happy at every size and shape. Do not let life pass you by or put your goals on hold until you reach a certain body weight. Stay positive about what your current body can do for you. Turn negative self-talk into positive affirmations every day. If you can learn to accept our natural shapes and sizes and meet our bodies’ need for fuel, we can stay at a weight that is comfortable and healthy.

There is more to life (and exercise) than the pursuit of fat loss at the expense of everything that hinders the achievement of that goal. If everything you’ve ever done to this point has not worked for you, perhaps it’s time to start re-evaluating the methods you stick to and understand that it’s not you that has failed but the system and beliefs that are corrupt in the first place.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

Comments (4)

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  1. Mike P. says:

    Jeff

    Your message today triggered me to send you a quick note. This message is spot on again for me. One of your April messages was one of several triggers to start losing fat…Your messages and my sweetheart’s guidance put me on a good path.
    On 17 Apr 2015 I weighed 274 lbs. Today, I weigh 244. I feel great! My clothes fit looser and are more comfortable. I’m wearing some clothes I haven’t worn in awhile because I was too big for them. I’m using MyFitnessPal to track nutrition, calories & exercise. I’m eating more veg & fruit as near to their natural state as possible… much less processed food and refined carbs. I treat myself about once a week to a coke or a couple slices of pizza or cheesy Mexican food or something that is not the most healthiest.For exercise, i’m in the 6th week of a 10 week couch to 5K (C25K) training program. I’m jogging 15 minutes now. The job is 30 minutes at the end of the training program. I could barely job 2 minutes when I started.
    I’m doing a 5k on 27 June before I finish the C25K training program… I plan to jog it for 17 minutes because that’s what I’ll be jogging in the C25K training program and walk the rest of the 5K. Thank you again Jeff.

  2. Christina F. says:

    Good article! I forwarded it to a friend I helping on a healthy journey with her food and fitness.

  3. Erik P. says:

    Jeff,

    Good article. I started CrossFit last December (which is fairly extreme at my age) and changed the way I ate at the same time. I needed some rules and structure to start, but now I am much better at listening to what my body is telling me. I cut out a lot of processed foods, a lot of dairy and bread. I dropped over 25 lbs at a pace of 1 1/2 lbs a week at the same time as getting stronger and fitter. I also focus on organic foods trying to get the nutrition my body craves.

    I have a whole new outlook on the work you do, both from a fitness and diet perspective. Good stuff and I am sure your clients appreciate it.

    Thanks for posting,
    Erik

  4. Mike P says:

    I’m still keeping at the fat loss. I’m down to 234lbs. The end goal is 185-190 lbs. Since 17 April 2015, I’m losing ~11 lbs/month. I completed the C25K program 26 July 2015 jogging for 30 minutes. I have no desire to jog or run more than 30 minute so I’m increasing the pace I jog within 30 minutes. I don’t specifically track the pace. I track how far I jog within 30 minutes using landmarks in my neighborhood where I jog. The landmarks are changing and the distance is increasing without pushing too hard or making it too difficult. It feels good. During the 30 minutes I add “interval training” segments, which means for ~1-2 minutes I increase the pace a few times. I’ll also be adding body weight exercise to my program. I’ll also be occasionally doing yoga, which my sweetheart introduced me to.

    My body measurements since 17 April 2015 are
    1. neck: 18″ to 17.25″
    2. waist: 50″ to 46.25″
    3. hips: 48″ to 45″

    My glucose, BP & cholesterol reduction since 17 April 2015 are
    1. glucose: 111 to 96
    2. BP: 140/82 to 139/68. The systolic is about the same & too high, but the diastolic is much better
    3. Total cholesterol: 179 to 146
    4. HDL: 46 to 47
    5. LDL: 103 to 88
    6. Triglycerides: 148 to 57
    7. Cholesterol ratio: 3.9 to 3.1

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