Knowledge is imperative to any endeavor so why should this be any different in the case for weight loss? Too many people blindly throw themselves into this game head first without doing any research or laying any sort of foundation. It is this approach that results in yo-yo dieting and relapses. Weight loss is not a matter of dieting it is a matter of informing yourself and adopting a healthy lifestyle; finding something that works for you and sticking to it.
The way I see it is that food is like any other form of energy; if you understand it you can manipulate it and use it to your advantage. On the other hand, with a lack of knowledge it can be an uncontrollable nightmare. Picture the superhero (or heroine) with newly acquired super powers. They have been given a highly-charged energy to use but no idea what to do with it!
Until it can truly be understood it is liable to do more harm than good. So get in control of your super powers and begin to make food work for you.
Taking Control Of Your Weight
There are three main things you need to know about to begin taking control of your weight:
Also known as the macronutrients, these are the three dietary musketeers that can always be found hanging out together. The macronutrients form the basic foundation for any good diet and by learning about these components you can begin to choose the healthiest forms of each and in what amounts you need them to attain your goals.
Talking about these three things is an article unto itself so I am not going to go into it in detail here. But I encourage you… rather I URGE you to read the fantastic articles here on Bodybuilding.com as well as seeking out information from various books and magazines on the subject and get informed!
Fill your head with as much knowledge as you can and put yourself in a position of power. Only then will you be in a position to make those necessary changes you have been striving toward for so long.
Once you know and understand the role of each of these macronutrients you can begin to explore the concept a bit further with a resource like www.fitday.com this site allows you to record your daily food intake which it then calculates and breaks down.
This will give you a good idea as to where your calories are coming from and what is making up the bulk of your diet. There is also a comprehensive nutrient database here on Bodybuilding.com (below).
It can be a bit of an eye opener at first and you may be surprised just what your favorite foods contain. Tracking your food intake like this is a great exercise to do everyday for a week or so to give you a blueprint of where your diet is currently at and what things you may be doing wrong. You can also use it as an everyday reference to keep you on track.
Another important step on the journey is getting to know yourself. This is a concept that is rarely mentioned in most weight loss programs and literature. It is helpful to figure out how you got to a place that caused you to be unhappy with yourself and what events took place that enabled you to get where you are today.
Take out a pen and paper and list why you don't want to feel this way anymore, what you need to do to change and why you must make the first step toward change now!
Think about how things will be when you have reached your goals and what you must do to start achieving them. Write these things down and refer to them daily, it is a very powerful tool.
- The aim is to lose body fat not just overall weight.
- Eliminate dietary fat first (leaving in a small amount of good fats), then simple carbs followed by complex carbs. Never eliminate calories from protein or your body will begin to break down muscle tissue.
- Plan meals ahead of time so you never get caught out and find your self headed for the takeouts.
- Keep track of what you are eating, when and why.
- Be 'present' when you are eating, people who are distracted tend to eat more. Turn of the T.V, put down your book and pay attention.
- Water, water, water! Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water because by then you are already dehydrated. In this state it can be easy to mistake thirst for hunger and eat when all your body really wants is a drink.
- EXERCISE! Do it regularly and do it often (Need I say more?)
- Do not fall into the trap of gimmick diets or weight loss products, these things have a less than ten percent (long term) success rate. More often than not the weight you lose is from water and gastrointestinal bulk on these programs and not from body fat.
- Learn about nutrition labels and get into the habit of reading them.
- Do not drop your overall calories too low and be sure to eat 5-6 small healthy meals a day.
- Try to eat at the same time every day and eat before hunger sets in. This will help to avoid overeating (ever have the 'my eyes were bigger than my stomach' feeling?) and also if you know what time you will eat it is easy to plan ahead.
- Want it bad enough to make the changes and know you can reach your goals.
- Be patient and NEVER give up!
So remember, knowledge is the key. If we want to achieve results in any field we must first gain the knowledge and insight so we know what we are doing before we throw ourselves off into the deep end. Prepare yourself now so you have a safe and successful landing.
Good luck on your journey.
- The Food Connection - Sam Graci, Macmiilan 2001
- The Abs Diet - David Zinczenko
- Passion, Profit and Power - Marshall Sylver