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How to Lose Weight

OK, let’s get real about trying to lose weight. No gimmicks, no miracle pill, no magic belly busting workout; just the facts and some real, usable information that can help you find success in losing weight or to stop gaining.

Winter is the season of weight gain. If you can learn and apply just a couple of good weight loss tips into your daily life now, during the weight gaining season, you will avoid being completely behind the 8 ball when spring comes around.

First things first, you have to understand what causes weight gain and weight loss, on a physiological level……………this is science people, not theory. It’s calories in vs. calories out; that’s it! If you consume fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. If you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight, plain and simple.

If you give your body fewer calories, or less energy, than it needs to carry out its daily functions, it will be forced to get energy from another source than the food you eat. Guess where that is……………….it’s the fat that is stored in your body, from previous bouts of overeating. Your body has thousands and thousands of calories/energy stored as fat throughout your body. That’s why people can live for quite a long time with no food, as long as they have plenty of water.

You see, when you feel hunger in your belly and feel like you are “starving”, you actually are not. Your body has plenty of energy, stored as fat, to keep you going for days, even weeks without eating a bite! So, why does our body give us these strong signals telling us to “eat or die”? Most of that has to do with our brain and the sugar (glucose) it uses for energy.

Your brains preferred source of energy is sugar (glucose) that is found in the bloodstream. When you go several hours without eating, the level of sugar in your blood drops. When this happens your body starts to get a little worried that the brain may not have enough available energy, so it sends out the “hungry monster” to rumble in your stomach and give you that feeling of being starved. Your body wants you to do something to get your blood sugar up, so the brain has enough energy.

The problem is that when these hunger pangs kick in, we think we need to eat LOTS of food, when, all you need is between 30-100 calories of an easily digestible sugar that can quickly get into the blood stream. When that happens, the hunger goes away.

So, when you feel hungry or starved, make sure you have some 30-100 calorie, sugar based foods to get in your system about 15 minutes BEFORE you make the decision to order something to big and too high in calories. A few examples would be a small bottle of “G-2” Gatorade (40 Kcals a bottle); a piece of hard candy (30 kcals); half a glass of juice (55 Kcals); small banana (80 Kcals); a 90 or 100 Kcal nutrition bar of some sort. There are several of these on the market.

In addition to knowing how your hunger/eating system works, it is important to educate yourself on how many calories are in the foods that you like to eat. I think trying to completely change the foods you eat, when you begin a serious diet, is a bad idea. It is a better choice to familiarize yourself with the foods you already eat. Figure out how many calories are in some of your favorites and then figure out how you can still work some of these into your routine, without them pushing you over the caloric edge.

For example, let’s say you LOVE burgers. Go online and check out the calories in ground beef, vs. ground sirloin. Get familiar with different caloric content of buns, some are 300, some are 100. Check out the calories of cheese, mayo, etc. Then figure out how you can “build a better burger”. You can still have the burger, but maybe now, it’s 250 Kcals less! A hint with fast food burgers: ask for the bun not to be toasted (they use butter to do this) and it could save you 100 Kcals. There is a lot of information on the web that can help you re-tool many of the foods you currently eat and reduce the amount of calories you consume.

Increased knowledge, in both how your body works and what exactly you are eating, are 2 keys in finding success in losing weight. You can not get around the fact that you have to consume LESS calories than you use; how you want to do that is up to you. I believe a combination of eating a little less (200-400 kcals per day) and burning a little more via exercise (100-300 kcals) is the way to go.

Stick with the physiological facts; avoid the hype and promises of “magic” pills and food. Be sensible, be strong and arm yourself with knowledge.