Take a look at just a few of the diets that have been around for quite some time.
1. Low Carbohydrate Diet
2. High Protein Diet
3. Ketogenic Diet
4. Mediterranean Diet
5. Low Calorie Diet
6. Low Fat Diet
7. Intermittent Fasting
The above diets are just a few examples of what’s out there today and there are many more. No wonder people are lost when it comes to losing weight and getting healthier.
So, will any of these diets work for extreme weight loss or for someone wanting to lose weight fast?
Well, it depends! If you’re fairly healthy and want to lose some weight any of the above diets may yield some kind of weight loss results. However, most people simply can’t follow a diet regimen that is totally different than what their current lifestyle is. This is where people fail!
The new year rolls around, spring break, summer, getting married, or whatever the reason may be, most people focus on short term results instead of making changes they can follow for the rest of their life.
Yes, there are some people who will make a drastic change in their lifestyle and they are able to maintain those changes for life. However, we are talking about the average person here who wants to lose weight because it’s their new year’s resolution.
Go to the gym in January and you can hardly find a parking spot. Go back 2-3 months later and the parking lot is half empty! This is a fact and the process repeats itself each and every year, except the following year those people that followed an extreme weight loss diet program will more than likely weigh more than they did the previous year!
People tend to make up for what they missed out on during their extreme weight loss venture and they overindulge in foods and/or they did some damage to their metabolism. Overindulging is easy to fix. Simply stop overindulging. However, when it comes to your metabolism, it’s not a simple fix unless you know exactly what you’re doing and even then it takes time.
So, what does it take to lose weight fast and keep it off? Well, since no two people are alike it could vary. However, for the sake of writing this article I will base this on an average male or female with no medical history in good physical condition except for the fact they are less than 100 pounds overweight.
I will outline details about fast weight loss for people who are more than 100 pounds overweight in another article.
What is considered fast weight loss?
In most cases, the more you weigh the easier it is to lose it, especially when first starting out. However, if you get too strict with your diet you can lose muscle, fat, and water. It’s very important that when you make any changes in your lifestyle to take it slow so you lose only body fat. Starting out slow will allow your body time to adapt and prevent a stress response.
The last thing you want is your body to release stress hormones to compensate for cutting out all the sugars in your diet all at once. Sugars can be addicting, so you must cut back slowly, especially if you were eating a lot of sugary type foods.
A safe weight loss for most people is approximately 2-3 pounds per week. Of course, if you have only 10 pounds to lose, then it might be 1/2 pound per week for you! If you have 100 pounds to lose, it might be 5 pounds per week.
In any case when it comes to making diet changes regarding so-called bad sugary foods, take it slow and cut back about 1/4 of what you normally would eat one week and then bump it up to 1/2 the following week and keep it there for a couple of weeks. There is absolutely no reason to make a drastic change by totally eliminating all the bad foods you eat all at once. Remember, we don’t want to trigger a stress response in your body.
If this were to happen, you can expect to lose minimal amounts of weight in all the wrong places because the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline prevent your body from releasing stored fat from your mid-section.
When I see a person with a lot of abdominal fat I normally suspect that person is under a lot of stress, whether it be from eating too much of the wrong foods, not eating enough calories, over-exercise, or not doing the proper types of exercise, hormonal issues, or all the above and then some.
What about calories?
If you drastically cut your calories, you can without a doubt expect your body to adapt by lowering its metabolism.
Fact is, your body has already adapted to it’s current weight and if you dive off the deep end and start making drastic changes to lose weight, your body will fight back with everything it has to prevent that from happening, especially if you’ve been overweight for many years.
When people talk about increasing their metabolism, I talk about preventing a decrease!
Your metabolism is nothing more than a bunch of chemical processes that takes the food you eat and fuels each and every cell in your body so you can stay alive!
Your resting metabolism refers to the energy expended to maintain normal bodily functions such as breathing, heart beating, kidneys, digestive system, muscles, brain, and so on. It also accounts for up to 80% of your total daily energy expenditure, so it’s vital that you do nothing to damage it or slow it down, otherwise your weight loss efforts will suffer.
As a matter of fact, your body is so intelligent that if you lose weight too fast, it will decrease a hormone called leptin in an effort to get you to eat more! Leptin is the primary hormone that regulates hunger.
If you find yourself getting hungry after going on a diet and/or exercise program, you’d better eat because this is your body fighting back. Just make sure you eat foods that are high in protein and good fats instead of ones that are high in simple sugars. Protein and high fat foods tend to curb your hunger better than simple carbohydrates from quick energy sugary foods.
What happens if you don’t respond to your body when it craves food? It will win 9 out of 10 times either now or up the road and if you eventually give in and eat the sugary foods you are highly craving, your body will be sure to store it for later use. What’s bad is your body tends to save these types of foods in adipose tissue, meaning body fat!
If you still fail to give in to the hunger, at some point your body will respond and lower the metabolism to conserve energy. This is where the trouble begins when it comes to not only losing weight, but a host of other health issues can occur as well.
Your energy levels begin to plummet. You’ll feel tired all the time and at night you won’t sleep very well. As things get worse, you may find yourself getting more sick than usual, and if you keep fighting your body, it will start slowing your thyroid function as well.
Eventually you lose weight in the form of body fat, muscle, bone, water, but in the end you look in the mirror and see dark circles around your yes, you notice your skin doesn’t have the elasticity it once had, and most of all you notice a bulge in your stomach area that looks like a spare tire!
That’s because the body’s defense mechanism is to hold onto or store fat in the mid-section in times of stress as I mentioned earlier and no matter how much weight you lose, that mid-section keeps bulging out.
So, if this happens to you, either cut back on the exercise and/or eat just enough foods from protein and good fats to satisfy your hunger. Of course, it’s best to give in to your body’s cravings to prevent all the bad stuff from occurring in the first place.
Am I saying to eat everything and the kitchen sink? No! What I’m saying is to change your lifestyle slowly by incorporating modest changes to your diet and activity levels. Don’t jump in head first and go all out, or you may regret it!
As the body adapts, you can take it to the next level and keep at it until you are eating simple sugars on special occasions instead of every night.
Same thing with exercise. Start slow and if you notice you’re getting hungrier, then eat as I stated above. Don’t ignore your hunger or your body will fight back and it will eventually win!
What is extreme weight loss and does it work long term?
No! Well, in most cases, no! The key to safe and effective weight loss without taking things to the extreme is to make subtle changes in your lifestyle. Ones that you can live with for the rest of your life.
Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates and fruits in moderation along with good quality protein sources like wild caught fish, grass-fed beef, free range chicken, and good fats like virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocados, and organic ground flaxseed are just a few examples.
If you don’t eat red meat, then leave it off the menu. If you’re a vegetarian, then keep eating the way you do, simply make sure you are eating whole, organic, fresh foods and eat just about everything in moderation while using a little common sense.
If you know that a particular food causes you to gain weight or causes you to feel fatigued, break out in a rash, etc. then refrain from eating those foods no matter what I suggest or anyone else suggests. No two people are alike so it’s very difficult to recommend foods to one person because another person might react totally different to the same types of foods.
You know from experience what foods are good for you, so take the info you learn here and apply that in combination with a little common sense and you will see great weight loss results.
From my experience, most people who are severely obese started out by overeating all the wrong foods like fast foods, simple carbohydrates like cakes, candy, sodas, chips, and so on, and when they tried to cut all those foods out, they were left with uncontrollable cravings which they eventually gave in to!
It’s a vicious cycle of trying to stop eating the bad foods, getting the cravings, and then giving into those cravings, and every time you fight your body and it wins, it just gets better at storing more fat.
Exactly what foods to avoid
The so-called bad foods are white in color unless they are a protein food like a boiled egg.
For example, white potato and rice are very high on the glycemic index which means they are absorbed very fast by the body causing a surge in blood sugars. This is what you want to avoid because the body responds by releasing a fat storing hormone called insulin which is responsible for shuttling sugar into every cell in the body including fat cells.
Yes, insulin is your friend as well because it gets nutrients into the cells. However, you want to avoid the sudden surges of insulin by eating foods that are lower on the glycemic index as I’ve outlined in another article.
If you do eat white potato or rice, let it completely cool off before consuming the food. When these foods cool off they become a resistant starch which makes it more difficult for the body to digest so the absorption rate slows down significantly. It also contributes to gut health since the resistant starch feeds good bacteria in the gut.
Other forms of white foods to avoid would be table sugars or any desserts that contain more than 5 grams of sugar. This goes for sugar substitutes as well since most all of them cause a surge in blood sugar levels.
If you do eat foods that contain sugar, make sure the food contains fiber as well since fiber tends to slow down the absorption rate.
All flour products should be off your menu since most are highly inflammatory.
Whole grains can be eaten if you don’t have celiac disease considering they are consumed in whole or cracked form. Otherwise they can cause inflammation due to the high glycemic load which causes sudden surges in blood sugars that form advanced glycation end products – a combination of highly inflammatory sugars and protein.
Just for the record, anything that causes inflammation in your body can lead to numerous health issues ranging from autoimmune reactions to cancer! Make it a point to lower inflammation in your body and not only will it be easier for you to lose weight, but you will dramatically improve your health in the process.
What kind of fruits can be eaten?
Don’t worry so much about fruits. As long as the fruit is eaten in it’s natural state, they tend to not hinder weight loss. However, once again use a little common sense. If you eat a particular fruit and it causes you to bloat or gain weight, then refrain from eating that fruit. It’s really that simple!
What about exercise?
I also recommend incorporating an exercise program that includes both resistance training, aerobic and anaerobic cardiovascular exercise. Nothing extreme! There is no need to practically kill yourself in the gym trying to copy other people or people you might see on these weight loss TV shows.
Remember, the body will release stress hormones if you take things to extreme whether it be physical stress or even mental stress.
For more info on exercise refer to other articles I have written regarding this subject.
Once again, make slow subtle changes that allow your body time to adapt and keep making those changes and before long you will be happy with your new look and your new health!