Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Beginner's Guide To Weight Loss- 5 Steps

A Beginner's Guide To Weight Loss- 5 Steps
 by: David Speringo
"I'll start my diet today" you say to yourself for what seems the 485th time. But as the day wears on, you fall back into your typical eating patterns. These are the eating patterns which do not contribute to any weight loss either. Instead, you keep the vicious cycle going of either maintaining your current weight, or increasing it even more which may lead to health problems.
My personal journey started at a time when I was young and had trouble breathing. I even had trouble fitting into a pair of size 44 pants, and had trouble socializing with people because I thought of myself as a "fat person". There came a time however when I took that first step towards positive weight loss, and a positive step towards changing my life.
But where to start? Which diet? Do I need to stick to any one diet, or could I make my own up? I was confused, because there was so much information out there about the newest weight loss diet gimmicks, and nutritional supplements which "GUARANTEED I WILL LOSE WEIGHT!!!!".
It was all baloney. I found that I could not trust any marketing claim associated with a company trying to make money.
How did I start? By cutting down on the number of meals/snacks I was eating. I grew up in an Italian household where we were encouraged to finish our plate. You can only take so much of that as your waist lines grows. Today, however, I encourage people to eat 4-6 times a day. But to eat in small amounts. If you are a person who likes to pick at food, eat snacks throughout the day, and eat well after 8pm. My advice is to stop doing all of that (I know, easier said than done, right?).
5 Steps to starting your weight loss plan
Step 1: Eat 4-6 times a day, in small amounts. Make each time you eat a small meal. Sounds tough, doesn't it? It is, but as you start doing it, you will change the way you eat food. The way you prep food, and the way you enjoy food (I still love food!).
The goal here is to force your metabolism to burn up the calories at the proper time. The more you have your metabolism working throughout the day, the more you are forcing your body to expend energy to burn up food! It IS as simple as that.
You have to realize that at first, it may seem like you are eating a lot in the beginning, when you are trying to lose weight. But remember, it's all in the size of the portions you are feeding yourself. Don't overdo it. Have a fruit salad in the morning, at 10 or 11 am, have a turkey sandwich, at 1 pm make yourself some chicken salad, etc..by doing this, you are not starving your body, and at the same time you are not feeding your body garbage!
Step 2: Drink a lot of water. Drinking water cleans out your system, that's been known for a long time. It also has been shown to help in fat loss. How? Well, if you are generally a juice or soda drinker, and are now switching over to just water- you are cutting out those simple carbohydrate calories from your diet. And for some, that is a lot of calories. If you have troubles switching over to plain water- try some crystal light, or flavored water. Personally, I'm up to drinking a gallon a day. For many, this may seem a lot. Try to shoot for 6-8 full glasses of water a day. The key here is to make a habit of it.
Step 3: Exercise. So where do you start? If you have time to join a gym, by all means, do so! Join a step class, and/or lift weights. If you are overweight, do NOT feel like you do not belong in a gym. Many people who are overweight often feel like people are staring at them, thus making them feel self-conscious. My advice to you- Don't worry about it! The gym is for EVERYONE to get in shape, no matter what size they are. Talk to a personal trainer when you go in there also, they will be your best source of information of reaching your workout goals. That's what they get paid to do!
If you can't afford a gym, or spend the time at a gym, there are alternatives. Places like Target, Walmart, and even on Ebay, sell exercise balls which come with videos or instruction sets on doing exercises. I feel as though exercise balls give you a greater range of flexibility and mobility. These are two very necessary things to work on when you are trying to lose weight. These exercises can usually be done in 15-20 minutes worth of time a day. If you are truly dedicated to losing weight, then make time for these exercises.
Other ideas for exercise include power walking, home video step workouts, hiking, riding a bike, or staying active for long periods of time. Even if you need to get a friend or family member to go along with you, this is time well spent. These exercises will give you a greater focus on your goal of losing weight.
Step 4: Talk to people about your diet. From my experience, the more I talked about my diet with people, the more support I was getting for my efforts. Do not underestimate the value of community support. Consequently, I run a website that specializes in online diet support ( http://www.dietdiscussions.com ) and I feel as though when people are given encouragement to stay on track, they feel better about themselves. Why do it alone when others are walking the same steps you are?
Step 5: Change the way you think about food. This is one of the hardest things to do, in my opinion. So often food becomes an object of comfort. We feel bad, we eat. We feel good ,we eat. The problem with this is that when we do eat, we are not consciously thinking about what we are putting into our bodies, and then we gain weight.
This mindset has to change. You can still enjoy food, but just pause before you eat something and ask yourself- Is it time to eat? Does this fall into my portion size for this meal?
These 5 steps are ways that I know that have directly helped people, beside myself. Use these steps to focus on what you are trying to do. There is so much information in the diet community about what works and what does not. What it all boils down to, is that it is not rocket science. There is a means and method to making it work for you. If you need any support for your weight loss diet plan, do not hesitate to contact me and ask a question or give me a comment. I have been through what you are going through, so I understand what you are feeling. Stay focused and stay on track, and you will find that you will start feeling better as the pounds start coming off!