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Home > Herbal Pharmacist Health Update
Smart Weight Loss Optionsby Dave Foreman
It's bathing suit season – need to shed a few pounds?
There are any number of ways to approach weight loss. Slews of diets as well as more radical approaches, including surgeries and starvation diets, exist to help you shed those unwanted pounds.
Most of us have struggled with weight issues at one point or another, and probably have attempted to reduce our weight through various methods. However, the answer is simpler than the application of it. The key to weight loss in the great majority of us is to consume fewer calories than we burn.
In order to lose one pound, you must burn 3500 calories more than you consume. Based on your age, gender, height and weight, you burn 1852 calories per day just to keep going. Any extra activity will make you burn more. If you burn an extra 250 calories per day and eat 250 calories less per day (total=500) you should expect to lose one pound in seven days. For example, 30 minutes of brisk walking daily will burn 150 calories per day or 3/10 of a pound each week. The following are other activities and how many calories you may burn in 30 minutes (based on a 140 pound person) (go to www.my-calorie-counter.com for more detailed activities and calories burned):
If you want to speed up the process, you need to either consume fewer calories or increase your activity.
Weight does not appear quickly; therefore, losing weight will not happen quickly. Let's assume you gained 30 pounds in the past five years. That’s an average gain of 1/2 pound per month. Your goal should be to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Keeping this in mind, you should lose the 30 pounds you requested in 15-30 weeks.
The idea isn't to lose weight quickly, but to adopt lifestyle changes that become part of your regular routine. Also, losing the weight slowly will also help you maintain a higher rate of metabolism and help your skin shrink back (reducing skin folds and wrinkles).
Start with Diet Eliminate all refined foods completely (go in your pantry and refrigerator and bag up everything and throw it away or give it to a homeless shelter/food bank) ALL refined foods. This means anything that isn’t in its original state. No bread, sugar, pasta, cereal, or starches. Even packaged (canned and boxed) foods should be eliminated. Reduce or eliminate your alcohol consumption.
What you should be eating are plenty of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes. When it comes to meats, go for organic choices, and consume 3-5 ounce servings. Buy leaner cuts of pork, beef and chicken. Fish is great, just not canned. If you get cravings or feel hungry, try keeping unsalted or very lightly salted nuts nearby. I suggest almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, or keep baby carrots or some other veggie available (already cut and washed) to eat with a big glass of water. You can even buy these veggies already cut and washed at your local grocery store. Avoid using dips or dressings with these snacks.
Avoid the Snack Monster In order to not snack or decrease cravings, you need to make sure to avoid all refined foods as mentioned above. Empty calories yield cravings for more nutrients. Your foods are empty of true nutrition and therefore your body wants to eat more to get what it really needs (vitamins, minerals, protein, good fats, and complex carbohydrates). You have to eat more empty calories to get the right amount of nutrients. This leads to weight gain. You crave sweets and other “junk” foods when your blood sugar drops (from skipping meals or poor food choices), which ends up triggering cravings. If you make sure you eat regularly (3-5 times daily-small portions if 5 times daily) you will avoid energy dips and cravings for poor food choices. If you happen to skip a meal, make sure you have healthy food snacks around like baby carrots, nuts, apples, etc.
What to Drink One of the best drinks is water. It should be your primary choice. Avoid caffeine containing beverages, milk, juices, etc. You can use herbal teas or squeeze lemon into your water if you need a change. Do not use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes (unless it is a natural sweetener like stevia). If you need something sweet, I find it better to just use the real thing but in smaller portions.
When eating at home, use salad plates rather than dinner plates. And it’s also a good idea to serve your food and then put it away prior to sitting at the table. If you are eating out, eat only a few appetizers or a large salad with a small amount of protein on it. Have dressings on the side and use as little as possible. Also, keep in mind that low-fat foods are usually high in sodium, which will cause fluid retention and weight gain. They often contain more sugar too. Stick to whole foods and nothing from a box or package.
Weight Loss on the Road Losing weight doesn’t have to be hard. You need to consume fewer calories than you burn (unless you have a metabolic challenge). Here are some quick tips to lose weight on the road (Herbal Pharmacist Tested):
Supplements Help, Too! With weight loss supplements, avoid those containing stimulants. The main reason people gain weight back after stopping a weight loss supplement is due to stimulants found in the products and using them for extended periods of time. Plus, these products can be harmful for those who have issues with anxiety, depression, thyroid disorders, high blood pressure and more. If you choose to use one, please consult with your health care provider before and during use. The most common contain caffeine or caffeine like substances. Herbs such as kola nut, guarana and yerba mate are the most popular. Stimulant supplements are great for weight loss because they increase the body’s metabolic rate and decrease your appetite. They can also become an issue down the road if used for extensive periods of time. If you use them, limit use to short periods of time (2-4 weeks and then take a 2-4 week break). This will help your body keep a balanced metabolic rate and keep you from putting weight on after you discontinue the use.
My approach is to do things slower and help the body burn the fat and keep the muscle. If you can lose your weight this way, you are more likely to keep the weight off and not decrease your overall metabolic rate (most stimulant products will yield a loss of both fat and muscle—a decrease in muscle will lower your metabolic rate). My favorite supplements for weight loss are: Green Tea, Carnipure, Chromium, Fucoxanthin, Pyruvate, CLA, GLA, Glucomannan, Phase 2, and Relora. It may be necessary to combine these supplements in order to have a balanced weight loss approach. Here is a quick look at how these supplements may benefit your battle against the bulge:
Each of these supplements do something different for your body and are considered effective over time. With any regimen you choose, give yourself two to three months of eating right, increased activity and supplement use with the above supplements before you step on the scale. Use your clothing and how they fit as your scale. Sometimes you will gain weight a few weeks into a program due to increased muscle tone. You may gain weight but lose inches. Slow and steady wins the race.