Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Successful Weight Loss Starts With A Logical Plan - Part 1

Happy New Year!  Are you ready to lose weight...again?  Whether is a first time endeavor or another attempt after previous failings, its the time of the year where people seem to think that they can make it happen.  Erase all the past clutter, and start fresh!  Nice concept, but actually its just Tuesday and yesterday was Monday... so don't get all excited about it being a New Year as the real method of success for you in terms of losing pounds will revolve first on method and second on resolve.

If you have ever read any of my past posts or book, then I will sound like a broken record when I say this: The key to successfully losing weight is to make a sustainable life-style change that you can live with forever.  So the starting point is not jumping into something on the first day of the new year, but rather finding something that is logical, scientific, sustainable and tailored to you.  And that is my focus in my five part series in which I will NOT promote any product or solution, but rather have a frank discussion about weight loss tactics with references to studies, etc. where you can get more information.
 
The average person "blows it" when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off because they fall victim to the marketing messages being thrust on them every day from literally hundreds of different companies hawking their wares. 
"Lose weight while you sleep!"
"Drop 10 pounds in five days"
"Lose fat without dieting or exercise"

The sad reality is that weight loss is a $42 Billion industry and because so many people are making so much money off of your desire to lose weight (and corresponding lack of knowledge), they aren't about to give it up.  Where do you think the money comes from to pay for Celebrity endorsements?  And did the product they were promoting really generate their weight loss, or were there hidden factors such as working with a personal Trainer?  Oh yeah, and how many of them gained back the weight? 

Please! Examine products on their own merits, not because of who is promoting them... If you want to be successful, model your efforts after those who have been successful, rather than those who are endorsing products for profit. (Here's a great place to start: National Weight Control Registry)

But anyway you cut it, the stats point to the huge failure of most products,  as less than 30% of people who try to lose weight actually do.

That's not to say that all weight loss products, concepts, plans and systems are scams, they aren't.  But even with the best solution, if you don't arm yourself with facts and a long term plan, you probably won't succeed.

The first and foremost concept is that if you burn more calories than you consume, you will ultimately start burning off fat.  By the same token, if you take in more calories than you burn off, your body tends to convert that into fat and store it away for future use.

Certainly there are other factors at work here, but if you arm yourself with this basic premise - burn more than you take in - you will have the foundation to develop a plan that works for you.

The second key concept is that it takes a combination of food management and beneficial exercise to lose weight effectively.  You really can't have one without the other. (That was a key mistake I made in my early attempts...and failures.)

The third aspect is that in order to keep the weight off, you must adopt a long-term strategy.  Whatever it is that you do to lose the initial weight needs to be something that you can continue forever.  Otherwise if you quit doing whatever it was that made the weight go away, you can pretty much guarantee, the weight will come back.  Thus, you don't want to lock yourself into some costly or distasteful program right from the start.

Ask yourself this question: can I wake up every day and happily continue on with my new lifestyle plan?

The fourth factor is that as you lose weight, your metabolism will change such that it takes an increasing effort to generate the same results.  When I weighed 297 pounds I burned more calories when walking one mile than I do at my reduced weight of 227 pounds.  Thats because it doesn't take as much energy to perform physical tasks, because of the reduced body mass.  This is one of the things that leads to plateaus in weight loss - you reach a point where your efforts are breakeven, and thus the weight loss stops.  Plateaus will require you to adjust your program if you want to drop more pounds.

It's also worth mentioning that muscle weighs more than fat, which means that as you get more fit, you could see your weight increase even as you are reducing your levels of fat.  Once you are rolling, focus as much on how your clothes fit as you do on the numbers on the scale.

So how do you develop a plan that works for you?  Start by doing some research from sources such as the National Weight Control Registry which has no ulterior motive to try and sell you something. 

Then take the FOUR FACTORS above and apply them to any program you are considering to see if it makes any sense at all.  And always read the small print, which usually says that any such product must be used with proper diet and exercise...

But at the same time, you should realize that you have the tools at your fingertips to build your own program without investing any money at all.  So lets take a look at some ideas to get you jump started on an effective weight loss strategy.

To be continued...

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