12-14-16 Weight Loss
The number of Americans who are considered over weight or obese has steadily been climbing over the last few decades. The Weight Loss Industry has ballooned corespoidingly. It is currently estimated at being somewhere over $60 Billion per year. But even though Americans are spending more on weight loss that ever before, they are not losing weight. Although there are a myriad of reasons for this, one of the reasons is misinformation and false expectations surrounding weight loss.
False expectations set us up for failure, no matter how dedicated we are, because they give us an unrealistic sense of what to expect. This is true in many areas of life, but in the weight loss arena, when we constantly see headlines and exercise videos and diet plans that promise weight loss of 10 pounds in a week, the ability to burn 1,000 calories in a workout or achieve a flat belly by Friday, we begin to believe it.
Even though logically we understand that it’s not possible to lose 10 pounds in a week, on some level we think that just maybe we can. And when we don’t, we are crushed, and we feel like we must have done something wrong.
Keeping the facts of losing weight firmly in our heads keeps us from falling prey to unrealistic diet and exercise schemes. It gives us the tools to critically analyze information that we see in magazines and hear on TV, and most importantly it gives is a real, solid plan, based on facts, that assists us in losing weight.
Here are the Facts:
1) Weight is completely irrelevant. 70% of our bodies are water. Take your body weight and multiply it by .70, and you can see how much of your body is water. At 135 pounds, I am roughly 94 pounds water. At any given time, we have somewhere between 5 and 25 pounds of fecal matter in our intestines. It’s normal to have our weight fluctuate daily and it has NO BEARING on whether we are losing or gaining weight!
2) In order to determine if we are losing or gaining weight, we should weigh ourselves once a week for a month and average those weights. Repeat for the next few months. Is your average weight going up or down? This is how we tell if we are losing fat weight or just water and poop.
3) One pound of fat is 3,500 calories. If we want to lose one pound in one week we need to eliminate 500 calories every single day from our diet and/or burn 500 extra calories per day. Working out is about getting fit, but it doesn’t really do much for losing weight on it’s own. Fat loss is about not eating as much.
4) We eat way too much! Our portion sizes have been so skewed that it takes a lot of readjusting to eating what our bodies need. We have been conditioned to believe that we should not be hungry. It’s OK to be hungry! Ideally, we should get hungry three times a day, and we should not be eating when we aren’t hungry.
5) WARNING! It is difficult to burn calories! A 500 calorie workout is a scorching, sweaty, hour or more long session that many beginning exercisers cannot safely accomplish. We all over-estimate the number of calories we burn working out and we all under-estimate the amount of calories we consume. Do not believe the stories you hear about how many calories you are torching in a certain workout! IT ISN’T TRUE! It’s hard to burn calories! Here is your gauge. If you were to downhill ski consistently, at a moderate level, in 65 minutes you would burn 500 calories. Use this as your guide.
6) Realistically, all we should aim for is 1 pound of fat loss per week. That’s 3-4 pounds a month and 36-48 pounds per year. This is the ONLY way to lose real fat and to keep it off for good. No, it doesn’t sound as sexy and exciting as dropping 10 pounds in 10 days, but that’s exactly the point. Those claims aren’t real!
It’s time we focused on the facts, looked at the science of losing weight, released our false expectations, and set ourselves up for a healthy year, instead of a disappointing one!
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