Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eating To Lose Weight

That's right, you didn't read that wrong. Today's title is "Eating To Lose Weight". I have found that one of the best ways to lose weight is to eat. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but it is true. The thing that makes the difference is what you eat. Eating the right foods will allow you to indulge from time to time without regaining lost weight.

I think the best way to describe what I am talking about is through an illustration I once saw. It was an infomercial for a diet plan where you eat the right foods to lose weight. In the infomercial the diet guru threw a huge log on a smoldering fire. He pointed out how long it would take to burn that log because the fire was so small to begin with. Then he took another fire and stoked it with smaller twigs and branches into a roaring fire. Then put a similar size log to the first on the fire and pointed out how much faster the log would be consumed in that bigger fire.

Our metabolisms are like this. Most people have allowed their metabolisms to slow to a crawl through lack of exercise, wrong food choices, and yo-yo dieting. When we throw big food logs (high fat, high calorie) on those kinds of metabolisms weight gain is the result. But if we stoke our metabolism through exercise, eating the right foods, and doing other dietary things then our metabolisms will more quickly consume those food logs and we will gain little or no weight.

I recently went on vacation. While I tried to stick to my diet plan, and did about half of the time, I did splurge a bit and ate things I don't normally eat, in amounts I don't normally eat. However, I didn't gain the typical 5 pounds of vacation weight. The reason is that I have kicked up my metabolism to the point where I could maintain my weight through a period of poor diet.

As mentioned, their are some obvious things you can do to jump start your metabolism: exercise, adding low fat and low sugar foods to your diet, and limiting portions. But what if you are a big eater by nature? Well, I maintain you can eat to lose weight, and here are some tips on how to do that:

1) Eat breakfast. It amazes me the number of people that complain about their weight and then admit they are not breakfast eaters. Study after study has shown that eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism and is important for weight maintenance or loss. A few years ago I proved this myself doing the Special K diet. I wasn't a breakfast eater, so I ate a bowl of Special K at lunch, then a normal dinner. I lost about 5 pounds in 3 weeks doing that. Then I started eating a bowl of Special K for breakfast as well. I dropped another 10 pounds in 2 weeks! To boost your metabolism eating breakfast is a must. It should be as low fat and low sugar as you can make it (not donuts!).

2) Eat a low fat, low sugar snack before bed. Do not underestimate the power of this. It is important to make sure it is low fat and low sugar. I like to have a bowl of high fiber, unsweetened cereal (Grape Nuts!), using skim milk, with a handful of dried berries (cranberries or blueberries) or raisins. This not only keeps your digestion going into the night, but it is also helpful for vitamin absorption if you take my advice and take your supplements at bedtime.

3) Drink caffeine! This is not possible for everyone, especially those that suffer from insomnia. But if you can tolerate caffeine then make sure to drink fully caffeinated coffee, tea and any other drink or substance that has caffeine. Caffeine is a natural metabolism booster. I avoided caffeine for years and as I aged I watched my metabolism slow. Once I went back to caffeine I noticed that my metabolism was much improved.

4) Eat nuts. My personal favorites are almonds. Just a handful or so a day in place of a high fat or high sugar snack and your metabolism, health, and weight will be better for it. Plus raw almonds have been proven to be effective in preventing cancer in studies. They also are high in good fats, and are suspected to suppress appetite. So make sure to have almonds on hand.

5) Exercise. I know I mentioned this before but even 15-30 minutes of walking a day can have a significant impact on your metabolism.

Doing the right things, and heeding these tips 90-95% of the time will allow you to be bad 5-10% of the time with little to no effect on your overall health and weight.

1 comment:

  1. When you work at home, these tips become even more important. Fortunately, I run a lot at the gym; I think that helps my metabolism more than anything. If I didn't eat breakfast, I'd faint on the treadmill. :-)


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