Everybody is looking for a fast, weight-loss solution. They want easy weight loss and most want healthy weight loss. But what exactly is weight-loss? Can it really be fast, easy and healthy?
Surely permanent weight loss must also be an important consideration?
Well, how much weight do you feel you want to lose?
Better to ask: How much do I need to lose?
For every body-type and height there's an "ideal" weight-range. Before you ever set a weight-loss goal, the first thing you must know is what your personal, healthy weight-range is. There's no point committing yourself to a weight-loss program just to discover that not only was your goal unrealistic or impossible, but that it would impact your health negatively!
After years of careful research, a chart has been constructed so you can discover what your own, realistic and healthy weight-range might be. More on that subject, later.
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It's important to accept the fact that there are only a few things about your body that you can change but more that you can not:
1. Your skeletal frame – If you are small-boned or heavy-boned or somewhere in between, that's a fixed factor. Its weight is pretty much constant.
2. Your internal organs – You can not do anything about them (except have them removed as a gift) so their weight is unchangeable.
3. Your skin – That's actually an organ so you do not want to mess around with that too too and its weight can not be controlled by you anyway.
4. Your muscles – Now, they're the devices that make your bones move so you can get out of bed, pick things up and go for a walk. You can make them grow and shrink, which changes their weight, but you can never have too much of them. Really!
5. Accumulated waste inside your body. If you only go to the toilet and sit for a while every couple of days there's a good chance you've got at least ten pounds of old feces stored somewhere in your colon. You can get rid of that fairly easily.
6. Body-fat. Now that's something you can definitely add and remove. Everybody needs a certain amount of fat in their daily diet which is used to fuel simple day-to-day activities. If you do not use up the fat that your body makes from the foods you eat it'll get stored on your body for use sometime in the future. But if you do not use that up, more will be stored until you suddenly realize your body shape has changed drastically from what you remember. The first wake-up call is often when your health starts to suffer due to excessive, shape-changing fat just under your skin, or internally clogging up your arms.
And again, research, trial and error have allowed us to construct a formula to calculate the amount of body-fat stored on your frame. By comparing that against known healthy levels of body-fat, it's easy to determine how much you need to lose. So for healthy weight loss, body-fat must be addressed. How safe the weight loss will be depends on how you approach it which will definitely govern how fast and permanent the weight loss is.
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Certain foods are easily converted to body-fat so to reduce stored body-fat they're the ones you'll need to control. Some foods do not get converted to fat so easily but do provide essential nutrients to fuel your daily activities and actually help to use up existing fat. They're the ones you need to make sure you get enough of. But more of that a little later.
So, the one thing you really do have control over, regarding the weight of your body, is how much fat you allow it to store and keep. The combined weight of the first few "things" we looked at (skeleton, organs and muscles) make up your LEAN Body Weight. When you add on the stored body-fat, that's your TOTAL Body Weight.
For more than two million years, at sub-glacial-speed, the human body had adapted to its changing environmental conditions and found that there were times when it had access to an excess of food and times where it might starve to death. To prevent the latter, over the millennia it developed a way to convert excess food to an essential fuel (fat) that it could store on the body and use during times of famine.
Of course, since about the year 1800, community conditions have changed suddenly and most people in the developed world never starve or suffer from famine and seem to always have lots of tasty food-options to snack on. However, during that recent couple of hundred years of rapid "progress", the human system has not had sufficient time to adapt from what it's always done and that's to store fat in times of plenty.
Men with high testosterone levels store their emergency fat around the midriff which is the easiest place for the system to extract it from in times of extreme stress such as during famine or in a situation requiring "fight or flight". Women with higher levels of estrogen tend to carry some of it there as well, but tend to have greater fat deposits on the chest and thighs. The fat on the thighs is ear-marked for conversion to breast milk and sadly, if a woman does not breast-feed, that stored fat may never be used up without an aggressive program.
Interestingly, breast milk contains a specific, long-chain fatty-acid molecule that's essential for the development and maintenance of the human brain and the walls of our blood vessels. Cow's milk does not have any and it's not found in any plant food either. Red meat, however, provides a similar medium-chain fatty-acid molecule that our system can convert to the essential long-chain form that's critical to our survival.
There are a variety of ways to use up excess body-fat:
1. Eat less of the foods that convert easily to fat;
2. Add more foods that provide nutrition and energy but which do not contribute to fat storage;
3. Engage in activities that use body-fat for fuel.
To do any or all three of those things, we have learned through trial and error which foods fall into which category and can calculate how much energy in the form of calories those foods provide as well as how much energy is used for various activities.
The human body has two main fuels to use for everything we do. There's glucose and there's fat. And how we approach any activity will determine which fuel is used.
And the thing is, unless you feel like doing a series of math exercises every day there's no need to calculate calories in everything you'd like to eat. But, if you feel the need to give your calculator a work out every day here's the basics on calories:
"Calorie" is simply a measurement of energy expenditure for your body similar to "miles per gallon" for your car; you can travel further on a gallon of gas at slow speeds than you can by speeding everywhere; using high-octane fuel will allow your car to go faster but may occasionally gunk up the motor.
1000 calories has the potential of adding or reducing 100 grams (approx 3 ounces) to your fuel stores. 1 pound equals 450 grams or 4500 calories. Some foods provide calories without any healthy nutrition while others supply calories and nutrition in balanced ratios which prevent the accumulation of stored fat.
We know that an adult woman needs between 1200 and 1500 calories of food per day to stay alive and healthy and be able to perform efficiently in her daily routine. Men need 2000 to 3000 calories per day.
If a sedentary woman eats food that provides 5000 calories per day, whatever's not used to fuel the day's activities will be stored as body-fat.
But rather than count calories, it's much easier just to choose food that's appropriate for when you feel hungry. And, if you choose wisely your hunger will be satisfied and any excess body-fat will progressively melt away!
The foods that cause the most problem though, are the "modern" foods. Food-choices our ancestors did not have access to for the first million or so years of their evolution:
bread, pasta, potatoes, sugary foods and sweet beverages
All of those modern foods convert easily to storage-fat, are high in calories and are not "natural" to our two million-year-old digestive system. As well, Man up until about 10,000 years ago, was a "grazer" who ate opportunistically and did not wait around until 8:00 pm to eat. Our stomach size is only capable of holding and converting to usable energy the equivalent of two beneficials of food at a sitting. Any more will be passed through as waste or converted to fat and stored.
To get enough calorie-potential to fuel a day of hard, mental or physical work we need to eat small meals five or six times through the day. In fact, if we do not eat every three to five hours, what we do eat is more likely to be stored as body-fat anyway!
However, instead of counting calories, if you simply drink more pure water, add more fruit and vegetables and healthy cuts of meat, chicken and fish to your daily diet then progressively cut back (or eliminate) the "modern" foods our system can ' t handle anyway, you'll never exceed your daily calorie limit yet always have enough fuel to keep you healthy and fit.
If you give your body what it needs for its health, it can do the rest unaided.
If you'd like more information on the complete program that can help you lose weight or gain more usable muscle, check out:
Bat or Beach Ball – The "Skinny" on Fat!