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If You Want To Lose Weight, Do It In The Right Way

If You Want To Lose Weight, Do It In The Right Way

With a growing number of people in the world struggling with to lose weight, it’s no wonder there are so many fad diets being promoted through mainstream media.

According to the WHO, around 52% of the world’s population is either overweight or obese.[1] Many of these people have tried to lose weight at least at some point in their lives, and some have even experimented with extreme dieting by following fad diets.

But as research shows, an extreme weight loss diet is not only ineffective as a long-term solution, but it can be extremely damaging to your health.

Extreme dieting leads to muscle wasting

Extreme weight loss diets usually involve severe calorie restriction with the goal of shedding a great amount of weight in the shortest amount of time possible. While these diets will inevitably lead to great weight loss within the first few weeks, you need to keep in mind that you run the risk of losing muscle tissue before you get the chance to shed fat.

According to medical experts, extreme dieting will first lead to water weight loss, then to muscle atrophy, and at the very last stage, to fat loss. Researcher G.L. Thorpe has explained this a very long time ago stating that our body does not selectively burn fat when we eat less.[2] It rather, wastes all body tissue, including the muscles and bones.

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Muscle wasting slows down your metabolism

The reason why your body targets muscle tissue first when you are starving yourself is because it aims to preserve energy when food is sparse. To explain this further – your body needs more energy in order to maintain muscle tissue than it does in order to maintain fat.

When there’s a shortage of energy from food as in cases of extreme dieting, your body will attempt to remove one of the body’s greatest energy consumers – the muscles.

This will happen even if you do weight-loss exercises that you may think help build more muscle. But the bad news does not end there.[3]

Keep in mind that a loss of muscle mass leads to a lower basal metabolic rate, and a lower metabolic rate leads to, you’ve guessed it – more weight gain. These facts explain why so many people experience the jo-jo effect following an extreme diet.

Fad diets bring persisting health-related issues

A study published in The Journals of Gerontology found that calorie restriction reduces energy expenditure.[4] What this means is that being on an extremely low-calorie diet will lead to a slower metabolism making future weight loss difficult if not impossible.

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Furthermore, diets that are extremely low in calories are often very restrictive and as such, unable to meet your body’s needs for essential nutrients. In other words, being on say, an 800-calorie diet is likely to lead to nutrient deficiencies which can seriously harm your health.

A study that was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition examined the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in popular diets, and the results were striking.[5]

The study found that a restrictive weight-loss diet called The Best Life Diet met only 55% of daily micronutrient requirements while the very popular South Beach Diet met only 22% of the daily requirements for micronutrients. Other negative consequences of crash diets and other highly restrictive diets include osteoporosis, depression, kidney stones, and in severe cases scurvy when the diet is deficient in vitamin C.

How to lose weight the right way?

First off, you need to keep in mind that successful weight loss always comes on gradually. This means switching to a healthy eating habit that you can follow for years to come as well as exercising on a weekly basis.

You also need to eat fewer calories than you usually do for weight loss to take place. According to a study published not so long ago in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, consuming fewer calories is the most effective weight loss strategy, especially when combined with low-GI and moderate fat intake.[6] Just make sure that you reduce your calorie intake by 300-500 calories as recommended by Harvard Health Publications.[7]

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For instance, if your usual diet consists of 2500 calories, start eating 2200 calories. Your body will take the time to adjust to this modest caloric deficit, but after a while, you can drop a few calories lower.

Just make sure that you don’t eat anywhere less than 1200 if you are a woman or less than 1500 if you are a man to avoid micronutrient deficiencies. Other things to help you lose weight include finding daily weight-loss motivation tips to help keep you going and checking your health with your doctor to see if underlying health conditions are stalling your weight loss.

Diets don’t work, but healthy eating does

Instead of following fad diet trends that you see being promoted by slim celebrities, nutritionists would suggest you follow healthy eating instead.

By switching to healthy eating instead of say, a low-carb diet that does not work, you’ll be able to shed weight slowly and still meet your body’s needs for key nutrients.[8]

When your body is healthy, and your organ’s well-nourished, you are more likely to experience successful long-term weight loss. Another reason why this is so is because healthy eating is much easier to stick to in the long run when compared to impossible and restrictive diets.

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According to an entry published in the Scandinavian Journal of Food & Nutrition, switching to healthy eating involves making big lifestyle changes, focusing on food quality, and balancing your nutrients.[9]

The same entry lists the health benefits of healthy eating which include reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and of course, an improved body composition.

Back to Basics. Forget About Immediate Weight Loss.

You may hear stories of people losing a huge amount of weight by following impossible diets. These stories are usually parts of marketing campaigns for weight-loss products and dieting books that are potentially detrimental to your health. Sticking to proven facts is the only way you can lose weight successfully and safely.

Weight loss requires that you cut down on your calories gradually without jeopardizing your health. It also involves regular exercising to increase energy expenditure and to build more muscle tissue.

Reference

[1] World Health Organization: Obesity and overweight
[2] The JAMA Network: Treating Overweight Patients
[3] Consumer Health Digest: 11 Highly Effective Weight Loss Exercises
[4] The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences: Long-term calorie restriction reduces energy expenditure in aging monkeys
[5] Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Prevalence of micronutrient deficiency in popular diet plans
[6] Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: Weight loss maintenance: A review on dietary related strategies
[7] Harvard Health Publications: Calorie counting made easy
[8] Consumer Health Digest: 8 Big Reasons Why Your Low Carb Diet Doesn’t Work
[9] Scandinavian Journal of Food & Nutrition: Towards a healthy diet: from nutrition recommendations to dietary advice

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Ella James

Health and Fitness Writer

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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