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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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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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