Frustrated by the endless number of confusing messages about weight loss and fitness? The Internet and TV are full of programs, diets, and infomercials telling us how to work out, lose weight, and what not to eat. The problem is, some of the information seems contradictory — one guy says to do X and another expert says X will kill you!
What do we do if we really want to succeed in becoming healthier and looking great? The answer lies in biochemistry. You don’t have to be a science geek to lose weight, but since food companies use biochemistry to make you want to eat things that can make it impossible to button up your favorite pair of jeans, you need to know enough to understand how your body handles the fuel you give it.
Weight loss isn’t brain surgery. But it is science. Here are the five facts that will set you free from your ‘fat jeans’ forever.
1. The 500 Calorie Secret
No matter who you are, how you’re shaped, or which genes your folks gave you, you can’t gain weight if you consume fewer calories per day than you burn. It takes 3500 calories to make a pound, and that means that plus or minus 500 calories a day, every day for a week, will add or subtract one pound of weight to your body. Think about that: one pound of weight on or off of you happens in 500-calorie-per-day increments. Knowing what you’re eating and drinking helps you understand these numbers. Losing thirty pounds might sound hard at first, but losing a pound a week is easy if you remember the 500-calorie secret. Here’s a great article from the Mayo clinic about this secret.
2. The Wheat-is-the-Devil Secret
Wheat is your enemy. It is biochemically engineered to add fat to your organs and pounds to your body. Whole grains are marketed as being healthier than processed grains, but that’s sort of like saying it’s healthier to smoke filtered cigarettes instead of unfiltered ones. They’re both terrible for you. Cut bread out of your diet, and the pounds will start coming off much more easily.
3. The Sugar Secret
Sugar is, in almost every case, one of the worst things you can eat if you want to lose weight. Your liver stores some sugar in the form of glycogen, which it uses to give you quick energy when your body needs it. But when it has plenty of glycogen stored (and most of us have more than enough), every sugar molecule you eat gets turned into fat. And extra dietary sugar has many other harmful effects on your body — like promoting insulin resistance, diabetes, several types of cancer, and can even negatively influence your brain function.
If you reduce your sugar intake and try to eat foods that have more natural sugars than chemically manufactured ones (like choosing fruit instead of ice cream, for example), you’ll soon have less trouble with that top button. Here is a powerful article from AuthorityNutrition about the Sugar Secret.
4. The Kitchen Secret
Not all of us are chefs, but if you really want to control your body weight, you need to eat at home. The problem with eating out is that you have no idea what’s going into what you eat. Even if you think you’re choosing a healthy option on someone else’s menu, you don’t know how it was prepared or even if it’s actually what you think you’re ordering.
Getting into the kitchen helps you know what you’re eating and control your calories. WebMD has a great post about how eating at home helps you lose weight.
5. The Exercise Secret
You might assume that exercise alone is enough to help you lose weight. We all know that increasing our activity will make us healthier, and there is no doubt that exercise is good for you in terms of reducing pain, improving cardiovascular health, mental clarity, and endless other benefits. But it is incorrect to think that as long as you hit the gym you can eat whatever you want.
Multiple studies have shown that as we lose weight, our metabolism actually slows down. When this happens exercise produces less caloric burn that it does when we’re heavier. Combine that with the thought that you can eat more as long as you’re exercising some, and you’ll understand why you know some people who work out a lot and are still overweight.
Exercise is important, and one of the secrets to a healthy and happy life. But it’s not going to get you into those jeans if you don’t control your calories as well. This New York Times article explains the exercise secret. It’s a great read.
If you want to fit into your favorite ‘skinny jeans,’ you have to understand the science of weight loss. Control the calories, kill the wheat, cut out the sugar, get in the kitchen and move your body, and you’ll be out of those ‘fat jeans’ forever.
Featured photo credit: Potamos Photography via flickr.com