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Wednesday
May272015

Are you ready to change? The formula for weight loss (and keeping it off)

I've been avoiding telling you something. Procrastinating? Me?

Actually it's more of a ... I didn't want to be seen as a reformed evangelist speaker - you know the kind of person I mean. I am sure you know people who've given up smoking and all of a sudden they are touting every health benefit of giving up smoking to everyone and everyone regardless of whether the other person smokes or not. Or how about the once large person who has found exercise and in doing so has lost a lot of weight and is now running marathons and so can you - oh and I've written a book about my journey. Yeah those kinds of people. I didn't want to be that kind of person. But it's been bugging me for some time, so I'm going to share something with you like it or not.
Do you know the formula for weight loss? In simple terms it's energy in vs energy out. What you take in as calories means you can lose weight, maintain your weight or gain weight. As little as 500 calories per day over your personal nutritional requirements (based on your activity and lifestyle levels) means you can gain a pound of weight a week. Conversely the opposite is also true.

Still with me? And please no eye rolling.
In basic terms I thought I knew that...eat less, exercise more and voila weight loss. Unfortunately for me and fortunately for the dieting industry and authors of the many "fad" diets out there I had bought almost every book going.

So what would happen, I would tell myself I could lose weight, pick a book and follow the instructions. Sure I could lose a bit, then I would gain a bit, lose a bit more, gain it back. I'm sure you know people like that, heck you might be a person like that. I know I was.
Then 2 things happened.

I started doing some work for a business that ran events in the body sculpting world. People would come from across the state to speak to someone who had been there and done that, and won - many times... Obviously he was in huge demand and had passed on his knowledge to hundreds if not thousands of people so they could lose body fat and gain muscle. Some even went on to stage wearing nothing very much, but what they did wear was sparkly, while others decided that they were happy with a significant fat loss but didn't want to compete against the other sparkly, well toned and honed bodies.

So one of my first questions was - how come we're not eating the same way as the body sculptors / body builders - and no ladies there is no way you will look like a bloke if you lift weights (but more of that in another post). I've seen how obsessed these people are with their clean eating, you could literally see the weekly changes as the fat disappeared - and their facebook photos proved it - daily. Sure they also worked their respective tushes off in the gym, but one thing I now know - you cannot out train a poor diet. You want to strip body fat, you need to eat properly. And believe me when I say (because I saw the nutritional programs this guy created) it was real food, minimal vitamins and supplements based on gender and none of the sports supplements that are VERY big business. Now I'm not saying his way is the only way, but I saw his way work, many times and his champions are still returning to take on the next generation of would be competitors.

The second ah-ha moment came when I decided to complete a diploma in personal nutrition. I could see where the body sculpting came into the mix and - with that new found knowledge (and I must admit - a distinction in the final exam) I now know what I've been doing wrong all these years and I am down 5 kilos already.
By the way I've also recycled all of my faddy diet books.

So what is the take away (excuse the pun) behind all of this:
  • You cannot out train a bad diet. All the exercise in the world will not give you the body you say you want if you don't get the food component right.
  • You need to understand your own base metabolic requirements (there are proper ways to determine your individual requirements - and these need to be recalculated as you lose weight) - you know that plateau, yes it doesn't happen if you recalculate your energy requirements.
  • Adult males on average need just 2,500 calories / day, Women the average is 2,000. Children that daily average is just 1,800, and some foods can provide all of those calories in one very huge sitting if you think about portion control - and to be fair most of us have no idea what a true portion size of most foods are.
  • No food is taboo - but when you understand the hidden calories, the concentration of salts, fats and sugars in most of the processed foods and just how many actual calories there are you will automatically steer away from those in the higher brackets towards foods that are in the healthier ranges.
  • I would recommend that everyone takes a basic nutritional course - to understand the science behind it all, it was actually fascinating and a long time since my human biology classes - and I'm sure we didn't focus on nutrition.

There are many nutritional courses and many sound diet principles available, but to lose weight and keep it off you need to be ready to change.

Elle

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