Who hasn’t settled in to watch at least one episode of “The Biggest Loser”? We are impressed at weigh-in by the huge weight loss numbers earned by the leading contestants. We feel sorry for the poor guy or girl who only lost a pound or two and stands crying on the scales.
As much as the networks would like us to believe it, this is far from reality. In real life, slow and steady weight loss will bring you health and success in the end. Here’s why.
- Extreme weight loss actually lowers your metabolism. Severely restricting your calories makes your body think it is starving and it slows all your metabolic processes down. When you increase your calories (and you have to eventually), you gain the weight back. Sometimes you even gain MORE than what you lost originally.
- Extreme weight loss tends to burn muscle instead of fat. Muscle is what burns calories, so refer to number one for what will happen.
- Severely restricting your calories can leave you dehydrated, and fatigued. It’s hard to get all the nutrients you need when you cut calories to the bone so you may be left malnourished as well.
- EWL can be detrimental to a host of your organs. It puts stress on your heart, can cause gallstones and affect your brain processes. The lack of nutrients can mess with your neurotransmitters, which can lead to depression.
- If you are not giving your body the nutrients it needs (like calcium) it will take them where it can get them (like from your bones) leaving you at risk for things like bone density problems.
So what is healthy weight loss? The American Council on Exercise recommends one to two pounds per week. No one should restrict their calories to less than 1200 per day. In order to lose those one or two pounds per week, you need to combine calorie reduction and burning extra calories through exercise to make a 500 to 1000 calorie deficit per day. 3500 calories equals one pound. If you lose weight slowly, you will be doing it by changing your lifestyle (doing something you can sustain over time). You will be much more likely to be able to keep it off. Here’s a calorie calculator to help you figure out how many calories you should eat to lose weight the healthy way. Here’s a link to some videos to give you ideas to easily eliminate a few hundred calories per day.
Have you ever lost a lot of weight only to gain it back? Have you lost weight and been able to keep it off? Leave a comment and tell your story!
My pyramid is gone and Michele Obama has ushered in my plate. It’s a simpler way to keep track of of your nutrition at each meal. It’s still color coded and it still says basically the same thing. It’s just repackaged. I think this version will be a lot easier to use and the visual may help with America’s portion distortion. When I took a look at it (myplate.gov) it seamed like all the blocks were pretty much the same size. The vegetable and grain plate wedges were a little larger than the protein and fruit plate wedges. The dairy is smaller and in the shape of a glass to the side of the plate. Note that half of your meal should be made up of fruits and vegetables. Fats, oils and sweets are not part of the plate. This means they should be used sparingly. Vegetables loaded up with butter and sauces are missing the point. So are fruits covered in sugar and syrup. Half of grains should be whole grains. The white stuff alone won’t cut it. Filling half your plate with french fried and ketchup and calling it veggies, well, you’re just fooling yourself.
The moral of the story is use the plate as a reference along with your common sense and it should help you to eat a more nutritios, more balanced meal. Now who is going to make a million dollars manufacturing kid’s “My Plates” to sell to the public??
My family loves this steak salad in the summertime. It’s cool on a hot day and tastes delicious!
Sirloin steak (about 3 ounces per person)
One bag of Dole hearts of romaine lettuce
One bag of Dole spring mix
One box cherry tomatoes
One container of feta cheese
Your favorite low fat or low calorie dressing. I like Kraft Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette
Cook steak on grill to your desired doneness. Cut into bitesize pieces and cover with foil. Toss lettuce, halve the cherry tomatoes and add to lettuce. Sprinkle with feta cheese and toss. Add the steak and toss again. Dress with your favorite dressing. Serves four.
It’s a sad fact that only 9 percent of Americans know the number of calories and what nutrients they are supposed to eat in a day. Most of us can’t even take an educated guess! If we don’t know how many calories we need to eat in a day, we’re not even close to knowing what nutrients we need. Your body is your vehicle and your food is your fuel. If you put sugar water in your car’s gas tank what happens? It won’t run. If you put the wrong types of foods into your body what happens? Your body can’t run efficiently. If you put too much fuel in your body, it can’t store it efficiently and you gain weight.
It’s time to educate yourself! Here’s some sites to check out. mypyramid.gov can help you figure it out. Enter your height, weight, and activity level and this site will tell you how many calories you should be eating. It will also give you a breakdown of what food groups your calories should be coming from. I find this site overestimates the amount of calories I need. I’m pretty sure that if I ate the 2200 calories that My Pyramid says I should, I would gain weight. I do better at about 1700 calories a day, but you have to remember, that the site does an estimate of average calories.
Another site I like to use is dailyburn.com. Daily Burn will calculate how many calories you should have similar to My Pyramid. It goes a step further by asking you how much weight you want to lose (or gain depending upon your stats), and adjusts your daily calories accordingly. Daily burn will also keep a running daily total of your calories and certain nutrients as you enter the foods you have eaten.
Both of these sites are FREE so now you have no excuses! Figure out you nutritional stats.