Have you ever been tempted to indulge a little because you have been working out hard? It’s an easy thing to rationalize. If you have just pushed yourself to the limit on the treadmill for forty-five minutes, you can at least grab a chocolate shake on the way home. You’ve earned it, right?
Actually, no. Although many people operate on the assumption that they can cancel out their dessert habit with a daily spin on the elliptical trainer, it simply does not work that way in reality. It can come as quite a shock to learn just how many calories can lurk within our favorite foods.
For example, a workout of moderate intensity will burn about 300-400 calories in sixty minutes. During that workout, you have worked hard, raised your heart rate up and sweated quite a bit. Congratulations! That kind of work deserves a pat on the back.
But if you try to use that workout to justify a treat, you will likely come up short. For example, a couple of glazed donuts from Starbucks pack a whopping 840 calories! That is more than twice what you managed to burn during your hour of effort at the gym.
Is that a good trade? You will have to decide whether more than two solid hours of intense exercise is worth the three or four minutes it takes you to eat a couple of donuts.
The truth is you cannot lose weight by simply exercising. That is not to say that exercise is not important. It is. In fact, exercise is a great way to keep the weight off that you have already lost. But few people can exercise enough to justify over eating; you simply cannot expend that much energy. The extra calories will be stored as fat. And it is a lot harder to get the fat off your body than it is to put it on.
This is not to say that you cannot indulge occasionally. Of course you can. But understand it is a treat—an exception. It should not happen very often, and your indulgence should be in moderation.
And make sure that you know exactly how many calories you are eating when you choose your treat. Hidden calories can sabotage your diet. Once you know how many calories are in that double scoop of ice cream, you can decide whether you really want to eat it or not. You may learn that you can be just as satisfied with one scoop and be happy to have less fat being stored on your body!
Are you tempted by the latest fad diets? You are not alone. At any given time, two-thirds of all Americans are on a diet to lose weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With so many people struggling to shed pounds, it is no wonder fad diets are popular. Anything that promises to help the pounds come off fast and easily is sure to catch the eye of people who desperately want to lose weight.
But nearly everyone who manages to lose weight will gain it back. In fact, fully ninety-five percent people who lose weight will gain it back. There is obviously a problem with fad diets. Here are some reasons why you should avoid them.
- Many fad diets promise fast success as a result of radical changes. For 6 six to twelve weeks you are instructed to make drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle. And in many cases, these changes are so radical, that you really do lose weight quickly. The trouble is that the radical nature of the instructions makes it impossible to continue for very long. And once you go back to your normal way of living, the weight comes right back on.
A better alternative is to gradually introduce healthy lifestyle habits that you can keep up for the long term. This will result in slower weight loss, but it will be weight loss that you will be more likely to maintain.
- Fad diets often cause muscle loss. If you restrict your calories so severely that you lose weight quickly, you are likely losing muscle mass along with fat. Since muscle weighs more than fat, you will probably notice a decent drop on the scale, but it comes at a high price. Once you lose muscle, you cannot get it back, and muscle is a huge calorie burner, even while you are at rest. So your future efforts at weight loss will be hindered, because you will have less muscle to aid in calorie burning. Further, since fad diets almost always result in the regaining of weight, you will eventually gain fat back to replace the muscle that you lost, but it will be even harder to get the fat off, because now you have less muscle to help burn it!
A safer alternative is to follow a sensible weight loss plan that involves plenty of nutrition and calories, and combine it a strength training program that protects your muscles while you lose the fat.
- 3. Fad diets promote The severely restricted calorie profile of most fad diets does not provide enough nutrition for sufficient energy. The result is that you will feel sluggish, moody and maybe even depressed.
Instead, choose an eating plan that provides plenty of the macronutrients of complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables and fruits), healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil), and protein (lean animal protein, nuts, eggs, cheese and fish).