Are you ready to take control of your future and get serious about your weight and your health?
Some people will play the weight loss game for life. They'll try every fad diet and continuously starve, sacrifice
and suffer. They'll lose some weight then gain it back in what many call yo-yo dieting. In the end, some
will wind up heavier than before they started by going back to the foods they gave up in the first place. Long term
deprivation of favorite foods will cause them to binge and gain weight back at a fast pace.
But for some people,
it's different. It's that crucial moment when they decide to get serious about their health or weight and decide
this time for a permanent lifestyle change! If
that moment has come for you--if you're finally done with the gimmicks and fad diets--if you are truly ready to stop fooling
around and take charge of your weight permanently, then this guide will introduce you to the only way that truly works........Meal refinement. That is, changing to the right foods and the amount of foods you eat into a plan
that you can live with forever.
So if you are ready to stop being disappointed and start succeeding at losing pounds
and improving your health, these pages packed with valuable information will put you on the path to lasting slimness, happiness,
and good health.
Four Letter Word
The term "diet" has come to mean reducing the number of daily calories by choosing from
a special or limited selection of food and drink. The original meaning of the word, however, refers to whatever a person usually
consumes. In other words, your daily fare is your diet, and you should use it in those terms, recognizing that the word does
not have to refer to it's dreaded reputation of starving or suffering.
In their ongoing weight loss battle, people
look for that quick loss magic diet to shed excess weight. But fad regimens, like cabbage soup diet or restrictive high protein/low
carbohydrate diet are only temporary measures that are impossible and unhealthy to maintain. Once you resume normal eating
habits, the pounds will creep back on.
High Protein Diet
Although a high protein diet will allow you to lose weight, it is very difficult to maintain the very
restricted high protein, low carbohydrate diet long-term. Most people who begin them will gain weight back quickly after returning
to their regular diets. The real secret of low-carb succes is to restrict carbs in your diet rather than to eliminate
them completely. Be sure you are getting the complex carbs in your diet from vegetables and whole grains which your
body needs to function properly, and eliminate the sugar-based carbs found in processed foods and sugar-laden beverages which
your body can do without.
Serious high-protein, low carb
dieters can also suffer from a mild dehydration, which can cause headaches, fatigue, or loss of appetite. This will be more
problematic for those who have a regular exercise program of physically strenuous daily routines. Your body uses
carbs for energy, so you'll probably feel less like exercising if your carbs intake is severly restricted.
When portions are not limited, as in the Adkins diet, protein intake
can become very high. This is known to increase calcium losses in urine and adds to the risk of osteoporosis, which is of
special concern for women, teens and the elderly. Do you really think eating as much saturated fat as you want will
get you to a permanent weight loss state? I don't think so.
The truth is that permanent weight loss takes time
and a lifestyle change to eating a well-balanced nutritious "diet". The easiest way to adopt a healthy diet is to refine your
meals so that they contain a full array of foods that you enjoy. They should consist of mostly vegetables, fruits, whole
grain products, such as breads, cereals and rice, lean meats, low fat dairy and a regular intake of good fats such
as olive oil and that is found in fish and nuts.
The secret to changing your eating plan is to enjoy a
large variety of foods, but in small portions throughout the day to avoid hunger. You can even include your favorite
fattening foods once in a while, as long as you keep those portions small.
Another surefire way to good health is to eat foods as close to
their original form as possible (fresh fruits & vegetables and whole grain products), just as our lean early ancestors
did. Back when people kept active and ate whole, unprocessed foods there was no obesity problem as we experience
now. They used up their fat for energy. Read more about the relationship between low-carb and fat burning vs.
the no-carb restricted diets in the "Why Low-Carb Works" chapter.
The US basic guidelines of eating a healthy diet
are presently to get 50-60% of your calories from carbohydrates; 30-40% from proteins and 10-15% from fats. With the
success of low-carb weight loss, this formula is currently being looked at again by experts. The new recommendations
might look more like an intake of 30% carbs, 45% protein and 25% good fats. It's important that you don't cut out a certain food type, like dairy or even snacks, or you might be faced
with uncontrollable cravings. Choose these foods wisely and eat them in moderation.
Good Nutrition For Life!
are about to embark on a new and exciting healthy lifestyle that will improve your overall feeling of well-being, regulate
your weight and most importantly, improve your health.
To get ready, you must come to terms with the fact that this
isn't a health kick or fad, but a positive lifestyle change. Realize that this change will become a lifetime plan. Concentrate
on how great it is to do something good for yourself. You deserve it and your body will love it! This is a plan you
can start slowly, making positive changes along the way.
You will become healthier and the longer you eat healthy,
it will become habit. Once you spend 1-2 months eating good foods, it becomes easier to live with. If you can stick it out
for that long, chances are you will change your eating lifestyle instead of continually "going on and off diets". You'll likely
reach a point where this new activity is no longer difficult and becomes enjoyable. Your attitude will adjust slowly to look
forward to the sweet goodness of fresh fruit for your dessert instead of regarding it as a poor second choice to a bowl of
fattening ice cream.
Real, permanent weight loss takes time and a lifetime commitment to eating foods that are good
for your body and wellbeing.
Are you ready to "Get That Body"?
Set a start
While some people will start this plan today, others want time to prepare. Not by eating everything
in sight, but to transition themselves into this new beginning. Imagine how wonderful it will be to eat a wide variety of
foods throughout the day, feel good and become fit and trim naturally, which ultimately improves your body and mind. You'll
probably want to get started sooner than you thought!
If you give yourself some transition time before beginning this
healthy lifestyle change, now is the time to:
>>Buy new walking shoes (a simple walking program will help you
lose pounds faster)
>>Collect recipes that interest you or buy a new cookbook loaded with healthy recipes
up on fruits and vegetables and look for new ones to try
>>Read labels and compare whole grain breads, cereals &
>>Remove old sources of temptation such as full-fat snacks or sugary bakery goods
>> and begin
your Food Diary..
Keeping Track with a Food Diary
simple pad of paper and a pen is all that is needed to begin your food diary. However, you may prefer to purchase a nice journal
if it will keep you motivated to track your nutritional changes. Online food diaries are also helpful by doing the math for
you. By keeping a food and calorie diary, you will have better control over your total calorie intake and have a better
chance of sticking to the maximum for the day. (See Calorie Formula for Your Goal Weight in "Count Your Calories" (below).
One of the best investments you can make when refining your nutritional
choices is a book containing a complete nutritional breakdown of foods. It should count calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates,
cholesterol and sodium. You should also use a set of measuring cups and spoons. If you follow food labels and measure your
food for just one week, you will be able to judge a serving and will more easily be able to track how many calories you are
taking in. Being able to 'eye' your portions also makes it easier to dine out and still watch your portion sizes.
keeping a food diary, take a look at and record the things you do in your every day routine from the time you get up until
the time you go to bed. Track all meals, snacks and eating habits, such as if your lunches are light or heavy, what you eat
after dinner or if you tend to go for that midnight snack--add it all to the list for a whole day. Be sure not to forget those
small tastes that you hardly notice you are taking while cooking the meal. Write down whether or not you eat breakfast, what
you generally have, and if it changes drastically on the weekends.
Using a calorie guide, track the amount of
calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins you consume. The first step to improving your diet is to become aware of needed
Once you've put it on paper, you can start to see where the problems arise from bad habits, such as mindlessly
devouring a bag of chips in front of the TV or adding unnoticed calories by repeatedly tasting foods while cooking a
meal. Eating while cooking is one downfall that most people never think to notice which can easily
add up to 500 extra calories in most instances and then they sit down for a full-plated dinner!
These are just a couple
subconscious eating patterns which cause people to overeat and can usually be better controlled just by keeping a food diary
and being conscious of the hand to mouth habit.
Record any binges and note what may have caused the binge in the first
place. Was it really hunger? Sometimes you'll find that you eat out of habit (same time every day) or simply out of boredom
or frustration. Sometimes false hunger is caused by thirst. Mild dehydration can cause you to feel hungry. You may want
to drink a glass of water first to see if thirst is the culprit.
It's also important to work in some of your favorite
comfort foods, for example--sugar-free chocolate, to avoid binges in the first place. Cutting out too much too
fast can send you back into binge mode.
Set Realistic Goals
Choose a plan
you can live with
Weight loss winners--those who keep weight off--have one thing in common. They eat the same way
at their goal weight as they did when they were losing weight. Many people make the mistake of thinking they can revert to
their old eating habits once they achieve their desired weight loss, which is why the pounds creep back on.
important while losing weight to develop a meal plan full of foods you enjoy and can stick with for life. If you continue
to feel deprived of food, you should re-evaluate your choices and enhance your meals with exciting, tasty recipes. Use
exciting spices and low-sodium cooking sauces to liven up your meals.
First, realize that you many people have setbacks. After a week of following a good meal plan, you
could lose control and eat a whole bag of chips or cookies, or indulge in high calorie/high fat meals. Something like
this can make you feel like your efforts are failing. You cannot give up on yourself at this point. Resuming your eating plan
the very next day or with the very next meal will get you right back on track. The longer you eat a large
variety of foods, the less likely this will keep happening.
The biggest mistake people make is a feeling of failure,
giving up on their plan when they make one or two mistakes. The most important rule of this plan is to keep on improving your
meals. Enjoy smaller portions of your favorite foods more often to avoid the cravings that cause the binge in the
first place. Eventually, you will be able to eat less and less of the fattening foods without these cravings.
Triggers are moods or situations that can cause you to overeat; overeating can be directly tied to
emotional moments in your life; good or bad. Food can create soothing changes in brain chemistry. By tracking what you eat
and when, you can recognize when you are eating for emotional fulfillment or boredom, rather than hunger. You have to know
which moods send you to the cookie jar before you can do anything about it.
Once you know what triggers these cravings,
you can control them. Take a walk, drink a no-cal beverage, call a friend and pace while on the phone to burn calories. Do
something to keep your brain and hands busy, like a crossword puzzle or paint by number project. Another avenue to relieve
stress induced eating after a harrowing day, is to clear your head or relax with meditation for just 5 minutes. Take a few
relaxing deep breaths then let your breathing become deep and rhythmic. It is possible to lose pounds using this technique,
particularly if you're someone who deals with stress by eating.
Do whatever you can to fill the void that you used
food to fill in the past. Always drink a glass of water if you suspect your hunger pang might be caused by thirst--add a dash
of mouthwash, this can successfully squelch a craving.
to the heart of weight control, let's talk about the importance of calories...
So Count Your Calories!
When we speak of food calories, we are
referring to the amount of food that the body needs to produce one unit of energy. Calories are the energy necessary for life,
and the body burns a great deal of them just to maintain its normal functions. Everything from breathing and digestion to
tapping your foot burns calories. Calories are ultimately the single most important factor of weight loss.
'forbidden foods' isn't necessarily what makes you fat, although fat cells will tend to store more fat if you don't burn the
energy (carbs) you eat. In reality, eating more calories than you need is what really increases your weight. What happens
if you take in more or fewer calories than your body burns? You either gain or lose fat, respectively.
The most efficient
way to control your weight is by exercising and eating sufficient calories for your desired weight. Keeping a negative
calorie balance is what keeps you losing weight continuously.
How to figure the amount of calories you should be consuming
to reach your ideal or goal weight is explained here:
Use your goal weight, the realistic weight you would like to be at, with the formula below to see how
many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis. Compare it with your current weight, using the same formula. This
will tell you how much you should adjust your calorie intake, but keep in mind you should never cut more than 500 calories
per day from your diet for an extended period of time. Doing so may cause your calorie burning metabolism to slow down,
placing your body in "starvation mode". Weight loss takes time. To do it properly and permanently, you should lose no
more than 1-2 pounds per week. The most painless way to do this is to cut only 250 calories from your diet and
perform additional activities to burn another 250 calories. This is one sure way your body will not feel deprived of
food and the 500 calorie deficit per day will cause you to lose the recommended average of a pound per week. If you
want to up that calorie burn, cut back 500 calories thru eating and exercise for 1/2 hour to cut another 250...that's
750 negative calories per day which equals one pound lost every 5 days.
3,500 Calories = 1 Pound
Figure Out How Many Calories Your Body Burns Per Day For Normal Function
Weight (in lbs.) divided by 2.2
X 24 (Hours)
= Calories Burned Per Day
If you exercise, you should add additional
calories to your daily count as follows:
Light - Strenuous job; active: Total
Calories X 1.2 = New Total
Moderate - Exercise 3-4 days/wk: Total Calories X 1.3 = New Total
Heavy - Exercise
4+ days/wk: Total Calories X 1.4 = New Total
An accumulation of 3,500 extra calories is stored by your body
as 1 pound of fat--fat is the body's way of saving energy for a rainy day. If, on the other hand, you burn 3,500 more calories
than you eat, whether by exercising more or eating less, your body converts 1 pound into burned up energy to make up for the
You might wonder if it matters where your calories come from. That's
a two-fold answer. If we eat exactly the number of calories that we burn and if we're only talking about weight, the answer
is basically "No"--a calorie is a calorie in a weight loss sense. A protein calorie is no different from a fat calorie--they
are simply units of energy. As long as you burn what you eat, you will maintain your weight; and as long as you burn more
than you eat, you'll lose weight.
If you do not burn all of the calories you ingest and you're not trying to gain
weight, you would want those extra calories to come from carbohydrates or proteins instead of fats because:
Fats are easier to store as fat than are carbohydrates or proteins
>> Your body expends more energy on
the chemical processes that convert carbohydrates and proteins into fats, meaning that some calories are actually burned in
the storing process
But on the other hand, grams of food (as measured on food labels) are not created equal:
1 gram fat = 9 calories
1 gram protein = 4 calories
1 gram carbohydrate = 4 calories
As you can see,
fat grams contain twice the calories of protein and carbohydrate rich foods, which is why fatty foods make it easier for people
to gain weight. The fat is immediately stored as fat by your body, while carbohydrates and protein burn some calories in the
process of converting to fat.
You may have also heard the term "empty calories". This refers to foods, such as alcohol
and sugar, which provide calories with little or no nutritional value. These "Empty" calories are best kept to a minimum if
you want to experience the best effects of your new eating plan.
Drinking alcohol in moderation has been proven to be beneficial
to your heart, however, moderation means no more than one drink per day for women and two for men. One drink is equal to 4
oz. of wine or one beer or one shot (jigger) of liquor. Studies show that red wine gives the body the most benefit,
so if you enjoy a little nightcap, even your doctor may recommend a good glass of red wine.
However, excessive drinking will pile on pounds in no time. Alcohol
turns to sugar and will be stored in your fat cells fast and doubles this effect if your liquor is mixed with sugary soft
Think of your metabolism as a furnace that burns wood. Your metabolism burns calories
at different speeds depending on your rate of physical activity. The rate at which it burns calories is called your Metabolic
Rate. This rate automatically increases with exercise.
To keep your metabolism working efficiently, aim for the amount
of calories needed daily to maintain your GOAL weight, not your current weight, and feed your body throughout the day with
several small meals.
Keep in mind, however, that your body is smart and programmed to survive. If you deprive it of
the necessary calories (cutting too much, too fast), your body will think you are in the middle of a famine and will do its
best to keep you from dying of hunger by going into "starvation mode". Your metabolic rate will drop in order to preserve
energy and fat reserves. Then it will consume your muscles before it will start on your fat stores because muscle tissue requires
the most calories. Most health experts recommend that women should never fall below 1,200 calories per day, and men 1,800,
to avoid this slowdown.
However, if you are taking in the right amount of nutritional calories, your metabolic rate
will not drop sharply or slow down. It will burn carbohydrates for energy, then fat, and muscle last.
such as working with weights, elastic bands or anything that causes the muscles to strengthen (such as push-ups) is highly
recommended for anyone wishing to lose weight and tone up. By performing this type of exercise, you are naturally increasing
your metabolic burn rate, which in turn, helps you to lose weight quickly and efficiently.
Did you know? You can burn up to an extra 150 calories
per day just by replacing fat with lean muscle, even while resting. That's in addition to the calories
burned while performing the exercise!
Keep Your Metabolism Humming
you adjust your calorie intake, your body will slowly adjust to this level as well. Over a period of time (usually after about
6 months), your metabolism will adjust downward to meet your lowered calorie intake. This is called "plateauing", when you
stop losing the weight at a regular pace. It can make you feel like your efforts are failing and is a time when some will
regain bad eating habits. This is why exercise is recommended to help the body maintain an unequalized metabolism, running
faster during higher activity levels. However, there is a way to avoid this:
To avoid plateauing
If you're not exercising, you can still fool your metabolism by varying your calorie count from day to day to keep it
from settling at a certain point and adjusting to your lowered calorie count. The body gets used to routine, so by not
giving it a routine to get used to, it can't settle at any certain point.
When you notice a plateau
happening, you will need to adjust your daily intake to where a couple of days per week you are eating more, but less on other
days. You should keep this up for about 2-3 weeks before resuming the regular eating plan.
A typical schedule of calorie intake per week for a 130 lb. slightly
active woman should fluctuate something like this:
Using the 'Calorie Needs' formula:
130 lbs./2.2 X 24 hours
= 1,418 per day x 1.2 for light activity = 1,700
x 7 (days per week) = 11,900 calories per week.
Wed Thu Fri Sat
Sun Total Calories
1,800 1,450 1,850 1,500 1,900
1,500 1,900 = 11,900
See these numbers charted below to visualize the up
and down fluctuations in calories which will keep the body's metabolism from slowing. Although, if this is
not easy enough for you to regulate in your meal plan, keep in mind that any type of exercise program will increase
your metabolic rate and help your body get through any plateau you hit.
Meals or 5-6 Mini-Meals Per Day??
Have you ever experienced the fact that when you eat less, it feels
as though your stomach holds less the next time around? Well, the stomach doesn't really get smaller but it does lose
its capacity to stretch as much as it did when it was accustomed to holding more food.
Researchers found that men
and women who weighed about 200 pounds could hold almost four cups of water in their stomachs. But four weeks later, after
eating smaller, more frequent meals and losing several pounds, they were at their maximum discomfort level with less than
three cups of water.
So what that tells us is by eating large individual meals instead of smaller meals throughout
the day, the stomach capacity appears to stretch. Fortunately, the opposite appears to be true as well. By eating small meals
throughout the day, you can feel full without overeating, which in turn will lead to weight loss.
One researcher stated
that "The idea of three square meals is downright wrong". That's the biggest reason people overeat, they go too long between
meals and become ravenous. Then at lunch or dinner they consume 2 to 3 times the proper portion size than if they had eaten
several smaller meals. This is caused by a drop in your blood sugar insulin levels. When your body is not
nourished regularly throughout the day, when you go for long periods without food, many chemical changes occur in your body
which can lead to shakiness, hunger attacks, light-headedness and irritability. Your metabolism will also slow down
to accommodate the lack of nutrients, which leads experts to believe that your meals should become evenly distributed throughout
your waking hours at 350-500 calories per meal, depending on your ideal calorie intake. (Remember to use your goal weight.)
Although you may be used to the 3 meal per day regimen, you can easily switch to 5-6 meals per day. For instance,
the calories consumed at breakfast could be cut in half, with the first half eaten at breakfast and the second half eaten
at midmorning. Similarly, half of the calories consumed at lunch could be put off for mid-afternoon".
The facts behind
this thinking are that the body metabolizes food more efficiently when we eat a little bit every few hours, rather than stuffing
yourself on a large meal 2-3 times per day, which then makes you sleepy. By supplying a steady stream of energy, smaller meals
keep you invigorated all day, with no excessive highs or lows, avoiding cravings or the need to binge. The regimen of several
small meals will cause your body to run like a well-tuned engine, running smooth and lean.
A good rule is to order your favorite nutritious foods at lunch
and box half of it to enjoy again at dinner. This is one way you won't be so quick to overeat, knowing the rest of this
treat will be waiting for you later in the day. It's one way to enjoy your favorite foods while still controlling portion
Starting at Zero
The Importance of Breakfast
When you awake, you are basically "starting up your body". You are waking from a fast, which is where
the meal got it's name "break-fast", and your body needs to be re-nourished. Here's where you are starting with a clean slate,
you are beginning the day at zero calories and need to get off to a good healthy start.
The mistake many people make
when trying to lose weight is they strip their intake to 1-2 meals per day, usually skipping breakfast which is the most important
meal of the day. This has an opposite effect on the your metabolism by sending it into "starvation" mode for most of the day.
The metabolism will run slower during those periods, perhaps losing hours of maximum calorie-burning benefits.
this, if you typically skip breakfast, that is the first area in which to improve. By skipping breakfast, you are automatically
slowing your metabolism. Chances are by lunchtime, you are ravishingly hungry and will eat something loaded with fat or sugar,
which is what the body is craving due to the blood insulin levels skyrocketing. At that time a high fat or high sugar meal
will drive the sugar directly into storage areas (fat cells) of the body.
So, in other words, starting each day with
a good meal will actually help you burn more calories!
Basic Meal Plan
to start the day is with a mix of fiber and protein to keep your going well into the next meal. Some examples of a good mix
>>Omelet filled with veggies (use 1 egg + 3 egg whites)
>>Whole grain toast with a tablespoon
of peanut butter (Go for the natural peanut butter)
>>Oatmeal with berries or whole grain cereal with fresh
Following breakfast, eat
a light snack mid-morning such as whole fruit and whole-grain crackers or a low-fat yogurt with fresh berries or fruit.
lunch, a chicken or tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread with light mayo, lettuce and tomato and a cup of vegetable
soup gives you many servings of vegetables and enough protein to keep you feeling full. Another high fiber option is a bowl
of chili and a side salad.
Your mid-afternoon meal should be light, but filling enough to keep your hunger in control.
Choose chopped veggies dipped in light ranch or a fresh fruit salad, or whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese. You
can prepare these little portions ahead of time for easy healthy eating.
Dinner could consist of skinless baked chicken,
a baked or sweet potato (better choice) and fresh vegetables, or a very lean steak with a whole grain roll and a large
salad with low-fat dressing.
Eat a light, nutritious snack of high-fiber cereal (only a cup) or a banana at least
an hour before bedtime to help you sleep through the night and you won't wake up feeling ravishingly hungry.