Calorie Restriction and Weight Loss
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One can effectively lose weight by eating less food. By eating less food, one is typically consuming less calories (depending on the type of food of course) which, would in turn result in a negative energy balance and weight loss. Now, consuming less calories is an effective way to lose weight, but there is more to this issue. If one is going to try and lose weight by lowering their calorie intake, one must be consistent because your body's metabolism, or the rate at which you burn calories will decrease due to the decreased calorie intake. Once this happens, if you then increase your calorie intake you will likely gain back the weight you lost, and possibly even more than you lost as your body adjusts to the increased calorie intake.
As a nutritionist, I believe one should not focus on the number you see on a scale, but more importantly, the amount of body fat you are carrying. Other than some of the more advanced technologies used to measure body fat such as DEXA scan, one simple way to determine, at least to some degree, body fat loss, is seeing how your clothes fit. If your pants are becoming too big around the waist and other parts of the body, you are likely losing body fat. The best way to accomplish this is by following a healthy eating plan and exercising (both aerobic and resistance training such as weightlifting). This will allow you to tap into body fat stores as a source of energy for exercise, and supporting your exercise and gains in lean muscle mass, loss of body fat by consuming healthy sources of protein i.e. lean chicken, fish, beans, high fiber carbs (brown rice, fruits, vegetables) and healthy fats (olive oil, olives, almonds and other nuts, avocado). This balance will provide a biochemical environment that when combined with regular vigorous exercise, will help you really change your body. More importantly, a lower body fat percentage is associated with a reduced risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer. So focus on losing body fat and not just a number on a scale.
Losing weight is a matter of creating an imbalance between the amount of calories taken in and the number of calories burned.
Weight-loss programs typically focus on creating that imbalance by reducing calories consumed -- in other words, eating less food. Weight Watchers teaches you how to make the choices that will keep you satisfied for longer, while you create this caloric deficit. However, Weight Watchers also brings regular activity into the weight-loss process, helping contribute further to the imbalance between calories in, and calories expended. Weight Watchers also helps people adopt the long-term behavior changes that are needed to make these food and activitiy changes in a supportive environment, which are critical for long-term success.
You can always lose weight by eating less food. Eating less will help you take in fewer calories. When you cut calories you generally start to lose weight. Whenever you eat less you want to make sure the food you are eating is nutritious. Cut out the obvious high calorie culprits like soda, sweets, processed and fried foods.
The best way to lose weight is to either eat smaller portions or fewer calories. When you take in fewer calories than you expend, you lose weight. Keeping the weight off is a different matter altogether! It requires you to think about food differently and stop romanticizing it. When you are able to do this, food becomes nice tasting nutrition rather than emotional solace or entertainment.
You certainly can lose weight simply by eating less food, but a more practical approach is to choose healthy, nutrient rich foods that will provide long term energy, satiety (a feeling of fullness) and support the maintenance of lean muscle. Complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats should comprise the bulk of your diet. Simply eating less food is not a long-term solution, since many people will abandon their program when they get tired of being hungry.
It is also important to incorporate an exercise program into your weight loss efforts. Since losing weight is dependent on your calorie balance, exercise will speed the weight loss process. Cardiovascular exercises will burn a substantial amount of calories, while resistance training exercises will help build lean muscle (which in itself burns calories).
Losing weight (and keeping it off) is not just about eating less, but about making smart food choices, exercising regularly, and doing both consistently.
In general eating less food than your body needs can slow your metabolism unless you manage to eat enough proteins to fuel and repair your body. When you manage to introduce a diet limited to protein foods, the body cannot use all the calories contained in the food. The body takes the proteins needed for survival and for the vital maintenance of its organs (muscles, blood cells, skin, hair, nails), and it makes poor and scant use of the other calories provided.
To assimilate 100 calories of pure protein— egg whites, lean fish, or nonfat cottage cheese— the task is enormous. This is because protein is composed of an aggregate of very long chains of molecules whose basic links, amino acids, are connected to each other by a strong bond that requires a lot more work to be broken down. It takes 30 calories just to assimilate the proteins, leaving only 70 usable calories. At the end of the day, after eating 1,500 calories worth of proteins, a substantial intake, only 1,050 calories remain after digestion. This is one of the Dukan Diet’s keys and one of the reasons why it is so effective.
Eating sweet foods or fats does create a superficial feeling of satiety, all too soon swept away by the return of hunger. Recent studies have proved that snacking on sweet or fatty foods does not delay your urge to eat again or reduce the quantities eaten at the next meal. On the other hand, snacking on proteins does delay your urge for your next meal and does reduce the amount that you then eat.
See more about the Dukan Diet at www.dukandiet.com
In theory, a deficit of 500 calories per day will produce a one pound weight loss per week. That being said, I recommend a minimum of 1000 calories per day to maintain essential body functions and a healthy metabolism. Sufficient calories are needed to provide energy for optimal daily physical activity. Choose to omit junk foods that provide calories without nutrients. If you already have a healthy diet, consider your portion size of food servings and make a small change to reduce 100 calories from a meal.