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Brian Flatt The Two Week Diet System

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The Two Week Diet
by Brian Flatt
INTRODUCTION
Welcome to your fresh start! The new you is ready
to emerge and we’re here to assist you in this
exciting process.
Research for this e-book has been built up over
many years from you, our consumers. We have
listened to your calls, read your emails and posts
online and have discovered that your questions
generally related to the same problems and
concerns. We found that the solution to most of
these could be found in FIVE EASY steps. With
some lifestyle changes and commitment, we’re
confident you will reach your goal – to enjoy a
lifetime of wellness and goal weight maintenance.
Every day we make choices, some good, some
bad, but when it comes to health and weight-loss,
there shouldn’t be a dilemma. There are many
reasons why we might want to lose weight, but
doctors all agree that if you are overweight, even
a small loss can bring a real improvement to your
health.
issues, as well as motivational guidance to help
you achieve your goal weight and total well-being.
We’ll bust popular myths about the elusive world
of weight-loss and provide you with answers to
a leaner, more energetic, healthier you in body
and mind, something more comprehensive than
calorie counting! It’s not that calories don’t count,
but even if you plan to count them for the rest
of your life, calorie counting alone won’t do the
trick.
It’s time for a fresh start to a new you. What
we strive to achieve with our products and this
e-book, is a constructive partnering of knowledge
that’s aimed at making your weight-loss journey
easier, not harder. In this e-book, we will offer you
insight and thought-provoking ideas to transform
your perceptions so you can reap the rewards.
I hope that you enjoy this book and get the most
out of it; may this journey become an integral part
of your daily life.
Because you’re serious about getting slim and
maintaining this transformed you, we intend to
give you a comprehensive programme that cuts
to the chase, giving you the tools and providing
you with useful information on critical weight-loss
Happy new beginnings
and here’s to the start of
the new, transformed you!
Making the commitment
and lifestyle changes can
take some time, but little
by little you can do it!
ASSESSING THE PROBLEM
Being overweight is widely regarded as one of the
most important preventable causes of death and
disability. With there being a much greater awareness
of weight issues, the correct foods to eat, knowledge
about our bodies, one would think we’d be a society
of predominantly healthy bodies. The opposite is true,
we’re getting fatter. Two out of three women are on
some form of weight-loss programme and the number
of weight-conscious men is also on the increase – why?
With all the hyped products and aggressively marketed
weight-loss programmes offered, and a wealth of
weight-loss knowledge available to us, surprisingly,
there are still so many weight-loss questions that often
go unanswered.
In the following chapters, we outline the answers to the
most common questions and provide you with the tools
and understanding you’ll need to implement your FIVE
EASY steps in a sustainable and realistic way. After all,
not only are better vitality and a slimmer body important
to you, but keeping it for life too.
Understanding what happens to your body when you
overeat or diet too much or how you got to where you
are today – dissatisfied with your general health and
weight – is key to implementing the FIVE EASY steps
we will get to shortly. It is crucial that you resist making
the same mistakes that got you to this place so that you
can live a more fulfilled, happier, satisfied, healthier life.
In this e-book, we’ll cover the following:
I’ll just starve myself! and why diets alone don’t work
other factors affecting weight-loss
more on hormones and slimming
do you really need to lose weight?
calorie counting
emotional eating
the FIVE EASY steps
Nothing really lasts or works in isolation. We know our
body and mind make a fearsome and complicated
dynamic and we need to address their needs in a holistic
manner. Making the commitment and lifestyle changes
can take some time, but little by little you can do it!
In the simplest terms, we become overweight when our calorie intake exceeds our output. Our
modern day lifestyles are more stressful, we have less time for ourselves and exercise is normally
pushed to the end of the to-do list. So surely, if we simply reduce our intake enough, our bodies
will rely on using the stored fat for energy and presto! skinny hips will emerge...
To show why this is an unrealistic approach for lasting results, we first need to understand how
our metabolism works.
Metabolism is the process in which the body breaks down organic matter (such as the food you
eat) and converts it into the energy required to keep the body functioning. Our metabolic rate
determines how much and how fast our bodies do this.
I’LL JUST STARVE MYSELF!
AND WHY DIETS ALONE
DON’T WORK
The cells of our bodies need oxygen, water, fuel and nutrients to successfully carry out their
functions of keeping us alive and healthy. It is our metabolism that burns the fuel into energy,
building new living cells and breaking down old cells. Every day up to eighty million cells in your
body are being replaced with new ones, so the importance of keeping your body healthy and
operating at its optimum capacity is vital.
So, you diet for a few months and for a while you feel great. Your old jeans are hauled out from
the back of the cupboard. Your friends all admire your willpower to resist food and envy the
results you get. You reach your goal weight, pat yourself on the back and resume life as normal.
Come next spring, however, you know you’re going to have to do it all over again or find another
dieting programme – hopefully this time with more lasting results because come winter, you feel
fatter than before.
Why does this happen and how can you maintain your goal weight without living a life of constant
deprivation?
Intensive research has found that there is a strong tendency to regain weight after a dieting
programme, with as much as 66% of the weight lost regained within a year after completing that
specific programme – and up to 100% after 5 years. But that’s just the start. Research has also
found strong evidence that the amount of fat stored in the body actually increases with each
cycle of dieting.
The reason is that when a person loses weight, both fat and muscle tissue are shed. When the
weight is put back on, it is generally made up of a greater proportion of fat and less muscle,
leaving the dieter fatter than before.
To give you an example:
A 165 cm woman weighs 66 kg’s of which 23 kg’s are fat, which amounts to 35% of her body
weight. After dieting for some months she loses 9 kg’s – 6 kg’s in the form of fat and the
remainder in the form of muscle tissue and water. She happily now weighs 57 kg’s, of which
17 kg’s are fat, amounting to 29% of her body weight.
During the next six months, all the lost weight creeps back. But the biggest alarm bell, the
regained weight is composed of 7.7 kg’s of fat and only 1.3 kg’s of muscle tissue and water.
As weight is lost, so the body requires less calories to keep functioning – eliminating, rebuilding
and replacing cells – and therefore the metabolic rate actually slows down. Your body will now
require less calories every day to maintain itself. If a healthy eating plan and exercise programme
are not incorporated into your lifestyle, where will all the extra calories go? Into fat stores, of
course.
So, even though our dieter weighs the same as she did before, she now carries more fat, all
25kgs of it, or 38% of her total body weight. And each time the weight-loss through a diet cycle
is repeated, so the cycle of becoming fatter is also repeated.
The bottom line – diets, on their own, do not work.
OTHER FACTORS
AFFECTING WEIGHT- LOSS
GENETICS
There are some factors we can’t control. For example, our genetic tendency to store or burn fat and our basic body
shape. No matter how much or how little exercise we do, we’re just not built the same. Some of us are designed to
be lean and mean and others not. Sounding familiar?
There are those that we sometimes love to hate – the beanpole types who can eat what they like and not gain a
gram. For them, the American psychologist, W. H. Sheldon (who associated certain personalities with basic body
types) coined the term ectomorphs.
Then there are the muscular mesomorphs, the natural beefcakes who’d probably look that way without ever putting
a foot into the gym.
And then there are the endomorphs, those of us who may hate the way we look, ranging in shape from kewpie doll
to butterball... and probably wishing every day of our lives we were a little less ROUND.
If we are not blessed with the dimensions of a supermodel or an Olympic sprinter, let’s be realistic. There may be
psychological factors at play and there’s no use breaking our hearts over that. Some are born ‘lucky’ and their bodies
naturally burn calories faster than others, but even with a time-machine, there isn’t any hope of changing our parents.
AGE
As we age, we tend to become less active, lose muscle mass and, as a consequence, even note a decrease in appetite. Because of this, our metabolic rate also decreases – on average, 5% each decade after 40. If, however, you
work at maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you do not have to be statistic.
GENDER
Men burn calories quicker than women because they generally have more muscle tissue – but note that this is an
average only.
However, it is also a known fact that the presence of oestrogen affects a woman’s ability to lose weight, making it
harder for women than men. And they gain weight more easily than men too. Added to this, the more fat a woman’s
body stores, the more oestrogen she produces and the more oestrogen, the more fat she stores. A vicious cycle!
THYROID DISORDER
Another hormone that can have a pronounced effect on your weight is the one produced by your thyroid gland.
You may battle with your weight if you have too little thyroid hormone, in other words, you’re hypothyroid (not to
be confused with hyperthyroid, which means your body is producing too much thyroid hormone).
If you suspect you may have a problem, consider the symptoms. If your thyroid gland is under-active, you may feel
tired, depressed and run-down and your skin, hair and nails may be rough, dry and brittle. You may even miss the
odd period or be anaemic, have puffy ankles or high cholesterol.
Luckily, it is easy to detect and the treatment is simple and effective. Most thyroid problems can be managed if
properly diagnosed and treated. If you suspect this may be the case, consult a medical practitioner for screening
and further advice.
Even with all the above factors affecting our weight management, there is still a lot of room to improve. Two main
factors remain that we can control: the type and amount of food we eat and our body’s ability to use that food well,
instead of just converting it to fat.
ECTOMORPH
MESOMORPH
ENDOMORPH
MORE ON HORMONES
AND SLIMMING
It’s impossible to discuss in depth the complex effects and interaction of different hormones in
our bodies, but within the context of weight-loss, we need to mention a few issues.
As discussed in the previous chapter, oestrogen has an impact on your ability to lose and gain
weight so, never get into a diet competition with your husband or boyfriend – you’re at a bit
of a disadvantage! You may however beat him hands down when it comes to determination to
succeed!
Women should also be aware that hormonal contraceptives can also be the cause of some weightgain. Many hormonal contraceptives contain artificial oestrogen, the hormone that’s responsible
for all those womanly curves. If your body reacts to high oestrogen, then yes, you could pick
up weight. Some women have also found that when they start taking an oral contraceptive, the
result can be greater water retention and an even greater appetite. If this happens to you and
it bothers you, consider taking a different brand of oral contraceptive, perhaps one containing
the hormone progesterone rather than oestrogen. And if you are overweight, be aware that
this may be less effective as a contraceptive, unless taken in the form of implants or injections.
Alternatively, you may want to consider some other form of contraception altogether. Speak to
your healthcare practitioner for more advice.
Something else every woman knows, monthly periods also have an effect on your weight.
If it’s getting to that time of the month and your scale tells you you’ve picked up a bit, just
take it in your stride. It will only be temporary. Many women have cravings for comfort
foods and most often high-sugar ones like chocolate because of the hormonal changes
taking place inside the body. If this is a problem for you, don’t hate yourself, rather be
extra careful at other times of the month. By following a balanced, healthy eating plan and
more physical activity like walking, swimming dancing or whatever you enjoy, you can go a long
way to reducing the symptoms of PMS.
Pregnancy also deserves a mention, but this is a field all on its own. It is imperative that if you are
pregnant and want to lose weight, this must be in consultation with your healthcare practitioner.
The same applies if you are breastfeeding.
oestrogen has an impact
on your ability to lose
and gain weight
DO YOU
REALLY NEED
TO LOSE
WEIGHT?
Before we go any further, ask yourself if you really have
a weight problem. Do you really need to lose weight?!
Sadly, the dictates of fashion, rather than common
sense, claims the right to dictate what our ideal shape
should be, resulting in negative perceptions of our
body image. There are those who hate themselves
for not being skeletal, the perceived perfect body,
when in fact they’re blessed with perfectly strong
and healthy bodies. It’s difficult to say exactly who is
overweight and who is not, although your merciless
bathroom mirror will show every unwanted bulge!
Weight-to-height ratio charts can be deceptive too.
A curvaceous office worker who does no exercise
may weigh less than her well-muscled hockey-playing
sister, but if either of them needs to lose a little weight,
chances are it’s the lighter lass.
The most reliable way to judge if you are overweight or
need to lose a few kilograms is by using the Body Mass
Index (BMI). It’s a simple formula which tells you how
much you should weigh for your height.
It’s the most realistic gauge; however, even this needs a
bit of leeway (as in the previous example of the buxom
office worker and the healthy hockey player).
To find out your BMI, take your weight (in kilograms) and
divide it by the square of your height (in metres). For
your weight to be healthy for your height, the answer
to that sum should be a figure within a range of 19-25.
For example:
Your height is 1.63 m. Your weight is
72 kg’s.
1.63 x 1.63 = 2.65 (there’s normally a
string of digits after the decimal point,
but ignore the last few).
72 divided by 2.65 = 27
As the recommended BMI ranges from
19-25, you could, therefore, afford to
lose a couple of kilos.
The chart, based on BMI calculations,
indicates whether you are within a
healthy weight range for your height.
Please note that this chart applies to
adult men and women but is not suitable
for assessing the weight of children or
teenagers, pregnant women
or sports people who have
a high proportion of muscle.
So now you have an idea
of your own body mass.
What’s your verdict?
Do you need to lose a
couple of kilos?
COUNTING THE CALORIES
Now you know how not to lose weight, how to judge if you are within a healthy weight ratio and you are motivated to
look better and feel lighter and more positive about yourself. In the past, there was a tendency to think weight-loss
was a simple formula of eating less, consuming fewer calories and you’ll start using up your reserves of fat. It sounds
logical and the perfect solution, but as discussed in the previous chapter of why diets don’t work, we have found
from extensive research that it is just not true. So with all good intentions and without resorting to drastic measures
such as liposuction and surgery, how do we go forward from here?
[If you get stuck, here are some online calculators that can work it out for you:
One aspect to weight-loss is simple and no-one can dispute: eat less than your body needs and your body will lose
weight. We all need to start from here, but for you to do this in a healthy, sustainable way, you have to be aware of
all your body’s true needs. We’ll cover these in the following chapters, but for now, let’s see what your body needs
to survive.
Next, take your RMR and multiply it by 1.15 (e.g. 2000 RMR x 1.15 = 2300). This is an estimation
of how many calories your body requires every day to maintain your current weight with moderate
or normal activity. As your daily activities vary, you may need more or less, but it’s a good point
to start working from.
calorie counting – really?
If you are one of us who do not enjoy crunching numbers like a low-budget breakfast cereal, be assured that the
more you use these already simple techniques, the easier they will become and the benefits of knowing exactly what
you are doing for and to your body far outweigh the initial inconvenience.
There are easy ways of estimating what your body’s actual needs are and simple techniques to use when calculating
how many calories you have consumed.
There is no hard and fast rule when calculating your calorie requirements. It depends on how active you are and what
your body size is. You might think that a small person can afford to indulge on foods that are loaded with calories,
whereas someone who is big has to go on starvation rations.
Again, the opposite is true. A bigger body needs more fuel than a smaller one to function properly and therefore
needs more calories in their eating plan. The last thing that should be on the mind of any large person is to deprive
themselves by cutting off necessary food supplies.
So what kind of calorie reduction are we looking at?
There are a few ways to do this. Here, we give you two options to calculate your estimated calorie needs and you
can choose to use an average from both or simply use one or the other – depending on how much you enjoy number
crunching!
First, you can calculate your RMR – your Resting Metabolic Rate – also known as BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). This
is the amount of calories your body needs for just the essential functions such as breathing and keeping your heart
beating.
The Mifflin-St. Jeor equation states as follows:
RMR = 9.99w + 6.25s - 4.92a + 166g-161
w = weight in kilograms
s = height in centimetres
a = age in years
g = gender = 1 for males, 0 for females
http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/tools/bmr-calculator
http://www.freedieting.com/calorie_needs.html]
The next method makes use of a simple chart. First, you decide how active you are.
1. If you do no sport or exercise and do very little physical work around the house, you would be
described as ‘inactive’.
2. If you have a sedentary job but do your own housework or take part in the occasional sporting
activity, you would be ‘average’.
3. If you have a manual job and enjoy a reasonable amount of walking, running or any other
strenuous activity, you would classify as ‘active’.
Bearing these 3 categories in mind, the following chart is a guide to the number of calories you
burn up every day, depending on your present weight and your level of activity. If the number
of calories you consume is well over your needs, then it’s logical that your weight is going
to climb.
DAILY CALORIE NEEDS
WOMEN
WEIGHT IN
KILOGRAMS
MEN
WEIGHT IN
KILOGRAMS
INACTIVE
AVERAGE
ACTIVE
45
1,570
1,820
2,060
50
1,630
1,880
2,130
INACTIVE
AVERAGE
ACTIVE
55
1,680
1,940
2,190
60
2,030
2,340
2,650
60
1,730
2,000
2,260
65
2,100
2,430
2,750
65
1,780
2,060
2,330
70
2,180
2,510
2,850
70
1,830
2,120
2,400
75
2,250
2,600
2,950
75
1,890
2,180
2,465
80
2,330
2,690
3,040
80
1,950
2,250
2,550
85
2,400
2,770
3,140
85
2,000
2,310
2,620
90
2,480
2,860
3,240
90
2,050
2,370
2,690
95
2,550
2,940
3,340
95
2,110
2,430
2,750
100
2,630
3,030
3,430
100
2,160
2,490
2,820
105
2,700
3,120
3,530
105
2,210
2,550
2,890
110
2,780
3,200
3,630
110
2,260
2,610
2,960
115
2,850
3,290
3,730
115
2,310
2,670
3,030
120
2,920
3,370
3,820
120
2,370
2,730
3,090
125
3,000
3,460
3,920
125
2,420
2,790
3,160
EMOTIONAL EATING
You have now calculated how much you’d like
to lose, identified and come to terms with the
factors you can do nothing about, worked out
how many calories your body needs to stay
healthy and understood that just an annual diet
programme can potentially be worse for you than
no dieting at all. You are ready to get moving
with the FIVE EASY steps to the new, slimmer and
more energetic you!
But if you have a tendency to eat to satisfy an
emotional need, your willpower to transform
the physical you will desiccate like last week’s
spaghetti – brittle threads that will snap at the
slightest pressure. This will only de-motivate
you further and cause another round of weightgain. You do not want to walk that path again so
your best defence is offense. Understand what is
causing your lack of self-control and love yourself
anyway. More on that later...
The term ‘emotional eating’ is often used to
describe eating which happens in response to
negative emotions. There is of course a very
good reason why so many of us do this – from
birth we are in fact taught to associate food
with nurturing. This link is perpetuated all our
lives, for example through the use of sweets and
chocolates as rewards. When certain foods are
associated with feeling good, it is not surprising
that we commonly take chocolates to someone
who is sick or that we instinctively indulge
ourselves when we are feeling down.
This association becomes wired into our
subconscious systems and over the years the
more they are repeated, the more entrenched
the associations become. There are obviously two
problems with this.
The first is that the eating behaviours potentially
mask or hide important emotions. While our
negative emotions are not always comfortable,
they are just as important a part of human
functioning as our positive emotions are (NOT
feeling anything is often more of a problem).
Like pain, negative emotions perform an
important function – they warn us of a potentially
harmful situation. Rather than trying to avoid the
emotion, we should use them to motivate us to
pro-actively change our lives or circumstances in
a positive way (e.g. learn from the last unhealthy
relationship and take steps to avoid similar
circumstances in the future).
The second problem with emotional eating is
that we lose touch with the cues that should be
triggering our eating – namely hunger!
To reverse this, one way you could find useful is
to create a simple rating scale. The idea is that for
a limited period, whenever you feel the urge to
eat, rate how full your stomach feels (e.g. 1 – 10).
Identify a cut-off point (e.g. 6) at which you are at
your maximum level of comfort, beyond which if
you keep eating more, you become increasingly
bloated and uncomfortable.
You should eat only in response to this scale
– before you put something into your mouth,
stop to pay attention to how empty or full your
stomach feels and then only eat up to the point
of maximum comfort. Typically, after a week or
two you’ll become more tuned into your (true)
physiological hunger levels again. At this point
you can return to your eating plan, but this time
with a greater level of awareness.
A FINAL NOTE
We’ve covered in relative detail about how calorie
intake and the number of calories consumed can aid in
your weight-loss process, but we also need to consider
something that is equally as important, if not more so.
It’s not just about what we put into our mouths, but it’s
what our bodies do with this food.
We’re talking about your metabolism.
If you’re overweight, it hinders your body from working
properly. This applies no matter how you got that way.
Whether by wrong eating, through total lack of exercise
or because of some bio-chemical imbalance, the crucial
fact is that your weight-loss is dependent on how fast
your body metabolises or burns up the fat it is carrying.
You’ve probably spent years gaining weight. Now
is when you are ready to spend just as much time in
regaining your vitality and achieving the body you
want in a healthful way.
The answer lies in spurring your metabolism back to
life, getting your body back to its optimal functioning
capacity and being realistic about your weight-loss, how
much weight you actually need to lose and how fast you
get there.
By balancing all these factors you will realise your goals
– and sustain them too – and have a lifetime of a new,
transformed you.
This answer lies
in FIVE SIMPLE
steps.
Eating is an essential part of life but how we eat is a vital key to optimising our metabolism;
therefore to start, you need to come up with a healthy eating plan.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
The key to a healthy eating plan is that it should work for you any time, any place. It must be a
plan you personally feel comfortable with. So it is vital that you devise your own personal eating
plan that you can happily and comfortably follow for the rest of your life. Therefore, what you
need to think about is, “What’s right for ME?”
STEP 1 HEALTHY EATING
PLANNING
Foods that appear to be healthy for one may harm someone else. You know yourself better
than anyone else – which foods make you feel good and what foods do little except add on
centimetres; what your needs and preferences are. If you have a sweet tooth, a diet of cottage
cheese, lettuce and celery will be very difficult to sustain or if you’re a busy, active person, you’ll
have to allow for that extra energy needed.
So how do you go about
choosing your own eating plan?
It’s more about creating than choosing – we’re not talking about all those thousands of diets that
have been tried over the years, as we know how diets can lower your rate of metabolism, making
it harder to keep both the weight off and to lose again next time. And we’re not going to give
you a set of fixed menus. They are very hard to stick to if they are foreign to your personal taste
in food or if you’re not always in your own home – and most likely you’d be bored after a week
or two.
The answer lies in thinking long-term and long-lasting weight control rather than short-term loss.
So before you rush out and buy all those ‘slimming foods’, you need to do a bit of thinking and
perhaps a bit of simple research. Take a week or two to watch yourself in action! Keep a notepad
handy and every time you eat, make a note of what kind of food, approximately how much, when
you ate and how you were feeling. The reasoning behind all this detail is that we often eat for
reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. For example, we may be bored, frustrated or
feeling rejected. If this is the case, it’s important to know those times when your body doesn’t
need what you’re putting into your mouth and it’s going to end up on your hips. And it’s certainly
not going to solve the feelings of boredom, frustration or rejection. You’re most likely eating
simply out of habit. Again, you’re not listening to your body to know what it actually wants and
needs.
Take the trouble to write down what and when you eat and all the other information and you’ll
soon understand your own eating habits a lot better, what your preferences are and you’ll be able
to judge whether you’re getting value for your calories.
Your next step is to decide which calorie-costly foods you can comfortably drop and which can
be exchanged for foods with fewer calories. Remember, we like certain foods for their emotional
and sensual satisfaction, as well as their food value.
Don’t make the mistake of cutting all of these foods out of your life. When trying substitutes for
wickedly rich favourites, don’t force yourself to eat foods you don’t like. Opt for those foods
you enjoy or your eating plan will be doomed from the start.
Another bit of advice, don’t skip meals. You’ll lose weight and stay healthy by eating small,
frequent meals, with far less stress.
So be open-minded. Besides deciding what foods give you the best value nutrition-wise, you’ll
form an eating plan that you’ll enjoy enough to stick to. You’ll also find that within food categories
you can make choices, i.e. chicken or cheese, rice or potato. Your plan should become quite
flexible and adaptable to fit almost any situation.
STEP 1 HEALTHY EATING
YOUR DAILY
CALORIE NEEDS
Food labels may refer to kilojoules (kJ) rather than calories. 1 calorie is equal to 4.2 kJ. And, provided your diet is
balanced and healthy, a reduction of 7,700 calories over a period of time should bring a weight-loss of 1 kilogram.
We all like to have that glass of wine with our meal, or meet up with friends for sundowners and
even though you might not think so, alcohol contains almost as many calories per gram as fats
and oils. A pint of your favourite beer will cost you 132 calories. That’s more than two bars of
chocolate! A glass of dry wine contains about 84 calories but a glass of semi-sweet is loaded
with up to 240 calories. Added to this, they are empty calories with very little food value. But the
worst part is that alcohol affects the liver’s ability to metabolise those calories so they get stored
away as fat.
Here’s an example:
Alcohol also causes your blood sugar levels to drop, resulting in a desire for food.
Let’s assume you’re not too badly over your limit and would like to shed 5 to 6 kilograms at a healthy rate of
half to one kilogram per week, it is then recommended that you cut down by more than 1,000 calories a day.
If you want to lose up to 20 kilograms, cut down by between 1,000 and 1,250 calories a day. And if you want
to shed more than 20 kilograms, you can trim off up to 1,500 calories a day. But please remember to keep a
balance in your diet.
So, if you must have it, have it in moderation. And also bear in mind, fruit juices aren’t always that
innocuous. Even if the label says ‘unsweetened’, a small glass is 50 calories and other soft drinks,
unless the ‘diet’ variety, are even more costly.
Keeping in mind how many calories you need to fuel your body (see previous chapter ‘calorie counting’)and getting
an initial idea of the amount of calories you currently consume, you can now do some calculations on how much to
cut down if you want to lose weight.
Some useful figures to help you in your calculations:
Earlier we spoke about what our bodies need in the form of energy units or calories. If you’re a numbers type
and get satisfaction out of counting calories, then do it. Arm yourself with a calorie counter and keep watch on
how many you’re consuming each day. It’s a system that frees you to eat what you like, provided you stay within
your limit but you need to ensure your diet stays fairly balanced.
And for those of us who hate counting calories, there is another way.
Modern thinking divides food into groups. The suggested number of portions per day could help you in your
planning; a portion equals about 70-80g. That’s a slice of bread or 2-3 tablespoons of non-starchy vegetables, a
medium-sized fruit or a chicken breast (without skin) or a slice of lean roast beef.
Here’s a rough guide to help you make your choices:
Fats, oils and sugars –keep to a minimum
Protein foods – low-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese, chicken, fish, meat and eggs – 2-3 portions
Fruit – 2-4 portions
Carbohydrates – rice, pasta, bread, cereals – 6-11 portions
This takes care of the food we should be eating to help us lose weight, but what about what we drink?
STEP 1 HEALTHY EATING
HANDY TIPS
Don’t aim to lose weight too quickly; you’ll panic your body into famine mode, the
pitfalls of which we discussed earlier. A loss of 2-3 kilograms a month is realistic, healthy and will give you the greatest chance of sustaining your weight-loss.
Establish a regular eating pattern. We are creatures of habit and by having your meals
at regular times our bodies tend to feel hungry at those times. You’ll be less likely to snack in between.
Our mums were right in telling us to eat slowly. From the time you start
eating, it takes 20 minutes for the news to reach your brain that your blood sugar is raising. If you eat too quickly,
chances are you’ll eat far too much before you stop feeling hungry.
Eat small, healthy meals more often. Research has shown that people who eat small
but frequent healthy meals tend to eat less overall than those who wait until they are starving and pile a plate high
– usually with unhealthy, fatty foods. This is why to maintain your energy levels during the day and keep your metabolism up it is advisable to eat smaller meals more often. The body will always convert ‘new food’ first as this process is
easiest and will boost energy levels the fastest, so here’s the deal breaker: any food not needed immediately by the
body for the tasks at hand, will just likely be stored for later.
Avoid saturated fats as much as possible. We’re talking mainly animal fats. Your
body does need a small amount of fat to keep healthy, but unsaturated fats are less harmful.
You must get enough carbohydrates. They have received their fair share of bad press
and conflicting opinions, however their good health benefits in maintaining a healthy balance can actually help you
lose weight. They are low in fat, full of fibre and filling so you’ll be less likely to snack in between meals. They also
provide energy to keep you active.
Don’t forget to have enough fibre.
You’ll get this from your cereals, fruit and vegetables.
Don’t skip breakfast
, or any meal for that matter. Never skip a meal or starve yourself; change to
healthier foods rather than sweet, rich and fatty foods that are too calorie costly. A healthy, balanced breakfast – and
that doesn’t mean a rushed cup of coffee and slice of toast – will sustain your blood sugar for a good few hours and
you’ll be less likely to crave that calorie-loaded snack.
keep it light.
If you must have your main meal at night, try to
Big meals are fine for
those who work through the night and rest during the day. But how many of us do that?
Remember the old adage:
breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper
like a pauper. Your body will thank you for it!
STEP 2 DRINK MORE WATER
We accept how vital water is to every living thing: our crops, the plants in our gardens, our animals and we do our
best to ensure they get enough of it. But what about ourselves? What about the water in our tea and coffee, our
soups and sauces or even in our favourite sundowners, you might ask. And isn’t it a fact that most of the fruit and
vegetables we eat are mainly water?
True, but it’s not good enough. Your body consists of more than 70% water and needs to be sustained with clean,
‘undiluted’ water, to function at its best. Any dietician will tell you 8 glasses a day is what you need. You need even
more during hotter weather or if you exercise a lot.
And something else to think about: most of us would be outraged if toxic waste was deposited in our neighbourhood. We’re also careful in keeping our bodies clean. But we’re amazingly careless about how much ‘toxic waste’
accumulates inside us. You’d be horrified at the levels of chemicals we consume from food additives, preservatives,
and colourants – even from our medicines. These toxic non-nutrients that our bodies can’t break down have to be
stored somewhere out of harm’s way.
And where is that? Yes, you guessed it, mainly in our fat cells. And no matter how hard you diet, your body will be
reluctant to release fat that’s needed to store away these toxins. But, by drinking plenty of water, much of the body’s
toxicity is flushed out of the body. You’ll also find that all the stale old water your body anxiously clings to when it’s
not getting sufficient fresh supply is also released.
Goodbye swollen ankles and puffy fingers!
STEP 2 DRINK MORE WATER
BUT HOW?
There are a variety of reasons to drink plenty of water each day. Adequate water intake prevents dehydration, cleans
out the body, and promotes healing processes. It sustains life and is the most important of the more than 50 nutrients
we require daily – and has no calories! While we can survive weeks without food, we’d die after just three to four
days without any type water.
However, many find water rather bland compared to sweet drinks like juices, soft drinks or coffee, especially after
years of relying on these nutrient-depleted sources of fluids for hydrating.
If you don’t generally enjoy drinking water, there are a number of ways you can try to make water an experience.
Get a water purification system.
Not all drinking water is created equal. Water tastes differently depending on its source, and perhaps your impression of water is based on having only tried one or two specific types. Purified water tastes better as it filters out the
chemicals in our tap water and may help make drinking water more appealing to you.
Keep water cold if it tastes better for you.
Often we don’t like tap water because of the chlorine after-taste. Put a bottle or jug of normal tap water in the
refrigerator and the chlorine will evaporate. You should find the water tastes better. You can then leave it out to
regain room temperature. Bear in mind that cold water takes energy for your body to regulate the temperature
and does burn some calories but room temperature water is better if you’re dehydrated. Your body can absorb
the room temperature water immediately, instead of the body having to raise the temperature of the water first
in order to process it. Also, very cold water tends to make your stomach shrink and you may feel reluctant to
have more.
Change the taste of water.
It’s simple to make slight improvements to the taste of the water without adding too many
calories and without making it unhealthy. These are cheap alternatives to the bottled flavoured water, but if you do choose bottled flavoured water, always check the ingredient first.
Here are some suggestions for home:
• Add a little squirt of lemon or lime into the water. It will add a little bit of sourness, will taste
good and make you want to drink more of it.
• Cucumber slices can also be added to a glass of water.
• Add fresh, clean mint leaves to the water and allow it to sit overnight. Many other fragrant
fresh herbs can be experimented with.
• Add strawberry halves and leave to sit for about 5 minutes before drinking. Many berries are
suitable for this treatment and you can eat the berries too!
• Some people find it helps to slightly warm water during the cooler months, especially first
thing in the morning. A small squeeze of lemon juice in slightly warmed water is an excellent,
refreshing way to wake up in the morning.
Drink only water for a while.
This might seem counterintuitive, but when you drink sweet beverages all the time, it is hard for
water to compete. Your affinity for sweetness can decrease if you expose yourself to less of it. You
might even find that after not drinking them for a while, they are too sweet!
Drink water before, with and after every meal
This will help you to prevent overeating. Eat slowly, drink water and you will get satisfied with less
food. But as with everything, be careful and don’t overdo it.
Always keep water near you.
Having water with you is a certain means for getting you to drink it. The more you resort to drinking it in place of other liquids, the more it will taste the very best to you.
STEP 4 EXERCISE
Everyone knows the key to losing weight: eat less and exercise more. Sounds simple enough, but in the context of
real life and its demands, it can be anything but simple. And it’s not only our intention to lose weight but to keep it
off permanently. If there is one thing that helps us to slim down and stay slim, it’s exercise.
Consider this: your body burns approximately 50 calories by sitting for an hour. Swop that for some kind of activity
and the picture changes quite dramatically. Driving a car for an hour will burn 130 calories, doing an hour’s ironing
will burn 200 calories and working in the garden for an hour will burn a glorious 340 calories!
Maybe we’ve come to dislike the idea of strenuous exercise, but what about the time when we worked our bodies for the sheer enjoyment of it? Running and skipping as children, walking our dogs or with friends, climbing a
mountain?
You may still argue that you’re not built for exercise. Well, isn’t that the main reason for slimming down, partly to
change that?
We can all make the excuse that after a hard day’s work we simply don’t have the energy for exercise, but when
you’re feeling fatigued, the last thing you should do is flop down in your favourite armchair and rest. Any exercise,
even if it’s gentle at first, will help stimulate your circulation and boost your metabolism, so the best thing you can
do is get out and go for a walk. The result will be an intake of extra oxygen, perking up your brain, your heart, your
digestive system and every cell of your body.
That tired feeling will no longer exist!
Without exercise our bodies degenerate, leading to the risk of those diseases that have become so much a part of
our modern lifestyle: high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and back pain. It is even suggested that
certain forms of cancer are a result of too little exercise. Lower blood pressure, a drop in cholesterol, improved
blood circulation, lower stress levels, greater energy and well-being – the benefits are almost endless.
If you’ve cultivated the bad habit of inactivity, it’s never too late to change. The secret tool to achieving the body you
want is changing the way you think. Learn to love exercising, feeling your body move, the wind in your hair, the slight
fatigue in your muscles. It’s a wonderful feeling. If you’re fortunate enough to have a perfectly good working body,
make the most of it. Get out and get active! Healthy eating and exercise go hand-in-hand. Research has proven
that if you include exercise in your weight-loss programme, you’re also far more likely to keep the weight off than
people who only change their diet.
You may still argue
that you’re not built for
exercise.Well, isn’t that
the main reason for
slimming down, partly
to change that?
start to feel and see the
STEP 4 EXERCISE CONTINUED difference in your body!
As you exercise, you force your heart to work a little harder. The heart, being a muscle, becomes stronger. The
stronger your heart is the more oxygen and nutrients are pumped through your bloodstream to all the organs in
your body, including your skin.
It only takes 20-30 minutes of vigorous activity at least three times a week and some muscle toning at least twice
a week. By vigorous activity we mean running, cycling, swimming, aerobic dancing and easiest of all, a brisk walk.
And even if you don’t have the time or the inclination for vigorous outdoor sports, some easy bend and stretch
routines in the privacy of your home will do wonders. They’re not too strenuous and you can do them to music or
while watching TV.
Give some thought to yoga or tai-chi, or strengthening your muscles with weights. Develop any exercise routine and
within two or three weeks you will start to feel and see the difference in your body.
Muscle building is not only important for those striving for a ripped body. If you work at increasing your muscle mass
(and it does not have to be of the naked, oiled and deeply shadowed variety), just remember that you’ll burn more
calories no matter what activity you do than if that mass was just stored fat.
But just a little warning, as you begin to firm up and lose weight, be sure to keep your tape measure handy and
watch the centimetres melt away, or even better, keep a chart to record how you’re getting slimmer and fitter. This
is important because you’re replacing fat with muscle and while muscle tissue is more compact, it weighs more than
fat in volume.
So, if your jeans are getting looser but your scale tells you you’ve picked up a bit, don’t despair! You’ll be looking
and feeling better and it just means that some awful wobbly fat has turned to firm shapely muscle! And by taking
the trouble to record your centimetre losses, you’ll stop going into frenzy when you hit a plateau, when your weight
just gets stuck for a while.
STEP 5 SHIFT YOUR ATTITUDE
One of the most painful things about the old-fashioned diet mentality is that it almost forces us to hate our bodies. Social pressures also add to our feelings of inadequacy of perfection. It’s time to stop this negative thought
process and be a friend to yourself. After all, you’ve taken the first step in deciding to lose weight sensibly and
maintaining that weight-loss.
It’s a sad fact that most overweight people have a poor self-image and low self-esteem. This is mainly due to brainwashing through the media and advertising. If we don’t look gorgeously slender, athletic and youthful, we just don’t
measure up. The real truth is that even if you’re overweight, you’re still a capable worthy person, so start looking
at yourself with kindness and appreciation. Recognise that it’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t believe in
yourself.
Then start reprogramming yourself to be positive.
It has been researched that it takes up to about four weeks to break old habits and another four weeks to form new
ones. It can take another four weeks for these new habits to become ingrained. So don’t beat yourself up if you slip
sometimes, it’s normal. Just pick yourself up and get back on track.
Set yourself achievable goals. If your target is unrealistic, you could reinforce a negative image of yourself as a
no-good failure.
Keep your goal of a slimmer, fitter you at the forefront of your thoughts, so when you fall back into those old negative thought patterns, you can stop them and remind yourself that the real you is attractive and likeable and will
soon be there for everyone to see!
Develop the art of visualisation. By visualising how you want to look for a few moments every day and by thinking
of an image of yourself walking past, instead of into, the bakery, refusing a second helping or getting up earlier and
going for a walk, these new habits could become easier than you thought possible.
Temptations are inevitable. When you’re tempted by something horrifically calorific, tell yourself that nothing could
possibly taste as good as it would feel to be slim!
start reprogramming
yourself to be positive.
GET READY TO
CHANGE YOUR LIFE
well done!
If you’ve taken the trouble to read this far, then
That means that what we’ve
been saying to you makes sense and you’re serious about transforming yourself into that healthier, slimmer you.
You’ve also realised by now that although in a minority of cases where medical factors are the
reasons for carrying too much weight, for most of us the reasons lie in our lifestyle.
We’ve knocked our metabolism off-balance by eating either the wrong kind of food or eating
too much or even by eating too little. If it was the latter, we’ve probably done that often enough
– with one type of diet or another – to create a real problem for ourselves, just as other harmful
eating patterns create a weight problem. Either way, it’s a problem that has to be tackled on more
than one front.
So there’s a problem. It’s not insurmountable. We don’t have to stay on the up-again-downagain see-saw forever. If you’re serious about bringing your weight under control once and
it can be done!
By introducing the changes we have suggested in our
for all,
5 EASY STEPS, a slimmer you can be achieved and sustained.
Make these changes today
, start now on your path of transformation.
One change at a time is fine, as long as you keep going, and in a shorter time than you might
think, you’ll find that you have changed into a happier, healthier more confident person, ready to
take on a bright new future!
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