Eating is the way to lose weight. We are designed to eat! It seems counter intuitive in our dieting society but eating is not what makes people fat and dieting is NOT the way to lose weight. The popularity of diets is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. With each round of dieting muscle is lost and metabolism lowered. The weight always comes back, not because people are weak but because it is a physiological reality. The worst part of this endless cycle is the hit our self esteem takes when the weight comes back. We think it is when it is simple biology. We have to stop thinking food is the enemy. It is what you eat and when you eat it that matters. When we take care of the “what” and the “when” the “how much” will take care of itself. Going hungry to lose weight will never work for very long and here is why:
1. Being hungry lowers metabolism while eating increases metabolism. The faster our metabolism is the more we can eat without gaining weight.
2. Hunger is a natural mechanism to make sure we eat, and eventually we will. Going without enough food is like holding your breath. Eventually you will breathe and when you do you will gulp in all you can.
3. If our weight loss program involves being hungry all the time we will eventually give it up. It just isn’t very fun being hungry!
4. When we are hungry we are more likely to feel tired and sluggish. We are less likely to want to move and moving burns those calories.
So how do we eat and lose weight?
1. Eat first thing in the morning and get that metabolism fired up. Remember your body has gone a long time without food.
2. Eat often – every 2 1/2 – 3 hours. It will seem like you are eating more but the reality will be that you will eat less. When you go too long without food you will be more likely to over eat and also to reach for those simple, factory made carbs.
3. Include protein with each meal. Protein has a thermogenic effect building metabolism. It will also help you feel satisfied longer. Good options are raw nuts, beans and lentils, fish, chicken, beef, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and the fabulous egg.
4. Eat some fat. We need fat. Have a zero tolerance for hydrogenated oils, but include a variety of other fats in your diet. They help you be better nourished and feel full longer.
5. Cut out the processed foods. Processed sugar is directly or indirectly responsible for nearly every extra pound walking around America! Artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are even worse. Satisfy that sweet tooth with fruit, raisins, dark chocolate (70% cocoa) or peanut butter. Stop eating things created in a laboratory, and start eating the foods our bodies recognize as food. Read the labels. If you need a scientist to explain it, don’t eat it!
6. Be patient. Your body will wait to make sure you are serious before it will let go of those extra pounds. How many years did it take you to accumulate that weight? Is it really reasonable to expect to take it off in a few weeks or months? Eating is a slower way to lose weight but it is the only way to lose it permanently.
Eating this way still takes discipline but it is the discipline of planning rather than forcing yourself to do something as unnatural as going hungry. So eat! But eat real food and fewer science experiments.