Weight Loss System: Exercise, Hydration, Nutrition, and Sleep

Health

Purpose. Weight loss should be the process of shedding excess fat while simultaneously establishing a tone muscular system. The result should be a more effective and fulfilling life. For sustained success, positive holistic wellness choices must become life-long habits. Always check with your physician before making changes to your lifestyle.

Four Key Ingredients. The four primary and most powerful ingredients to any weight loss system are:

  1. proper exercise (and staying active throughout the day),
  2. proper hydration (drinking plenty of water),
  3. proper nutrition (including vitamin supplements), and
  4. sufficient quality and quantity of sleep. Without these, other efforts alone may not be enough to see significant results.

Ten Minute Weight Loss System. For most people, just a little more activity during the day is all it takes to start losing weight. It’s not just the calories burned during exercise that count. Staying active increases our energy level resulting in increased activity throughout the day. Staying active also helps reduce cravings. Consider setting an alarm that reminds you to go for a 10 minute walk every hour. By the end of the day, you will have walked over an hour (about 3 miles). This may be enough to start seeing results.

The Everything Diet. The best weight loss diet just might be the “Everything Diet.” That means, doing everything known to help with weight loss. Don’t just focus on caloric intake, or supplements, or exercise, but do everything. A holistic approach is likely to be more effective. Rather than thinking about what you can do to help you lose weight (a short-term goal), consider what you might do to prevent weight gain. This sounds similar, but it isn’t. Proactive thinking goes beyond dieting. One approach is reactionary, the other is proactive and more permanent. Below is a list of suggested tools for weight management. Of course not every technique works for everyone. So, feel free to pick and choose as many suggestions from this list as possible and determine what works best for you.

  • Active Lifestyle and Mobile Technology. For many people, it’s hard to maintain an active lifestyle because the increasing flood of email and social networking activities keeps a person sitting at a keyboard most of the day. Whether at work or home, using mobile technology to get work done while walking can help increase the body’s metabolism throughout the day. On 14 October 2011, Apple introduced the iPhone 4S with Siri technology — allowing people to dictate emails faster than typing. This technology also makes it possible to walk while getting your work done.
  • Body Fat Monitoring. It is possible to purchase an inexpensive scale that will measure your body composition, including your percent body fat. Although your weight may fluctuate from one day to the next, it is your percent body fat that is of greatest concern. You may have gained a few pounds, but if your percent body fat has dropped a few points then you can be encouraged by the fact that you’ve actually lost fat even though you’ve gained weight. This is even more important for those who are keeping up with a fitness program since exercise may produce short term weight gains as muscles are toned up. If the only tool you have at your disposal is a regular scale, you’ll be discouraged when your efforts don’t appear to be producing results.
  • Brushing and Flossing Teeth. The Doritos commercial taunts us with the challenge, “Betcha’ can’t each just one.” Once salty, greasy, or sweet foods leave their lingering flavor in our mouth, we’re continually reminded of the flavor like an ongoing sensory commercial broadcast directly to our brain. Brushing and flossing your teeth after a meal or snack is a great way to ‘turn off the commercial’ that lingers enticingly in our mouth. If brushing or flossing aren’t an option, finish a meal on something nutritious that isn’t sweet, salty, or greasy.
  • Calcium Supplements. Recent research suggests that proper calcium intake can accelerate weight loss. “When your body doesn’t get enough calcium, it starts a defense mechanism to preserve what calcium it does have. It’s actually a hormonal response that increases the amount of fat stored and slows down the process that breaks it down for energy. So if you increase calcium, less fat is stored and more fat is burned.” – Dr. Michael Zemel, author of The Calcium Key: The Revolutionary Diet Discovery That Will Help You Lose Weight Faster. Reports are now surfacing that suggest consuming three 8-ounce glasses of milk a day will help accelerate weight loss. Not surprisingly, these reports are coming from the dairy industry. Although milk is touted as being an excellent source of calcium, a glass of milk only provides about 30% of the recommended daily allowance for Calcium, so this is why you would need three glasses of milk to meet your daily requirement of calcium. Regarding milk, Dr. Zemel states, “While milk may help you lose weight faster, calories still count. It’s still important to reduce your current calorie intake and increase daily activity.”
  • Cause and Effect. Increase your awareness of how foods and activities effect your energy level and behavior. For example, if caffein keeps you up at night and disturbs your sleep that may result in waking late the next day and skipping a workout. So, the impact of the caffein is greater than the calories consumed. Uncomfortable shoes may lead to tiredness which in turn may result in being less active.
  • Count Calories. Weight loss is quite simply a matter of managing the accounting of a caloric budget. Each day, we have a budget of 1500 to 2000 calories that we will burn. If we consume within our limit, our weight will maintain. If we consume in calories below what we are burning we will lose weight. It’s really that simple. By counting calories, one can maintain ongoing mindfulness about this budget. This mindfulness helps people make better food choices. For example, if two foods are placed before you, it may be that they are equally desirable and fulfilling, yet one may be significantly lower in calories. Knowing the difference can make a big difference over time in your weight loss and weight maintenance success.
  • Exercise Program. Consider exercising 7 days a week as well as staying active by biking or walking to work. A possible exercise program could include a cardiovascular workout of 20 minutes on an elliptical (EFX) machine every day. An optional strength training workout could offer a comprehensive upper and lower body weight lifting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Exercise is essential for weight loss because it reduces stress and creates a sense of wellbeing which can result in lower food consumption. Exercise also aids in better sleep which results in burning more calories. The impact of exercise goes way beyond just burning a few extra calories. Here’s an assessment:
    • exercise -> lowered stress -> less eating -> weight loss
    • exercise -> burns calories -> weight loss
    • exercise -> increased metabolism -> weight loss
    • exercise -> better sleep -> improved metabolism -> weight loss
    • exercise -> hunger for healthier foods -> improved health
    • exercise -> enhances mood & energy -> more active -> more calories burned -> weight loss
  • Fiber. According to the Weight Watchers points system, foods high in fiber have a lower point value. This is essentially suggesting that fiber reduces the effective calories. Research suggests that this is true. So, to reduce your effective caloric intake significantly throughout the day (and week) consider adding high fiber foods to every meal and snacking on them throughout the day. This will add fiber to every meal, even if the other foods you eat are low in fiber. Crisp breads and cereals are a good source of fiber. Kashi GoLean cereal is a great tasting, inexpensive, and easy to carry, source of fiber.
  • Grapefruit Juice. For some people, drinking a small amount of grapefruit juice at the moement of a hunger craving will immediately zap that craving. Perhaps this is because of the role that taste buds play in creating cravings.
  • Hourly Fitness & Wellness Cycle. Every hour of the day, walk briskly for 10 minutes and drink 500 ML of water (1/2 liter). Rather than taking your vitamins all at once, take one or a few every hour as the day progresses to give them maximum absorption without interaction.
  • Knowledge is Power. Reading causes weight loss – if you are reading about how to loose weight! Click here for selected books on weight loss, diet, and establishing a healthy lifestyle.
  • Love or Chocolate. Perhaps you’ve experienced or heard of a kind of love that is so fulfilling that it significantly reduces appetite. Some theories suggest that much of appetite and eating is related to the human desire for love and contentment. Perhaps this is why some people eat when they are depressed or lonely. For some people, having a fulfilling romantic relationship can help curb appetite. While it hasn’t been tested or proven, it is possible that consuming chocolate in limited quantities could produce a similar sense of contentment that results in a lowered appetite — thus offsetting the calories in the chocolate.
  • Nutrition. Consider a low carb, low fat, low calorie, high fiber diet. Consider frequenting restaurants such as Pita Pit that offer healthful food options and online nutritional calculation of meals. Be sure to eat plenty of food! Starving yourself only causes the metabolism to slow down. A vegetarian or vegan diet can help you focus on foods and meals that are low in animal fat.
  • Protein. In the morning, protein consumption can help suppress appetite. “People who got 35 grams of protein at breakfast were less hungry throughout the day and saw favorable changes in the hormones and brain signals that control appetite.” (source) At night, protein can help reduce fat. “If you don’t put protein into your body before you go to bed, your body will run out of protein about 2 am. Once your body digests all of its available protein, your body thinks it is starving itself. To protect you, your body shuts down and starts storing fat cells. The sugar in your blood still needs protein to keep you going, so it starts consuming the only protein source available, your own muscle mass. Basically, you are storing fat and eating muscle.” (source)
  • Ride a Bike. Staying active can help elevate your body’s metabolism. Riding a bike regularly for transportation saves money, saves time, helps the environment, reduces stress, and improves personal health.
  • Schedule for Life. The Schedule for Life is part of the Holistic Living System at Resources for Life. It can help you live a more balanced life which may contribute to healthy metabolism.
  • Shoe Softness. The soreness caused by uncomfortable shoes may result in less walking and activity during the day. For this reason, wearing toning shoes like Skechers Shape-Ups or wearing shoe inserts can contribute to weight loss. For more information, refer to Foot Care and Shoes for Promoting Healthy Feet.
  • Sit With Legs Crossed. Sitting on the floor with your legs crossed underneath you will create additional pressure in the abdominal cavity. This will make you feel full quicker so you don’t overeat.
  • Sleep. Going to bed early every night and getting a full-night of uninterrupted sleep can help with weight loss. Metabolism is highly influenced by sleep. Also, when fully rested, we have more energy during the day for an active lifestyle and exercise. [More…]
  • Soothing Environment. Surrounding yourself with images and music that is soothing can also help produce a sense of contentment. This reduces stress that might cause cravings for food.
  • Spicy Food. Because abundant hydration can help flush out toxins and ensure a healthy metabolic function, eating spicy food that results in drinking water could help promote weight loss.
  • Tea. Consider drinking Good Earth Original Caffeine Free Sweet & Spicy Herb Tea. This is a purely herbal tea that has a fulfilling and satisfying sweet cinnamon flavor. Some people find that drinking tea helps curb their appetite.
  • Tight Clothes. Wearing loose clothes can subtly mislead you to think that you are not full when eating a meal. Wearing tight clothes helps you better sense when you are full. Find clothes that are snug, yet comfortable.
  • Vitamin D. It’s recently been discovered that a deficiency in vitamin D can cause excessive cravings for food during the day. Taking a vitamin D supplement can help with this. A regular annual physical that includes a full blood analysis would indicate if you are deficient in vitamin D. If so, your doctor may suggest supplements for you.
  • Water. Drink plenty of water. Proper hydration helps optimize the body’s metabolic rate and facilitates other important body functions. Click here to learn more about water facts.
  • Weigh-In Daily. Some health consultants recommend weighing yourself once a week. However, as an alternative, you may want to consider weighing yourself every day to record your lowest weight of the day. This will typically be in the morning after going to the bathroom. Your lowest weight of the day should not fluctuate much from day to day. If it does, this will be an early warning to make a correction in your weight loss strategy. It is easier to make up for a pound gained in a day than to make up for 5 or 10 pounds gained in a week. Weigh yourself undressed and use a reliable scale that can display tenths of a pound. If you want to learn more about your weight fluctuations, consider weighing a second time later in the day to find your highest daily weight. This will help you recognize how much weight is food and water weight.
  • Weight Watchers. Consider joining a weight management program such as Weight Watchers.

Resources. Here are some additional weight loss resources:

Staying Active. The video below introduces the latest insight into weight loss — using mobile technologies during the workday makes it possible to stay active while working.

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