Weight Loss:  Intro

 

TERMINOLOGY

It’s important to understand common terms associated with weight loss

KEY #1

THE APPROACH

We discuss how you can find the approach that works for YOU.  The one that makes you feel good and keeps you motivated.

KEY #2

TAKE YOUR TIME

We discuss why healthy and sustainable weight loss happens slowly

KEY #3 

BEFORE YOU START

We discuss what you should do before you start your weight loss/management journey.

TERMINOLOGY

We discuss some VERY BASIC Terminology that is commonly used in the weight loss/weight management realm.

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DIET

1.  The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.  

2.  A special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.  

As we move deeper into this article, both definitions of diet are applicable and relevant, but in most cases we will discuss DIET in terms of definition #2 

In our next “Weight Loss” article, we will discuss the most popular diets and take a closer look at the PROS & CONS of each.

 

BODY MASS INDEX (BMI)

Per its definition, the Body Mass Index (BMI) is derived from a simple math formula discovered by Lambert Quetelet in the 1830s.  The BMI aims to estimate whether a person has a healthy weight by dividing their weight in kilograms (kg) by their height in meters (m) squared.  The BMI has been used by healthcare professionals for >100 years and there is a significant amount of correlative data that has been recorded related to body mass and health.  Although widely used *NOTE*  BMI has several flaws as it relates to accurately measuring body fat.

According to the CDC:  “The prevalence of adult BMI greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2 (obese status) has greatly increased since the 1970s. Recently, however, this trend has leveled off, except for older women. Obesity has continued to increase in adult women who are aged 60 years and older.”

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AEROBIC & ANAEROBIC EXERCISE

Aerobic Exercise:  Any activity involving large muscles, done for an extended period of time. Aerobic exercise can be done for weight loss, but it also provides cardiovascular benefits. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, biking, jogging, swimming aerobic classes, and cross-country skiing.

Anaerobic Exercise:  This is a higher-intensity exercise of a shorter duration. Examples include weight lifting and bodyweight exercises like pushups, pullups, situps, squats, etc. Anaerobic exercise promotes lean muscle tissue. Muscle burns more calories, creating a higher metabolic rate and assists with weight loss.  

 

METABOLISM

1.  The amount of energy (calories) your body burns to maintain itself.

2.  The process in which nutrients are acquired, transported, used, and disposed of by the body

RESTING METABOLIC RATE (RMR) 

Also commonly termed Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

1.  Is the total number of calories burned when your body is completely at rest

An easy way to think about RMR is to imagine yourself laying in bed, knowing that your body needs to keep itself alive, so it’s burning calories.  The number of calories your body burns while at complete rest is the RMR or BMR

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FATS 

There are four major dietary fats found in food:

  1. Saturated Fats
  2. Trans Fats
  3. Monounsaturated Fats
  4. Polyunsaturated Fats

Each type of fat has its own chemical structure and physical properties.  It’s important to understand the primary differences in these fats as they can have significant positive or negative impacts on your health.

Keeping it on a simple level:

Saturated Fats – You want to limit your saturated fats to 7% or less (as advised by the American Heart Association).  These fats can negatively affect your LDL (Bad Cholesterol).  These fats are commonly found in:

  • Pizza
  • Cheese
  • Whole/Reduced Fat Milk, Butter, Dairy Desserts
  • Meat Products (Sausage, Bacon, Beef, Hamburgers)
  • Cookies and Other Grain-Based Desserts
  • Fast Food 

GLYCEMIC INDEX

The glycemic index (GI) is a tool that’s often used to promote better blood sugar management.  Several factors influence the glycemic index of a food:

  • Nutrient Composition
  • Cooking Method
  • Ripeness
  • Amount of Processing It Has Undergone

The GI is a value used to measure how much a specific food increases blood sugar levels.  Foods are classified as LOW, MEDIUM, or HIGH glycemic foods.  Foods are assigned a number 1 through 100

Low GI:  1 to 55

Medium GI:  56 to 69

High GI:  70+

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MACRO & MICRONUTRIENTS

Macronutrients:  Try remembering that MACRO = BIG!!  When it comes to nutrients our bodies need big amounts of MACRO Nutrients.  Examples of MACRO Nutrients are fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Micronutrients:  Opposite of MACRO…..MICRO = SMALL.  Examples of micronutrients are vitamins and minerals.  Because our bodies need these in smaller amounts, that’s why they’re called MICRONUTRIENTS

Understanding macronutrients and micronutrients is important when it comes to certain diets.  Some diets are quantitative in their function and require a person to count their “macros.”

 

SIMPLE AND COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES

Simple Carbs: In most cases, simple carbs are sugars.  While some of the simple carbs occur naturally in milk, most simple carbs in the American Diet are added to foods.  Common simple carbs added to foods include:

  • raw sugar
  • brown sugar
  • corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup
  • glucose, fructose, sucrose
  • fruit juice concentrate

These common foods/beverages are known for having significant amounts of Simple Carbs:

  • Soda
  • Baked Treats
  • Packaged Cookies
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Breakfast Cereal

Complex Carbs:  Pack in more nutrients than simple carbs and are higher in fiber which takes longer to fully digest.  Fiber and Starch are the two types of Complex Carbs.  

Simple and Complex Carbohydrates are named for their number of sugar molecules.  Simple Carbs contain 1 or 2 sugar molecules, whereas complex carbs have 3+.  Complex carb sugar molecules are strung together in long, complex chains, whereas Simple Carb sugar molecules are strung together in short, simple chains.

 

 

KEY #1:  THE APPROACH

  • Find a program that is realistic and sustainable – Something that you Won’t Give Up On
  • Make Your #1 Priority = Making “IT” A Habit.  Don’t focus on the number of lbs lost after a few days, your weight loss will come with consistency.  Focus on making your program a HABIT.  Commit to your new program by doing it EVERY DAY for 21 days straight, by doing that, you’ll most likely have created a habit.
  • Keep a journal and jot down how you “Feel” each morning.  In the beginning, and depending on your program, you may feel pretty awful (calorie deprived, sore from additional exercise, etc.) but after the first week, you should start noticing that you “FEEL” better.  Don’t make the mistake of jumping on the scale right away.  Not all programs will yield immediate weight loss.

 

KEY #2:  TAKE YOUR TIME

There are a ton of factors that influence (directly and indirectly) one’s ability to lose weight.  Age, gender, and genetics (factors we can’t control) play a significant role.  Those aside, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Over the long term, it’s smart to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. Generally, to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day through a lower-calorie diet and regular physical activity.”

Some quick math here:  if you commit to a program and promise, promise, promise not to give up for at least 21 days, you can realistically and safely lose 6 pounds – maybe not earth-shattering for some, but let’s double the numbers…42 days and 12 lbs?  Maybe that moves the needle a bit more for some.  Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is a moderately conservative approach; some will lose more, but most will undoubtedly be able to achieve weight loss at this rate…..if the commitment isn’t broken.

KEY #3:  BEFORE YOU START

Weight loss is an arduous journey, so proper planning is VITAL to increasing your success in reaching your goals.  The following are some straightforward and effective ways to plan your journey:

MAKE A LIST OF YOUR "WHYS"

List 2-3 reasons “WHY” you want to lose weight.  Examples:

  • Improve General Health
  • Feel Better
  • Look Better
  • Feeling More Comfortable in Your Body
  • For My Kids/Family
ESTABLISH YOUR BASELINE

Document where you are, and where you want to be.  Determine a safe and realistic time frame to achieve your goal.  There are several free weight loss tracker apps that can help you through your journey:

If you want, take selfies, using the same background and lighting each time.  This way you can track how you look.  Take a look at your starting picture and then your 21-day picture and see what your habit has produced.  Remember, give it some time, safe and healthy weight loss takes time!

MASTER THE FUNDAMENTALS
  • Quality Sleep
  • Adequate Hydration
  • Stress Management
  • Develop Consistent Habits
  • Eat Healthily

Master these fundamentals and the chances of your weight loss journey being a success are exponentially increased.

SET S.M.A.R.T GOALS

To increase your level of success, set goals using the SMART method:

  • Specific (I will lose 10 lbs in 5 weeks)
  • Measurable (I will eat within +/- 100 calories of my daily goal)
  • Achievable (I will walk 1,000 more steps each day for 5 days)
  • Realistic (I will lose 12 lbs in 6 weeks)
  • Time-Bound (I will fit into my favoriet jeans in 5 weeks)
MAKE SMALL CHANGES AT THE GROCERY STORE

Don’t think, “I can’t eat that” or “I have to give that up” think of it as, “I GET to replace the bad stuff with good stuff.”  Here are some examples of small changes that you can make at the grocery store:

  • Start by Reducing your Soda Intake by 1/2 For A Week and replace your soda with flavored water
  • If Ice Cream is a regular staple at home, try swapping your ice cream for one of these:
    • Strawberry-Banana Ice Cream – Frozen banana puree and add strawberries (pureed or chopped), add other berries and nuts for additional healthy fats and protein
    • Frozen Bananas In Chocolate – Freeze bananas (whole or in pieces) that are coated with chocolate, and add nuts on top for an additional crunch effect, more protein, and fats
    • Coconut Milk Ice Cream – Gluten Free, Soy Free, and Dairy Free, not low calorie, but it is nutritious and delicious
    • Greek Yogurt Ice Cream – Add fruits and nuts for more flavor
    • Gelato – Compared to ice cream, Gelato has less cream and no egg yolks.  However, gelato can have higher amounts of sugar – so make sure you look at the nutrition facts before diving in.
    • Shaved Ice – Try adding sugar-free or reduced sugar flavors (coconut, vanilla, lime, cherry)
    • Tofu Ice Cream – A heart-healthy alternative and it comes with quite a bit of protein and without the heavy cream and milk
    • Sorbet – Much lower in calories and contains no dairy.  Sorbet is a refreshing option for lactose-intolerant people
    •  Halo-Halo – A Filipino dessert made from ice, evaporated milk, and additional ingredients.  Very tasty and nutritious
  • Try Adding One New Fruit and One New Vegetable to Your List Each Time You Shop
  • NEVER do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach – if you shop while you’re hungry, you’ll get home with some junkie stuff
  • Make a Grocery List, and STICK TO IT!  Don’t get drawn in by all the clever ways stores merchandise all of the not-so-healthy stuff

 

 

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SUMMARY

  1. Understanding Terminology Associated With Weight Loss – With All Things, The More You Know….The Better!
  2. KEY #1 – THE APPROACH.  Make your plan fun!  Make your plan realistic! Make Your Plan Something YOU GET TO DO….Not Something YOU HAVE TO DO.
  3. KEY #2 Take Your Time.  Many of us struggle with instant gratification, which is most likely the most significant challenge when it comes to weight loss. We often endure agony and sacrifice to look at the scale and find little to no results.  Remember, “Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day” great work takes time.  Be consistent and persistent in your journey….one foot in front of the other…one day at a time. YOU WILL GET THERE!
  4. KEY #3 – Before You Start Preparing and paving the way for your journey before you begin will Increase your ability to reach your journey’s goal.