Everyone I know wants to lose weight, even the skinny scrawny ones (which I truly don’t get); unfortunately, very few actually do anything, or at least anything right, about it. Most would opt for the easy way out – quick fix diet programs. At one point in time, it was “eat less”, skip meals, no food after eight in the evening; then came the “no-protein” diet, followed by the “no-carb” diet, the “no-sodium” diet and of course the all supplement only diet. Seriously, did anyone actually take notes on any of these diet programs?
All-in-all, I concluded that all these programs are ever saying is “don’t eat”; and I total and undisputedly agree with it. If you don’t eat, you will lose a great amount of weight. Try it for two weeks. Don’t eat a Goddamned thing. I guarantee you will drop at least four dress sizes down. I have seen corpses. They are freakishly thin; bone like thin.
Here is the plain and simple truth, your body needs everything. It needs carbohydrates, proteins, fibres, fats, sodium and anything else that you can find in nature. The cave men did it for many centuries. They ate anything that was edible and they probably lived far healthier lives than most of us today. Two to three decades ago, we would not bat an eyelid to walk a kilometer to the bus station; but today we drive to the store that’s just two hundred meters away. We have become a very spoilt and lazy society.
So, What Is The Problem With Weight Loss?
There is a huge difference between weight loss and weight management. If any of you have ever gone on a diet or exercise program, you would likely agree that the hardest part of losing weight is keeping it off. It is easy to lose weight. Just starve a few days and you will lose weight. The problem with weight loss is that it deprives your body of necessary nutrients and basic building blocks. Most weight loss programs are basically starvation programs and starving your body of any food group is bad. Our body is adaptive and when you starve it of anything, it will compensate any way it can and the most common method is excessive storage. If we do not eat regularly, our body will store any excess food for those periods that you do not eat. That is basically how we regain the weight we worked so hard at losing.
The key is not in weight loss rather in weight management. Weight management takes more effort and a longer time period but it pays off. To understand weight management, you would first have to understand how food effects our body and how it is processed. The first most basic problem with most of us is that we eat more than we need to and we also eat rather erratically. What weight management does is it teaches our body to take what it needs and when it needs it. Have you noticed that your weight tends to fluctuate at a plus or minus 2 to 3 kilograms? This is because your brain is managing your weight at what it had always known itself to be. The weight increases and decreases are only temporary effects due to some random activity such as increased stress at the office or a party you attended two nights ago. Other than that, your body tends to stay at more or less the same weight. Weight gain, as with weight management, happens over a long period of time.
Why Do We Gain Weight?
The question is, why do we gain weight? There are several factors for this. The first and most obvious reason is our eating habits. As I said earlier, eating erratically and excessively causes the body to store food unnecessarily. Missing two meals in the day, does not justify eating double the amount later at night. It is just as bad if you skip meals to compensate for the birthday party you had the night before. When this happens too often, you brain starts to prepare for these starvation periods. If it happens too erratically and too often, you brain will get confused and continues to store more and more because it doesn’t know when your body may actually use those backup resources.
The second component is inactivity. Most of us were physically active when we were in school and college. All that excess food and energy gets burnt off with all that activity. After that however, most of us got a job where we spend most of the time at a desk. Suddenly, our bodies are not as active but the brain is still sending that signal to store energy and other resources for those activities that we used to do. To make things worse, most of us eat more when we are stressed. Now your food intake is gradually increasing, your eating habits are all over the place and you are getting less and less physical.
Over time, our muscles start to degrade and less energy is burnt and that is the third component. See, our muscles burn energy even when we are laying about doing nothing. So the more muscle mass you have, the more energy is used and that is why body builders need to consume a lot of food. After months have passed, you realized that you are gaining weight but now lethargy starts to set in. The excess sugars processed from food, builds up in our system and that causes that weak, lazy feeling you get on the weekends. Remember how you used to be able to go on playing games, partying, staying up late at night and still have the energy to wake up and repeat that process? Well, that was because all that energy was eventually used.
On the flip side, some of you may have always been overweight. This means that your body was programmed to be overweight since you were a child. You too can lose weight, however it would take a longer time and more likely a greater amount of effort.
What Is Weight Management?
Weight management is a gradual process of reprograming the brain to take and store only what it needs and to maintain your weight at a more ideal level. In order for this to work, you need to start a regular eating habit with regular physical activities scheduled into your daily or weekly routine. Yes, weight management is a set of routines or habits. Now, here is the good news; it doesn’t only get easier, but it becomes part of you. After that your brain will take over and you’d probably never have to worry about gaining too much weight for a long time. Except for the occasional soirée, you will naturally eat what you need and exercise becomes a necessary part of your day. You will no longer worry about that serving of desert and you would have better control on your cravings.
There are only 4 things that you need to do to begin your journey in managing your weight:
- Eat at regular intervals – Set yourself to have a meal every four hours. Yes, that probably means having up to four meals a day; breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. You eat even if you don’t feel hungry during a meal period.
- Eat moderately – Practice eating moderately during each meal. Eat to fill and not to stuff. You are not a turkey, so don’t stuff yourself at every meal.
- Exercise – Build your natural muscles. Start a simple daily and weekly exercise routine. Join an exercise group or get some friends together on a weekly basis for a sport activity.
- Drink lots of water – Water keeps your body hydrated. Water also flushes out unnecessary waste and toxins from your body. Have a bottle of water at your desk and in the car. Take little sips every five to ten minutes.
The bad news is that you cannot pick and choose. Weight management can only work with all the above component. It is 100% or nothing.
In the article Weight Management – A Real Diet Plan, I go into more detail on how to manage your weight. For now, this should be enough information for you to start. So, what are you waiting for?
I am not a trained professional, so do not take this as any form of fact. It is a summary of personal research and experience I had over the years while learning to manage my weight and battle diabetes. I would advice you to seek professional help if you have health conditions that effects or can be effected by your weight.