How can you lose weight?
We get fat by eating excess Calories and the wrong proportion of macronutrients. We can lose weight in two ways: 1) eating less and/or 2) exercising more. One gram of protein has 4 Calories, one gram of carbohydrate also has 4 Calories, and one gram of fat has 9 Calories. From these figures we can calculate that a pound of fat (454 g) has approximately 4086 Calories (although body fat has about 3500 Calories because it has 10% water).
To lose a pound of fat over two weeks, the intake of Calories has to be reduced by 290 Calories per day. This is a 15% reduction in a 2000 Calorie diet. How much is 290 Calories? One ounce (28 g) of chips has 130 Calories; that is only about 10 corn chips or 20 potato chips. One can of soda has 150 Calories. Eating a handful of chips and a soda every day have the potential to make you gain one pound of fat every two weeks (over 20 pounds per year).
Fifteen minutes of moderate muscle conditioning exercise will burn approximately 100 Calories. Without a change in diet, a person would have to exercise 45 minutes per day for two weeks to lose a pound of fat. In other words, you have to exercise 45 minutes to burn up the calories in the handful of chips and the soda that you can eat in 5 minutes. Be aware of the number of Calories in the food that you eat! You have a better chance of losing weight by cutting out the junk food and eating judiciously than by exercising, but the best way to lose weight is a combination of diet and exercise because exercise builds muscles, and bigger muscles burn more fat.
Lose Weight Fast! We frequently see advertisements about pills that guarantee fast weight loss and creams that melt away fat or cellulite. Some advertisements say that you don't need to diet or exercise and still lose 18 pounds or more in two weeks. The Federal Trade Commission has determined that the creams are worthless and that any product claims are blatantly false if they state that you can lose more than two pounds per week for more than four weeks without diet and exercise. This means that if you are 30 pounds overweight, it will take four months or longer to normalize your weight by dieting and exercising. Many advertisements for diet products are simply unscrupulous marketing techniques to take your money. Diet products are often expensive, generally ineffective, or may contain ingredients that are addictive and can have dangerous side effects. Never take any diet pills without consulting a physician. Even herbal diet remedies or natural botanicals are not necessarily safe, and they are less regulated than pharmaceutical products. Some diet teas and pills act as laxatives or diuretics, so that any weight loss is due to dehydration instead of reduction of body fat. Other pills contain stimulants such as ephedra or caffeine that may suppress appetite or increase the heart rate in an attempt to "accelerate" metabolism, sometimes with fatal consequences. In general, diet pills don't work. If you read the directions for diet pills, you will notice that they always recommend eating less. Which means that you lose weight from eating less and not because you take the diet pills. Real weight loss can be achieved only by burning more Calories than you eat. The bottom line is that you have to get proper nutrition and eat less to lose fat.
Lose 9 lbs. every 11 days! If you pause to do the math, you will find that if you lost 9 pounds every 11 days you would be 297 pounds lighter after a year. Not likely! Exaggerated claims are designed to cause consumers to make impulsive decisions. When you gained weight, did you gain 25 pounds in one month? Probably not. We generally gain weight in small increments which add up after a few years. If you gain only 1/8 pound (57 grams) per week, you will have gained 6.5 pounds (3 kg) at the end of one year. This amount of weight gain is so gradual that you cannot measure the weekly changes on a bathroom scale, but you will be 26 pounds (11.8 kg) heavier in four years. How can you expect this weight to go away in a few days? It is not possible. You have to start losing weight systematically in small increments to avoid health problems. You can lose weight by developing good eating habits and eating small amounts of nutritious foods.
Beware of Scams. False and misleading advertisements for weight-loss remedies are so prevalent that the Federal Trade Commission fined several marketers of these products in 2007. The maker of Xenadrine EFX was ordered to pay over 8 million Dollars for claiming that the drug had been clinically proven to cause rapid and substantial weight loss, when in reality, one 10-week study showed subjects taking Xenadrine EFX lost fewer pounds than those taking a placebo (an inactive pill). The promoters of CortiSlim and CortiStress were fined at least $12 million Dollars for making false claims that their products could bring about rapid and permanent weight loss and prevent serious health conditions, including osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. The marketers of TrimSpa, which used celebrity Anna Nicole Smith in their advertisements, were fined $1.5 million Dollars for saying that the plant hoodia gordonii suppresses appetite and causes rapid weight loss without adequate scientific evidence.
How can I lose weight around the stomach area? This is one of the most frequently asked questions. Unfortunately, the answer is that you cannot target weight loss for any specific part of the body. Most fat is stored under the skin of the torso and hips, but it is also stored between the organs in the abdominal area. When you lose weight, you lose it throughout the body. Generally, the waist circumference is reduced by one inch (2.54 cm) for every 6 pounds (2.7 kg) of weight that you lose. You may not be able to get a flat stomach until your Body Mass Index is under 25. Abdominal exercises can help to develop muscles that become visible when enough fat has been burned off and the skin is thinner.
The following graphics, which are part of the National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project®, show the fat distribution of an obese female. The vertical section shows a layer of fat approximately two inches thick in the skin of the torso and hips. The cross section at the level of the navel clearly shows that there is more fat stored under the skin than inside the abdominal cavity. This is true for overweight males also. The two main types of adipose tissue are subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue. About 80% of body fat is located in the subcutaneous adipose tissue, and 10% is located in the visceral adipose tissue. The remainder is distributed around the kidneys and other parts of the body.
Surgical procedures, like liposuction or tummy tuck, are sometimes used to remove subcutaneous fat under the abdominal skin and above the abdominal muscles using local or general anesthesia. An abdominal bulge cannot be removed by these procedures if it is due to outwardly protruding abdominal muscles with little fat over them, or to intra-abdominal fat near the intestinal loops within what is called the mesentery.
Several types of gastric surgeries to combat severe obesity, overweight by over 100 pounds, are Restrictive Surgery (stomach stapling), Bariatric surgery (gastric bypass), and Malabsorptive Surgery (shortening the digestive track). These procedures achieve weight loss by preventing a person from eating too much and/or by reducing the amount of nutrients that can be absorbed by the body. There are significant immediate and long-term risks associated with this type of surgery, and the need for a balanced, nutritious diet becomes more critical for persons who have undergone these operations. The risk of death from these operations increases with the age of the patients, and it may vary from 1.5% to as high as 5%. Approximately 75% of the deaths are caused by leakage and infection at the points of the operation, and 25% by pulmonary embolisms.
The USDA food pyramid used before 2005, suggested eating 6 to 11 portions of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta per day and only 2 to 3 servings per day of meat, poultry, and fish. This high-carbohydrate diet and the increased use of high-fructose sweeteners in beverages are thought to be the reason why Americans have become so fat. The emphasis on high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods did not help to reduce obesity in the general population even though the intake of fat decreased. The percentage of overweight Americans has increased steadily along with the proliferation of new snacks, sweets, fried fast foods, and bakery products using hydrogenated fats and refined flour. If you are serious about losing weight, don't expect to do it by following the dietary guidelines that have failed so miserably for millions of people. We have been brainwashed into thinking that fat is bad, when in reality, dietary protein and natural fats are necessary for good health, but carbohydrates have not been demonstrated to be essential for human nutrition, even though they are good sources of energy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans adopted in 2005 have been improved by recommending balancing the calorie intake with calories expended, and by encouraging consumption of lean meats, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.
Metabolism research over the past 25 years has shown that the pancreas reacts to high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) by releasing insulin, which is a hormone that lowers blood sugar by promoting its conversion to glycogen or to fat through the process of lipogenesis. When blood sugar is low (hypoglycemia), the pancreas releases another hormone called glucagon to start converting stored fat to blood sugar by lipolysis. Together, these pancreatic hormones keep blood sugar in a normal range. This knowledge has given rise to several diets that address the hormonal response to food by 1) limiting carbohydrates and 2) reducing calories (Zone diet, South Beach Diet, Protein Power, Atkins Diet, Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, etc.). Limiting carbohydrates reduces blood sugar, and consequently the level of insulin, so that fat cannot be stored. Reducing calories stimulates the release of glucagon to burn stored fat. Research also suggests that the diets that have made us fat do not contain enough protein and fiber to meet the needs imposed by our genetic heritage as hunter-gatherers. These new diet programs generally increase the daily protein intake to about 1 gram per pound of body weight (2.2g/kg) and the amount of fiber to 50 grams per day. Both of these amounts are at least twice the RDA. The additional fiber moderates the absorption of carbohydrates and stimulates the release of stored fat, while the extra protein promotes the growth of muscle tissue and facilitates the production of metabolism-control hormones, which are proteins themselves.
When evaluating diet advertisements, keep in mind that the Federal Trade Commission has determined that any product claims are false if they state that you can lose more than two pounds per week for more than four weeks without diet and exercise.