Calories in – calories out. We all know the famed mantra. If we take in fewer calories than we burn, it is presumed that we will lose weight. While this simplistic view of weight loss is understood by many, there is a lot more to the story than that. We have to consider the type of calories we take in, the intensity of the workouts we engage in, and the duration of the workouts we try. With so many other contributing factors to the equation, it has left room for hundreds, if not thousands, of weight loss gimmicks that could literally backfire and sabotage our efforts if we’re not careful. As Kathleen Zelman of WebMD explains,
Fighting the battle of the bulge can range from following a sensible diet to making ill-guided efforts that can have serious health consequences.
The trouble often comes from well-intentioned friends and family members looking for a quick and easy way to shed those excess pounds. Add to that a certain amount of desperation that builds after we’ve tried one program and then another with no success. That desperation can cause us to try many unproven weight loss systems that could add new health problems and hamper our struggles to lose weight. It is always wise to educate oneself first before starting any weight loss program and check for specific clues that could indicate that we are actually embarking on a dangerous route.
While it is true that taking in fewer calories than you can burn will help you to lose weight, you still need to make sure that you have an adequate supply of fuel for your body. When you drastically cut the amount of calories you consume, you may indeed lose weight but it won’t be the kind of weight you want to shed. Much of the weight you lose will be the all important muscle that you need to get your body toned and in good physical condition. You will also be forcing your metabolism to slow down making it even more difficult to shed those pounds and this will put you right on track for type 2 diabetes. At the very least, you should consume 1,200 calories every day to ensure that you’re getting the right kind of nutrients to fuel your body.
While exercising can be a good thing, when done in excess it can cause major health problems. You’ll have a higher risk of injury, become dehydrated, and throw your entire body out of balance. This is all in addition to the psychological toll it can take on you. Remember, weight loss is just as much a mental exercise as a physical one and the person who allows extreme measures to control their weight loss efforts is not taking control of their lives. When it comes to exercise, you want to find your balance: not too little and not too much. When your approach to exercise is moderate, you’re more likely to stick with the program long enough to see the results you’re working for.
Avoid thinking of your weight loss efforts as simply dieting or a temporary change in your regular routine. When you learn to view your changes as life adjustments you’ll find that you’ll be happier with a simpler approach. Consider the advice of Dr. Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic,
A weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is the typical recommendation. Although that may seem like a slow pace for weight loss, it’s more likely to help you maintain your weight loss for the long term.
While fast weight loss efforts appear to yield positive results for the moment, they rarely last for any length of time and the weight that is lost is not fat but usually in the form of water, stool, and muscle. Unfortunately, water and muscle are the things that a healthy body needs to keep strong and viable.