In today’s society of the glamour models with toothpick legs and flat stomachs on every magazine cover, people are becoming more obsessed with weight loss instead of weight control. Billions of dollars are spent every year on fad items such as abdominal machines, video tapes, energy and mood pills, fat burner pills, etc. Many companies and organizations are capitalizing on this by promoting programs that could lead a desperate person into the wrong direction.
The first step in gaining weight control is to stop all the fad diets and paraphernalia and get into the groove of eating healthy and working out. Begin by having a great attitude – you did not gain the weight over night; therefore, you cannot possibly lose it overnight!!! If it was that easy, one third of Americans would not be obese. Commit yourself to a program for at least 3 months in order to get long term results and ultimately make this new change a lifestyle change.
Avoid programs that promote the following tactics:
- WEIGHT LOSS WITHOUT EXERCISING – You must exercise in order to lose body fat and of course watch what you eat. If you just restrict your eating but do not change their habits, you will not gain control of your weight.
- FASTING – This is a definite sign that the program does not know what they are talking about. Cleansing of the body can be done without fasting. Fasting slows down your metabolism causing you to gain weight back more rapidly. You should find a program that emphasizes regular eating. The only exception is in some elite athlete programs. That will not be most Americans.
- IMPROPER FOOD PLANS – A good healthy eating plan will incorporate the proper amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. A plan that totally restricts your calories so low that it depletes your energy can be dangerous. Your body will excrete excess water that is stored and cause weight loss. Once again, you will not gain control over your weight. Unfortunately, the average American eats approximately 50-60% of their intake in carbohydrates, so cutting back to lose body fat will not hurt.
- DOES NOT CHECK BODY FAT – Be cautious of a program that only determines progress by your weight on a scale. Realistic and healthy weight loss is generally 1-2 pounds of body fat per week – Most plans will not distinguish the difference between weight loss and body fat loss. A good plan will not allow you to lose lean muscle. Remember lean muscle requires calories and protein to survive. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you can burn.
A good, healthy fitness plan that will help you gain control over your weight should be one that meets your doctor’s approval if you have chronic medical conditions and one that meets your lifestyle needs. Remember, all good things take time. Be patient and put your mind to it. You will gain control over your weight and receive the results you want.
Dr. Crystal Broussard is a board-certified obesity and Family Medicine specialist. Her own body transformation and extensive experience in the weight loss field makes her both qualified and passionate about helping her patients achieve their health goals.