Diet Panned: How to lose weight minus the fad eating plans

Are you trying to lose weight?

The natural answer, particularly with the new year upon us, is a resounding “yes,” and with that you’re undoubtedly hitting the gym more so now than any other time of the year, along with monitoring how you’re eating.

New Year’s Resolutions almost always center on losing weight and getting healthier, but that shouldn’t include pushing yourself to the brink of starvation, only eating bacon and working out seven days per week.

As much as you want to curb those calories and lay waste to those love handles, you have to remember that weight loss is a marathon not a sprint, suggesting that it takes time to drop pounds, and nothing is going to change overnight.

And that’s where fad diets come into play.

The natural inclination of the average consumer, in this case someone who wants to lose weight, is to want instant gratification, so they’ll workout a lot, and then quickly burn themselves out and be pretty much done exercising around early to mid February.
The same goes for dieting; you never give yourself a fighting chance because, much like hitting the treadmill seven days a week for two hours each time, you try to change your eating so drastically that you end up back where you started or, in some cases, with more weight added.

The reason this happens is two fold: instant results, as previously mentioned, but also a penchant for particularly savvy marketing centering on fad diets and other means to change how you eat for results that are too good to be true.
Chances are, that’s exactly what they are. And in turn, you’re doing more harm than good.

The key to changing your diet really boils down to getting healthier in a more gradual way. Steer clear of fat burning pills or diets that limit you to only eating Kale six times a day or something that simply sounds ridiculous.

Losing weight is supposed to happen around the one to two pounds per week, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Anything else that is promised to you via a commercial or advertisement should be looked at as being suspect at best.
That isn’t to say you can’t eliminate foods that are clear cut culprits that lead to weight gain: sugar and sugary foods, enriched flour (white bread, pasta, etc.), dairy, soda and other excess calories that can be cut.

This is more about a diet telling you that you can eat bacon and pork all day, as long as you stop eating bread, or promising you’ll lose 10 pounds in the first two weeks. That has “red flag” written all over it.

Thirty minutes of exercise a day, and foods high in protein, low in saturated fats and a moderate amount of carbohydrates that are the healthier kind (whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, etc.) are balanced, complete and most importantly devoid of anything that resembles a detrimental step in the wrong direction, diet wise.

Fail Me Not: How to find ways to enjoy exercise

For those who have embraced and enjoy exercise, you deserve plenty of credit.

You’re the exception, not the rule.

That’s because roughly 10 to 13 percent of the general population belong to a gym, suggesting that consistent exercise and having a routine that consists of 30 minutes of exercise per day, three to five days a week, isn’t a reality for most.

Even if you consider of that 10 to 13 percent figure that some people work out at home, buy workout DVDs or stream exercise routines, that number only grows marginally at best.

The biggest reason individuals don’t workout typically centers on time, and not having enough of it.

But as much as that is the politically correct answer, one sentiment surfaces to the top more often than not.

You just hate exercise, period.

Very few enjoy the idea of working out, much less finding that time, making it a priority or really relishing sore muscles and 30 minutes to an hour or more of your life that you’ll justify can be spent doing something much more enjoyable or necessary.

The country has an obesity problem, and while some link it rightfully back to our diet and how we eat, you can’t discount a lack of exercise as a contributing to overwhelming factor behind more than half of the population considered obese at this point.

The key to solving your exercise dilemma is finding a way to change how you perceive this.

Maybe exercise will never be a desired end game for you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t adopt a program or regimen that works for you, on any number of levels.

Those who have broken through that detestable mode of how they view exercise often have to find a means to burn calories and break a sweat that doesn’t include the monotony of the treadmill or the confusion that abounds when you’re staring down the barrel of weights, machines and equipment that looks foreign to you.

Think about things like dance classes, playing basketball or doing something that means more to you than the uncomfortably of being in a gym setting. Those who boast success will tell you they had a lot of trial and error to find what fit them, made them feel comfortable and slowly but surely going back one visit after another.

In addition to finding your love of exercise, you need to find a way to be accountable for it, once you’ve found some sort of rhythm. Maybe you’d like to track what you’re doing if you’re statistically inclined or maybe you want a workout partner to make sure you’re going to the gym.

You may never truly “bond” with exercise in a way that some do, but the end result is about a healthier lifestyle and weight loss, even if your love of exercise is more of an upgrade to simply liking it.

Reasonable Doubt: Why losing weight is more than just diet and exercise

Everyone has experienced that moment, on your weight loss journey, when you look down at the number on the scale and realize that it isn’t what you expected.

That same feeling permeates through your body when you try on clothes that you’d hope to fit in to by now, and they’re still a struggle to wear comfortably.

And with that, among other examples, this one question comes up routinely.

What are you doing wrong? Why can’t you lose weight?

The idea that you’re eating right, exercising regularly and seemingly doing all the things you need to do in order to lose weight aren’t working is a hard one to digest. The frustration abounds as you continue to cut calories, burn them too, and rededicate yourself to wanting to feel better, lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

The problem is most put that burden on two specific parts of “being healthy,” and that’s dieting and exercising.

And while those two rightfully belong on the top of your list as culprits for a lack of progress, you can’t overlook other elements of weight loss that go beyond the obvious.

For instance, how much sleep do you get per night?
You should be attempting to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, with eight being the best result.

Sleeping too little will affect your metabolism and ability to lose weight. Varied sleep studies have showed a decrease of 50 percent or more in the amount of weight you can lose if you cut sleep from the seven or eight-hour plateau to around five to six hours per night.

Another missteps as far as weight loss goes is the assumption that exercise and eating are a tradeoff. As stated, exercise and dieting are the main changes you’ll need to make to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean the average exerciser doesn’t find ways to placate their thought process between those two schools of thought.

Just because you burned calories in abundance at the gym doesn’t mean you have the excuse to indulge on pizza, foods high in fat or sodium. Plenty would be weight loss plans are viewed as “well, at least I’m doing exercising” so the diet piece falls by the wayside.

They have to work in harmony, in conduction with one another more so than at odds.

Much the same way sleep works against you if you’re not managing it well, so too can stress. Studies have shown you can gain as much as 10 pounds per year just by being stressed out at work, at home, with the kids, schooling or whatever might stay on your mind, day in and day out.

Battling stress often is done through exercise, but also needs to be a conscious effort by the exerciser to leave learn how to balance stress better if they expect to drop weight.

Feeling healthy isn’t about just the number on the scale or how your clothes fit, but how you feel, too. Getting to that point through hard work can’t be just about dieting and exercising but a full scale set of changes to get yourself to a place, physically you can’t be happy about.

Fit to be Tied: Why joining gym shouldn’t be just about price

It’s January, and New Year’s Resolutions about getting in shape are running rampant.

But much like the treadmill you’re contemplating hopping on, are you just racing to find the perfect gym but not making much progress, still in the same position you were just a few minutes early?
Joining a gym in January is a rite of passage, something the general public does as almost a reflex with varying success.

More than half of the individuals who join a gym in January end up quitting by the middle of February, and those numbers are daunting and disappointing in the same breath.

That doesn’t mean joining a gym isn’t done with the best intentions, but often times that feeling of being stationary and not making much progress at the gym comes from your driving focus of joining centering on one element that ends up being your Achilles’ heel.

Price, and price alone.

So it’s understandable that you want to join a gym, lose weight and stick to your January, New Year’s Resolution game plan to get healthy this year. And price is a big part of your decision, and that’s fine.

Setting your sights on price specifically isn’t always advisable, because a lot of what breeds success from an exercise standpoint has to do with more than just the monthly dues.

Price is, however, a huge selling point, especially when you consider that larger chains such as LA Fitness, Planet Fitness and Crunch are price sensitive in both their in person presentation when you tour the facility as well as marketing. Planet Fitness is all about their $10 per month membership, and even if you’re someone who hasn’t worked out in a while, who can’t part with that little of money each month?
But losing weight isn’t about a fad or how much the membership costs. Instead, the overall goal should be a lifestyle change that includes eating better, working out and the convenience that should go along with it.

If you pass a gym on the way home, and it’s $50 per month, maybe that is a better choice rather than joining somewhere for $10 and having to go out of your way to get there, perhaps even stopping home first (always a sure fire sign that you’ll quit, since going home and trying to motivate yourself to go back out is difficult).

In addition to the “drive by” approach, you should consider joining with a friend (twice as likely to stick with it) or a personal training studio or group class of other individuals who are at the same fitness level as you. Training studios have seen a rise in popularity mostly due to personalized training approach and results, rather than joining a larger gym, and having no clue what you’re doing.

The old adage of “not putting a price tag” on your health stands the test of time, and while what you pay is important, what you ultimately gain (or lose in this case) from the entire process trumps all.

Weighted Concerns: Why overweight couples struggle with fertility

Difficulty getting pregnant for most women can be linked to anything from heredity to diet and everything in between. But a more recent study suggests that fertility and obesity can have an adverse affect on pregnancy too, and not just for women.

A woman who is considered obese does have a harder time conceiving a child, but men also play a key role in this fertility debate, particularly when both the male and female fall under the guise of “obese.”

It’s not secret that obesity is becoming an epidemic, especially in the United States. What once was a weight classification that had a small percent of individuals part of it has now grown to be close to 50 percent of the population.

Poor diet, income and stress have been attributed to more individuals falling into the obese category, and couples who are considered obese also don’t exactly have an easy bath to conceiving a child.

Extra weight on women, for example, means your ovulation isn’t always functioning at a premium level and the more obese a male is could diminish his sex drive and testosterone production.

Couples who are obese take 60 percent longer to conceive versus those who aren’t considered obese. Keep in mind that obese and overweight are two different categories as far as weight in concerned, with obesity meaning that your day to day activities, life and functionality are at risk, and your body mass index is well off the charts.

For men, a BMI (body mass index) of 30 is considered obese, while women is around the same number for their BMI. Morbidly obese is around 40 plus for BMI. Around 30 percent of woman in the United States fall under the “obese” tag, while a staggering 41 percent are men.

Leading fertility experts are hoping they can assist obese couples in being able to achieve pregnancy, but you’d like to think that the real assist comes from within with a change in diet. If an obese couple conceives, then the attention turns to cancers, heart disease and diabetes in the man and the woman and how that affects the ability to parent on a number of levels, with something as simple as activities after school or just helping cook, dress and take care of a child.

The end result could be fertility specialists working toward a solution, but men and women alike who are trying to conceive might also want to start the ball rolling on their side of the court, too.

Fitness Follies: How to avoid failure with fitness

Setting goals is so very important when it comes to fitness and embarking on an exercise program, but what if goals, depending on what they were, could actually be a deterrent in the gym?

The real reason goals don’t work as far as fitness goes is when you set ones that are unrealistic. A lot of that can be traced back to how we view body types, fitness and have little understanding truly of what it means to be “healthy.”

You have to be honest with yourself, where you are at this point and what would be considered a reasonable goal if you’re picking up the weights or hopping on the treadmill for the first time in a while.

Someone who has gained a few hundred pounds in the last year or two isn’t going to be able to drop that weight in six months. Understanding that it took years to gain weight might be the biggest revelation you can have before you attempt to lose it, knowing that you might be 12 to 18 months away from finally getting back to your “goal” weight.

Unfortunately, our exercise culture has turned from longevity and being healthy for the long haul into instant gratification, watching television shows about makeovers and losing weight and how that process can happen so very quickly.

A show like “The Biggest Loser” actually was more harm than good. It showed massive amounts of weight dropped one week after the next, but what most don’t realize is that they’re at a confined location where all they do is exercise and have dietician monitoring how they eat from one celery stalk to the next.

That isn’t realistic, and what it did was breed a culture of exercisers who joined a gym for a few months, didn’t lose weight and quit anyway. They didn’t have 24 hour per day trainers or live at a camp where fitness is the first, last and only priority you have for months.

How we view fitness as a society and what our definition of “healthy” is also can be a hurdle. Who doesn’t want to have a flat stomach, washboard abs and look great in a two piece bikini or bathing suit?

But having a flat stomach shouldn’t be tops on your list. Instead, think more about dropping pounds with a more consistent, fat burning and muscle toning workout. Your stomach might not be completely flat but it will thank you when you see it more toned, not only there but in your arms, legs and butt, too.

One mistake men and women make consistently is trying to also do too much, too soon. You shouldn’t be doing CrossFit or cardio kickboxing when you haven’t worked out intensely at all or it’s been quite a while. You’ll end up injured or harming your body.

Failing at fitness is quite common.  Most of that rests squarely on your shoulders, mostly because you set goals that were far beyond expectations, and while your intentions were good, they also were misguided at best.

Weight Lost: Why diet plans often confuse, mislead most

From Jenny Craig to Weight Watchers, ab machines to ads promising you the world in terms of weight loss, consumers and those looking to drop a few pounds must be feeling very much misled and lost as they embark on a fitness journey that takes more than a few detours along the way.

The real issue is two fold: consumers who want to lose weight are so desperate and time sensitive to do so that anything that sounds easy and simple is appealing, thus setting the stage for products, services and flat out advice that preys on that, even if what they’re selling or saying isn’t really going to help anyone, in terms of losing weight.

That’s why understanding what really works, and what information you should take in, harness and use is so daunting for the average person who just wants to look better in their clothes or at at the beach this summer.

Misconceptions about losing weight abound in droves, so dispelling them all is nearly impossible, but instead let’s focus on a few that are downright silly.

For starters, what do you know about carbs and speciality diets (i.e. South Beach, Atkins, etc.)? If you’ve been told that carbs are bad for you, think again. Carbs are necessary; they provide energy and keep your blood sugar where it needs to be on a daily basis, so that you’re not tired, moody and exhausted all the time. Now, this isn’t a huge admission that means you should run out and eat bread, pasta and other carbs all the time, all day long.

Instead, it’s about eating them at the right time, such as portioned throughout the day and easing up on them as you get into the evening. Carbs are also very good before a workout, otherwise, you’ll have trouble staying focused and energized enough to even complete one.

And as far as eating and exercise go, two points come to mind: just because you exercise doesn’t mean you can eat what you want. Also, cardiovascular work, such as walking and running on a treadmill, isn’t a guarantee to lose weight.

The real truth is that losing weight is easier to do with a weight lifting program, with high repetitions and lighter weights and a balanced diet.

The salvation sometimes, unfortunately, has to come from failing. Everyone has a different makeup, body type or DNA, so what works for one might not work for someone else, so often trial and error is part of this process.

That said, finding what works is more about a marathon rather than a sprint. If it seems to good to be true, chance are it is, and the only safe, true measure to lose weight starts with eating smarter, not depriving yourself, adding exercise to the equation and making sure that fads have no place at the table with you.

Time Starved: How to effectively exercise efficiently

One of the more successful training videos in the past decade or so was titled “10 Minute Trainer.” And while the context of the video wasn’t anything revolutionary, the title taped into a feeling among exercisers, particularly new ones, that simply was too good to be true.

What if you could workout for 10 minutes per day or every other day and still lose weight?
If you’re reading that question and aren’t intrigued, you’d be in the minority. Most would hear that proclamation and immediately sign up for that deal in a heartbeat.

The “10 Minute Trainer” success shows that the masses are starved for time, and want nothing more than to be able to be healthier and more fit as long as they can continue to work hectic hours, shuffle the kids off to baseball and dance, and maintain their volunteer work, work around the house or anything else that consumes their time.

Whether or not 10 minutes is enough to ensure the body of your dreams is debatable, but you can consolidate your workout and still make it well worth your while. The idea that you need to work out for an hour or more, five days per week isn’t feasible nor is it necessary to maintain a healthy weight and an even healthier lifestyle.

One of the easier ways to expedite your workout with time being of the essence is to start thinking more about training with multiple body parts and working through the circuit training mentality more than anything else.

Circuit training often is defined by moving from one machine to another and changing the weight that is being used. But think of circuit training more like interval training than anything else. Think about high intensity training that is short bursts, rather than meandering around from one machine to the next (stagnant training). Jump rope for 30 seconds, do planks for 15 seconds, jumping jacket for 30 seconds and core work (sit ups) for 60 to 90 seconds, and you have yourself a high intensity workout that is literally going to take you 15 minutes, max, just as an example.

Group fitness and exercise classes also help for a number of reasons: they have a start time involved and they’re typically 30 minutes in length (some of them are one hour). The start time is the accountability piece you need, and 30 minutes of Yoga, Pilates or weight training isn’t overly intrusive to your schedule.

Time is the major reason cited as to why you aren’t working out. But you have to get past the fact that exercise has to be time consuming. Instead, work out smarter, not necessarily harder, and time won’t be an issue moving forward.

Gym Neighbors: How to get motivated and avoid gym mistakes

What is the one excuse you hear as to why people can’t exercise?

They don’t have the time, right?
In addition, why do most people quit the gym even after they’ve tried to go?
Chances are, they’re not seeing the kind of results they want.

And those two questions and the subsequent results aren’t just about first time or novice exercisers. They pertain to that group but also those who are going consistently, enjoy exercise but yet can’t seem to get on a schedule of consistency both in frequency with which they go and also achieving what they initially set out to do, most notably losing weight or toning.

So how exactly do you get motived and get the results you want, avoiding plenty of common mistakes that happen at the gym?
Studies show that going to the gym on a consistent basis centers around two major elements: an upcoming event or the buddy system. Everyone knows just how intense exercise can be when, for example, you’re preparing for a wedding or even just getting yourself in shape as summer approaches and you’re attempting to shed those winter pounds.

But nothing keeps you on point better than the buddy system, and that can mean anything from finding a partner to exercise with who will keep you accountable when you don’t want to go, or employing a personal trainer who will do the same.

Personal training gets a bad wrap because quite frankly there are some really ho hum, average ones available, but the ones who know how to add variety to workouts and keep things interesting are keepers. They’ll also keep you on task.

As far as gym mistakes go, they’re plentiful, including doing the same exercise over and over again (which is why a trainer helps quite a bit). Another misstep often made when it comes to exercise is believing that you have to train or workout every day. You’ll lose weight and gain muscle or tone your body by also letting it rest for a few days after three or four days in a row of exercising. You also can employ the one on, one off rotation where you workout and then take the next day off, working out essentially every other day.

If weight loss is what you’re trying to achieve most, you’ll want to look at cardiovascular training in two distinct ways: stationary and interval. Far too often, your workouts are nothing more than walking on a treadmill and driving back home. If you’re going to do an extended cardio workout, you want to make sure you do so and have as little rest as possible, meaning you keep going and don’t break from it.

High intensity training in intervals means you go as hard as you can for 30 seconds, for instance, then take twice as long between sets (in this case 60 seconds).

Being able to distinguish that type of cardio is key to getting to your fitness goals and burning fat fast.

So rather than get caught up in excuses, trying looking at how to make exercise that much easier for you.

Food Fighting: Why some diet and exercise myths are made to be broken

So what exactly is the key to weight loss in relationship to dieting and how you eat overall?

The problem with your food plan might not be a problem at all in theory if you believe you’re doing the right things or someone with some “expertise” has advised you accordingly.

Then again, have you thought about that advice and whether or not it’s one of those popular dieting theories that we all tend to believe, but have little to no truth to them?

You know the ones: talk about skipping breakfast, eating small meals throughout the day or only eating when you’re hungry. Those are just three of hundreds of dieting myths we’ll tend to believe because we don’t know any better.

Exercise also is part of that group as well.

That includes things like lifting weights (for women mostly) is going to make you big and bulky and if you want to lose weight, you should stick to burning calories.

That comment couldn’t be further from the truth. Weight training is linked to losing weight in men and women and adds much needed variety to your workout. One myth that is true is the one that suggests you can’t do the same exercise or routine over and over again without hitting a plateau and thus all the progress you’re making just stops on a dime.

In the dieting world, there are two that really stick out most and are commonly misinterpreted by experts and novices alike. You should indeed, in some ways, force yourself to eat small meals throughout the day. Skipping meals is the worst possible thing you can do as that will create a void in your body that needs filled by solid, small meals that are mostly comprised of protein.

The other one that has been permeated through the walls of every health club and gym in the world is that you can enjoy all the foods you want but only in moderation. That word, “moderation” tends to get stretched to its fullest, but when you consider some food literally has no value to it whatsoever, you really do need to be a least a little choosier when you select from food that you convince yourself you can have.

So, there are foods that should be avoided all the time and at all costs.

Dieting and exercise is hard enough as it is, staying on point and on track with your goals, without a bunch of untruths flying around from one person to the next. You can’t take any comment at face

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