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.

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

Cleaning Lazy: Why clean eating is filled with dirty lies

healthy eating

Fitness, eating healthy and dieting is always filled with so much misleading information, you’d be hard pressed to find a true source of sanity on the topic.

Trends and district often permeate through the fitness world, when you’re talking about a specific diet to lose weight or an exercise (or product) that is guaranteed to get rid of that “stubborn belly fat.”

From the Atkins diet craze from about 10 years ago to the South Beach Diet and everything in between that has followed suit, the average exerciser and dieter doesn’t even know where to begin.

The latest buzz words, from a diet perspective, is the term “clean eating,” something you’ll hear from online talk shows or fitness experts or even a company such as Panera Bread, who is absolutely jumping on this bandwagon to the tune of talking about all their food and what they serve in their restaurants as clean eating.

Much like most phrases and terms that are born out of exercise and diet driven discussions, “clean eating” means something different to everyone. In essence, the term centers on food that is unprocessed, minus GMO’s or anything artificially added to enhance food or beverages, such as antibiotics being fed to chickens or artificial sweeteners swimming around your favorite low calorie or no calorie drinks.

The truth is clean eating, at its purest form, means you’ve rid your body of dairy, gluten, wheat and only partake in certain types of food based on how they’re prepared or how an animal is fed. Grass fed beef or bison, antibiotic free chicken and a diet that includes gluten free bread or Ezekiel bread, dairy free foods and others of that ilk are the tent poles of eating cleanly.

Research has suggested wholeheartedly that your body was never meant to tolerate or being able to process wheat, enriched flour that you find in bread and dairy. Those who complain on stomach pains or cramps after drinking milk for example or that bloating feeling that follows one slice of bread after another is no coincidence given what we know about wheat and how the body essentially rejects it.

So if Panera, for example and not to pick on them, wants to talk about clean eating, they can’t include things such as nine grain bread, bacon that isn’t uncured or chicken noodle soup that have flour in those noodles.

That isn’t to suggest that food isn’t healthy per say, but when you talk about eating clean, food is often hard to come by that really fits that moniker properly and correctly.

Scam Artists: Why fitness fails us when fads rule

Diet Pill Fads

When you think of fitness, you rarely think about being “scammed.”
That terminology typically is reserved for the likes of identity theft or some sort of credit card fiasco or your email being hacked into and everyone you know being riddled with spam from you.

But fitness? Scams?

The truth is the fitness industry is full of artists that paint this rose colored picture of you dropping pounds instantly or magic potions, creams and powders that halt your metabolism as you supposedly watch the fat melt away with little or no effort from you.

How exactly do you spot a fitness scam?

Anything that seems too good to be true most likely is exactly just that.

Think about items like the 10 minute trainer or six minute abs, and you’ll quickly see that most of that is all talk and action on your part but very little in the way of results. That isn’t to suggest that you need to work out for hours, but putting in six to 10 minutes of actual work in the gym isn’t going to get you very far.

Supplements, in all shapes and sizes, are marketed often as miracle drugs, particularly those that call themselves “fat burners.” The supplement business is a billion dollar one, and that means you have a sprinkling of real contenders with legitimacy but mostly pretenders that are These are unsafe and unproven, and really pale in comparison to actual vitamins or other supplements that are natural or herbal. Those words, however, are used incorrectly quite a bit and customers so desperately want to feel as though they’re eating healthy and correctly that they fall for that trap.

From taking supplements at home to at home equipment, the smart money is on choosing that next exercise piece carefully, mostly steering clear of ab equipment. Everyone wants that tone, lean stomach, so manufacturers and subsequent spokesperson gravitate toward that area of the body to push equipment that promises a six pack but actually won’t ever deliver as promised.

The old adage that “abs start in the kitchen” rings true always in that eating lean, high protein, low carbohydrates, will always beat an ab coaster, lounge or swing.

The penchant for the general public to want an easy fix makes sense. Exercise is hard, and gaining weight is easy but taking it off takes hard work, dedication and eating right. Anything less than that is just fast talking, con men and women at work.

Weight Lost: Why losing weight can be harder than you believe

Have you ever had someone downplay weight loss, specifically just how easy it is?

This person probably is someone you refer to as your “skinny friend” who, while you’re out ordering salad with oil and vinegar dressing, is having burgers and fries and living to tell about it after the scale says nothing has changed.
Meanwhile, you’re dieting extensively and nothing has changed. The scale hardly would be considered a friend of yours, and despite all your heartache, blood, sweat and tears and all that time in the gym, you’re at square one and are equal parts disappointed and frustrated with the results up to this point.

Struggling with weight even though you believe you’re doing everything right, sort of like having a budget and knowing you make more than your expenses, but yet wonder aloud why you don’t have any money at the end of the month.

Losing weight is similar to that in that you believe wholeheartedly you’re doing everything right, and you haven’t seen any results.

You really have to look closely at your diet and exercise habits, but also other contributing factors such as stress and work, relationships and other things of that ilk that also play into your endeavor.

For instance, you believe that you’re eating well, but maybe even after a small breakfast and healthy, salad and greens filled lunch, you’re eating a bigger dinner and find yourself picking and snacking all night.

Water, also, is the great equalizer to losing weight, and if you’re not drinking enough water, you won’t be able to drop pounds given that water often replaces hunger, especially when you’re body is just dehydrated, which masks itself as feeling as though you’re hungry.

Fast forward past the gym and eating, and look at your work situation in two ways: stress and sleep. If you’re not sleeping enough, you will put weight on as a result. The same can be said for being overworked and stressed out and your cortisol levels go through the roof, which means you might have a tendency to overeat, particularly sugar.

Losing weight, or trying to, tends to be harder than most believe. Those who are lucky to be able to have the “fast” metabolism might not quite understand what others go through who have situations or circumstances that include in and out of the gym that lead to weight gain, when all you want to do is take the pounds off.

Boxing lesson: Delivered to your door food is all the rage

Fads and dieting almost go hand in hand with one another.

A fad diet, from Atkins to cleanses to people trying to eat right based on blood type to lose weight, tends to be cyclical in some cases or just downright classified as 15 minutes of fame, only to be tossed aside when the next latest and greatest hits the shelves or airwaves.

Everyone has been guilty of implementing some sort of fad diet they heard works wonders, whether you’re downing raw eggs Rocky style or have decided to eat Paleo, mostly foods rich in protein and only good carbs (versus Atkins and its no carbs grass roots).

But what about food that is healthy and is made to eat for those who are trying to lose weight but with one overwhelming, positive catch.

You can enjoy this food, and it’s delivered to your door.

And, here’s another catch: it’s fresh ingredients and recipes that allow you to make it and not worry about counting calories or wondering if it is healthy or not. This latest “fad” of sorts is the direct to door food boxes, such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, which allows you to choose a certain classification of eating types (i.e. Vegan, Vegetarian, etc.) and they’ll simply deliver the ingredients to your door for a fair price, and all you have to do is follow the recipe and magically a healthy, portion controlled dinner appears on your plate without the fuss of wondering what is good or bad food wise.

What makes the food deliver boxes so impressive is the simplicity involved in the work from box to table and that really anyone can follow it based on what you’re given to begin with from one order to the next.

Furthermore, the caliber of the food isn’t anything to scoff at or assume is low grade based on pricing and the idea that it is coming to you through the mail or a delivery service. You also can’t underestimate the time saved from grocery shopping and turning a 30 minute prep and serve dinner, while eliminating the effort put into selecting just the right ingredients that will turn any dinner from sufficient and serviceable to succulent.

You’d be hard pressed to call this a fad, even though the direct to door dinners and ingredients are in the infancy stages. A fad suggests it might not be around for a while, but you have to think this idea is one that is a game changer for good.

Traveling Stand: Why fitness and traveling can go hand in hand

The biggest plight that a person who travels faces is trying to find the time, the place and the energy to exercise.

If you’re someone who extensively drives, flies or travels for their job and eating well and exercising regularly is engrained into your at home life, you understand just how daunting all that can be when you’re not in the comfort of your own home.

Instead of the friendly confines of your kitchen and access to your own food, you’re left at the mercy of hotel breakfast, local restaurants and a typical gym that consists of about a third or less of the equipment you’ve become accustomed too locally.
Trying to keep that same pace is going to take a little more focus and drive and commitment on your part as you travel.

For instance, you want to stick to the same basic diet of high protein and low carbohydrate that you follow when you’re not traveling. Fast food restaurants tend to be tempting at that moment, much the same way that breakfast buffet and free coupon are as well at the hotel.

You want to avoid overeating at breakfast and stick to eggs, fruit and a small amount of carbs, such as one piece of toast or better yet oatmeal.

The fast food element works the same, grilled chicken sandwiches, salads and avoiding foods high in fat and sugar.
The exercise part might be a little more difficult given that the gyms and workout areas are minimal, but you can’t go wrong with two types of working out: cardio and circuit training. Every hotel gym has some sort of treadmill or elliptical and those can be your best friend when you’re not at liberty to do much else.

Thirty minutes of cardio will be more than enough to suffice until you get back to your regular routine. The circuit again is another product of your environment, given those machines and a few random dumbbells will be at your disposal.

Your best bet is to hit every body part as part of a circuit, and keep the weight training at a minimum, but with high reps and low weights (because that’s about all you have).

Exercise isn’t about having a large scale exercise room, group exercise classes, personal training or even eating clean when it suits the person but instead making the most of working out no matter the circumstance or where you happen to be at any given moment.

Meat Covered: Why vegetarian diets still can build muscle

healthy eating

From gluten free to vegan and everything in between, specialty diets aren’t anything new.

In fact, they’re more the norm.

The one element of a specialty diet that can cause some headaches is for the person who spends a significant amount of time in the gym, lifting weights and trying to build muscle with very little in the way of protein at their disposal, specifically for vegetarian diets.

When you can’t eat meat, you lose significant protein from chicken, steak and other protein sources that are a no no on your diet.

Or, do you?
The real question isn’t so much about losing protein but realizing where else you can find it to have diet that isn’t counter productive to building muscle in the midst of every bicep curl and chest press you do, without feeling as though all that hard work in the gym is for naught.

Protein can be found in one of the more unique places and doesn’t necessarily need to be rooted in meat.

Think about foods like nuts, legumes and tofu as just a few options for your protein needs. Edamame beans in particular are riddled with protein, nearly 30 grams per cup of protein. Some who like to stay away from soy can look into protein powders, which are abundant so you want to go with a higher grade and not a Wal Mart or store brand such as GNC specifically. You’ll want to research for a protein that is a middle of the road brand.

The trick to building muscle is protein to repair the damage that you’ve done to your muscles and to build them back up and then some, but also injecting foods high in amino acids. You’ll look to the meatless option of eggs and seeds of any variety (sunflower or pumpkin), both of which are rich in both protein and the amino acids that are equally effective in pumping up your muscles.

Dietary needs are nothing new to the masses, and as someone who can’t eat bread, dairy or gluten, and has trouble digesting red meat, you’ll be thankful that you don’t have to rely on chicken, steak and milk or dairy products to get all the protein you’ll need.

If you listen to the experts that tell you, from a digestive standpoint, that red meat for example isn’t made for your body, you’ll be glad you switched from meat to vegetarian and not miss a beat in the gym.

Mixed Messages: How do you lose weight when you don’t know what methods are credible?

drop weight fast

If it isn’t one DVD hitting the shelves from a prominent exercise person, it’s a new machine that promises toned abs, thighs or buns in record setting amounts of time.

From personal trainers to diets and exercise routines being done by the celebrities and stars you see in television, working out is riddled with mixed messages and more questions than answers for the general public that is desperately trying to get healthy but just doesn’t know how.

Case in point, look at television, specifically shows like “The Biggest Loser” or “Extreme Makeover,” the one that focuses on health and wellness. These shows show dramatic weight loss of epic proportions but yet fail to capture the true essence of what exercise is for the average person.

We don’t have round the clock training or live on a campus of sorts that spoon feeds us (literally) what we are supposed to do from one chin up to another. We certainly don’t have personal trainers or lifestyle coaches at our beckon call or disposal, nor can most people devote hours to exercise and diet.

The same goes for A-listers and movie stars telling us that their exercise routine for a movie role or to get rid of post baby weight is as easy as yelling “action.” It’s not. Hugh Jackman doesn’t sculpt the Wolverine body for the ages by working out before he has to be in the office at 9 a.m. or after work before the kids need fed dinner. His seven-hour per day workouts don’t mesh with life in general.

So what is someone to do to get healthy without so many issues as far as what to believe?
The simple fact remains that exercise starts with keeping it simple, and so does eating for that matter. Cutting calories means keeping a food journal, writing down what you eat and eliminating the foods and drinks that are high in fat and sugar content. Those are the key ingredients that are keeping you overweight, along with artificial sweeteners that are totally counterproductive.

Think of dieting as a budget for food. Take out what is not needed and go lean with what you’re eating.

As far as exercise, you can’t start with a two-hour workout and unrealistic goals. Start walking after work or joining a gym that is close to your house (something you pass on the way home). You might want to find someone to workout with to stay accountable. But if you believe you’re going to join a gym in January and lose 50 pounds by spring, you are mistaken. Far too many people quit exercising because they believe magically they’ll drop pounds in weeks.

A sensible diet and smart, prudent exercise is going to keep you healthy and your weight in check. Everything else is gimmicks and unrealistic goals being fed to you.

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