I don’t diet. I am too lazy, too poor, and lack the self-restraint, conviction, and purpose of a successful dieter, and I love McDonalds. BUT, I do understand nutrition, and in fact, would like to have a career in helping people live healthy, better lives. SO. Here’s what I have found about two topics:
1) Low-or-no-carb diets
2) Excessive amounts of protein
I have found that most women who diet like to do #1 to lose weight or “cleanse,” while most men who diet either do #2 or a combination of #1 and #2. So let’s take a look. Let’s MYTHBUST!!!
This has been a fad for a while, changing names and faces, but still a fad. I’m a lazy dieter and a lazy writer, so I’m going to get straight to the point. Points.
1. It DOES NOT Equal Weight Loss. Just because you are cutting out carbs, does not mean you will lose weight. We often substitute other foods for the carbs we are cutting out, which means that you are consuming the same amount of calories. The same amount of calories consumed means NO weight loss. Want to do it right? Scroll down to the bottom of this lengthy article.
2. It’s a Cheap Trick and Cheap Tricks Have Consequences. “It’ll change my life forever!” you gush. FALSE. Bears. Beets. Battlesta-nevermind. If you are successfully losing weight on a low-or-no-carb diet, that means that you are successfully cutting back on calories. But the problem is, most people can’t stick to this for a long time, which means that they revert back to eating carbs at some point. Even after a short while without carbs, the body starts to pull its energy from other sources. When you return to eating carbs, it often has trouble breaking them down, which leads to feelings of bloatedness or gassiness—not fun for you and especially not for your friends. It can also mess up your metabolism because your body has to relearn how to break down carbohydrates. Slow metabolism=greater chance of weight gain.
Also, a good amount of the weight you are losing can be attributed to loss of water. Carbohydrates should constitute 50% of a person’s energy consumed (not including fiber, which is not digestible), and that’s if they are sedentary. An active person requires more carbs. So when your body does not have the carbohydrates it needs to form ATP (cellular energy), it breaks down fat—but not in a good way! The breaking down of the fat is incomplete, producing harmful byproducts called ketones that have to be flushed out of the body using lots of water. This water loss is often mistaken for fat loss. No bueno. Also, ketones can give you bad breath. So you’ll be gassy and bad breathy, and basically just a smelly person. Delightful.
Additionally, without carbohydrates to form ATP, you will lack energy. And less energy means less ability to exercise. Which is hard, especially if you are trying to make a healthier lifestyle change.
And finally, your body doesn’t just need carbohydrates for energy—there are all sorts of other uses for it, including helping your brain function. Carbohydrate deficiencies can make you stupid. That’s not the technical term for it, but read about the study here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/132733.php
That leads me to my next point, which also involves your brain.
3. LEARN About Carbohydrates and Your Body
Sure, cut out carbohydrates, but be specific, and smart. Yes, you are probably eating too many carbs, the average American eats too many carbs, but also too much protein, too little dietary fiber, and messes up proportions on a whole lot of other stuff. So don’t be lazy and completely cut out one part of your food pyramid, LEARN STUFF. Find out what “simple carbohydrates” are, and don’t eat them, or limit yourself to a treat now and then. Do your research. Your body needs starches and especially dietary fiber. Find out what those are. Eat them. Find out what the right amounts are. Eat that amount. As a starting point, read a couple articles about carbs listed below. If you still want to lose weight or learn how to eat better, scroll down to the end of this article.
Next topic: protein
Lotsa Protein To Make Me Supa Strawnggg
Some people, and a lot of male athletes, cut back on or cut out carbs from their diet and try to replace it with tons of protein. Or they eat the same amount of carbs and TONS of protein. Protein bars, protein shakes, eating whole cows, etc.
1. You already probably consume too much protein.
The average American eats a whole lot more protein than they should. Especially males. So if you are packing in a ton of protein shakes on top of that, you’re basically doing nothing for your body.
2. Your pee is now incredibly expensive.
Where does all that excess protein go? It doesn’t make you ripped—it goes into your kidneys which send it right out of your system. Tada! Protein shake pee.
3. You can damage your kidneys and weaken your bones.
And all that extra processing you are forcing your kidneys to do puts them under a lot of stress, leading to kidney problems, including incredibly painful kidney stones. Also, a lot of calcium is required to break down the extra protein, and the body often has to turn to its calcium stores in the bones for more, weakening the bones. You don’t want to end up like Kevin Ware, do you?
3. You might get bigger, but you’ll stay soft.
If you increase your intake of protein without increasing your intake of calories, you won’t gain more muscle mass. If you increase your intake of protein AND increase your intake of calories, you will gain an equal amount of muscle mass and fat. That’s why it’s important to have a balanced diet so that you can build lean, hard muscle, if you want to be supper ripped and all that jazz.
Ok, now that I’m done bashing on stuff, let’s go on to what you SHOULD be doing.
Once again, stop being lazy, learn a little.
If you want to permanently lose weight, you are going to need to learn to live a healthy lifestyle. That includes eating well, exercising regularly, and basically not being lazy. So you better start to learn to not be lazy right now and do your research. It’s easy to succumb to quickie schemes and dieting fads for that quick fix, but let me tell you, that’s not how it works. Do research on diets, come up with your own diet, look up nutritional terms so you’re not flying blind. Use google! If you’re serious about this, take a look at the FDA’s guide to healthy eating. It’s a long read, but extremely informative, and in layman’s terms: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf
Alright, still want to lose weight? Then let’s learn more stuff.
Weight loss revolves around one thing: calories
My nutrition professor liked to give us many hilarious diets that would, in fact, cause you to lose weight, but would wreak havoc on your body. Much like many the diets circulating right now. Just because you lose weight on a diet, doesn’t make it healthy.
#1: The butter diet. Eat a stick of butter a day. YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT. But it’s all fat! And saturated fat at that…(if you don’t know what this is, scroll up a couple paragraphs. USE GOOGLE)..but you will be consuming only about 800 calories a day, which means, you’ll lose weight!**
**DISCLAIMER: DON’T DO THIS YOU MIGHT DIE DON’T BE DUMB THIS IS A JOKE
#2: The raw chicken diet. Eat only raw chicken. You’ll get super sick and puke a ton and lose weight. Yay! (See disclaimer above)
But the point is, it’s all about calories. The FDA recommends cutting out added sugars because it is the simplest way to directly cut out calories without affecting your nutritional intake. Again DO YOUR RESEARCH. Eat a balanced diet. Learn what foods have a combination of vitamins, nutrients, and stuff you need so that you can knock out as much of those requirements as possible.
So how much less should you be eating? First of all, find out how many calories you SHOULD be consuming. You can calculate it here: http://www.my-calorie-counter.com/calorie_calculator.asp
Then, for the next three days, don’t change your diet, but record how many calories you are consuming daily. Doing it for three days will give you an average. If you are consuming a lot more than your required amount, then cut back until you are eating the required number. If you are eating around the same amount as your required number, then try cutting 500 calories a day, which will cause you to lose about pound a week.
WOMEN: DO NOT CONSUME LESS THAN 1200 CALORIES A DAY, MEN: DO NOT CONSUME LESS THAN 1800 A DAY.
Why? Because you will be starving yourself. While that should already be convincing, starving yourself does just that—puts you in starvation mode. This means that you will slow down your metabolism because your body is panicking and is all like AAAHHHH!!! I HAVE NO CALORIES! MUST…CONSERVE…ENERGY (gasp..sob). So basically, you won’t lose more weight, you’ll just hurt yourself and your metabolism.
Which leads to the next weight loss key:
The number of calories you intake is balanced by how much you BURN. People who burn calories quickly have a fast metabolism, people who burn calories slowly have a slow metabolism. You have genetic inclinations to have slow or fast metabolism, but there are certain things you can do to speed it up.
You should be doing this anyways. To be healthy. And not die of a heart attack.
Exercising regularly speeds up your metabolism because your body will become accustomed to working, and calories are its form of energy, which it needs to do work. There’s a lot of ways to exercise but a couple that really help with metabolism rates:
Interval training. Look it up. Google. I’m too lazy to write it out. But it’s very effective to combine fat burning, endurance, and cardiovascular exercise. They even have “interval” preset buttons on the treadmill. Super easy.
Lift weights. Girls, this includes you. Don’t worry, unless you’re psycho intense or you’re popping testosterone you won’t bulk up like a crazy person. Don’t dink around with 1lb weights either, make it burn. As your body repairs itself after each weights session, you will be burning calories and your metabolism will speed up.
2. Eat small and regular MEALS. Don’t skip breakfast. Don’t eat right before you sleep. Don’t snack on stupid food. Like I said, I’m not beating around the bush. Want reasons for these? USE GOOGLE.
3. Sleep!!! Seriously, this will boost your metabolism a lot. And you’ll feel better. And you’ll exercise better, which means more calories burned. And you’ll remember more and do better on your tests and basically be a healthier human.
4. Drink lots of water.
Tada! There’s heaps more tips and tricks, but if all else fails, there’s always the butter diet.