Eating for health and permanent fat loss doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, making it complicated makes it more likely you will be unsuccessful. To be totally frank, because it really isn’t that complicated, I sometimes run out of ideas for articles. Not to worry though, this is a good time to review some of the basics that we need to always keep in mind.
Perhaps the most basic rule of permanent fat loss is to make permanent changes. For some people this may mean fundamentally changing their view of what constitutes real food. It also means that once you are in the habit of eating health producing foods that you don’t starve yourself. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t enjoy your meals and feel satisfied and healthy. You just can’t do it if you insist on continuing to eat the same foods that got you into this mess in the first place. Those foods, of course, are the processed ones.
Whole, unprocessed foods are ones that are eaten as close as possible to their natural state. Fresh fruits and vegetables are great examples. Turning fruit into juice, jelly, jam, fruit rollups or using them to sweeten other products are examples of processing. Obviously, though we can’t and don’t need to subsist on fruits and vegetables alone. Next week I will devote the entire article to more fully explain what constitutes whole foods and why this is so important.
Another important part of eating healthy is recognizing that there is nothing wrong with fat. Fat is a necessary nutrient and without adequate amounts our immune systems suffer, our skin becomes dry, and we are constantly hungry. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t unhealthy fats. Not because they are fats, but because they have been processed. Fat is not our enemy here anymore than food is. Processed foods are the problem whether they are mainly fats, mainly carbohydrates, or a combination of the two.
Eating whole, unprocessed foods is the key to both health and permanent fat loss as far as nutrition goes, but don’t forget that exercise is also crucial. Again, we have to take on a level of activity and energy expenditure that we can maintain permanently. It’s a lot easier to increase your intensity level, frequency and duration gradually as you become more conditioned than it is to maintain an unrealistic program.
Weight training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) are the most effective ways to exercise. They are the most effective because they lead to strength and muscle gain, fat loss, increased cardiovascular fitness, increased HDLs, and more youthful levels of growth hormone and testosterone. Walking is also great because you can do it for long periods of time, if you like, without causing overtraining and its negative consequences, such as muscle loss and unhealthy hormonal imbalances.
Congratulations to those who have persevered so far in the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge. For those who have perhaps fallen of the wagon a bit - no big deal, you can get right back on starting today. In either case, please keep in mind that making the changes that lead to better health and permanent fat loss don’t have to be a burden. It does require, however, that you be willing to try as long as it takes to make the necessary changes your lifestyle.