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How to lose weight quickly is one of the most popular health questions on the internet, according to Yahoo. Losing weight can be done quickly, however, it needs to be done in a healthy way too.
People may want to lose weight rapidly for one of several reasons:
The majority of people in North America and Western Europe want to lose weight, and the faster the better! However, did you know that most people who have been on crash diets are obese or overweight today?
Although losing weight quickly is possible, not only is it bad for your health, it is almost certainly a recipe for becoming even fatter later on.
Kelly D. Brownell, Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, who coined the term "yo-yo dieting", explained why crash dieters eventually get into a cycle of crash diets and high food intake and gain weight in the long-term.
When the human body consumes less energy than it requires, it uses its stored energy.
Initially, the body starts using up its glycogen stores because they can be easily turned into glucose. In humans, glycogen is stored primarily in the cells of the liver and the muscles.
When the glycogen runs out, the body then starts breaking down amino acids from protein (muscle) to make glucose.
Finally, when glycogen has been used up and non-vital protein is depleted, fat is broken down to release triglycerides for energy.
Glycogen and protein hold water, if you lose the glycogen or protein you lose water. Experts estimate we carry between 60 to 120 grams of glycogen in the liver, which is stored in about 6 pounds of water. So if you use up the glycogen, you lose that weight in water. Add to that the water loss when protein is used up to make energy.
Crash dieters at this point are extremely excited. They have lost a great deal of weight. However, most of it is water released when the glycogen and non-essential protein is used up. Not much fat has been lost at this point.
In order to lose 1 pound of fat you need a calorific deficit of 3,500 kilocalories.
The trouble is, by the time the body starts turning to its reserves of fat to make up for the energy deficit caused by the crash diet, its metabolism has slowed right down.
The body's metabolism slows down for several reasons. The hypothalamus, a region in the brain, realizes that fat stores have changed and consequently lowers metabolism to replace the lost fat. During the breaking down of amino acids into glucose, protein is lost, which means loss of lean tissue (muscle). The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be.
Eventually the crash dieters weight loss slows right down and he or she loses motivation. Other psychological factors start to kick in too.
When lower motivation results in the person abandoning their diet, they put on weight rapidly because their metabolism is now much lower, the brain is telling the body to store (in fat) every possible reserves of energy, and the disappointment and sense of failure often encourages further eating.
Researchers at the University of Oviedo in Spain reported in the journal Psychology Health & Medicine that the short-term effects of crash diets are not maintained in the medium to long term. They added that such diets typically result in a subgroup becoming obese or overweight, due more to psychological consequences than biological mechanisms.
Put simply - Crash diets are more likely to make you fat or fatter over the long term.
It is possible to lose weight comparatively rapidly, and in a healthy way. This involves good nutrition, plenty of good quality sleep, and exercise.
Healthy weight loss is about adopting a lifestyle that you can maintain over the long-term.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says that according to available evidence, people who lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week are better at keeping weight off.
If you plan to lose weight faster than 3 pounds per week you should check with your doctor. It is possible, especially if you have the help of a qualified dietitian, an effective exercise program, and sleep at least seven hours each night. It is important to remember that the faster you lose weight, the higher the risk of undesirable consequences, including malnutrition, weaker bones, irritability, depression, insomnia, and eventually putting even more weight back on over the long term.
Your body's calorific requirement depends on many factors, including your overall general health, lifestyle, sex, height, size and age. A tall 22-year-old marathon runner requires more calories than a small, sedentary 70-year-old woman.
In order to lose weight, you have to determine how many calories your body needs to maintain its current weight. Below are recommendations from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
|Gender||Age (years)||Activity Level|
|Child||2-3||1,000||1,000 - 1,400||1,000 - 1,400|
|Female||4 - 8||1,200||1,400 - 1,600||1,400 - 1,800|
|Female||9-13||1,600||1,600 - 2,000||1,800 - 2,000|
|Female||19-30||2,000||2,000 - 2,200||2,400|
|Female||51+||1,600||1,800||2,000 - 2,200|
|Male||4-8||1,400||1,400 - 1,600||1,600 - 2,000|
|Male||9-13||1,800||1,800 - 2,200||2,000 - 2,600|
|Male||14-18||2,200||2,400 - 2,800||2,800 - 3,200|
|Male||19-30||2,400||2,600 - 2,800||3,000|
|Male||31-50||2,200||2,400 - 2,600||2,800 - 3,000|
|Male||51+||2,000||2,200 - 2,400||2,400 - 2,800|
Source: HHS/USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans: 2005
If 1 pound in body weight equals 3,500 kcals, your calorific intake will need to be 500 less per day than your recommended daily requirement if you want to lose 1lb in one week. To lose 2lbs you subtract 1,000 kcals per day from your daily requirement, etc.
You do not necessarily have to create the calorific deficit just by eating less. If you are a sedentary 30 year-old female, you can increase your daily requirement by 400 calories by becoming physically active. If your intake went down by 600 kcals and you burned 400 kcals more per day, you would theoretically lose 2lbs per week. (600 + 400 = 1,000 kcals per day. Times 7 = 7,000 calories which equals 2lbs in bodyweight).
Regular exercise is vital for maintaining good health during weight loss and helping you make sure the pounds do not come piling back later on.
Do not be put off by the term "exercise". It does not have to be painful, in fact, it most definitely should not be. A thirty-minute brisk walk may be just as effective as a run. People who are genetically predisposed to obesity can significantly reduce their risk of becoming obese by walking 30 minutes each day, researchers at the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health found.
Apart from helping you achieve your calorie deficit, physical activity really does help you maintain your weight loss, according to the CDC.
Exercise also helps make sure you do not lose muscle mass, a common risk when people go on a weight-loss diet.
Diet plus exercise help obese people lose a lot of weight - two reports published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) showed that obese and severely obese individuals can lose a significant amount of weight if they are on a structured one-year weight loss program that includes physical activity. Including physical activity in a weight loss program results in much more weight loss that just diet alone.
In fact, diet plus exercise is better for weight loss than either one alone. A team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that for really effective weight loss, both diet and exercise need to be included in any program.
Does exercise increase appetite, leading to weight gain? No! This is one of the biggest myths held by too many overweight people. The American Academy of Sports Medicine once quoted Janet Rankin, Ph.D., FACSM, an expert in nutrition and exercise, who said:
"A practical response to the claim that exercise makes you eat more and gain weight is to look around. If this were the case, wouldn't those who regularly exercise be the fattest? Obviously that isn't the case."
Experts say that a combination of aerobics and resistance training is ideal for rapid and effective, long-term weight loss.
There are two main types of exercise to consider:
Aerobic exercises are more effective for weight loss than resistance training. However, most sports scientists and specialists in body weight control emphasize that an exercise program should include both.
They claim their study, which was published in the journal Applied Physiology, was the largest randomized trial ever to measure changes in body composition from different types of exercises in non-diabetic overweight individuals.
Resistance combined with aerobic training provided the best results - lead investigator, Leslie H. Willis, MS, added that the participants in their study who did both aerobic plus resistance training combined experienced the greatest reduction in waist circumference.
While aerobic exercises burns more calories per minute than resistance training, that does not mean you should ignore the latter. Resistance training helps you maintain your muscle mass - dieters risk losing muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn per minute, even while resting.
Resistance training does not necessarily mean heavy weights - a study conducted at McMaster University in Canada found that a similar degree of muscle building can be achieved using lighter weights, as long as you reach muscle fatigue during each set of exercise.
Study leader, Professor Stuart Phillips, said "Rather than grunting and straining to lift heavy weights, you can grab something much lighter but you have to lift it until you can't lift it anymore. We're convinced that growing muscle means stimulating your muscle to make new muscle proteins, a process in the body that over time accumulates into bigger muscles."
Remember that if you are doing exercise and include resistance training, your body shape may change much faster than your rate of weight loss. One cubic inch of muscle weighs much more than a cubic inch of fat. It might be better to gauge your improvement by measuring your waist. Your waist might be getting smaller faster than the pounds that leave your body.
There are literally hundreds of diets out there and they all have two things in common:
Most diets, especially the widely used and established ones, do have some/many elements of truth in them. The Zone Diet, Atkins, South Beach Diet, Raw Food Diet, and several others can help you lose weight. If you follow them carefully and according to instructions, you will probably reach your target body weight without losing out on essential foods. Unfortunately, they have a huge dropout rate, which is a pity.
Over the last 20 years there has been a shift from low-fat to low-carb and low-glycemic index diets. This is probably a good thing. However, carbohydrates are vital for good health and an important part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Below are some details of two studies on diets and their researchers' conclusions:
Most dietitians, nutritionists, doctors, and other health care professionals agree that The Mediterranean Diet is probably the best for weight loss, maintaining a healthy body weight, and ideal physical and mental health.
Getting enough sleep, a vital component in weight loss and maintaining a healthy body weight, is frequently forgotten or ignored.
Below are some highlights of studies that looked at how sleep affects body weight:
If you want to lose weight quickly, stay healthy, and keep the weight off you should have a healthy and well balanced diet, get plenty of exercise, and have a good night's sleep as often as you can.
Written by Christian Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
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