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Losing Weight Is Easy

Losing Weight is Easy; keeping it off is the real battle

We all know how to lose weight and if you really need to fit into that dress in time for the wedding or you want to button up the suit you like and not buy another one, you will find a way to drop some pounds.

But the truth is that once you have achieved that goal, no matter what diet you used, you slowly gradually revert to your old ways and within a short period of time you are back to your original weight. In fact, most studies show that people who engage in crash diets will not only regain all the weight they lost within a year but will actually be heavier a year later than when they started.

A new study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that you stand a much better chance of keeping the weight off if you eat a high-protein diet that contains low-glycemic carbohydrates.

The glycemic index is a measure of how carbohydrate-rich foods affect blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating. Most highly processed grain products (e.g. white bread, white rice, rice cakes, cereal bars, and pastries) have a high GI and cause blood sugar to spike after eating.

Multigrains which are minimally processed (e.g. brown rice, whole grain pasta, steel-cut oats, whole rye bread); whole fruits, legumes and vegetables have a low GI. When you eat these foods you have a much slower rise in blood sugar and do not get as tired or hungry.

The study was conducted in eight European countries and included 773 adults who had completed an eight week low-calorie diet. Upon completion of their diet they were assigned to one of five weight management diets.

During the weight loss phase the average weight loss was 24 pounds. The maintenance diets included:

1.     low protein(13 per cent of calories) low GI

2.     low protein (13 percent of calories) high GI

3.     high protein (25 per cent of calories) low GI

4.     high protein (25 per cent of calories) high GI

5.     a control diet based on national guidelines where the patients lived

There were no restrictions on calorie intake in any of the diets. Participants were told to maintain their weight but further weight loss was allowed.

After 26 weeks, only the low protein, high GI diet (2) was associated with significant weight regain. The high protein, low GI (3) was the most successful program in maintaining weight loss. Not only did they surpass all the other groups but this was the only group that continued to lose weight.

Meals with a low GI are thought to cause changes to hormones and metabolism that can reduce hunger and prevent over-eating. Protein-rich foods such as lean meat, fish, eggs, tofu and dairy products delay the rate at which food is emptied from your stomach. In this way, including protein at meals lowers the GI further and keeps you feeling full longer. Suppose that you are one of those people that grab a piece of toast, a glass of orange juice and a coffee for breakfast. Adding a soft or hard-boiled egg to that mix gives you the protein that lowers the GI of the whole meal and keeps you fuller longer.

Adjusting the carbohydrate and protein content of your diet will definitely increase the odds that you will maintain your weight loss but there are many other strategies to consider. Keeping that weight off may require even more diligence than losing it in the first place.

Protein

Divide your protein intake among three meals and two snacks. Replace calories from refined (white) starchy foods with lean versions of protein such as lean meat, fish, chicken, egg whites, tofu and legumes. Protein-rich snacks include nuts, soy nuts, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, part-skim cheese and soy milk.

Low GI Foods

You must avoid eating refined and sugary foods. Choose low GI foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, steel-cut oatmeal, oat bran or 100 percent bran cereals (be careful of high sugar content on label), yogurt, milk and unflavoured soy milk. Chocolate milk in any form is very high in sugar and hence has a high GI.

Low GI fruits include apples, oranges, peaches, pears and berries.

Staying Focused

Once you have reached your weight loss goal it’s very easy to get sloppy and fall into old habits. Portion sizes start to get larger again and before long you are sneaking down into the kitchen at night for sugary snacks. In order to stay focused keep a food diary and write down EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth. Maybe even start weighing your foods again and watch those serving sizes. If you have to write it down maybe you won’t eat it in the first place.

Daily Weigh-In

I may be obsessive but I weigh myself every day. Although there are many fluctuations I am in a position to see a pattern developing and if I start to go up steadily I can try and nip it in the bud before it gets worse. Maybe I will drop my morning blueberry muffin for a week or I will try and add a few extra walks over the weekend.

Exercise

I saved the best for the last because it is the most crucial and most important. No diet will succeed without exercise and if you do not have enough time then I say schedule yourself some time. You do not have to go to a gym and lift weights. You just need to walk every day. An hour walk would be ideal but even 30 minutes a day is huge.  You want to have a special treat this week, possibly a decadent desert; go ahead. All you have to do is take an extra walk to burn off those delectable extra calories you enjoyed.

Health

Losing weight and keeping it is great for your ego and makes you feel really good about yourself. It also produces a number of very pleasant effects; every 5 pounds of weight loss lowers your blood pressure by almost 20 points. Weight loss along with exercise lowers your cholesterol 15 per cent. Weight loss combined with exercise can totally reverse Type 2 diabetes and many forms of heart disease. Weight loss reduces belly fat, an estrogenic substance known to be a precursor of many cancers.

There really are no benefits to being fat. Lose that weight and keep it off!

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