The Best Weight Loss Plan

Best Weight Loss Plan

I heard a commercial on the radio the other day that got me thinking. Two women with very attractive and sincere voices are talking about how they lost weight by taking a certain supplement. "It was so easy!" one of the voices proclaimed. "I lost a ton of weight!" agreed the other voice. I could almost see the ears of all the desperate women perking up because they have tried every diet in the world to lose weight, without permanent success.

Later that day, I heard a news story about a new "diet drug" that has been approved by the FDA. It must be prescribed by your doctor and you must be "overweight or obese and also have one other health problem associated with excess weight." No mention was made of the side effects of the drug, but a savvy news person reminded us of "phen-phen" and all the problems associated with that so-called "diet drug" that are still being litigated in courtrooms around the country.

I have a particular aversion to taking drugs, even those masquerading as "supplements." I'm okay with taking vitamins and minerals in as natural form as I can find , but I think we need to be wary of concoctions that may help with one issue, and yet could be creating other problems.

So the question then becomes, if you struggle with being overweight or obese, what is the best weight loss plan?

The simple answer is this: The best weight loss plan is the one that works for you--the one that allows you to (1) lose weight, (2) maintain the loss and (3) remain healthy.

It goes without saying that there are plenty of diet plans to choose from! However, if you are looking for the best weight loss plan, here are some things to consider:

-Everyone is unique, so what works for one person may not work for everyone.

-It is not worth losing your health in order to lose weight. A recent study showed that being a bit overweight and healthy, is far preferable to being thin and unhealthy in terms of how you feel and how long you will live.

-It's not just about losing weight, it's about maintaining that weight. Many people have lost and regained hundreds of pounds because they can't maintain the weight loss. This "yo-yo dieting," as some health experts term it, may be hazardous to your health, as your body tries to cope with the up and down changes.

-Pick a diet plan that is a lifestyle change that you can live with forever. Otherwise, as soon as you go off the diet, and go back to your old habits, you will gain the weight back, and probably more.

-In order to succeed long-term, you need to address your entire self--body, mind and spirit. If you neglect one of these parts, you have far less chance of achieving long-term success.

As you look for the best weight loss plan, here are some red flags that should help you avoid scams and money-making schemes, as well as those plans which may be bad for your health:

-If the plan requires you to buy something, whether it is a supplement, a special device of some kind, or even a certain book, consider carefully whether this would be money well spent.

Remember that the weight loss industry makes billions of dollars from their products, whether they work or not! A small one-time investment, such as the cost of book, may not be so bad, but once they have your money, you can't get it back if the diet plan fails. In the case of weight loss supplements, do you plan to keep buying it for the rest of your life? Also, what are possible side effects of the supplement?

-If the plan requires you to eliminate any food group, it probably isn't the one for you, especially in the long term.

Our bodies are designed to function best when we eat a balance of foods from all the food groups, with particular emphasis on vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. Be wary of any diet plan that has you eliminate or severely restrict any one type of food. In addition to the negative effects on your health, it is unlikely that you will stick to this plan for a lifetime.

-If the plan severely restricts calories, under 1200 a day, it will be difficult for you to get the nutrition you need to stay healthy.

It is also not advisable to lose weight too quickly, and a very low calorie diet may cause muscle wasting (muscle tissue used for energy), which could include the heart muscle.

-If the plan has you eating the same foods over and over, it will inhibit your ability to get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

You need to eat a variety of healthy foods each day and there is not any magic in eating certain foods on certain days. Most of these types of diets are simply lower in calories and not satisfying in the long run.

-If the plan touts itself as being "easy," beware.

Anyone who has ever struggled with their weight will tell you that it is not easy to change your habits and retrain your body to burn fat instead of storing it. If you know ahead of time that it will be difficult at times, you can be prepared and more likely to succeed.

-If the plan promises "fast weight loss," think twice about pursuing it.

They are either lying to you to get you to buy the plan, or the plan is not a healthy choice for you. Most health experts agree that 1-2 pounds a week is a good rate to achieve in healthy weight loss. The fluid levels in your body may fluctuate from week to week based on your diet and exercise, hormone levels, the weather and any of a number of factors, but your goal should be to lose no more than 2 pounds of fat a week. If you are losing more than that, some of the weight loss will most likely be muscle wasting, where your body is, in essence, digesting your muscles to get energy.

-If the plan says you can eat as much as you want of the foods you love, don't buy it.

You will probably find that once you get the program the "eat as much as you want" assumes you don't want much, and "the foods you love" are either healthy foods or artificially sweetened "pseudo" foods. Either way, they are lying to you and preying on your vulnerability to get you to give them some of your hard-earned money.

-If the plan says you don't need to exercise to lose weight, be wary.

Of course you can lose weight without starting an exercise plan, but it is much more difficult to feel and look good if you don't get moving. Very few people who have successfully maintained weight loss have done it without adding some exercise into their lifestyle.

In addition, if you have been relying on food to feel good, exercise can increase the endorphins in your brain, which are associated with a good mood. It doesn't have to be long or strenuous exercise, just a walk or a swim or a bike ride, or whatever you like to do that is not sitting, three or four times a week.

The Best Weight Loss Plan

I wish I had the secret to easy, permanent weight loss. If I did, I would give it away for free and to as many people as I could. Since I don't, I will say that from my experience and research the best weight loss plan may be different for each person. Having said that, I think there may be some key principles to successful weight loss.

-You need to be motivated to lose weight, since it will not be easy, despite what the commercial says. This motivation should be long term and include being healthy and not just thin!

-Educate yourself about food, including nutrients, so that you can make good choices for your body and your weight loss goals. Choose or create a plan that has foods you like from all of the food groups with emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Make use of the resources available on this website and others. If you are going out to dinner, look at the nutrition information at the restaurant's website to help you order a healthy meal.

-Based on my research, I am convinced that losing weight has a lot to do with your body's insulin response, since this is the hormone that allows energy in the form of blood sugar, into your cells and triggers fat storage. One of the best things you can do for yourself, in terms of weight loss and maintenance, is to avoid spiking the insulin in your blood. 

Click here for more information on the glycemic index to help you learn about insulin response and how it relates to the best weight loss plan.

Tips to keep blood sugar stable

-Limit or avoid foods with added sugar

-Eat whole fruits rather than in juice

-Combine carb foods with protein foods to slow down digestion

-Eat whole grains rather than processed ones

-Avoid overeating by eating smaller, more frequent meals (This only works if you stick to smaller meals. For some people to stop eating each time they start eating, is the hard part!)

-Add some exercise into your life, preferably something you like doing. If you are naturally sedentary, this may be more difficult, but you can start small and work your way up to maybe 30 minutes 5 days a week or more.

-Plan the work and work the plan! For most people, the best weight loss plan involves actually having and following  a plan, at least until they know what they need to do to lose weight. Whether you use someone else's plan or design your own, writing down what you eat in a food journal may help keep you honest and motivated, as well as be a useful record of your progress that you can refer back to in the future.

-If you are an emotional eater, stop feeding your soul with physical food, since it will never fill you up spiritually. Instead, take time to nurture your spirit with prayer, contemplation and helping others. The best weight loss plan takes into account that your weight issues are about more than your body!

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