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What You Need to Know about Real Weight Loss




Excerpted from
Never Say Diet: Make Five Decisions and Break the Fat Habit for Good
By Chantel Hobbs

I actually love my daily exercise. My problem is that I am so hungry afterward. Did this happen to you, and how did you balance this when you were trying to lose weight?

I learned about this as I became more fit. When I started, my body had plenty of stored fat, so I didn't experience true hunger as much in the beginning. But by the time I was training for a marathon, I would get ravenous. The key is to schedule your meals appropriately. By having a solid meal with protein and complex carbs no more than thirty minutes after you finish exercising, you will help avoid uncontrollable hunger. When you work out and rev up your engine, it needs fuel right away. If you wait too long, you create a problem: your blood sugar drops, you get the shakes, and you get hungry and irritable. And then you work hard to bring your blood sugar back up by eating, and you risk eating too many calories. Eating protein just after a workout also repairs and builds muscle more effectively than eating it hours later.

I can't wait to get this weight off. Why don 11 eat 1,000 calories a day instead of 1,500?

Believe me, I felt exactly that way early on. But I need to say one more time, if rapid weight loss is your main goal, this program is not right for you. If you eat only 1,000 calories a day, you set yourself up for rebounds and long-term failure. Permanent weight loss should not be too rapid. Think about it; did you go on a rapid weight-gaining program? Probably not. It was a process of bad habits that produced weight gain over time. Think about this as reversing the process. If you eat too few calories, it won't be long before you will be undernourished and underenergized, because your metabolism will have slowed. You may not have many friends either, because you'll be so grumpy. Realistically, this is a setup for serious disappointment. You don't want another diet; you want a new lifestyle that just happens to make you healthy, trim, and fit. Don't worry; it will happen, and you'll enjoy the process a lot more.

I have been doing great, and then yesterday I fell apart at lunch. I felt guilty and then ate out of control for the rest of the day. Is this a disaster? How can I stop it from happening again?

This kind of behavior is normal for a lot of people. The mistake would be to continue to have a diet mentality. Since you are creating a new lifestyle and there is no finish line, one bad lunch shouldn't ruin your day. Think about it this way: if you back out of your driveway and hit the mailbox, you stop, set the parking brake, assess the damage, and go. You continue with your day. You don't keep backing into the mailbox over and over just because you hit it once. Blowing the rest of your day by going on an eating frenzy is like that. Everybody makes mistakes. Move on.

I've had so many food-heavy work functions and parties lately, and I feel like I'm cheated out of celebrating. I end up not wanting to attend these events. Did you deal with this, do you have any suggestions, and are you going to tell me to just suck it up?

Yes, yes, and pretty much. I did deal with this and continue lo. It's stressful. My suggestion is to eat healthy food before the event and to have a nonnegotiable rule that you won't touch food at the event. If you show up hungry, you'll start picking, and soon you'll have picked up a crazy amount of calories. Also, figure out what is being served that you can have, and fill up on that before you weaken. If you suspect that you won't find anything acceptable to eat at the event, have a plan Decide in advance when you will leave and what you will eat. If it's a chicken breast and sweet potato, you'll really look forward to it. As far as sucking it up goes, sometimes you have to. Don't eat a little of your favorite things when you are in a weight-loss phase. It's easy to break down quickly. On the other hand, don't skip the events just because you fear the food. That's just another way of letting food rule your life.

I know people who have lost weight by not eating carhs. Do I really need some, and if so, how many grams is right to do the job and still make the scale go down?

No-carb diets work at first because almost all the big calorie bombs involve carbs. How much meat, oil, and veggies can you really pack away? But we now know why no-carb diets don't work down the line. Once you bring the carbs back-and there's no way to eat normally without them-your body doesn't know how to burn them efficiently. Your energy and metabolism are shot. You're then on the fast track to weight gain. How many carbs you need a day to keep your fires burning bright depends on how much weight you need to lose and your current body fat. For me, starting out at more than 50 percent body fat, I had enough to survive the great Y2K famine of 2000, which didn't show up, so I had to simulate one. I stuck to under 100 grams (400 calories) of carbs per day for my first 100 pounds of weight loss. Then, as I lost body fat, I needed more carbs to provide energy and still lose weight. So I increased to 150 grams (600 calories) of carbs per day, remaining at 1,500 total calories a day.

What do you think is the worst possible thing we can eat?

Trans fats. They are so damaging that New York City recently banned all trans fats from its restaurants. Trans fats have the worst impact of any nutrient on your cholesterol, meaning they contribute to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and all the other cardiovascular diseases. Trans fats are made by taking normal, liquid vegetable oil and bubbling hydrogen gas through it until it turns solid at room temperature. (Crisco and margarine are perfect examples.) The oil doesn't spoil as quickly, so it extends the shelf life of crackers, cookies, and baked goods. Fast-food restaurants and companies that sell prepackaged items in grocery stores love trans fats but now are reworking recipes to find alternatives. Still, we are a long way from being rid of them. The words for you to look for on ingredients lists are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.



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