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If you’ve been struggling or trying to lose weight, you’re not alone. In fact, only 30% of the US population is considered to be at a healthy level. In other words, over two thirds (2/3) of adults are overweight or obese. (1)
According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the United States is experiencing a public health crisis. Additionally, the study goes on to provide further alarming evidence of an obesity epidemic involving both children and youths because it’s now estimated nearly 1 in 3 are now being classified as overweight or obese. (2) Being overweight has become the new normal.
There are also a number of risk factors associated to being overweight and obese that includes the following (3):
- type 2 diabetes
- coronary heart disease
- some forms of cancer (breast, colorectal, endometrial, and kidney)
- high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bone of joints)
- sleep apnea and other breathing problems
You’ve likely heard the following mantra, “a calorie is a calorie.” So, what that statement is saying, it doesn’t matter if you eat carrots that have 100 calories or a piece of cheesecake that has 100 calories. What a ridiculous statement and it couldn’t be further from the truth. A calorie is not a calorie and you will learn why later in the article.
Another popular approach that most people have heard about to the obesity and overweight problem is to tell people to eat less and exercise more. This is simply not true given the above epidemic occurring both in the US and around the world. The current method is simply not working.
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You will find a ton of information available online about this topic. As a matter of fact, it’s very likely that you will feel overwhelmed. In this article, we will break it down and cover ways to lose weight safely and effectively.
More specifically, read on and discover the following:
- What is insulin and why it’s important
- What is Metabolic Rate (BMR) and how to leverage it for maximizing fat burning?
- What types of food to cut down on to speed up your weight loss goals
- How to develop healthy nutritional habits
- Avoid “yo-yo” effects of dieting
- How to avoid weight loss plateaus
Why Insulin Is Important?
If you are interested in burning fat, you should also know a few things about insulin because it’s one of the most important hormones in your body. This is actually a growth hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin plays a key role in regulating the blood glucose level.
It removes excess glucose from the blood and stores it as glycogen. What you should keep in mind is that insulin stops the fat burning process when it’s released.
Of note, the average US adult consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar/day or about 130 pounds per year. Teenagers consume about 34 teaspoons/day. (4) One of the reasons why sugar consumption has increased so much, many of the everyday products that we consume, contains sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
The reason for that is because manufacturers are adding high fructose corn syrup to them. Just look at any of the products you buy, especially the ones that are highly processed and ready made to use.
Let’s leave the theory aside and see what we can learn from the above at a practical level. When you eat a lot of carbs and especially highly processed ones, the glucose in your blood skyrockets. This calls for an immediate release of insulin, in order to regulate the glucose level.
In time, doing this in excess decreases your insulin sensitivity, which forces the pancreas to produce even more insulin and so on. In other words, your insulin levels are constantly at a higher than normal level.
This can lead to something called the “Metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) – which is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.” (5)
Researchers are still not sure if metabolic syndrome is the result of one single cause or not. However, it’s become more common in the US and all risks are related to obesity.
Here are 2 of the most important risk factors for metabolic syndrome:
- Extra weight around the middle and upper parts of the body (central obesity). The body may be described as “apple-shaped.”
- Insulin resistance. The body uses insulin less effectively than normal. Insulin is needed to help control the amount of sugar in the body. As a result, blood sugar and fat levels rise.(5)
Besides the high risk of developing diabetes, eating carbohydrates in excess ruins your chances of burning fat effectively. On the flip side, can we take advantage of low insulin level in the body to maximize fat burning?
In the morning, the levels of insulin are naturally lower. But eating carbs like the popular cereals for breakfast will stop the fat burning. Although not for everybody, the intermittent fasting theory promotes skipping breakfast, in order to take advantage of this low insulin level and allow your body to burn fat more effectively.
The main points to keep in mind is to reduce your consumption of highly processed foods, sweet drinks like pop, and even fruit juices etc. This does not mean you should avoid fruits and vegetables that have natural fructose. It’s all about using some common sense, educating yourself and understanding a little more about what’s on those labels and looking for healthier alternatives.
Is there a best way to lose weight?
Let’s explore below a few of the key elements that drive effective weight loss.
In order for weight loss to occur, there has to be a caloric deficit – i.e. you need to burn more calories than you bring in. In this context, the first thing that comes to mind is that you need to keep a diet.
It’s also true that you do need to pay attention to what, when and how much you eat. But the human body is a very complex machine and there are a number of other factors you need to take into account.
What is Metabolic Rate or BMR?
One concept that you need to be familiar with is the metabolic rate, most commonly referred to as BMR, or basal metabolic rate. This is the caloric consumption of your body in order to perform its basic functions, in a relaxed state. In order to lose weight effectively, you need to raise your metabolic rate as high as possible.
- How to Boost Your Metabolic Rate. One of the key methods to raise or increase your metabolic rate is exercise more, increase your protein intake and reduce your carbs/sugars. This is really one of the keys for sustained long term weight loss and healthy & happy living. However, try and find something that you enjoy.
Note: Your thyroid plays a key role in regulating metabolism, so you need to make sure that your thyroid is checked, if you are to lose some weight successfully. (6)
- How to Avoid Weight Loss Plateaus. If you drastically reduce food and calorie intake, you will probably see quick weight loss results, but your body will adjust to the new situation and lower your metabolic rate. As a result, you may soon experience the so called “weight loss plateaus.” That is why it is important to go for healthy and sustainable ways to lose weight.
Even if intermittent fasting is not for you, there are steps you can take in order to help regulate the insulin level: avoid sugar sources, sweets, processed food, and sugary drinks. Eat less carbs in general and exercise regularly. The key is consistency.
One tip that I found effective immediately after waking up is drinking 1 – 2 glasses of filtered water in the morning. It helps to replenish and hydrate you. That’s one important point about having success with any weight loss program, is ensuring you stay hydrated throughout the day.
For those of you that need a caffeine jolt, I would recommend you try organic green tea without any sugar or honey. It contains about 25% of what a normal cup of coffee has, but still gives you a little caffeine boost and has beneficial nutrients.
The Importance of Whey Protein and Weight Loss
Protein plays a key role in healthy diets and avoiding the weight loss plateaus mentioned above. This is because in most cases, you should avoid the wrong kinds of carbs, such as sugar, sweets, fries, pasta and so on.
There is another very important reason why you should have plenty of proteins in your daily menu. When you lose weight, you burn fat, but if you keep the wrong diet, you may also lose a significant part of your muscle mass. This in turn lowers your metabolic rate.
Dietary protein is the key to protect you against losing muscle mass due to dieting.
The results of a 12-month randomized clinical trial, published in Nutrition and Metabolism confirm that a diet high in protein helps preserve muscle mass while dieting. As well, a higher protein diet was more effective than a low carb diet in reducing body fat. (7)
In fact if you do some of your own research, there have been at least 15 plus modern and significant scientific studies that show better weight loss results by consuming less carbs and more protein.
By following a low carb diet, it can help improve your blood sugar, insulin levels, triglycerides and cholesterol, plus result in a greater amount of fat loss. I referenced a few of them with the following links to review yourself. (9) (10) (11) (12)
One of the easiest ways that I have found to stay on track for my weight loss goals is to incorporate protein shakes and/or meal replacement shakes into my daily regimen.
As you do your own research, you will find out quickly that there are big differences in the quality of protein shakes and meal replacement shakes in the market place. The reason for that is based on the protein source and overall quality of the raw ingredients.
Whey protein provides you with the highest quality of protein. This type of protein is obtained from whey, which is a by-product of cheese production. Whey is absorbed very fast, it has an antioxidant effect and most importantly, it has a great amino acid profile.
Whey protein has very high levels of BCAAS, or what’s known as branched chain amino acids. Leucine, isoleucine and valine are the three essential amino acids known as BCAAS. These amino acids play a key role in protein synthesis and energy production in the body.
There are tons of whey protein powders in the market. However, a large number of them use raw materials from farmers who feed the animals with hormones and steroids. As well, many farmers will milk animals throughout the year. Other products use a lot of artificial flavors, colorants and sweeteners, and poor quality ingredients.
What should you know about Isalean shakes?
- Nutritious and balanced meal replacement with protein, energy-boosting carbohydrates and good fats that promote reduced cravings, healthy weight loss, and fat burning while building strong, lean muscle mass.
- Contain 24 grams of high-quality undenatured protein from New Zealand that exceeds USDA organic standards.
- Isagenix whey protein has low lactose levels and active enzymes for easier digestion.
- These shakes are low in saturated fat and sodium and cholesterol, and have added enzymes that break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats to maximize the absorption of key nutrients.
- These shakes contain only natural ingredients with no fillers, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners or flavors.
Keep in mind that depending on where you buy your protein shakes and powders from can make all the difference on whether or not you lose weight only, instead of both weight and lean muscle mass. This is why choosing a protein or meal replacement shake from Isagenix makes a perfect complement to your dietary needs.
Types of Diets
There are many types of diets out there. It is important to choose one that suits you. For example, even if a diet works wonders for your friend, if you feel that keeping it is a huge daily struggle, you will be always tempted to cheat. And in most cases, cheating all the time will get you nowhere.
Try to find a weight loss system that provides your body with a balanced intake of high quality nutrients. You need to aim for losing weight at a reasonable pace.
- Low Carb Diets. As the name suggests, you are allowed to eat only a low quantity of carbs. Moreover you should avoid altogether bad carbs such as sugar, sweets, potatoes, etc.
- High Calorie Restriction. The focus in this type of diet is to keep track of your calorie intake and keep it below a certain level. In most cases, as long as you stay within the limits, you can consume a wide variety of foods. But, who wants to count calories all the time – right?
- Food Type Restriction. These are diets in which you are allowed to eat only certain foods, or you are required to use only certain types of foods combinations.
- Liquid Diets. In this type of diet you are only allowed to consume liquids. Besides weight loss, these diets are also used for cleansing the body.
If you want to avoid counting calories, then just remember, reduce your carbs and increase your protein. As well, by reducing the amount of sugar you consume on a daily basis, like cutting out pop and sugary beverages will mean you can keep the calculator in the drawer. The result, you can burn more fat.
Is it possible to lose weight fast in a healthy way?
You can, but this requires a combination of diet, regular exercising, weight loss supplements, boosting metabolic rate, and managing insulin and so on.
Try to view your weight loss goals as a lifestyle change. In most cases, you can’t just keep a diet for a month and then continue with your previous lifestyle. It depends, of course on how much weight you need to lose. In general though, you need to watch your diet and your activity level as a long term strategy.
The Importance of Exercise
Exercise is an important component for any weight loss program and overall health. When done regularly, it boosts your results significantly. Consistency is the key. So don’t plan on including exercising in your agenda only on the weekends.
The question is what exercise to go for? It is widely known that cardio exercising is good for burning fat. If you can swim, cycle, run and or just walk regularly, do it and you will reap the rewards. Try to include 2-4 cardio sessions per week, depending on your current physical condition.
You should know though that cardio only boosts your metabolic rate for the duration of your training and shortly thereafter.
If you are interested in a type of exercise that helps burn more fat for several hours after your work-out finished, go for resistance training/strength training, such as weight lifting. The key is to avoid long rest periods between exercises. I would encourage you to try resting only 30 seconds to 1 minute maximum. Do 3 sets of each exercise.
Any type of exercising works. Like with diets, don’t try to go for the extremes and over train, in an effort to accelerate results. Choose a training pace you are comfortable with and it will naturally go up over time.
If you are in excellent shape already, then go for intense work-outs. Remember, to change up your exercise program consistently to confuse your muscles. You will get better results if you exercise intensely for a shorter period of time, than if you exercise moderately for a longer one. Of course, do check that your medical condition allows you to pick a certain training program.
Weight Loss Systems Explored
The best approach to losing weight is to create synergy among your diet, exercising routine and the weight loss products you use. If you integrate all these elements, you will get superior results and this is the only way to lose weight consistently in a healthy way.
A point needs to be made regarding the quality of the products you use. Your body will react much better to quality products that use natural ingredients. Try to eliminate from your diet artificial and low quality food.
This is especially important during weight loss, when all the fat you lose is processed by the liver. And this comes in addition to the regular functions your liver needs to perform. If your eat junk, this puts additional stress on your liver, preventing it from performing at its best during the weight loss process.
As mentioned before, Isagenix is an example of company that treats its customers with great care and respect. Their weight loss system includes whey and casein protein that exceeds USDA organic standards. You will not find any hydrogenated oils, fillers, artificial flavors or high fructose syrup in the ingredients list. They are also low in calories and have added enzymes which maximize the absorption of key ingredients.
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“The weight loss testimonials presented apply only to the individuals depicted, cannot be guaranteed, and should not be considered typical. A 2008 university study showed a statistically significant weight loss of 7lbs during the first 9 days of the Cleansing and Fat Burning System. As with any health or fitness program, a sensible eating plan and regular exercise are required in order to achieve long-term weight loss.”