Given that 90% of all health related New Years resolutions have to do with weight loss, I wanted give you a little background on our biology and the environment we currently live in so that you can be aware and make smarter food choices. The better you understand how the body works the more chance of success you'll have with weight loss. As humans (if you're not a human this post doesn't apply) we have a few built in biological traits that are working against us when trying to lose weight. What it comes down to is our biology hasn't caught up to the modern world we live in, here's 3 examples of what I mean:
1. People are hard wired to eat as much as we can at a given time and move only when necessary. It goes back the days of hunters and gatherers when after a hunt, we gorged for days until it was all gone. Then we moved only when we had to find the next food source. Those people that were successful lived and passed the traits along, those who weren't...starved and died off.
Problem: The wiring is still there for eating until all the food is gone only now we don't have to move much to get the food. It's right around every corner, we don't have to track it for miles, there's a lot of it and full of empty calories. Remember our parents to finish the food on our plate...bad move!
Solution: I keep healthy snacks such as meal replacement bars, fruit, and shakes with me at all times. When healthy snacks are convenient, you're less likely to be hungry and search for the closest fast food restaurant. As with all snacks, even healthy ones, read the food label because some are filled with more fat and sugar than candy bars.
2. Modern technology has made it so that we barely have to move on a day to day basis. We drive to work, sit all day at work, sit and drive to the gym, drive around the parking lot for the closest spot to minimize walking, sit on machines while working out, sit and drive home to eat more food while watching TV.
Problem: We are not moving around enough each day to burn all the excess calories we are eating. Even if you workout daily for an hour or two five times per week, that still leaves 22-23 hours per day that we're simply not moving enough for effective weight loss.
Solution: Studies have proven that someone who doesn't exercise but stay's moving during the day burns more calories than someone who exercises but sits most of the time. If your goal is weight loss, an easy way to burn 2x's the calories is just to stand during all your exercises. Eat less move more. Sounds simple doesn't it. An extra 10 calories a day more than you burn and you'll gain a pound of fat that year. You can see why it's easy to turn around after a few years and 10lbs later and wonder how did I get here?
3. Ultra processed high calorie food is everywhere and in huge quantities! Its so easy to hit the drive thru and throw down 1500 calories when you are hungry.
Problem: Most restaurant and processed foods are loaded with sugar, salt, and fat which send off jackpot signals to your brain saying more, more, more! Food companies know this and try to include those 3 tastes in everything we like to eat. Ever notice how most foods you love have all 3? Most popular food in the world, french fries. Why? A peeled potato has the same molecular make up of sugar, then we fry it in fat, and salt the heck out of them when they're done cooking. Crazy isn't it!?
Solution: Eat more whole foods in their natural forms. These are lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Cut down the portion size of your food, a simple way to do this is to measure all the food you eat. Sounds like a pain but its very simple once you get in the habit and its a must when you're trying to lose weight. We know all this already!
My next post I will be talking about how in order to be successful with getting in shape, you have to plan your workouts...stay tuned.