After the annual holiday mega-binge, the most popular New Year's Resolution is (you guessed it!) to lose weight." By setting your sights on losing weight, you are setting yourself up for failure. Losing weight" means dieting, and dieting does not work. Over 40 years of research has proven that 98% of all people who diet, will gain back all the weight they lost, plus more, within 6 to 12 months after finishing the diet. Diets are all about getting thinner - they are not about getting leaner. And this is a critical distinction if you want to look great, feel great, and have tremendous energy. Diets not only devastate you physically, they drain you emotionally. Depravation of any kind is self-defeating. It simply makes us want more, and when we cheat ourselves by going off a diet, guilt sets in and makes matters worse. This is just the start of a vicious cycle that sets us up for failure every time.
Dieting sets you up for failure, not success.
When restricting caloric intake, the body instinctively responds as if it is in the midst of a famine, and several survival responses go into action. The body's metabolism slows to a crawl, which means the body needs fewer calories; the powerful survival hormone cortisol is released, causing the break down of lean body mass (the body's calorie-burning engine) and storage of fat; and lipoprotein lipase, a powerful fat storing enzyme, is released.
The result: Even if you lose weight" you are not leaner," you are just a thinner" version of your former self, with less lean body mass and relatively more fat; you are highly likely to regain all the weight you lost, plus more; and the more you yo-yo, the more resistant your body becomes to losing weight. To set yourself up for success this year, follow these simple steps to success:
Simple Steps to Success
Step 1: Set Goals!
If you want to change how your body looks and feels, it is important to set realistic, measurable, specific goals, with a deadline! When writing your goals, focus on losing fat and get leaner, not weight. Other health-related goals may include eating less sugar, increasing your energy levels, reducing stress, increasing your fitness or strength, lowering cholesterol or blood pressure. Whatever your goals for this year, make them as specific as possible. Be reasonable-don't shoot too high or too low. Goals are dreams with deadlines, so it is important to set a reasonable time frame within which to reach your goals. And always write down your goals! What you focus upon, you will achieve. Post your goals where you will see them as a constant reminder of what you WILL achieve this year. And, finally, stay positive: Remember, life is a self-fulfilling prophecy-if you think you can't you can't, if you think you can you can, either way you are right!
Step 2: Focus on the "WIFMs"
Get your motivation by writing down "What's In It For Me?" i.e. the benefits of attaining your goals. Lifestyle habits are hard to break, so give yourself good reason why to modify what you are doing right now.
Step 3: Discover Your Starting Point.
Establishing your measurements now is essential, because you can't know where you're going unless you first know where you are. Measure and record the following statistics, before you get started towards your goals:
- Body fat percentage. Have this tested at your local gym or test it yourself with body fat calipers. Using body fat calipers (detailed instructions come with them) test the 7 body sites indicated, and enter the scores at the body fat testing page of www.energyfirst.com for your final result. Ideal body fat percentage is under 15% for men and under 22% for women.
- Weight (this is only necessary to calculate your true ideal body weight which is your lean body mass plus your ideal amount of body fat).
- Circumference Measurements. Use a tape measure to measure your waist, hips, chest, thighs, and biceps.
- Blood composition. Ask your physician to check your LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides (blood fat), homocysteine, and C-reactive protein levels.
- And for added incentive, take a picture of yourself.
What can you expect?
In the first week or two, as your blood sugar and insulin levels stabilize, you may lose retained water weight-we call this losing the bloat"-and you may lose several pounds and inches as a result. After this stabilization period, you can expect to lose approximately 1-2% body fat per month, 1-2 lbs body fat per week, and normalize your blood composition within 60-90 days, no matter what your starting point! Use these expectations as a basis for setting reasonable goals.
Step 4: Take Action! Follow the EnergyFirst 7 Essentials.
These are essential healthy rituals that will ensure you achieve your goals.
Step 5: Track Your Progress.
Test your body fat, weight, and circumference measurements every month. Using a daily health diary to track your daily food and water intake, exercise, supplements, sleep, and energy levels, moods, stress levels, and general health is a very effective way to keep you on track towards your goals. Try completing a daily diary for at least a week, and reap the rewards!