If diet pills and “special” weight loss supplements worked, there would be fewer overweight people in America. Weight loss pills and diets for that matter are both ineffective and potentially harmful; long-term health-oriented programs should replace them. The weight loss pills contain ingredients that are not regulated by any scientific research or government department like the Food and Drug Administration. Notice on any supplement the statement next to the asterisk: “*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
The problem with skipping meals and doing low calorie diets, is you lose too much muscle also in the weight loss process. Muscle determines the overall metabolic rate of the body, so if muscle is lost, the metabolic rate will be reduced and you will burn fewer calories than before your diet. When you return to a normal pattern of eating again, the lower metabolic rate will result in rapid weight gain. Have you ever heard of the YO-YO diet? You need to exercise the muscles to best burn calories. Weights, calisthenics, rubber bands, anything to produce resistance on major muscle groups will help keep your metabolism high.
The other problem with having a low level of lean muscle tissue is the feeling of fatigue. Fatigue is a bi-product of people looking for an easy way to lose weight that delivers quick results. No such HEALTHY approach exists, yet the “nutrition / fitness” supplement industry continues to misguide people into believing that fast weight loss can be achieved with minimum effort. It can, but it is unhealthy and will not deliver those results long term unless a lifestyle change occurs.
A lifestyle change includes regular exercise, a sensible approach to healthy eating and the right mental attitude. You don’t have to be a chef to follow a sensible diet, but if you are addicted to sodas and fast food, you will have to break those habits if the program is going to work properly.
The sample meal plans here are examples of good nutrition. Of course, you are totally free to invent your meal plans, and the food table that’s included is a valuable guide. The single most useful piece of wisdom is this: COMMON SENSE. People know what foods are healthy and unhealthy. Follow the inner voice!
The average male requires 2,000 calories per day and females 1500 calories per day. This should be your target even if you are significantly overweight. The program will help you naturally lose weight, provided you don’t overeat. Remember, if you lower your caloric intake below the minimum recommended levels, your body will eventually adapt to it, and you will cease to lose weight.
Preparation of Food
Do not fry foods if possible. Broil, grill, steam or bake. Microwaving foods is often a good alternative. These methods allow fat to drain while cooking. Frying adds significant amounts of fat (now you understand why fast foods are so bad for you).
Trim fat from meat, and remove skin from poultry. Avoid real mayonnaise and heavy dressing. Try mustard and light dressing like vinegarettes, Italian etc..
Eat vegetables raw or steamed (I understand that many folks cannot digest raw vegetables). Steaming allows you to control the crispness or “crunchiness” of the vegetables. Over cooking vegetables destroys vitamins.
· Chicken breast
· Turkey breast
· Lean beef (sirloin, round, flank).
· Eggs (boiled is preferred method)
Some Non-starchy vegetables:
· Green beans
· Lettuce (all varieties), but note: iceberg is not a good source of vitamins/minerals
· Peppers (green, red, jalapeno, etc.)
· String beans
· Squash (summer varieties only)
Some Fresh fruits (not dried or canned) and easy for on the road snacks:
· Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew)
· Brown rice
· Potatoes (with skins)
· Yams and sweet potatoes
· Oatmeal (rolled oats)
· Cream of Rice
· Beans (lima and kidney)
Water and Beverages
Drink plenty of water daily. As a guide, you should be drinking at least 0.66 x body weight, in ounces per day. So, if you’re a 180 lb male, that’s nearly 7.5 lb of water, or 3.4 liters. Lack of water lowers energy level. Severe dehydration is dangerous, so when exercising, or in hot conditions, drink more water than what is recommended above. Often people confuse hunger with dehydration. Next time you think you are hungry in between meals, drink a few glasses of water. It helps!
STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout.