For years we have been under the false impression that in order for us to lose weight, we must go on a strict starvation diet. With the knowledge that has developed over the years, various studies have shown our diet practices of the past only served to cause us more harm than good. When we drastically decrease our caloric intake, the body begins to feed off protein which is stored in the muscles. As the body feeds off protein in the muscle, our metabolism begins to slow down, and we lose muscle mass. As you lose weight on a crash diet, the more muscle mass you will lose. When you eventually return to your normal eating habits, the weight you gain back is likely to return in the form of fat.
Technology and studies today have proven there are steps to take to lose weight with healthy eating habits and exercise. First, you need to know how many calories you need for your body to operate on a daily basis with basic functions (without exercise). This is your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is the amount of calories your body needs to keep it running. One simple way to calculate your BMR is to multiply 10 by your current weight. Now you have the number of calories needed to function on a daily basis.
Next, begin to change the way you buy foods in the grocery store. Read the nutrition labels and make the best choices. Begin to obtain food items with the appropriate amounts of fat, sodium, fiber and protein. The Weight Control Information Network recommends limiting fat consumption to 25-35 percent of your total daily calories. If you are on a 1,800 calorie daily diet to lose weight, consume about 450-630 calories of fat per day (50-70 grams). The recommended daily allowance for sodium intake is less than 2,300 mg per day for adults. People diagnosed with high blood pressure or at risk for high blood pressure should limit sodium consumption to 1,500 mg per day. The minimum requirement of sodium for normal body function is 500 mg per day. The Institute of Medicine recommends dietary fiber consumption for adults. For men, age 50 and under, 38 grams of dietary fiber is recommended each day. For men, age 51 and above, the fiber intake decreases to 50 grams a day. Women require slightly less fiber than men. For women, age 50 and under, 25 grams of dietary fiber is recommended each day. For women, age 51 and above, the fiber intake decreases to 21 grams of dietary fiber a day. According to MayoClinic.com, to keep your body healthy, you should consume 10-35 percent of your calories from protein. Write down everything you drink and eat for the entire day. Add the total calories for the day. Calories consumed less than your BMR will cause your body to go defend itself and go into starvation mode. This defense will cause your metabolism to slow down. If this happens, add two to three snacks to your daily food consumption.
Lastly, try to eat 5–6 mini meals per day. Eating this way will probably be a change for you. But this will help to speed up your metabolism. Eating breakfast is very important. When you’re sleeping, your body has been fasting all night long. Eating breakfast forces the body to produce more energy and work harder to process food. The increase in energy increases your metabolism. Choose a protein and a carbohydrate to make up a healthy snack. As a general rule, each meal and snack should consist of a source of protein and complex carbohydrates. The combination of this type will help you feel satisfied longer and you are less likely to be hungry before your next meal time.