Well, here we are. It is almost the beginning of a New Year, and with that comes our lists of resolutions for the New Year. One of the most common resolutions that folks make at the beginning of the year is to lose weight and get in better shape. Although the statistics point out that almost 80% of people give up one their resolutions within 4 weeks, I am going to share with you some simple ways that you CAN achieve your weight loss goals for this year! Sound good?
So here is the basic breakdown of what it will take to lose weight. There is nothing complicated about the process, but it does require some planning, disciple, and more than anything, consistency. The ONLY way we can lose body fat is to consume less calories than we burn, or vice versa. Your best means of achieving this is to scale back on the calories you consume each day, while at the same time increasing your activity level (aka exercising). By doing so, you increase your ability to lose body fat, without having to cut calories so much that you feel like you’re starving all day long. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the feeling of being hungry all day long.
So, in order to lose 1 pound of body fat, you need to burn about 3,500 calories. Now obviously we aren’t going to try doing this in a single day, but if we break this down over an entire week, it becomes VERY doable. Basically, if you will cut back between 500 and 1000 calories per day, you will lose between 1 and 2 pounds roughly in a given week. Losing no more than 2 pounds per week seems to be the magic number in terms of being successful at keeping the weight off for good. Lose much more than 2 pounds per week and you greatly increase the risk of rapid weight gain once you return to more normal, less restrictive eating. The basic reasoning behind this is because if you cut calories too much, too quickly, the metabolism slows down. You will begin to burn fewer calories during the day because your body is in starvation mode.
First let’s cover some very basic dietary changes that you can easily implement. Remember, we are looking to cut calories here, so naturally, choosing foods that are lower in caloric content seems sensible, right? Exactly! This way, you can eat enough food to feel satisfied to a degree, while at the same time targeting your weight loss goal. The very first thing you should do is clear out your fridge and pantry. Throw out any processed, sugary, or high-caloric foods like trail mixes and granola. After you’ve taken care of this, the next step is going shopping to replace those foods with more nutritious and lower calorie foods. If you stick with vegetables and fruits, not only are you looking at foods that are typically low in calories, but they are also high in fiber which helps you stay fuller longer. With the addition of added fiber in the diet, you also help to improve digestion. Studies show that eating a diet high in fiber helps you to lose weight.
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here on diet, but if you so desire, grab a copy of my first book, Simply Wellness: Learning to Live a Wellness Based Lifestyle One Day at a Time on Amazon or at our office. In that book, I go over nutrition in much more detail regarding appropriate proportions of carbs, fats, and proteins, as well as vitamins, minerals, hydration and even a few simple recipes you can throw together. But for now, just focus on eating more whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean protein sources, and limit bread-based carbohydrates and processed varieties. Also make certain to drink plenty of water.
When you go shopping at the grocery store, focus on the outside parameter of the store. If you look at the way most grocery stores are set up, you’ll notice that all the whole foods from produce, meats, and dairy products are along the outer parameter of the store. Spend the majority of your shopping time here and you will be much more likely to grab nutritious foods that the body can actually recognize and utilize to fuel the added exercise and physical activity you’re about to engage in. This takes us to our next subject…exercise!
Now before you freak out thinking that working out has to be this time consuming, all-or-nothing burden in your life, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this at all. In fact, for our Practice Members at PRANA Chiropractic and Wellness Center, I have them start with a simple walking program. To get started, commit to walking at a brisk pace, 3 times per week for 20 minutes. After 2 weeks of walking 3 times for 20 minutes, you simply add a day. So for the next 2 weeks, you’ll walk at a brisk pace for 20 minutes, 4 days a week. You choose the 4 days during the week to walk based on your schedule. You can spread them out and take a rest day between, or you can walk 4 days in a row and be done with it. The choice is yours! Now after spending 2 weeks walking at the 4 days and 20 minute mark, you’ll bump the duration of your walks up from 20 minutes to 30. And there you have it! You incrementally work your way up to walking 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week. Research shows that walking at a 4 mile per hour pace burns about 100 calories in the average adult. So each of your walking workouts will help you burn an additional 150-200 calories per day. If you add in some slight hills, carry a couple 1 pound dumbbells or ankle weights while you walk, you’ll scorch even more calories.
Now that you know your exercise routine doesn’t have to entail a 5 year contract to the local fitness club, I’m going to share with you a list of list of things that you can also do that will burn an additional 100 calories per activity.
If you are looking for more information, tips, or support, reach out to us at www.pranachiro.com There you can find links to my books, access addition health and fitness related blog posts, sign up for our newsletter, and e-mail any questions that you might have. At PRANA Chiropractic and Wellness Center, we offer a 6 Week, doctor-supervised, weight loss program that helps you lose between 20 and 35 pounds. We also offer personal training, individual yoga sessions, and lots of love and support regardless of your health goals. So reach out and let’s reach new heights together in terms of your health and wellness!
In Wellness and Love,
Dr. Christopher Weaver DC, PAK is a Doctor of Chiropractic and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He's published two books on health and Wellness.