[as seen in the Oxford Review January 20th, 2011]
There are a few things that you don’t want to do when trying to lose some weight. They are crucial and you will not get the results you want if you tumble into these pitfalls.
A lack of discipline is most likely the most harmful pitfall if you are trying to lose weight. You have to have what I call persistent consistency. You have to tough it out even when you don’t feel like it. Then tough it out again. And again.
Cutting down on your waistline takes a reasonable amount of effort which must be sustained over the course of a year (or more). This didn’t happen to you overnight so it is unreasonable to expect results in less time than is actually possible.
There is one word that describes the staying power of winners. One word that describes the type of commitment that is needed. One word that you need to learn to use and become. That word is: Grit.
Eliminating fat or eating a very low fat diet is a common error that people are encouraged to make by food marketing. Eliminating fat intake to get rid of fat from the body may seem like a good idea at first glance, but when you understand that most food producers add sugar when they take out the fat you will begin to understand why ‘low-fat’ doesn’t mean healthy. (Note: all trans-fat should be removed from your diet because they will hurt you).
You need a decent amount of good fat in the diet because all the cells in the body are made up of two layers of lipids or fats, which will be composed of good fats or bad fats depending on the type you eat. If the cell lipid layers are made up of healthy fats, it will make them more sensitive to insulin and allow the receptors to bind more easily, which is necessary for good metabolism and energy production. Remember to balance your fat intake by taking fish oil for the high levels of available Omega-3. I recommend at least 1g of EPA per day.
Keep Getting Stressed
To lose fat, it’s essential that you minimize stress to lower your cortisol levels. It is well established that chronically high cortisol results in fat gain, particularly around the middle. This means that no matter how much you exercise or eat healthy, you won’t lose weight if your cortisol is elevated because of how cortisol makes the body insensitive to insulin.
One recent study looked at the relationship between cortisol levels, insulin sensitivity, and visceral belly fat in men. Men with more belly fat produced far more cortisol throughout the day and had decreased insulin sensitivity than those with less belly fat. Interestingly, subcutaneous fat—the jiggly kind that’s right below the skin—was not related to insulin or cortisol levels. Researchers suggest both external stress and internal physiological stress (in the form of chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract) are the cause of the elevated cortisol.
Forget Your Gut
Fix your gut health and support digestion by taking a probiotic to lose fat, have more energy, and feel better. Probiotics are the tiny bacteria that naturally occur in the gastrointestinal tract and are commonly found in dairy products such as yogurt and kefir.
Gut health is essential in that it will improve digestion and help you feel better. You will actually feel more energetic because your neurotransmitters will be firing at optimal levels, and your metabolism will be supported so that nutrients and energy sources are getting broken down, absorbed, and used by the body in the most effective manner. Additionally, research shows probiotic supplementation helps lower anxiety and stress levels, which leads to less secretion of cortisol.
Miss Adding Protein to Breakfast
Skipping breakfast and missing meals will set you up to fail when trying to lose weight. Eating breakfast is one of the simplest, healthiest things you can do to feel better and have more energy, but there’s one catch. You have to eat protein at breakfast. Eating cereal for breakfast is a common pitfall that is often not addressed by the media or mainstream health professionals.
Cereal is bad for breakfast because it’s typically packed with sugar and additives. In the rare case that you can find a cereal that doesn’t have added sugar, cereal tends to be low in protein. You can always add some high quality whey protein to your breakfast. It what I do and it works wonders.
Stay Focused, have Grit, and Smile.