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How to Lose Fat and Keep it Off

Most of us know exactly what made us overweight. We overate, we under-exercised, we entered menopause, we had a baby, we had a major life event, or maybe we had addictive behavior problems. To solve a problem, it helps to know its root cause. When it comes to weight loss, specifically, losing stored fat pounds, there are many different solutions because there are many different causes.

Identify what it was that made you overweight and you can probably extrapolate three main culprits: lack of exercise, lack of proper nutrition, and the effects of hormones. Let’s explore those one at a time.

If you have more calories coming into your body than you are using in a day, then your body will store the excess as fat. For many people, they need to restore a balance to their diet and activity level. They may not necessarily be overeating, they might be just under-exercising. The sedentary lifestyle most Americans have adopted has many negative effects on the quality of life and level of health. Eat less, do more and see if you can’t get back into balance. The magic number is 3,500 calories. That’s one pound of body fat. If you can cut 250 calories a day out of what you are currently eating and use up 250 more calories in some kind of aerobic activity, then you can cut 500 calories a day. In seven days, you will have cut 3,500 calories.

But what if your problem is a poor diet. There are many good sources of information on proper nutrition but suffice it to say that if you are eating only cookies, cake and ice cream, your are undernourished and storing fat. If you are only eating protein, you are undernourished and storing fat. If you are only eating carbohydrates…well, you get the idea. A balanced diet is a healthy habit to adopt. There are healthy fats and unhealthy fats so just eating non-fat foods and using artificial sweeteners is not going to give you the nutrition you need for optimal health.

Losing weight through diet alone is not usually the most efficient means of weight loss for most people but if you are on target with your exercise and still not losing fat pounds, see what adjustments can be made to your diet. Sometimes, it’s not what we eat but how much. Lean meat is better than fatty meat but a 10-ounce steak is more than anyone should eat at one meal. Portion control may be your key to weight loss. Also, eating keeps your metabolism - the rate at which you burn fuel for energy – high, while starvation (withholding food) decreases your metabolism, creating more fat storage. For some people, eating three meals a day is not enough to keep their blood sugar levels even throughout the day to keep their metabolism high. Most people are better off eating small portions more often, five to seven times a day. This pattern keeps your metabolism engine revving all day. One of the best ways to jump start fat burning is to make sure you eat breakfast.

Lastly, you could be getting enough exercise and eating balanced meals in controlled amounts and you’re still storing fat. There may be other things going on chemically in your body. Various hormones can be working against you without you being aware of the impact they have on your body. Constant stress produces more cortisol which is known for settling fat around your mid-section, the fat that increases your likelihood of getting heart disease and diabetes. Mid-life changes in a woman’s body impacts her balance of progesterone and estrogen, creating a sluggish metabolism that doesn’t burn fat as efficiently as she had in her youth. Also, blood sugar spikes during the day can cause an overproduction of insulin which can lead to more fat storage. Then there are thyroid and liver conditions which could also be working against you.

Restoring hormonal balance is a fine science but there are a few things you can do to improve your health. Take steps today to reduce the stress in your life. See a medical professional if you feel hormonal imbalance could be a problem in your life. The liver is ultimately responsible for converting fat into fatty acids which can be used for energy. You can help your liver by drinking more water every day and minimizing its workload. Everything that comes into your mouth has to be processed by the liver. If you take a lot of medicines, make sure all your medical professionals know what you take. For any new medications, ask specifically what effect it could have on your liver. When given a choice between a pill and an injection, sometimes it’s better for your liver that you chose the injection to bypass the digestive tract altogether.

Once you have identified what put the extra fat on your body in the first place, then you can take the most effective action to correct the problem. Without knowing what caused the problem, you’ll be frustrated with every new diet or new weight loss attempt that fails because it failed to target your specific causes. For most of us, it’s not a question of willpower but a realization that one weight loss plan does not work for everyone. Find what combination of approaches works best for you and stop beating yourself up!

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