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How to lose weight: The ultimate guide to weight loss

Wie man Gewicht verliert: Der ultimative Ratgeber für den Gewichtverlust

In the first part of this series of articles, we looked at the current situation regarding obesity and the first three factors that can promote weight gain. In this second part, we will look at other factors that can lead to weight gain.

Factor #4 - Stress and depression

Even though stress and depression play a role in binge eating, they deserve their own section.

In the animal kingdom, there are only a very limited number of things that cause stress in animals. One of these stressors is hunger. When we feel stressed, it triggers a biomechanical response that puts us into survival mode.

In this state, our metabolism slows down and our body tries to store energy. We will also feel the urge to eat - another self-protection mechanism that is activated in response to stress.

In the modern world, it is almost impossible to escape stress. We are constantly busy and with constant access to news and information and incoming text messages and Facebook updates, we rarely get any rest. Life always finds a way to disrupt us.

Combine this constant hustle and bustle with easy access to any food we could possibly want and you have the perfect recipe for overeating and obesity.

Stress and weight loss

  • Keep a stress diary. Write down everything that triggers stress-related eating for you. Try to avoid these situations whenever possible and plan for them if you can't avoid them. Know in advance what you are going to eat when you are stressed.
  • When you are stressed, force yourself to do 30 minutes of cardio exercise before you give in to your craving to eat. This period of exercise will help you feel better and will hopefully reduce your stress levels enough that you won't give in to the urge to stress eat.
  • Be proactive. Take an hour each day while not watching TV or using any other electronic means of communication. Relax, read something or take a nap. Go for a walk. Do something for yourself.

Factor #5 - Liquid calories

Liquid calories tend to hide well. They can add up quickly and are one of the primary factors that contribute to weight gain and obesity.

Unless you are making your own juices or drinking milk or homemade protein shakes, there are very few forms of liquid calories that have any useful nutritional value. Even pure fruit juice, which appears to be healthy, is actually quite unhealthy. Fruit juice is like fruit that has had all the good nutrients (from the skin, pulp, etc.) removed, leaving a sugar content that is often higher than sugary soft drinks.

Keep a record of all the liquid calories you drink for a week. Next, try to find a suitable calorie-free substitute for these drinks. Choose natural drinks if possible.

You may find it hard to give up your daily syrup-flavored coffee, but look at the numbers. 300 liquid kcal per day adds up to an additional 110,000 kcal per year or a weight gain of 30 pounds. Even if you can cut your liquid calories in half, this will make it much easier for you to maintain your weight or lose weight.

Liquid calories and weight loss

  • If the thought of plain water doesn't really appeal to you, try adding some fresh lemon juice or a flavored amino acid powder. Both will add a lot of flavor to your water without adding a lot of calories.
  • Love your flavored coffee? Try adding a spoonful of chocolate protein powder to your hot or cold coffee for a creamy mocha-like flavor.

Factor #6 - Excessive, long-term carbohydrate consumption

This might be the most controversial factor in this list. I will present it for informational purposes.

Carbohydrate consumption raises blood glucose levels. To remove this glucose (blood sugar) from the bloodstream, the pancreas secretes insulin. The glucose is then converted into glycogen, which is stored in the liver and muscle tissue. As the body can only store a certain amount of glycogen, excess glucose is stored as fat.

Over time, excessive carbohydrate consumption can lead to insulin resistance. The result of insulin resistance is that excess glucose remains in the bloodstream. This leads to increased blood sugar levels, which the liver then has to deal with. The liver will convert this excess blood sugar into fat, which then re-enters the bloodstream and is distributed throughout the body.

There is a heated debate in the health and fitness industry about which factor is more important when it comes to fat gain: calorie intake vs. calorie expenditure... or excessive carbohydrate consumption. As health-conscious individuals, how should we eat then? It's probably best to not only keep calories within a reasonable range, but also minimize consumption of unhealthy carbohydrates as much as possible. This will cover both cases.

Carbohydrates and weight loss

  • Don't be afraid of fat consumption. Your body needs healthy fats. Make sure that at least 20% of your daily calories come from healthy fats.
  • Use the 20% rule. Try to minimize your junk food consumption to 20% of your daily calories or less. Since junk food is overloaded with unwanted carbohydrates, this is an excellent way to control insulin resistance in the long run.
  • Eat more protein. Not only is protein needed for muscle building and repair - it's also hard to overeat protein.

Factor #7 - Lack of meal planning

On the surface, this may seem like a trivial factor, but meal planning can make a big difference in your life. If you know what you're going to eat for dinner or prepare your secondary meals in advance, then you're much less likely to make a trip to McDonalds or grab sweets from the vending machine.

You can learn a lesson from top fitness models and bodybuilders. These athletes tend to prepare smaller meals in advance. Instead of preparing 5 different lunches or eating processed foods for lunch, they will prepare one large meal and divide it into several Tupperware containers.

It's not uncommon for these athletes to spend part of their Sunday cooking meals for the week.

Meal planning and weight loss

  • Make a list of 10 to 20 quick and easy meals that you can prepare in bulk. Make sure these meals are made from wholesome and nutritious foods. This means no processed meals and no ready-made meals.
  • Plan your dinner for each week in advance before you go shopping.
  • If you have very little time to cook in the evening, get a slow cooker. There are thousands of slow cooker recipes online that require very little prep time.

Fact #8 - Prescription drugs

It is well documented that certain prescription drugs can promote or cause weight gain. A team of scientists from the University of Glasgow analyzed a pool of 25,000 individuals. One of the interesting findings was that individuals taking medications for mental disorders (such as olanzapine and clozapine) gained up to 22 pounds in one year.

This study also found that those who used insulin to treat type 2 diabetes gained up to 13 pounds in one year, while some antidepressants caused a weight gain of up to 8 pounds during the same time period. Medications used to treat heart disease, epilepsy and high blood pressure also caused a small but noticeable weight gain.

The "big 3" when it came to weight gain were olanzapine, beta-blockers and corticosteroids. It should be noted that the degree and amount of weight gain associated with medication varies greatly from person to person.

The use of the contraceptive pill also poses a risk of weight gain. Pills with a higher estrogen content are more likely to increase appetite and also lead to more water retention.

Prescription drugs and weight loss

  • Before taking a new prescription medication, you should ask your doctor about possible side effects regarding weight gain - and how you can minimize them.
  • If you gain weight while taking a prescription medication, do not stop taking it. Talk to your doctor.
  • Be proactive. Clean up your diet and put together a good exercise program.

Factor #9 - Menopause / low testosterone levels

It is estimated that 90% of all women gain weight during menopause. This weight gain typically occurs between the ages of 35 and 55.

Men face similar problems as they age and their testosterone levels drop. The male sex hormone helps maintain proper insulin levels, as well as optimal glucose and fat metabolism. Low levels of this hormone are associated with increased insulin resistance, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and, of course, weight gain.

Even though hormonal changes seem inevitable, there are certain things you can do to mitigate the effects of aging. Eat the right foods, exercise, kick bad habits like drinking and smoking, reduce your stress and find ways to be happy and enjoy your life.

Menopause / low testosterone levels and weight gain

- Diet and exercise play an important role in how we age. Eat right and exercise. This will not only help you prevent weight gain, but will also counteract possible age-related weight gain.
- Live a balanced life. Don't smoke, limit your alcohol consumption, neglect trivial worries and do more things to enjoy your life. All of these things will create a healthier, more hormonally strong and balanced body.

Weight control - a brief summary

While the factors listed above are not an all-inclusive list, they do provide a very useful guide that can show you how to limit weight gain. Here is a simple 9 point program that everyone should remember:

  • Step 1 - Move. Exercise. Do something extra every day
  • Step 2 - Eat better. You don't have to eat perfectly, but even small changes will make a big difference in the long run.
  • Step 3 - Control binge eating through preparation and portion control.
  • Step 4 - Take steps to avoid, or at least control, stress in your life.
  • Step 5 - Reduce liquid calories as much as possible.
  • Step 6 - Avoid excessive carbohydrate consumption and limit your intake of white sugar and white flour products as much as possible.
  • Step 7 - Plan your meals. You should know in advance exactly what you are going to eat and when. This will help you to reduce impulsive eating.
  • Step 8 - Ask your doctor about your prescription medications and possible side effects.
  • Step 9 - Live a balanced life. Take care of yourself, laugh, love, smile and have fun. Take care of yourself mentally and physically.

In the next part of this article series, we will take a closer look at some of the most popular nutrition and diet plans for fat loss at the moment.


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