Are Your Instincts Keeping You Fat?
"I know what I'm supposed to eat; my body only craves what it needs." That's what a client once told me when I started questioning him on his diet. I looked at him in complete disbelief.
This was a man (I'll call him Tom), more than 100 pounds overweight, telling me what he was eating wasn't the problem. Tom was convinced his diet was healthy. He believed his body "instinctually" knew the right things to eat and all he had to do was listen.
Apparently, Tom didn't have very good hearing.
The mistaken belief that our bodies somehow "know" what they need is something I regularly hear from clients. The reality is our bodies have been finely tuned to survive without modern conveniences. It's part of our genetic programming. Unfortunately, that programming breaks down when it encounters the modern world.
Let's take food as an example. Having food available 24 hours a day in any form we'd like, is a relatively new phenomenon.
Go back just four or five generations and the story was quite different. For most of humanity's existence, any food consumed was what people could hunt, herd or grow themselves. Foods high in fats were either too expensive or simply unavailable to the majority of people.
Now, look at the way humans use up calories. A pound of muscle burns about three times as many calories per day as a pound of fat. If you're living without modern conveniences, the last thing you would want is a bunch of muscle, burning up calories and making you hungry. (Remember, until recently, food was in limited supply.)
So your body tries to get rid of muscle by burning it up for energy first. Your body "instinctually" sheds muscle at every opportunity and hangs onto the fat.
As you burn up calories and get hungry, you tend to crave foods that are higher in fat. Without modern conveniences, having a nice layer of fat is important to keep you warm and help you avoid starving to death during the winter.
It appears the majority of Americans are following their instincts.
ACTION: I will keep a journal, log, diary, or notes of everything I eat and drink. Presented by Beth Moyes
If you want to get in shape, you have to use your brain, not your gut. Here are four steps that have been proven to work.
Step One: Start by keeping a list of everything you eat and drink for a week. Write it down in a food log, keep a journal or track it on your computer. One of the easiest ways we've found to track it is using an app for smartphones and computers called MyFitnessPal. You can't make changes unless you know what you're currently taking in.
Step Two: Determine how many calories you should be eating a day by calculating your metabolism. You can figure out your approximate metabolism by clicking on the link that says CALCULATORS. Then click on RESTING METABOLIC RATE.
Step Three: If you want to lose a pound a week, take in 500 fewer calories a day than you burn. If you want to gain a pound a week, take in 500 more calories a day than you burn. When deciding how many calories you will eat daily, be sure not to go below 1,200. Anything lower than 1,200 must be supervised by a doctor or dietitian.
Step Four: Take out your schedule and put EXERCISE on it at least three times a week. Eating right will only get you halfway to fit. Exercise carries you over the finish line.
Instincts won't cut it. Stick to the facts, follow the steps and in just a few short months, get ready to embrace the new, more fit you.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.