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Three Steps for Successful Weight Loss
Diet and Weight Loss Truths

Eat more veggies.
Eat more veggies.

Millions of people make resolutions to lose a little weight and live a healthier life. If you're one of those people, here's some advice to help you make your journey a little more successful. Three things everyone should know about weight loss, but most don't.

First, whatever weight loss program you choose, it should be something you can sustain for a long time. Losing weight is difficult, but keeping it off is even tougher.

Gimmicky programs that you aren't willing to stick with, simply set you up for a rebound and diet failure. Once many dieters achieve their weight loss goals, they return to their old eating habits. But now they're dealing with a slower metabolism, so a return to “previously normal eating” quickly piles weight back on.

The quickest way to change, is simply to include more vegetables in your diet. If you're a meat-lover like me, you'll find more good-tasting “meat substitutes” available now than ever.

Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods make beef and sausage replacements that are surprisingly good, without as many calories as traditional meat products. For anyone pressed for time, you'll also find lower-calorie versions of foods like cauliflower rice or broccoli tots in the freezer section of your supermarket.

Second, you've got to include strength training in any diet program. Both fat and muscle burn calories. As you lose fat, your metabolism will drop because some of that calorie-burning fat is going away. However, if you're losing weight through diet alone, you're also going to be losing muscle.

You see when we diet, our bodies think we're starving, Fat keeps us warm, and muscle burns a lot of extra calories. So our bodies will eat into muscle for energy, while hanging onto the fat. Going on a diet without strength training, destroys muscle.

If you started out weighing 250 pounds and your metabolism burned 2,000 calories a day, it's entirely possible when you drop down to 200 pounds, that your metabolism would only burn 1,400 calories a day.

Strength training helps in several ways. During the workout, it boosts our metabolism so we burn extra calories. After the workout, we continue burning calories as our muscles rebuild. Over time, a pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat. So just having more muscle, increases our bodies natural fat-burning capabilities.

Without strength training, once you lose the weight, your metabolism might be so low, nothing short of a starvation diet will keep you there. A minimum of 30 minutes of strength training, three times a week is a good start.

Third, you've got to find foods that fill you up, without being full of calories. As you lose weight, your hormones change. Leptin is a hormone that's released by fat cells and it signals your brain when to start and stop eating.

When you lose weight, your fat cells shrink and the amount of leptin they release drops. As leptin levels decrease, hunger increases. After only seven days on a diet you're typically dealing with a significantly reduced metabolism and increased levels of hunger.

There are two ways of dealing with this. Every day, look for foods that have a lot of bulk, but not a lot of calories. Vegetables are a prime example. A large bowl of broccoli or cauliflower may have less than 150 calories, but it takes up a lot of space in your stomach. As it pushes against the walls of your stomach, your body gets the signal that it's full.

Once a week, give your metabolism a boost by having a “cheat meal.” That's a larger than normal meal, preferably with higher carbohydrates which boost the leptin levels and lower your hunger. A cheat meal also kicks your metabolism up so you start burning more calories again. That hormonal boost once a week, combined with regular exercise and dieting the rest of the week, increase your chances of weight loss success.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.