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More than 50 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and more than 33 percent of adults are trying to lose weight.

With so many different diet plans, workout routines and weight-loss products in the market, one would imagine that we’d all be fitness experts and be in shape by now. Many of these options offer a quick fix promise, as opposed to a balanced, healthy approach to long-term well-being. This leads to impractical expectations from diet supplements and programs. In fact, research shows that as many as 95 percent of weight-loss plans do not work.

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It is important to realize that if a product or program promises effortless weight loss, it does not have consumer’s long-term health and well-being in mind. Likewise, any product or program that guarantees quick results, it is designed for temporary loss of water weight, which can lead to the risk of serious disease. Furthermore, a weight-loss product or program should complement lifestyle, and not require any dramatic changes to it. Using supplements to promote weight loss simply must accompany healthful eating, regular exercise and baseline health education.

More often than not, people resort to appetite suppressants to lose weight or harsh stimulants with added caffeine or other stimulants to boost their metabolism. While these types of weight loss supplements may suppress the urge to eat or increase the amount of fat burned, they are extremely detrimental to your health and can affect all body systems, especially the heart.

A new weight loss plan discovered

Researchers at Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute showed that a high protein, low carbohydrate diet is most effective at reducing hunger and promoting weight loss, at least in the short term. Healthy, obese men were given two different diets. Both diets had high protein content but differed in the amount of carbohydrate: One diet was low in carbohydrate (4%) and the other contained a moderate amount of carbohydrate (35% total energy value). 
Volunteers felt less hungry on the high-protein low-carbohydrate diet compared with the diet which contained high-protein but moderate amounts of carbohydrate. The results of this study put forth that weight loss during the two four week study periods was greater on the high-protein low-carbohydrate diet, averaging 6.3 kg per person, compared with 4.3 kg on the moderate carbohydrate diet.

It is known that when people eat low carbohydrate diets, within a relatively short time their body has to switch from using glucose as a fuel to ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are appetite-suppressing and may affect the appetite centers in the brain. The study showed that the volunteers became ketogenic within 1-2 days of starting on the high-protein low-carbohydrate diet. Thus high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets seem to be particularly effective because of the combined effect of the protein and the ketone bodies.

A note of caution was published in a paper about the findings from the same study which showed that low carbohydrate diets may have consequences for the health of the gut by dramatically reducing the numbers of particular types of bacteria. So we need to reconsider the fact whether low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets are a suitable tool for everyone who wants to lose weight.

Principles of success to effective weight loss

Set moderate, achievable weight-loss goals

Setting goals for weight loss is among the most important steps in losing the weight. However, it is important that you are realistic in your expectations for a target weight. Research from Indiana University in Indianapolis showed that most people think they have to drop 50 to 100 pounds to be successful at weight loss – a belief that sets them up for failure. Instead, it is wise to start with a reasonable goal, like losing 10 pounds. If you achieve that goal, you'll have the drive to lose another 10 more pounds and so on.

Know your body mass index (BMI) or look in the mirror

Your BMI is based on your height and weight. Physicians consider BMI to be a better measure of health risk than your actual weight in pounds.  If your BMI is less than 25, your weight is normal. If your BMI is at least 25 but less than 30, you're overweight. If your BMI is 30 or above, you are considered obese. The higher the BMI, the greater your risk of developing a weight-related illness, such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

Find a weight loss buddy or join weight loss group 

Dieting with a friend provides can help you lose more weight. Sometimes it takes a diet buddy to help get you past the temptations and bolster the desire to move and gain a fit lifestyle. According to a recent study conducted at the Brown University study, those with a motivated pal lost nearly twice as much weight as those who dieted solo. Having someone within walking distance can be an added bonus. Announce your weight-loss intentions amongst your friends and neighbors. Chances are that they’d want to some weight as well.

Companies like Weight Watchers have flourished over the decades because the sense of community is there to make the process of losing weight less clinical and less isolated. When you attend a meeting of men and women who want to lose weight, you gain a sense of company that establishes a better comfort level for achieving your dieting goals. Researchers at Columbia University in New York assigned 413 overweight and obese men and women to either a self-help program in which they met twice with a nutritionist and then followed a program on their own or Weight Watchers, after two years those going to Weight Watchers lost more than those going alone.

Lose weight slowly

Researchers suggest that people who achieve weight loss through fad diet programs typically gain back most or all of the weight within five years. Crash diets deprive you of essential nutrients can be very dangerous.

It is important to realize that the more quickly weight is lost, the more likely the loss is coming from water and muscle, not fat. Since muscle tissue is critical in keeping our metabolism elevated, losing it actually leads to a decrease in the amount of calories we can lose each day without gaining weight. Fat loss is best achieved when weight is lost slowly. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week.

Eat right

Maintaining a good eating habit is an essential attribute to a result oriented weight loss plan. You need to eat right and avoid fatty foods as much as possible. A good way to healthy start is to eat a breakfast cereal that contains at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Studies show that eating breakfast helps you eat less food later in the day and consume fewer total calories.

Ask a registered dietitian to design an eating plan for you. A dietician can help you set reasonable calorie goals and can make sure that you consume all essential vitamins and minerals. You can even maintain a food diary for five days. Food diaries are eye-openers for many people because many of us eat without thinking about it. Reviewing your food diary with your registered dietitian can help you identify situations or emotions that may cause you to overeat.

It is important to know that losing weight can trigger bone loss. So if you're a woman, make sure you're supplementing with 500 to 600 milligrams of calcium twice a day. Choose a calcium supplement that also contains vitamin D.

Some healthy diet tips for weight loss:

  • Limit sugar-containing beverages
  • Eat whole grains instead of refined starches and sugars
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Include healthy unsaturated types of fat, rather than saturated and partially hydrogenated fats
  • Eat smaller portion sizes.

Exercise

Regular exercise sends the human body messages to increase its metabolism, strength and aerobic capacity. Each time you exercise, your body responds by upgrading its capabilities throughout the day and night. Fitness specialists recommend engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise four times a week for 20 to 30 minutes per session and participating in resistance training four times per week for 20 to 25 minutes per session. This balanced approach covers both aerobic exercise to burn fat and deliver more oxygen and resistance training to increase lean body mass and burn more calories around the clock.

People who exercise as well as cut calories have an easier time losing weight and keeping it off than people who just cut calories. Burning an extra 250 calories a day (about the amount used in a brisk 45-minute walk) chops off about 26 pounds a year, as long as you don't replace those calories with food. Aerobic exercise, such as swimming, walking, or jogging, raises your heart rate and helps burn calories. Fast walking hastens the burning of excess fat. Not only is fast walking better for the hips but it also produces great deal of fat loss as opposed to jogging or running.

Forget about diet pills

Weight loss pill is a tempting proposition for people trying to lose weight but you must understand that there is no magic pill. Pills only work in combination with proper nutrition and exercise but the fact is that exercise and proper nutrition work either way – with or without pills and similar substitutes.

  • Photo by shutterstock.com
  • www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080111210350.htm
  • www.wholefitness.com/keysweightloss.html
  • www.rd.com/living-healthy/effective-weight-loss-ways-to-lose-the-weight/article102875.html
  • www.bodybuildingforyou.com/articles-submit/gary-matthews/principles-of-weight-loss.htm