Last night children walked the streets at night gathering candy and junk food from their kind neighbours. Over the next few days the children will be munching through all the candy and cakes while the healthy pumpkin soup is ignored.
This marks the start of the holiday season, which is also affectionately known by some as the fat season or the obesity season. Over the next 2 months people will start consuming more and more foods. Thanksgiving parties and meals will soon be followed by Christmas buffets, family banquets, with ample snacks and candy in between and then all washed down with New Year feasts.
In just over 2 months the New Year will start and people will realise that they have gained 20 pounds during the holiday season as a result of eating too much and then in a panic renew their gym membership and try to burn off the fat.
This happens every year. 12 months is not a long time, but it seems to be just long enough for people to forget that eating too much makes them fat, unhealthy and often feeling that they have let themselves down.
Eating Makes Us Fat, So How Do We Lose Weight?
The most common mistake people make each year, at least the ones that say “I have tried everything to lose weight and failed” is that they think that exercise is the magical cure for being overweight.
We get fat because we eat too much. So why would exercise help reverse this? To reverse the effects of eating too much, you have to change your eating habits and eat too little. That is the only way to lose weight, whether you are exercising or not. Of course, the best course of action is to take preventative measures to ensure that you do not gain weight.
How To Burn Off 300 Calories A Day With Exercise
If you weigh around 200 pounds you will need to run for about 5 miles to burn off 300 calories. You have to be pretty fit to run 5 miles. And bear in mind that to lose weight consistently you need to reduce your daily calorie balance by about 500 calories for 1 pound per week weight loss, or 1000 calories for 2 pound per week weight loss.
So maybe running 5 miles a day is the answer – you at least burn an extra 300 calories a day, right? That is 1/3 of the calorie reduction you need to lose 2 pounds a week. There is nothing wrong with this logic, but it will take time for you to get fit enough to run 5 miles a day.
However, every year people continue to eat too much. And many people actually eat more after exercising, convincing themselves that as they are exercising they can eat what they want. This is a major reason why people fail to lose weight.
How To Add 300 Calories A Day With Eating
So lets look at the flip side to this. 1 single slice of white bread has about 100 calories. So a sandwich consisting of 2 slices of white bread, some butter (or other spread) and a sandwich filling, will be around 300 calories. Just one sandwich. We see this all the time.
People proudly announce that they have been to the gym 3 times in a week, and burnt off around 600 calories as a result. However, everyday they are still eating one sandwich more than their body actually needs, which is adding 2100 calories to their weekly diet.
It suddenly becomes very easy to see why you do not lose weight like this. Even if you go to the gym 5 times a week and exercise 30 minutes each time you will not burn off enough fat to help you lose weight.
Why Snacks Make You Fat
Every day overweight people are snacking on “just a sandwich” or a similar sized snack, to fill the gap between breakfast and lunch. Especially those that have just joined the gym. It is these small snacks that people so often forget to count when tallying up their daily calories. People have a habit of forgetting all the things that they eat and massively underestimate how many calories they are consuming.
Another common problem is “health snacks” and “protein shakes”. Many people think that health snacks are by definition healthy. They are not. OK, they may be low in saturate fat, some may be low in sugar. But if you current health problem is your weight, then all snacks may as well be classed as unhealthy. Anything you eat that takes you above your daily calorie limit for weight loss is unhealthy.
Protein Shakes Make You Fat
Protein shakes are another problem. People join a gym, lift weights for 20 minutes, and then read that they need more protein to make their muscles grow. This is true, but the average gym user gets enough protein in their diet to help recover from 20 minutes of weight lifting, and any protein supplements on top of their diet just adds more calories.
If you are following a very strict diet then protein shakes are useful as you can control specifically how much protein you are consuming. But if your diet is not strictly monitored then it is most likely you will just consume more calories than you need for weight loss.
How To Lose 2 Pounds a Week
The shocking truth is that if you want to lose weight you really do not need to eat much at all. 1000 calories a day will help the average woman lose 2 pounds a week. Any more and you will lose weight slower. This is like eating 3 sandwiches a day and nothing else. For men around 1500 calories a day will help lose 2 pounds a week. The general rule of thumb is to consume 1000 calories less than your maintenance requirements to lose 2 pounds a week. This table shows how many calories you need.
Most people will feel that this is too little. Some people will say that this advice is so bad that it could lead to eating disorders. This is really nonsense though. To lose weight you need to restrict calories. You will not starve to death on 1000 calories a day, in fact if done correctly you will not even suffer any hunger pangs.
How To Avoid Weight Gain During the Holiday Season
The only way to avoid weight gain is to eat sensibly. If you are going out for a big meal in the evening then eat less throughout the day and eat lightly the following day.
Always be aware of how much you are eating. Do not be afraid to say no to more food either. People will respect you for eating a small portion and not eating like a pig. They may not say so, but they will think it, and may even change their own holiday eating habits.
The holiday season is a fun time, but remember, you do not have to gain 20 pounds to have fun.