Undereating Weight Loss, Intermittent Fasting, And Other Tips for Slimming Your Body

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How can I lose weight quickly?

Are there any tricks?

Nothing ever works for me!

This week I am going to give you some solid advice on losing weight. I went from 240lbs to around 180lbs and have kept it off for several years by using many of the tactics discussed in this post. These are not all my ideas. I have learned them from personal trainers and health coaches throughout my adult life. 

We are coming into the holiday season which makes dieting very difficult. Someone is always bringing goodies to work, the kids will have way too much Halloween candy, and Thanksgiving will surely come with way too many calories. 

The following ideas are certainly not the only options available to keep looking your best, but they are the ones that have worked for me. Everyone is different so if another plan is working for you, stick to it.

So how do we keep looking our best year-round?

Remember, looking good and feeling good go hand in hand!

Exercise

I put exercise first because it is the most important. We all know the importance of keeping active but don’t always do it. Like many of you, I need to get back into the routine myself. 

Getting up early and exercising, even for thirty minutes, makes a huge difference. If you can do this the first thing in the morning, it will jump-start your metabolism for the rest of the day. It will also make you feel better.

Don’t try to kill yourself. Especially when first starting, go slow! 

I suggest checking in with your doctor if it has been a while since you have exercised. Be sure to stretch before and after, and drink plenty of water.

It is better to do light exercise than none at all. Try to pick something you enjoy. If you hate it, you probably won’t continue. If you can find a friend to join you, it can be much more enjoyable.

An early morning daily walk is a good start. Getting outside will also improve your mood. I once worked with a psychiatrist who prescribed outdoor morning walks for all of his depressed patients.

If you make exercise part of your daily routine, it will become a habit. 

There are no shortcuts here!  If you want to lose weight and keep it off, exercise is the best single weapon you have.

Drink a Lot of Water

There are numerous benefits to drinking a lot of water. Most of us do not drink enough. When my patients complain of constipation, the first thing I recommend is more water! This isn’t always what they want to hear, but it is beneficial. 

Water is also the best expectorant. If you have mucus building up in your airways, water will help alleviate the problem.

Drinking water helps you feel full. If the water is cold, your body needs to expend calories to heat it. Cold water can also keep your core temperature lower during exercise, which prevents overheating.

Water helps flush toxins from your body. It also helps your skin look younger by decreasing wrinkles. Drinking water keeps the mouth clean and can help prevent tooth decay. 

Water helps regulate body temperature by producing sweat. This is especially important in hot climates. It can also keep you from becoming dehydrated, which can cause headaches.

 Drinking water daily should become one of your healthy habits. 

Don’t Drink Alcohol!

I am going to continue to write about this subject. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to consume alcohol. When it comes to dieting, alcohol contains empty calories and impairs judgment.  If you are a person who can have one glass of wine at dinner and stop, then skip to the next subject.

If you are like I used to be and love beer, especially the high alcohol-laden microbrews, then you should take a look at the number of calories you are consuming. They don’t call it a “beer belly” for nothing.

I know you will all do what you believe makes you happy.

If you want to look good, alcohol will not help you achieve that goal, especially if you are over forty. It will not make you more healthy, and will not solve any of your problems.

Take it from someone who hasn’t had a drink of alcohol in ten years. You will feel better without it! 

Limit Salty And Sugary Snacks

This has always been my biggest hurdle. If you can stop snacking on junk food, you will lose weight much faster. Cake, candy, chips, ice cream, and pastries are all delicious, but they can be hard to stop eating once you start. 

These foods are loaded with carbs and “bad” fat. We all know what the culprits are. Almost always, they are the things we enjoy the most. If you don’t have the willpower, keep them out of your house.

Stay Far Away From Fast Food

I know it is fast and convenient. You had a hard day and didn’t want to cook. It is so easy to go through the drive-through and pick something up for dinner. 

The problem is a Big Mac has 540 calories, and 260 of those come from fat. Almost half of those calories are fat! If you add a large order of french fries, that’s another 500 calories of which 220 calories are from fat. So even if you drink water or a diet coke, you have just consumed 1040 total calories with 480 calories coming from fat. 

I don’t mean to pick on McDonald’s, most “fast food” joints will overdose you with calories. Skip the drive-through. Go home and make a healthy salad!

What To Eat

I’m going to share my rules with you.  Again, I don’t always follow them, but when I do, the weight always comes off. This is what I have learned:

Stay away from processed foods. This includes energy bars, boxed dinners, granola bars, and anything that is prepared in advance that has a long shelf life. These foods are full of salt, sugar, and preservatives. 

If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it! 

If it won’t spoil, don’t eat it! 

If there are seventy-two ingredients listed on the label, don’t eat it!

Pay close attention to food labels. You may think yogurt is healthy, but many flavored yogurts are full of sugar. It is much better to eat fresh fruit and plain yogurt. Try to find foods with high protein and low carbs. 

Here are some snack suggestions:

  • Peanut butter mixed with plain yogurt.
  • Almonds with blueberries, raspberries or blackberries.
  • Apple slices with peanut butter.
  • Celery sticks with cream cheese.
  • Cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • Bell peppers dipped in guacamole.
  • Cucumber slices with hummus.

Undereating Weight Loss

If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. If you plan on undereating, it is best to do this for a short period of time. Your body needs sufficient fuel to operate efficiently. 

 Undereating for too long can make you sick and negatively affect mood. I only recommend undereating for a brief period to help jump-start your weight loss and get you into a proper mindset. 

Losing weight quickly at first can give you more energy to keep working toward your goal. It is a great feeling to step on a scale and see a lower number pop up!

I once went on a diet where I didn’t eat any meat, no alcohol, no dairy, and no sugar. I survived on mostly broccoli and rice for six weeks. 

During this time, I went to the gym daily and worked out with a trainer. I lost weight so quickly that I had to change my workouts to three times a week. 

I do not recommend eating only broccoli and rice. It is too hard to stick to, it is boring, and it makes you grumpy. If you plan to under eat for a short period, stick to a balanced diet but eat less.

There are plenty of apps for your phone that can help you track your calories. I use MyFitnessPal. 

I want to emphasize that under-eating should only occur for a brief period. If you don’t eat enough calories, your body will go into starvation mode, and your metabolism will decrease. This is our body’s way of maintaining weight during starvation. When this happens, it will be harder to lose weight.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has become a popular weight-loss method. This is where you eat all of your daily calories during a short period. I was introduced to this by a pharmacist colleague. There are many different versions, but I will explain how I have used this method.

I usually skip breakfast anyway, so I skip lunch as well and then eat a large dinner. I did this for several weeks and was able to keep my weight steady without spending a lot of time exercising. I did buy some MCT oil and added it to my coffee in the morning.

MCT oil is a medium-chain triglyceride that is extracted from coconut oil. This oil is promoted to help with weight loss by making you feel full. It can be added to smoothies and coffee. 

MCT oil is also used in those utilizing the ketogenic diet. This is because it is low in carbs and high in fat. Intermittent fasting works for some people, but I have better luck with just skipping breakfast. When I skip breakfast and lunch, I tend to eat more unhealthy foods in the evening.

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Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carb diet. It is similar to the Atkins diet. The goal is to put your body into ketosis. This is a metabolic state which makes the body more efficient at utilizing fat for energy. 

This diet works for several people I know personally. I tried it but was unable to limit my carbs to the levels needed to succeed. If you can live on fat and protein, this isn’t a bad solution.

Although it is probably more work, I prefer the next diet.

Mediterranean Diet

This is the diet recommended by my physician. The Mediterranean diet comes from the food consumed by those living in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It is more of a cultural way of life than a diet. It was discovered that this population had a lower death rate caused by coronary artery disease.

This diet consists of daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Red meat is limited to a few times a month, and beans, eggs, poultry, and fish are consumed weekly. Dairy products are also limited to a few times a week. 

Olive oil is the predominant fat consumed in the Mediterranean Diet. If you want to give this diet a try, here are some pointers:

  • Eat more seafood. Consuming fish such as salmon, trout, or tuna twice weekly is sufficient.
  • Use healthy fats such as olive oil. Avocados are also a great healthy fat source.
  • Use spices to improve the flavor of your food. Turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, etc. all have added benefits.
  • Use whole grains for cereal, bread, and pasta.
  • Make fruits and vegetables your primary food source. It is best if you can consume seven to ten servings daily.
  • Consume raw or roasted cashews, almonds, and walnuts.

If you want an inexpensive cookbook to get you started, I recommend The Mediterranean Diet for Beginners: The Complete Guide. 

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I hope I have given you some useful information to help you shed some pounds and keep it off. 

There are many ways to lose weight. Some are healthy, and some are not. It boils down to planning, portion control, and willpower. 

Most of us know what foods are good for us and which foods to avoid. The problem is it becomes easy to fall into a lazy, comfortable routine.

If you plan your day to fit in some exercise and eat healthy food along with lots of water, it will pay huge dividends. I didn’t mention soda, but it is a weight loss killer.

 I enjoy my Diet Coke, but the evidence shows it leads to weight gain. Water is always the best beverage to enjoy.

Eat right, exercise, feel good about yourself, and have fun! You only get to live your life once. 

Please contact me with any questions or comments.

Live a Happy, Healthy, Healing Life!

Michael Brown in Lab Coat with arms crossed

Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP

Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.

Read Michael’s story here.

Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.

 

 

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