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Since when did healthy eating and exercising become a journey or adventure?  Lately I’ve been hearing the also more commonly misused term “diet” combined with journey/adventure.  Is it just me or is it strange for someone to compare dieting with the great adventurers such as Captain Cook, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan?  Does one compare finding the gym down the street with Christopher Columbus finding the American continents?  Losing weight, in my opinion, should not be of a journey/adventure but more of a lifestyle change.  The term ‘journey’ is defined in the dictionary as, “progress from one stage to another” but they do all come to an end.  Most of the time, a journey will continue until a destination is reached and then the return is necessary to make it a journey.  Weight loss should be about becoming healthy, not about the number on the scale but rather that one has changed from unhealthy to healthy.  It is for a lifetime, instead of an adventure to the unknown.

Losing weight to a normal BMI is not an adventure or journey–it’s survival for some people while others it’s a way of re-education on how to live properly.  A few years back I returned from Japan extremely overweight, tired and mentally irritable.  Or was the last part just due to fatigue from my return to university to complete my 2 degrees?  Whatever the case, becoming healthy to me was not a journey to lose a ton of unnecessary weight.  Rather it was getting to a healthy weight/BMI for my body and doing it the healthy way.  It was not the number on the scale, it was the mere fact that I learned to love myself, to eat 3 main meals a day and a few snacks, to exercise at least a few times a week and what to eat for a healthy long-term body.  Now, I’m not saying it’s easy (it’s extremely hard) but this is all necessary to make a journey into a lifestyle change.

Hence, similar to the education I was receiving at the time, one must re-educate and remodel ones’ thought process on what is good for the body and what is not.  It’s simple, weight loss comes down to healthy food, healthy nutrition and exercise.  It’s not different whether you’re a canine, feline, kangaroo, or even human, it’s always the same.  Some might say “well, my genes make me gain weight faster than others.”  Numerous studies have found this to be a myth and the real cause of gaining weight is due to diet and exercise.  There is a disease called “Prader-Willi Syndrome” which does in fact make you never feel full but this disease is very rare to around 1 in 10,000 people, some statistics show an even smaller occurrence.  A year ago I watched a BBC show that showcased a few people with this syndrome and it was indeed a challenge.  The members did in fact lose weight with supervision while being guided to eat healthy and get exercise (everyone can do it).

http://article.wn.com/view/2010/05/10/PraderWilli_Syndrome_featured_on_Extreme_Home_Makeover_What_/#/video  So beyond those with Prader Willi Syndrome, scientists have stated that while there are a few “fat genes” that can make your body store more fat than others and etc, it is not a reason to be obese.  The other day I even found Kaleo who is “a 40 year old mom who reversed obesity and PCOS with exercise and better food choices”.  For the majority of people, it all just comes down to poor nutrition and lack of proper exercise that makes us overweight.

Notice I stated poor nutrition first, mainly since 80% of every obese person has a poor diet.  It’s hard to understand what is good for the body when marketers are targeting those looking to lose weight.  This does not mean one needs to skip meals and/or subtract items from ones’ diet.  Now before anyone mentions it, I do subtract meat and animal byproducts from my diet.  Please do not be confused with a reason why someone becomes vegan though since most of the time veganism is about ones’ love for animals instead of losing weight.  In my case we chose a vegan diet to subtract cholesterol from our bodies since it only comes from animals.  Then as I kept researching/studying healthy books/journals/research studies, I understood the connection with health and not eating any animal products at all.  It’s a personal choice and although I’m vegan I would never look down upon someone whom chooses do to the opposite.  Either style of diet you chose (vegan, vegetarian, carnivorian), one has to remember the simple rules to proper weight loss diets.  Diet= food you eat to supply the body to continue functioning.  Hence, one should never stop eating something – just moderate how much you have of something (even if it is unhealthy).  It’s okay to have an oreo here and there but just make sure not to eat the entire box in one sitting.  Additionally, eating every few hours is scientifically proven to be essential to lose weight properly without malnutrition.

But firstly, one needs to learn to eat from the 4 groups essential to sustain the body and to lose weight.  If these aren’t eaten, your body will be at risk of malnutrition maybe not today but down the road.

1.  Carbohydrates = energy.  Not only this but simply put they help proteins in the body.  Many people make this mistake and subtract carbs 100% from the body.  It’s a mistake since over time, yes you might lose weight, but it’s in the form of protein which makes the bodies’ muscles.  The body will weaken over time, takes longer for younger people, but it’s happening beneath your skin without realizing.  If you have problems digesting carbohydrates, try eating more during lunch instead of dinner to give time for your body to digest. (50% daily nutritional calories)  *Please do not confuse carbohydrates with gluten! Backup Resource Example 1, 2, & 3

2.  Proteins = special form of nitrogen only in proteins; equalizes hormones; regulates pH and most importantly among others is it benefits muscle growth.  When muscles are weakened due to lack of protein, one’s body goes into a form of starvation.  Many people eat too much though, so double check you are eating the proper amounts.  (10-35% daily nutritional calories) Backup Resource Example 1, 2, & 3

3.  Fats = healthy cell function; gorgeous/healthy hair/nails/skin; maintaining body temperature; insulating body organs and much more.  (Less than 10% daily nutritional calories)  *Good sources are peanut butter, nuts, seeds and oil Backup Resource Example 1, 2, & 3

4.  Vitamins & Minerals = protects against diseases and viruses; helps metabolism in the body; assists in removal of wastes and much more.  There are 13 essential vitamins just to stabilize the body.  Many people don’t know they’re deficient until another secondary problem arises.  Physiological consequences = diarrhea, sore teeth, anemia, tingling in the hands, fatigue, poor wound healing and so on. Backup Resource Example 1, 2, & 3

Now that we’ve gone over the basics it’s important to note each and every one of you need at least 3 course meals a day1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 Yes, at least 3!  Studies have found people losing weight tend to go into starvation mode when a meal is missed.  At first your body will be okay with not having food every few hours on a minimal 2 meal diet but after a while it will start to eat away at your muscle instead of fat.  Basically this means you are going to lose all that muscle you exercise to get which in turn will result in decreased health after a while.  (Trust me, all the experts and research studies conducted state this…) Additionally, women never go under 1200 calories in a day and men never under 1800!  Your body, especially your brain needs at least 1200 calories to perform properly. Again, your body may be okay with it for a bit of time, but ask any person with an eating disorder and he/she will tell you the negative effects such as organs not functioning, loss in brain function, nail/hair/skin weakening and so on.  Backup Resource Example 1, 2, & 3

Finally, I hope that all my readers will be encouraged to eat healthy, eat enough throughout the entire day and exercise at least a few times a week.  By doing so, we will all achieve a healthier, happier life for years to come.  Weight loss is all about learning how to live to the fullest, not just for a short period of time (journey) but for the rest of ones’ time on earth.  Now go get a healthy snack…

**Please note I am neither a dietician nor a medical professional.  All information has been from over 15 years of research and personally studying the subjects mentioned in this article.  Each statement is my own, unless otherwise noted and linked to an original resource. Additionally, I have added some external links that not only back up my knowledge on the subject but gives further information to continue your own research on the subject.