If you have tried every diet fad in the book and manage to shed the pounds only to gain them back in a couple of weeks, chances are you have an inflexible metabolism. According to the Boston Medical Center, an estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year and spend $33 million annually on weight loss products, but more than one-third of Americans are still classified as obese. Only five percent of dieters manage to keep the weight off while others continuously struggle to find an effective way to shed the pounds for good.
Dieters are often under the misconception that choosing a weight loss product or being part of a weight loss program will help them lose weight and keep it off — but that is only half the battle. In addition to a weight loss program, people must eat fewer calories than they burn in order to effectively lose weight. The best way to keep off the pounds for good is to increase one's level of physical activity, according to obesity researchers James Hill and Holly Wyatt, co-authors of the new book State of Slim: Fix Your Metabolism and Drop 20 Pounds in 8 Weeks on the Colorado Diet. To help you stay fit and maintain your ideal weight, Hill and Wyatt share their weight loss secrets with the Colorado Diet.
Dieters will often resort to crash diets to lose weight quickly by skipping meals throughout the day. This weight loss methodology does more harm than good and can actually slow down your basal metabolic rate (BMR) — the amount of calories that your body needs when you are completely inactive. If you consume less calories than your BMR, your metabolism will slow down as your body enters survival mode and takes more time to convert food into energy.
An inflexible metabolism is attributed to your body’s inability to efficiently burn food, according to Hill. “When you have an inflexible (unhealthy) metabolism, your body doesn't switch very rapidly between types of fuel (carbohydrates, fats, protein), and it's during these periods when it doesn't switch quickly that your body accumulates fat," he wrote in his book. If you are overweight or obese and are physically inactive, you may be at higher risk of having an inflexible metabolism.
In their book, Hill and Wyatt say that when you have a flexible, or healthy, metabolism, your body effectively burns carbohydrates, fats, proteins, or whatever food you consume. Metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch from one fuel source to the next. For example, your metabolism must have the capacity to switch from fats to carbs and from carbs to fat when there is supply and demand for energy, says T-nation.com. In order to improve your metabolic flexibility, you must increase your level of physical activity, which will promote health and weight loss. "I think metabolic flexibility is going to be the next big thing in weight loss and weight gain. I think it's going to be more central to weight management,” said Hill. With exercise, your metabolism will function properly and your hunger levels will be balanced.
Based on their work done at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and findings from the National Weight Control Registry, Hill and Wyatt have come up with two effective options for increasing your level of physical activity, reports USA Today:
1. A structured plan in which you work up to doing 70 minutes of planned activity six days a week.
2. A more flexible plan in which you do 35 minutes of planned activity, combined with moving more in your daily life. You measure your lifestyle activity with a pedometer. Lifestyle activity requires more movement throughout the day including walking from your car to the office, climbing stairs, navigating the grocery store, and chasing your child around the house.
To actively pursue and stick to an exercise regimen, Hill suggests to think of the physical activity in terms of how many steps you take per day. On average, 5,500 steps a day are taken by Americans across the nation, but the obesity researchers feel that this is inadequate if you want to maintain a flexible metabolism. "Simply adding an additional 2,000-3,000 steps will help many lean people keep a healthy metabolism and avoid gaining weight,” said Hill. Obese people who have an inflexible metabolism are recommended to take 10,000 to 11,000 steps a day to repair their metabolism.
Colorado is known for having the lowest obesity rate in the country — 20 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In light of this, Hill and Wyatt based their ideas on the habits of those living in the state. "We import a lot of healthy, educated people," said Anne Warhover, CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation, to PBS.org. Hill and Wyatt decided to share Colorado’s health wisdom with the rest of the world by outlining the following three phases of the Colorado Diet.
Phase One: This two-week phase is "a quick way to get weight off," says Wyatt. A dieter must choose from a list of lean proteins (chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, fat-free cottage cheese, lean beef, non-fat Greek yogurt), non-starchy vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, dark leafy greens), and healthy fats (almonds, olive oil, canola oil).
This also marks the phase where people begin to exercise.
Phase Two And Three: The dieters are encouraged to add more food choices during these phases as they moderately increase their exercise regimen to 70 minutes per day.
Hill and Wyatt suggest followers of the Colorado Diet to do the following everyday:
1. Eat six times a day and have a meal or snack every two to four hours.
2. Eat breakfast within the hour that you wake up.
3. Measure your food portions.
4. Include carbohydrates and proteins in every meal, and make sure they are an appropriately healthy measure.
5. Eat a healthy fat twice a day.
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