Do You Have A Weight Loss Strategy?
Everyone who is looking at losing weight needs to ask themselves one basic question before they begin to follow a diet plan. Simply put the question is, are you burning fat?
To accurately answer that question you need to understand how your body works and how your body sheds excess weight. Burning fat is used often as a way to lose weight but how to do it effectively is not always explained very well.
All Diet Plans Promise The Same Thing
All weight loss plans promise weight loss, in fact the promise is often in the name of the plan. Where some dieters have problems is when you try to develop a strategy to actually burn fat, not muscle or carbs, and take off unwanted pounds in a healthy manner. Part of the problem is usually setting unrealistic goals. Despite any claims from the diet plan, losing 5 pounds the first two weeks may not be a sign that you are on the right path to weight loss. Having a strategy means that you are planning for weeks and months of losing weight and keeping track of the steps taken and the results shown. Don’t just measure your success by the fact that your clothes fit a bit looser. That’s good for the spirit but isn’t a good way to measure your weight loss success.
Burning Fat Or Burning Muscle
Outside of using a surgical procedure there are two ways that your body gets rid of excess weight. One way is by burning muscle. This is an extreme action on the part of your body and usually is an indication that there is something terribly wrong. Burning muscle and muscle tissue can lead to catastrophic injury and damage and you will need to be under a doctor’s care to stop that process.
Burning fat is the safest and healthiest way to lose weight without resorting to surgery. Excess fat can be caused by a variety of reasons but simple math is involved when you are trying to lose weight. You need to be burning more fat and calories than what you are taking in. You don’t want to burn muscle tissue, it is a necessary component of your body’s system. You do want to burn fat, it is not a healthy component and is known to be the cause of numerous health issues.
When your body burns fat, chemicals called ketones are produced and your body goes into a medical state called ketosis. This is the chemical reaction that allows your body to burn fat for energy. Burning fat is exactly what you want to have happen. Burning sugar from any carbohydrates that you have consumed doesn’t help your system loss weight, in fact it can act in the opposite way. While your body produces energy from burning sugar and carbs it won’t allow you to lose weight. This means that your diet plan has to revolve around foods that are either carb free or very low in carbohydates.
Testing For Ketosis
One simple way to check how effective your diet plan is going to be is to use a Ketone test strip. These easy to use strips are great tools to help you see how successful you are in getting your body into a ketosis state for fat burning. Finding these strips is easy, most major drug store chains and supermarkets have them for sale. Sometimes they are found with supplies for treating diabetes, the strips were originally designed for testing sugar levels in diabetics.
Using the strips is very easy and you don’t have to draw blood to get results. Ketone strips rely on a urine sample, preferably taken when you first get out of bed. The strip will change color depending on the level of ketosis you are in. The packaging has a color chart to help you understand the results, and this test will give you an update on how well you are doing in your attempt to burn fat.
This simple test is wonderful for giving you an exact reading of your body’s current condition. If the results show that you are not in a ketosis stage yet you can adjust your diet to reduce your carbohydrate level. They can also point out any warning signs that you would need to address. One example would be a reading that shows you aren’t burning fat but the scale is telling you that you have lost weight. This could be a sign that you are burning muscle, a process that is not healthy.
Testing everyday may be too emotionally confusing, often you will end up seeing very little change each day. Try testing after the first week of your diet so that you have allowed your body to change. Measure every few days after that, your body should be in ketosis and your test strip results should start to be positive. Don’t change your diet plan too soon, you are creating a new way of creating energy for your body and it will take time.
Two More Diet Tips
Many people have lost weight following a low carb diet plan. There are some very popular plans that have been around for years such as the South Beach Diet and The Atkins Diet. Both severely reduce your carb intake to force your body to burn fat. While each diet has different recipes and recommended foods the idea is the same and that is to eliminate unnecessary carbohydrates.
Exercise is a critical part of any weight loss plan. Study after study have shown that just dieting will lose weight but dieting and exercising will help you lose more weight and keep that weight off.