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Weight Loss and the Snowball Effect

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Food & Drink
We all know the familiar story; you go through your teenage years and are quite active, maybe you play a little sport on weekends. Because of your high activity level and age your metabolism is also high so your weight is not a problem. Unfortunately this makes you complacent and you develop a taste for fatty junk food. You develop a habit of unhealthy eating because your metabolism helps you burn off most of the calories from the junk food and so the negative effects remain unnoticed.

As you move into adulthood your priorities change and you give up sports and focus more on work and social activities such as parties and drinking. You notice that you have some extra body fat but by now you've programmed your lifestyle habits into your subconscious and weight loss is still not a major concern. As you get to your 30's or 40's however you have a considerable amount of body fat and you start to see the health problems associated with your unhealthy lifestyle.

What you have unwittingly done in your life to date is set the snowball effect in motion, accumulating all the little unhealthy lifestyle habits along the way until the snowball has not only gained speed but has also become bigger year after year, and so have you. Like a large snowball rolling down a mountain, your health and body fat appear to be out of control and unstoppable.

The Good News
The good news is that you can use the snowball effect in a way to achieve health and weight loss by making incremental improvements to your lifestyle across multiple areas. This will cause your new weight loss snowball to grow and gather speed and lead you back to health. The most important thing to realize is that while you may not see immediate results from the slight changes to your lifestyle, the combination of incremental improvements across multiple lifestyle areas over time will achieve the weight loss you're looking for.

Here is a list of things you can do to start your new weight loss snowball rolling:

1. Get Active - To burn off some of the body fat and strengthen your heart you need to do some form of exercise. A good starting point is walking as it is a low impact, low risk activity. Start out with a short walk at first and aim to walk farther and for longer each time. Once you have improved your fitness a little incorporate some star jumps, perhaps stop half way through your walk and do some star jumps and then complete your walk.

2. Eat Healthier - Gradually replace high fat and high sugar foods with healthier alternatives. First start with perhaps one meal a day and progress from there. After a while you will be more accustomed to healthy food and will make better food choices.

3. Eat Smaller Meals - It is better to have more frequent small meals than three large meals, so try cutting down your portion sizes and have a piece of fruit between meals.

4. Cut out Sugar Drinks - Eliminate soda drinks from your diet as they wreak havoc with your blood sugar, add body fat, and interfere with your hormonal system.

5. Reduce Alcohol - Alcohol has the same effects as soda drinks on your body so try to reduce your consumption as much as possible.

6. Drink lots of Water - Water helps eliminate all the body's byproducts and is needed to flush the body of the waste associated with weight loss. It also helps give you that full feeling so sip a glass of water when eating.

7. Get Plenty of Sleep - It has been noted that a large proportion of the people who get inadequate sleep are overweight. This can be attributed in part to the effect that sleep deprivation has on the body's hormonal system among other things.

8. Eat Slower - Most westerners eat way too fast, which leads to poor digestion and overeating. Eat slower and savor your food and you will feel fuller on less food.

There is no quick fix when it comes to weight loss, but if you make gradual improvements across a number of areas, the combined effect will put the brakes on the obesity snowball and have your weight loss snowball rolling before you know it.