Losing right kind of weight key to long-term results

“I’ve been on a diet for two weeks, and all I’ve lost is two weeks.” Is this famous quote from Totie Fields something to which you can relate?

Many of us find ourselves in the same frustrating situation. Dieting, losing some weight and then gaining more. Then we try another trendy diet some celebrity gushes about, and the cycle repeats.

If you want lasting and healthy weight loss that won’t come around again in a few weeks, months or years, there’s only one thing you need to target: fat.

The problem: Most diets aren’t geared to burning fat, but rather muscle and water. You’ll have to spend hours in the gym doing rigorous exercises while also minimizing calorie intake.

According to studies, that in itself can be a challenge. Why? Because muscle is required to burn fat. Muscles fuel metabolism. The amount of calories you burn is dependent on those muscles. So when you lose muscle, your metabolism is reduced and your body becomes less capable of burning fat.

If you eat very few calories, your body’s tendency is to go into defense mode and compensate for the loss. How does your body do this? It slows down your metabolism so your body burns fewer calories. Counterintuitive, isn’t it?

As soon as you stop dieting, not only do you gain back the weight, but you usually gain more than you lost. The cycle goes on like a yo-yo. A Tufts University study conducted in 2007 revealed low-calorie diets produced losses of about 10 pounds over six months, but that weight was regained within a year.

Most diet plans are too unrealistic, complicated and expensive to sustain. A Forbes study put the average cost of popular regimented diets at $85.79 a week, excluding the hundreds of dollars spent on expensive gym equipment or memberships — not that working out isn’t a great companion to any diet.

Fortunately, there’s a way to break the yo-yo dieting cycle to get healthier and fit for life.

Your weight loss program should consist of two parts. The first 90 days you replace two meals daily with a high-quality energizing protein shake, high-quality snack bars and teas and a metabolic booster. The second 90 days is a maintenance period in which you’re taught how to keep the inches and pounds you shed off for life.

Smoothies and teas should contain leucine, taurine and catechin extract —natural components proven to burn fat while retaining muscle. Smoothies and teas also should be low in sugar and rich in fiber and protein, important players in weight reduction.

Leucine is a special amino acid that promotes muscle growth while decreasing fat.

Taurine is a natural energy booster that enhances mental and physical alertness. The results of a study published in the Journal of Biomedical Science, found taurine also increases the body’s ability to metabolize fats and enhance insulin control, so hunger is curbed.

Catechins are flavonoids that enhance your body’s ability to use excess body fat for energy. The results of a 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that out of all natural sources, catechins from green tea are the most efficient influencers of weight loss.

Protein has tremendous benefits for curbing hunger and burning fat. Protein builds cells, tissues and muscles. Remember: the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn. It also helps you feel fuller longer because protein is more complex to digest than carbs and fat. Protein is the most difficult macronutrient to convert to fat and also the last to be used by the body for energy stores.

Fiber slows down glucose released in the bloodstream, which helps regulate the rate at which energy is used in the body. Fiber is easy to digest and makes you feel fuller, so you absorb fewer calories.

With this program, you’re encouraged to graze on small meals every three hours instead of gorging on three big meals a day. Studies show eating small, frequent meals helps regulate insulin. Insulin regulates fat metabolism and manages blood sugar levels.

When you binge and eat heavy meals, your body releases more insulin to keep up with an abnormally elevated blood sugar level. To cope, the body retains more fat in the tissue. You could experience energy dips, sluggishness and debility.

Consuming three light main meals with two healthy snacks allows your body to cope slowly, but steadily. This keeps insulin levels well-controlled so your metabolism becomes more efficient at burning more calories. You lose more fat even as you rest.

Results last because the program encourages moderation, not starvation, by incorporating the right natural nutrients that help your body maintain muscle while trimming down fat. It also teaches you how to maintain the momentum after you’ve lost fat. It’s geared for long-term, not transient and modest weight loss.