Greetings! I was not planning on my first blog being about weight loss, however, since I'm constantly being asked... here you go!
Everyone knows the negative aspects of being overweight; heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.It is suggested that losing only 10% of body weight can lower high blood pressure and cholesterol.
I have been very lucky to have recently lost weight, and be able to move around freely with my body.It wasn’t that long ago, I could barely get up a flight of stairs, without huffing and puffing.Generally, when I see someone I haven’t seen in a while, the first thing they ask is how much weight I lost.The second is - ‘how did you do it’.I’m guilty of doing this myself in the past.I think people are waiting to hear that you took a magic pill, that you are withholding some deep dark secret, or that you awoke one fantastic morning 60lbs lighter.It’s not all that difficult, so, I’m going to tell you how I did it, and how you can too!
First things first…Terminology
People almost always say “I’m going on a diet”.This statement indicates that eating, a function needed to survive, is like a merry go round, where you can just get on and off as you please.This is NOT so!!!In order to lose weight, and keep it off, your entire lifestyle MUST be changed.This is how people end up losing weight, then putting it all back on, once they hit their goal. They go “off” their diets, and right back to their prior eating habits, and the weight comes right back.Stop going on and off diets, (believe me, I tried them all) and become a healthier individual, it’s much easier!When you toss the diet books, and accept that eating properly is the way to go, you’ll see the pounds start to melt away.
Calories and portion control
Somewhere along the line, we began to think of a 24oz steak as a serving for one.My stomach churns at the thought of how much food I used to consume and how I thought it was “normal”.Portion sizes are OUT OF CONTROL.We eat far too many calories for our bodies to burn in the mostly sedentary society we live in.To lose weight, effectively, you MUST cut your calories.
A simple math equation to find out how many calories you should be eating to lose weight is: your current weight X 7.So, if you weigh 200lbs, you should be eating approx. 1400 calories a day.(remember to adjust the calories accordingly as you lose weight)
Now, you could spend those 1400 calories on a Big Mac and some Ho-Ho’s, BUT, that’s not going to fill you up and keep you satisfied all day long. Lots of fruits and/or veggies and a 3-5 ounce portion of meat/protein is a good low calorie meal.This seems pretty simple and basic right?It is.We make it far more difficult than it has to be.
A friend of mine showed me a great tool for keeping track of calories, www.fitday.com.It is easy to use, tabulates the calories and fat for you, and forces you to see what you are eating everyday, from the cream in your coffee to the brownie you had for dessert.(I am by no means endorsing fitday, it’s simply a tool that has helped me)
My least favorite.I NEVER, and I mean NEVER, exercised!In school, I didn’t participate in gym, I never participated in sports, I was never active, ever!There are so many people in this same situation.Maybe you were active when you were young, but now, your job requires you to sit at a desk all day?Whatever the case may be, you MUST move.When people ask how much I exercise, I generally say that I TRY and get some type of exercise (for me, it’s usually brisk walking) for an hour almost every day.Once you get into the habit of exercise and enjoying the benefits, you will look forward to it.
What is fiber?Where do I find it?These are other questions I get asked.The human digestive system requires AT LEAST 25 grams of fiber a day.Generally, average Americans are eating less than 10!No wonder there are so many ads for stomach remedies!Here is a link for a dietary fiber chart.You can look up foods and see how many grams are in that particular food.
An easy way to add fiber is to switch from plain pasta to whole grain pasta, white rice to brown rice, white bread to whole grains, green veggies, and fruits.
Everyone carts a water bottle around with them these days.That water bottle seems to last them all day long.This is NOT enough water to maintain proper bodily function.Drink A LOT of water.When you think you’ve had enough, drink some more.
These tips all may sound simple and basic, but it’s really all it is (along with the determination to feel better), it’s amazing how we will sometimes forgo the basics for something more difficult.In order to become a healthy person, you have to put healthy things into your body.This is not to say I don’t have a cookie, or a drink when I want one.I certainly do have those things, but I’ve learned control.Whereas, 6 months ago, I would have eaten a handful of cookies and gone back for more, then had dinner with a few glasses of wine, I now have 2, and remember to account for them.
It’s so easy to “fall off the wagon” and say oh, I screwed up lunch, might was well, finish off the day and eat whatever.This is called binging, if you eat more than you should, brush it off and keep going forward.
There are a few other basics I stick to, like preparing just about everything myself, with the exception of breads and cereals.Generally speaking, if it’s processed and packaged, and all you have to do is add water to make it edible, it’s probably full of calories, fat and sodium and not your best choice.
I opt for low calorie or low fat versions of most everything, omitting oils and butter from most recipes.
A reminder I use when I think I want to stop is from one of those weight loss shows on television.After losing about 20 lbs the trainer handed the contestants 20lbs of weight to carry as a reminder of how much they lost from their body.6 months ago, had you handed me 85lbs and told me to carry it around all day I would have laughed at you, but that’s exactly what I was doing on my own--as are most of us (maybe not to that degree though).
Best of luck to all of you searching for health and wellness!