How to Lose Weight by Margie

In a society obsessed with how we look, we are bombarded with books and infomercials and foods and pills, pills, pills that promise to provide the magical missing ingredient(s) to solve our fat problem once and for all. Eating like a yogi will definitely make your body drop weight, but if you're like me and you like food, forget it. A diet of scotch and filet mignon may have proven effective for some, but I wouldn't trust my health to that doctor.

There are many factors that contribute to successful weight loss. What I do know is this: a plan based on informed common sense and self-discipline is the best approach to better health and a better body. If you want to see serious results, its going to take some physical and mental effort. And I mean work. So muster your determination and get your head straight. Quit screwing around and throw out your excuses. We know that a positive mental attitude is fundamental for progress. So focus.

What's A Calorie?

  • Scientists define a calorie as a unit of energy.
  • The number of calories consumed/burned directly affects our size/weight.
  • A calorie is a calorie and they all count - but a gram of fat has 9 cals. and a gram of protein or carb has 7 calories.
  • Activity burns calories (energy and weight). The more active you are, the more you burn, the more you can eat.
  • It takes approximately 1200 calories to maintain healthy bodily functions for the average woman. About 1800 for a man.
  • 3500 calories = 1 pound bodyweight
  • nutritiondata.com, calorieking.com, calorielab.com

Calories In

First of all, you have to eat. The starvation diet usually works when we're younger. But if you are a chronic non-eater and you can't seem to lose the extra pounds, that could be why.

Unless you are a pro/competitive athlete, its virtually impossible to burn 3500 calories, the equivalent of a pound, in one day. However, it is possible to consume the same amount of calories or more in a 24 hour period. If your diet is high in sugar or fat, you eat out and drink alcohol regularly, the calories add up very quickly.

An understanding of the nutritional value of foods is key to the whole "you are what you eat" thing and will raise your chances of success in the weight-loss game. For example, the butter you put on your bread is 100% fat and will end up on your waist. For the same calories or less, a juicy nectarine will fill you with fiber and water and antioxidants like vitamins A and C and you won't be wearing it tomorrow.

One step in gaining an awareness of what you consume is to keep a daily food log in which you will be absolutely, completely honest. Maybe it would help to find one of those old diaries that has a lock and key. That way you can be sure that the pint of ice cream you secretly inhaled while waiting for the kids will remain a secret. But you need to see it and remind yourself of it when you look in the full length mirror. There is probably a reason (ice cream, bread & butter) you are at the weight you are.

If your struggle is with your busy schedule and you eat out a lot, it is very difficult to calculate the number of calories in a restaurant meal. Part of the reason things taste better at a restaurant is because they are higher in fat and calories from sauces, etc. The only way to take control is to begin ordering your food as plain as possible, no sauces. Sauces are calorie grenades. Salad dressing, too. Order it on the side and try to measure a tablespoon of it at a time. Just realizing how many calories it has should change the way you view what you put in your body.

You've got to write down the alcohol consumption, too. In a bar or restaurant, you usually get the accurate serving-size measurement of alcoholic beverage, so you can add those calories easily.

Calories Out

Just as there are different types of calories, there are different types of exercise. No matter which type you choose, you are your own effort-meter so amp it up.

Let's take the hour-a-day recommendation. Six days a week. Plan your eating & exercise schedule, including your day off from exercise, at the start of each week. If you are not good at adhering to a pretty strict plan, you need to get over it if you want what you want - weight loss/better reflection in mirror/more confidence/better health. There have been times I almost cried through a workout because my hormones were in such a wad, but having done it, I accomplished the bigger goal. Keep your eyes on the goal. Its all about you.

Listen, I'm middle-aged and already arthritic in some areas. In my own life, living fit prevents severe depression and, reportedly, countless other ailments. How can you NOT take the necessary steps for preventive health?

If even walking doesn't work for you, its time to learn to swim. Yes, swim. If you don't use it, you're gonna lose it. To lose weight, you need to burn some of the calories that you consume. The harder you work when you do exercise, the more you'll burn. Keep the furnace burning. And remember: muscle weighs more than fat and it takes up less space. So you can be a fat 140 pound woman, or put on some muscle and shrink your size by lifting weights. I know, it doesn't really make sense but hear me now, believe me later.

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