Dieting Success: Love Your Skin, Fat to Thin

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BMI...Ugh

I’m currently less than thrilled with my Body Mass Index (BMI) ranking. It’s a black spot on my impeccable health record to date. My dentist says I care better for my teeth than he does his. My eye doctor marvels that I read the teeny tiny “manufactured in…” line at the very bottom of his eye chart. My dermatologist remarks she wishes all her patients were so diligent with their annual skin cancer screenings and corresponding skin care preventative practices. Even my general physician commends my daily care routine: keeping tobacco out of my life, alcohol consumption to reasonable rates, and physical exercise to at least 30-60 minutes every day.

None the less, my MD confirms my BMI is not where it should be, namely it’s too high. I’m not obese, but rather over weight, according to the index. Now I’m not shy. I’ll confess I should weigh 135 lbs., according to the BMI, and I weigh 175 on my 5’7” frame. Well, everyone I’ve asked, even my doctor, says 135 lbs. would be too skinny for my height. I would look emaciated. But 145-150 would be much better. GREAT! I totally agree. Getting there, however, is another story…and it’s a tale we've all heard over and over before.


Mission Impossible?

Drop the weight in a healthy manner and keep it off. Easier said than done, but why is that? It’s a simple mathematical equation, right? Obviously I need to decrease my caloric, saturated fat, and carbohydrate intake while increasing my caloric burn every day. Hah…simple. Well, we wouldn't have aisles of products, from treadmills to appetite suppressants, in every store in town if losing weight and keeping it off was simple. I wonder if there are conspirators out there making sure we have too many luxuries in our lives so we find ourselves needing to buy these products? That’s for another hub at another time. Back to point…why can’t reducing intake and increasing output be as simple as it sounds?

There are so many answers to that question. Some we recognize, others we try to ignore. I find myself in a battle with the masses trying to achieve the same goal. Many are successful. Many fail miserably. Many cheat to succeed. Many don’t even try to succeed because they don’t want to, or feel they are destined to fail. Whatever your place in this war I’m in, we all know one thing is true, the numbers don’t lie. If a medical professional says you need to weigh less, you owe it to yourself to take action and give it your best shot. Why? You deserve to love the skin you’re in.

Though I once thought the BMI was just a torture device, it’s really more a guide to be sure we’re doing what we need to stay healthy. Moreover, the benefits of looking in the mirror and feeling good about your reflection are also really important to self-esteem. But this is a race that is up to you. And that is what makes it sooooo challenging. It’s like graduating from school and joining the working class. Getting to work, keeping your job, meeting your goals, it’s all on you. Succeed, fail, do whatever you want. It’s the same with weight loss endeavors. All I can say about that is may the force be with us all.

If It Seems Too Good to be True, It Probably Is

So, I’ve looked at the products that offer to slim you quick. I’ve looked at the exercise equipment you can stock up on. The gadgets, the meal replacements, the video programs, the uber muscular people on TV, promising results with whatever products they endorse. Wow…what an industry! Call me crazy, but for me I’d rather keep this game simple. Can’t we look at this logically? I say we can! Sure…the results may not be as quick as if you cut out all bread and pasta forever. But I think if you change your lifestyle rather than buy into some radical fad concept, you may be more successful. Challenge extended!

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Let’s Get Things Started

So back to the “increase physical burn, reduce intake” idea. How can that be done without losing one’s sanity? I’m going for baby steps. I for one am not the sort of person who is interested in regrets. I don’t want to be crossing the street one day when a bus decides to occupy the space I’m currently occupying and the last thought that goes through my head is, “darn it, I should have eaten that donut this morning after all.”

So let’s review some of the quick & easy tips that we’ve seen here and there from sources we trust, like our doctors. I think the key is to be sure to do things you can tolerate without snapping. We’re trying to lose weight and stay sane.

  1. Cut your sugar intake: get rid of soda drinks entirely or at least step down to diet soda. Save dessert as an occasional treat. Pass by the candy bars at grocery check out. Eat Italian ice or frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Use 100% fruit juice or honey as a healthy sugar substitute in your beverages (note: the warning labels on sugar substitute powders scare me).
  2. Reduce your fat intake: try the turkey burger instead of beef. Spread margarine instead of butter. Swap McDonald’s for Subway. Use 1 whole egg and 2 whites for your omelets. Make a fresh salad instead of opening canned veggies.
  3. Cut your portions: whatever you order out, or bring to work, or plate up at your table eat half of it (slowly…savor it) and then stop…ask yourself, can I save this for later? Leftovers for the next meal…score! If not, maybe eat the other half later in the day, as your snack.
  4. Trade white for whole grains: wheat bread instead of white, whole wheat pasta and flour tortillas, whole wheat chips…the more whole wheat instead of white flour the better.
  5. Eat more (yes, more) fruits and veggies: preferably fresh, but every effort makes a difference. It’s harder to be hungry if you meet your daily requirements (5-8 servings of fruits and then 5-8 servings of veggies). If you like canned items go for the ones in water or 100% fruit juice instead of heavy syrups. Feature both at every meal AND every snack.
  6. Drink more (yes, more) water: if you’re not a fan, find a low sugar way to get on board with it. Cut your fruit juice or sweet tea in half, or more, with water (try sparkling, for fun).If you’re disciplined, just tell yourself you’re not allowed to drink anything but water until you meet your daily quota. Whatever works.
  7. Move even more in your daily tasks: make multiple trips upstairs to retrieve items you need. Walk your dog instead of letting him out in the yard. Walk your kids to school if feasible. Bike to work if feasible. Do a little house and/or yard work each day. Park your car further away from your destination. Save the movies or video games for rainy days. Pace around your office. Take the stairs. Get outside – hike, swim, roller blade. Skip the Wii bowling for actual bowling. It all adds up! Bonus, this could improve your sleep because you’re body will need extra rest after a day full of motion!

Stay Calm and Carry On

All the tips above should yield big results, over time. Be patient with yourself and know that the more you work on this, the sooner your success will be reaped! Remember keep it simple AND keep your sanity. Don’t punish yourself…that’s how you start feeling deprived…and when you feel deprived you want even more sugar, fat, etc. If you want that donut calling to you from the office break room, have it. Then skip the pie after dinner that night. If you don’t want to skip the pie, add on another half hour to your evening walk. If you’re too tired to walk, go back to skipping the donut and/or pie idea. If none of that appeals, lighten your meals throughout the day. And if all that overwhelms you, don’t be surprised if the pounds stay put until you do something to make the equation balance.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

When you fall off the wagon, don’t curse and cry…just keep at it. For certain, don’t give up. Celebrate every victory. Learn from your mistakes. If a double Garlic Hot n’ Blue burger with cheese fries is what you want…order it. Drink water with it, or light beer or diet soda, or skip the ice cream sundae dessert. Or go all out, eat it all, and then challenge your kids to a soccer match afterwards. If you give it your best try, I wouldn’t be surprised if your rings start slipping from your fingers, and your belt loops need tightening sooner rather than later. Remember, less in, more out. Here’s to success!

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