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Two Easy Weight Loss Secrets

Updated on January 7, 2013

What's the secret of weight loss?

It’s no secret that to successfully lose weight your body must experience a deficit in calories and there are two ways to do this in a healthy way:

1. Decrease the amount of calories you take in, or

2. Increase the amount of calories you use up.

This two-fold ‘magic formula’ is the secret to successful weight loss. So, why are there so many people, myself included, who have wrestled with this problem for so long and ended up unsuccessful? Well, there are as many answers to that question as there are people struggling with managing their weight. But, I will tell you that whatever the ‘reasons’ are while they may be good explanations, they are mere rationalizations.

The key to successful weight loss is the above equation. It is that simple. Like it or not your body will drop extra pounds when you create a deficit, however, you have to find out what that deficit is. How do you find this out? By analyzing how active you are, how many calories your body burns off, (metabolic rate), and how many calories you will need to eat to maintain the body in a deficit mode per your activity level.

Losing weight: Two key components:

While all of this sounds complicated, it really isn’t. And, if you are serious about finding the answers for your weight loss equation there are tools that are available to simplify the math. Only two things are needed for this: integrity and will.

Integrity is a key ingredient to successful weight loss. If you are in denial about how much you really eat, (consider all of those hidden stashes you have around the house, garage, and car), or how active you really are then you are not serious about losing.

If you can honestly admit to how many calories you consume on a daily basis and how sedentary your lifestyle really is then you have the will, a.k.a. determination, to see your weight loss goal to the next level. It may shock you initially, (I know it did me), to learn how much food calories you actually consume in comparison to how much you burn off…but, the truth will set you free-free to move toward a healthier you.

Staying Fit

Five weeks ago I wrote a hub about the American Council on Exercise and their campaign against obesity.

While researching this hub I mentioned the President’s Challenge. It is a challenge that individuals or groups can participate in and they are award a certificate of completion signed by the President of the United States. The purpose is to get the American people to become more active. The ‘reward’ is the recognition by the current President, but the greater reward is moving to a healthy lifestyle that will continue long after the required eight weeks of monitoring.

After I wrote the hub I signed up for the challenge. I was determined that before I began my new job that I was going to get fit. Since I will be working a graveyard shift once again, I knew that it was going to be difficult to find time to exercise as frequently as I was doing; and there was the added threat of being awake during the normal circadian cycle of sleep.

Research shows that people who regularly are on shift work have a propensity for weight gain which can lead to health risks such as: elevated blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL levels, cancer, ulcers, and coronary heart disease.

I know this is true because of my own personal experience of weight gain, hypertension and abnormal lab levels during the four years I was sleep deprived from working the off shift. Therefore, I was determined to reverse this process…or at least lose before I gained more weight, since I have been assigned the midnight shift once again.

Choose your calories wisely

Salads do not have to be boring.
Salads do not have to be boring. | Source

Good health is a lifetime goal

One of the main things I would like to stress in this article is the importance of setting lifetime goals that are real to who you are as a person. I am a traveler. I am also a procrastinator. Too often I will leave for the airport later than I should, not considering traffic or road construction, and end up missing planes. On other occasions it will be such a tight schedule I will be running through the airport in hopes of not missing my plane.

Twelve months ago I became so winded and with heart pounding in my chest from running only a short distance, I became frighteningly aware of the poor condition I was in. With a family history of cardiac risks I was alarmed. Where had the agile ballet dancer gone? I was embarrassed, sad and defeated.

A series of events later led to a length of time off from the stress of work in which I was able to determine the direction I wanted my life to take. I had long given up on visiting the gym, but when I took the heartfelt and honest evaluation of my life, I went back to my personal trainer who had patiently been waiting for my return.

I told him my goal was to be able to run through the airport to catch a plane without being short of breath. For some this may seem like a silly goal but it was a practical one for me. In less than twelve weeks I have met this goal and I had envisioned it would have taken much longer.

On my return trip from Michigan, my lay-over in Charlotte had been changed. Instead of the extended time of sixty minutes it was a tight thirty minutes in which I had to literarily run from one terminal to the other. I had a briefcase and lap top in one hand weighing at least fifteen pounds, and carry on tote and purse, weighing another 15 pounds, in the other. It wasn’t until I arrived at the next gate when I realized that not only was my heart NOT pounding wildly in my chest, nor was I out of breath, but my biceps were just beginning to feel sore from the load I had carried. I was elated knowing I had successfully met that goal.

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Setting weight loss goals

I took the challenge five weeks ago. Thus far, I have lost seven pounds and unknown inches in my lower body. I have also gained! I’ve gained strength and endurance, energy, understanding and knowledge of the mechanisms of weight loss and a confidence that I can succeed in meeting all of my weight loss goals.

It’s important to set small, as well as big goals to strive for. My long term goal is to move from my current (overweight) BMI range to the healthy range-which means I need to lose another 19 pounds. At the rate I am going I should be able to achieve this by the end of the year. That is my target date.

When setting up small goals make sure they are realistic and measurable. Earlier this year I wrote a hub offering tips on setting goals. By following those steps you will meet your goals and experience a sense of accomplishment. Be sure to set something that will offer a challenge as well. This is how our confidence gets boosted. My next goal is to participate in the 5K in September.


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! Thanks for that Carol. I really have been curious as to how you have been doing. I got out of touch with HP and writing and communicating with you about this subject b/c I was ill for several weeks and didn't have the energy to even do a hub. (That's my measuring stick for how sick I really am...if I'm not writing, something is wrong!) So, thanks for connecting with me again. :) You'll have to tell me more.

    • carol3san profile image

      Carolyn Sands 

      8 years ago from Hollywood Florida

      Hi Denise. This is a perfect hub for me to link back to in my next hub. I wrote a poem about "My Transformation" (compulsive eating) and this hub seems to be perfect to back link to. Thanks for all of the good info. I voted you up.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Eiddwen, I'm so glad to know that you have found this hub beneficial. I really wish you much success and yes, please let me know your results! Thanks. Take care.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      9 years ago from Wales

      A great and useful hub which I am bookmarking and voting up.

      Will be so useful and I will let you know how I get on .

      Thank you so much for sharing and take care


    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Pintoman-thanks for reading and your thoughtful comments. I can't say I am liking the 'off shift' much. I have a two hour drive into work and it makes for a very, very long first night. After being on second shift for 4 yrs and FINALLY getting a day shift my body is rebelling. I am glad that I have been working out which helps. Now, I just have to avoid the junk food that the night shifters seem to bring in.

      Glad the hiking helped you lose the wt. I'm working my way into that with my sister when I condition myself a bit more. First up is the 5k in one more week.

    • Pintoman profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice article. I had been unemployed and sitting around writing and watching movies; my gut got progressively bigger. Back at work I couldn't lose either. I went backpacking for almost a month. Very little lousy food (freeze dried)and long hikes burned my gut off quick. Getting off the couch used to be annoying, (partly because I'm so tall I rationalized)but after standing up so many times with a 40 lb pack, well, the couch isn't a thought anymore. Funny thing about the shift work. I work the morning shift and for me, that is the off shift. Swing shift worked out for me much better, but can't do it now because of kid at home.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      I understand, tlpoague. It is not fun and I certainly am cautious when it comes to working out, esp the older I get. I recently pulled a muscle in my chest (pectoris?) And it radiates to my back in the scapula area (angel wing bone) and the side. I could not even bend over to pick something up without being in excruciating pain. It is better now, but I refuse to do any upper body work until it is properly healed which may take months. In the meantime I keep working on lower body.

      Sorry for the delay in my response-no computer and long two days at work. Good luck with meeting your goals.

    • tlpoague profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      I wish you the best of luck. I had goals set for earlier this year, but do to an injury I haven't met that goal. It has delayed me with my wanting to be lazy, but I have been fortunate enough that my son is encouraging me to get out and work it off. I will be late with my goal, but I am still working toward it. Great hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Sunshine, thanks so much for your encouragement.

      Binaya-I appreciate your sharing this hub with your family and friends. It seems so simple, yet it is such a challenge.

      Hi thebluestar--Thanks for sharing your experience. I know it is important to always be aware of our food choices and our emotions. It helps to undertand the keys to what compels us.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 

      9 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Great Hub Denise, I am a binge eater, once I get down even the dog isn't safe, I invade my cupboards like pac man invaded his games. But seriously, I do try to keep within 1/2 stone of my target weight, any more on than that and I fight with my conscience again.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      These days I see lots of people battling against over weight. I found this article very useful. I'll recommend this to my friends and family members.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      9 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Congrats with your weight loss and new job! Wishing you luck with the new, healthier you!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Taleb80-thank you so much for your support and cheers for my progress and new job. I sure appreciate it. Other than the long drive each way (1 1/2 hrs one way) I'm impressed with the hospital, staff and unit. I love that I am working at a teaching hospital. It really makes a difference and the comparison between it and the rural hospital I had worked at before is amazing.

      BTW, thank you for sending this hub forward through tweet.

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 

      9 years ago

      I hope you will enjoy your new job.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi everyone-Just got back here after having posted it three days earlier. Sorry for the delay in answering, but I just started a new job and it has been very demanding.

      I appreciate everyone's comments and well wishes.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      9 years ago from United States

      Great information presented in a simplified manner. The secret is that there is no secret for weight loss! Voted up, up and away!

    • katrinasui profile image


      9 years ago

      Great Hub! These days i am trying to loose weight. Thanks for the useful suggestions.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      9 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      great work... like you i'm also trying to loose weight and it really feels different when you start loosing those excess pounds and feeling more healthy.

    • timorous profile image

      Tim Nichol 

      9 years ago from Me to You

      Way to go Denise :) It seems simple enough, until you consider the motivation required. This is where many people fail in their weight loss attempts. It's also where making a goal comes in handy.

      Yeah, sometimes you need to be scared into making a change, unfortunately. So good for you. I'm sure you've inspired many readers into action. Cheers.

    • Credence2 profile image


      9 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Greetings, Denise, there is a multibillion dollar industry telling us all that the simple formula can be avoided if we just bought this product or that. Your article makes it clear that there are no shortcut, gotta do the heavy lifting if result are actual sought.

      Nice article, Cred2

    • sofs profile image


      9 years ago

      Great going Denise, inspirational stuff. Integrity is truly an important factor in losing weight and gaining health. Great research and information presented simply and in an interesting way.. thanks for sharing.. I am sure it would be useful to many :)

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 

      9 years ago

      It is very interesting to read a success story from some one you care about.

      Happy for you & I hope you will get your next target by the end of year.

      I feel happy to share this nice Hub & tweet it.

      Thanks for you.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great info. Denise. Motivation is the key, and you have given that here. I hope people will not think i'm a bragger, but i am thin 110 lbs. I have always weighed the same. I can eat anything, but i eat a balanced diet. I love sweets but only have one a day. I drink red wine in the evening, which takes away the desire to eat, plus red wine is good for you. I wish you much success, you may want to try the red wine. Thank you for sharing.

    • VioletSun profile image


      9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Denise, Congratulations on signing up for the challenge, seeing results already, and being on the way to meeting more goals! Glad you are starting a new job, as I remember the challenges with your boss that you shared in a older hub.

      I have changed the way I eat for the most part, when we food shop, we don't add the junk food we used to, so the temptation to eat high fat and high calorie food is not in our kitchen. And the funny thing is we stop missing the food that used to make us heavier and not feel so good in the end. Your tip on small goals and to work diligently is one I can use when it comes to exercise.

      Voted up!

    • viryabo profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice hub Denise.

      I totally understand the deep satisfaction one feels when one attains a set goal.

      I remember, many years ago, i was battling with weight problems (and it seemed all those around me had the perfect size), and i woke up one day telling myself it had to stop.

      I didn't know about the "two fold magic formula then", but i seemed to follow some rule related to the 1st formula. With the 2nd, i was a bit lazy about working out (still am) then.

      When i achieved the size i dreamt about day and night, after keeping focus on loosing weight, i was filled with joy. I set a goal and met it.

      It taught me that, as you rightly said, set small and even big goals, and work diligently to achieve them.

      Goodluck for September.


    • Cloverleaf profile image


      9 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Way to go Denise! This is such an incredible achievement so far, you are well on your way to reaching your goal at the end of the year.

      You really have put weight loss into excellent context in this hub - a simple mathematical equation. And it's so true!!! If we make things too complicated then sometimes we get overwhelmed.

      I'm going to forward this to all my dieting friends; I think they will appreciate the sound advice. Voted up/awesome.

      All the best,


    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Great hub with very useful advice and I liked the way you used your personal situation to illustrate it.

      Congratulations on making a good start to achieving your weight loss and improving your stamina and muscle strength.

      Also, good luck with your new job.

      Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 

      9 years ago from Lagos

      Great awesome hub. Wonderful tips gloriously penned down. Dear, your well written hub is the killer bomb for every fat person. So helpful. Voted useful and awesome

    • profile image

      Derinda Weber 

      9 years ago

      Great results and you are spot on when you say it really is a function of creating a deficit. Your added bonus is muscle tone increases metabolism. Nice article.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      9 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I know how good that feels. I try to keep to 123lbs but right I'm carrying 2 more naughty pounds.This morning I was 1/2lb lighter so it's on it's out of the door.

      Keeping working at losing it leaves feeling amazing.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love the way you have written this, setting short time goals to ultimately achieve the long term goal, feels achievable. Congratulations on losing 7lbs already!

      I'm off to read your goal hub.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      Good for you! I'm glad you're back to taking care of yourself so you'll be around longer for me to annoy, LOL! I've been looking at races that are on Sundays and am going to sign up for a 5K later in the fall.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great info that I so much needed. I have bought a rowing machine and will soon purchase the "stair master". I climb my stairs about 20 x a day on the days I exercise. I try to watch chocolate and sweets. I have a thyroid problem because of drugs that were prescribed that threw my thyroid out of wack. I try to incorporate all these things you have mentioned. good luck with your healthy journey of weight loss..take care & I voted up! :)

    • QudsiaP1 profile image


      9 years ago

      I loved the way you have written this hub, it is so true, we know what will help us yet we never actually attempt it.

    • cardelean profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Great information. You are well on your way to putting yourself into that great health category that you were in years ago. I'm proud of all of your efforts and your success thus far. Keep up the good work!


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