3 Elements to Sustainable Weight Loss
- “Simple Math Program”
- Mindful Eating
- Long View
I realized in the post on reducing your health care costs I advised you under #4 to control your weight, but didn’t give you any concrete tools to do so. So here they are in today’s posts “Sustainable Weight Loss: Parts 1-4”
Simple Math Program: Calories Expended Exceed Calories Ingested
You’ve tried “South Beach”, the “Blood Type Diet”, Weight-Watchers, possibly others. If you’re in the lucky 10% who “diet” and maintain the weight loss, congratulations! If you belong in the other 90% who diligently followed the diet and didn’t lose weight, or who gained it back, read on.
No diet works without simple math. The converse is also true: ANY diet works if calories expended exceed calories ingested for the duration of the “diet”. To maintain a desired weight, intake must equal or be less than output.
The simple math program isn’t a fad diet. You can use it alone or with any of the above-mentioned, written-by-the-famous-so-and-so diets. You could even apply it to the Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream diet (My favorite–you eat nothing but chocolate ice cream as long as you limit your total daily calorie intake to 900 calories/day–or about 3 scoops of Haagen Dasz chocolate. Just make sure you also have a salad somewhere in there for “balance”).
Here is the *secret success* to weight loss: Expend more calories in a day than you take in and you are *guaranteed* to lose weight.
The Simple Math Program expressed mathematically in 2 ways:
- weight change = calories ingested – calories expended;
- if the resulting value is a negative number you will lose weight. If it’s a positive number you will gain weight.
- calories expended > calories ingested = weight loss
Although it may be “simple” the “simple math program” is not EASY. The key to success with any “diet” is Mindful Eating.
To be mindful is to be presently conscious of and accountable for your actions and the world you create around you. Mindful eating encompasses a broad range of behaviors from being aware of everything you put in your mouth and how it affects you long-term (for the obsessive-compulsive club); to merely planning ahead and developing a simple eating program that doesn’t require a lot of mental acrobatics to incorporate into your lifestyle.
Mindful eating involves making conscious choices to maximize high-nutrition foods and minimize low-nutrition foods.
Three “P’s” to mindful eating are:
Please note: Fasting or eating just one meal a day is not a good idea for sustainable weight loss:
Fasting resets your metabolism into “starvation” mode and can actually lead to weight gain if not done in a healthy way. If you enjoy fasting for self-cleansing or religious reasons, limit it to a 12 or 24-hour fast once weekly. Make sure you drink plenty of water when fasting or you will dehydrate yourself.
Sometimes thirst is perceived as hunger. If you’re “constantly hungry” or feel hungry between meals (see Post #2 under “planning”), you are probably dehydrated. When you feel the urge to reach for food between meals or snack times, drink a large glass of water instead, and I’ll bet you 10-to-1 the sensation of hunger dissipates. Try this and let me know if it works for you.
Alternatives to water for non-water drinkers:
coffee or tea (no caffeine after noon if you have sleep issues)
iced tea or coffee (ibid on the caffeine)
diet, caffeine-free soda
water with lemon or sliced cucumbers and ice
herbal tea–iced or hot
enjoy unsweetened varieties of drinks such as tea and coffee, it can help you appreciate the flavors within
Stay tuned for “Sustainable Weight Loss: Parts 2, 3, and 4” to be published later today.