Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. That’s why 2/3 of Americans are overweight. There are a lot of forces working against us – sedentary jobs, junk food, television – the list goes on. As the American lifestyle becomes more convenient (walking -> cars; cooking -> fast food) our average waistline expands. Our technological innovations are great for productivity but horrible for our guts. Something has to change or we’re just going to get worse. It’s time we attacked obesity head-on.
So, back to my guaranteed formula for weight loss. Let’s analyze it.
Calories consumed – calories burned = net weight gain/loss
3500 calories = 1 lb of fat. In other words, if you consume 500 more calories than you burn every day for a week straight, you will put on 1 lb of fat (and vice versa).
Pretty simple, huh? Too bad it’s ridiculously hard to put this knowledge to use. Weight loss is 99% mental. You will have to fight your body harder than you can imagine, every day. You will have to display incredible self-control. The good news is that it gets easier with time. That’s why I advocate using a gradual weight loss plan. Even the smallest steps in the right direction will mean a better chance of adopting healthy habits for the long run. Below are steps you can take to set you off in the right direction. All of these are proven ways to keep you on the right track to a slimmer body.
Keep a food diary
Every time you eat something, jot it down in your diary. You can take it with you everywhere you go or do it at night before you go to bed (if you have a good memory). The act of writing foods down will make you think twice before mindlessly cramming that Twinkie down.
Don’t finish your plate
I know, this is going against everything your parents taught you. Since we were children we were taught to always finish our plates and that anything else was wasteful. Well, I’m here to tell you that is wrong. There is a great innovation available at most restaurants known as a “to-go box.” This little beauty allows you to take food home and eat it at a later time. Wow! My advice – stop yourself short a few mouthfuls short of where you are usually full. Before you know it these few mouthfuls will add up to thousands of calories.
Eat more often
There are many theories about why eating often is so effective for weight loss, but I think the most accurate one is this: it keeps you full. When you’re constantly eating little meals you don’t develop the hardcore cravings that come from extended periods of self-starvation. Many folks go for periods of 6 or more hours without eating at work, then proceed to wolf down a 2,000 calorie meal when they get home. This is what pigs do. They are starved throughout the day then are fed when their appetite is insatiable at night. This causes a feeding frenzy and more calories are consumed than would have been if they had eaten intermittently throughout the day. And THAT is why you should eat small meals, frequently. Aim for at least 6 per day – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack.
One treat every day
All of this sounds so hard Jay! I know, I know. Losing weight is hard. It can be utterly depressing giving up so many tasty foods. That’s why I preach the one-a-day treat method. Every day, treat yourself to one food or drink that isn’t particularly healthy but that you love. This is your reward to yourself for sticking with the program. A little chocolate treat after dinner never killed anybody! Also, by doing this you will have more motivation to continue with the program and not give up early.
One cheat day every week
Just like the “cheat” above, this is a way to keep long-term motivation. Pick a day of the week, say Friday. On this day you can eat whatever you want. Yes, I said whatever you want. Again, this may sound like weight loss suicide but I promise you it will keep you motivated to stick with your program for the long-term – and that’s what really matters.
You’re busy, I know. That doesn’t mean you can’t take 5 extra minutes to eat your breakfast (hint: set your alarm clock 5 minutes earlier). What is it with wolfing down food these days? Food was meant to be enjoyed. Let it sit in your mouth for a while – take in the flavors! The slower you eat, the less likely you will binge. Translation: eating slowly prevents overeating and keeps you looking good.
I have employed every one of these techniques in the past when trying to cut fat off my frame. They work. The food diary especially – if you’re serious about weight loss, this is probably my number one recommendation. Good luck and let me know which of these are most effective in getting you results!