Friday, January 4, 2013

How to lose weight safely and 'easily'

Most TV talk shows, radio programs,  and even some Internet sites have  information about losing weight.

Saw one yesterday about losing weight WHILE eating pizza and french fries - as much as you want apparently - and still lose weight!

Color me skeptical.

But let's be real, people DO want to lose weight, get healthy, look better - all of those things - and the reason these ads/shows are out there is because it brings eyes and viewers.

There is a pretty easy way to lose weight, but it doesn't sell a lot of books or advertising time. I'm going to share what took me about 18 months to learn. Remember I'm not a registered dietician, personal trainer, nurse, doctor, or television journalist. I'm just a chick that lost 80 pounds and is willing to share my secrets.
Eat right, move more.

That's really about it.

If you need to lose 40, 50 (or in my case 90)  or more pounds, there aren't a whole lot of tricks that are sustainable over the long haul.
Eat right, move more.

How does that look in real life?  How do you get started?

Take one week and write down everything that goes in your mouth. Don't worry about a bunch of changes, just write it down.  Also, take note of how many minutes you got yourself moving.

Then go through the whole week and start tallies of your food groups on a daily basis. How many servings of dairy, protein, grains, fruits, veggies, fats. Count them up honestly, and KNOW what a serving size is. For example a bagel at Paneras/Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts is about 2 servings, not one.

After you have your totals, look at where the adjustments need to come in.

According to the USDA, this is what you are shooting for every day:

Grains - 6 - 11 servings
Protein 3 - 4
Dairy - 3
Fruits 2 - 3
Veggies 3 - 4
Fats 1 - 2

Those are your goals. DO NOT worry about calories so much as aligning with those figures. The calories will naturally drop.

Now look at your exercise. You need 30 minutes every day. Walk, climb stairs, elliptical, bike, go to a mall and just move from one end to another. It may be hard the first time. Good. That will make your successes all that much sweeter.

(If you are a diabetic and/or under a doctor's care for any reason, ignore me and do whatever he/she says. They know a helluva lot more than I do.)

That's the plan in a nutshell.

Questions I know some of you have (and I know these are real questions because I actually asked every single stinkin' one of these over the last two years)

"What about the diet plans out there - Atkins, Paleo, low-fat, etc?" I think there's a place for them, but instead of getting caught up in a complicated, involved plan, how about starting simple? Start with what is easy, and get some weeks and months behind you with disciplined eating, then if you need something extra or something that seems like it might work, then try it.

"How do I time my meals? Do I want to eat everything early in the day?  In my experience, the timing doesn't matter. I went on a cruise in October and wondered if I would gain weight because our dinner was 8:15 every night. Not only did I NOT gain weight, I lost.

"I don't like breakfast foods." Fine, eat what you want - your body does not care if you eat 4 oz of ground beef with a bun at 6 AM or 6 PM. But do eat something for breakfast. Your body needs the fuel.

"I can't live without my coffee."   Me either, so be aware of how much milk you are putting in each cup and count that in your totals. Coffee happens to be my last, lone vice. I like having a vice.  The guys at Starbucks know my name. All good :)

"I don't want to be hungry."   Make sure your grains are as complex as you can, and spread your meals out during the day. Other than that, accept there will be a little hunger until your stomach shrinks. And on some days, the hunger will be bigger than others. Eat a bit more on those days, just don't go crazy.

"I'd go on a diet but I can't live without my (candy bar, chips, french fries, pizza, burgers, soda, whatever)."  Can you live with your current weight for the rest of your life? Then do so, but otherwise, something has to go. Cut your special item back to 1/2 of what it is now and see if that is sustainable. But honestly, if your afternoon candy bar is more important than losing 50 pounds, then have the candy bar and be happy. Otherwise, choose.

"This is going to make me miserable!"  If that is your first thought, then yes, you will be miserable because you've already decided you will be. Turn that thought around and think of what you will be able to do - walk, climb stairs, play with your kids, run a 5K, buy clothes in the regular size department. I guarantee you that you will NOT be miserable doing any of those things.

"You don't understand, I will have so much loose skin." Yeah, I actually DO understand. Been there, done that, own the T Shirt. This is my approach - my skin can either be smooth and filled out with flesh, or it can sag because there is just less of me. I choose "Door B" every time.

"I'll start tomorrow, next week, next month." Sure you will.  Instead - start the next meal. Write down what you eat, inform yourself.  Remember you aren't even dieting at the beginning, you are just gathering information. You don't need a special day for that. Your body does not care what when it is.

"It's too hard to diet." Wanna know what's hard? Hard is figuring out how to get food in your body every day, not just when you are dieting. Somehow we figure out what to eat when we want to consume 3,000+ calories a day, but when asked to cut back, that seems harder.

"I don't have the willpower." Again, you are right, you don't because you've already set your intentions that you don't.  Try this. Tell yourself over and over and over, until you believe it, "I can do this, I can eat right, I can move more." After enough days of hearing that mantra, eventually it becomes part of your mind set and before long, your life has changed and you become someone with willpower.

"What about lifting weights?" I love lifting, it's fun.  But don't worry about it at the beginning. Worry about 30 minutes of movement. Get some weight off, enjoy what you are doing, then decide if putting in strength training is the next step.

"I come home too tired to work out."  Then work out in the AM.

"It's too early to work out in the morning." Then work out in the PM.

"I'm tired." Of course you are, so what difference will a little more tired make? Seriously, just do it.

That's about it for my advice. Any questions I missed, feel free to ask, I'll be happy to share my experience. Maybe you can do it better than I did with less stress and less anxiety about losing weight exactly 'right.' There are so many 'right' ways. Yours will come to you when you sent your intentions to eat right, move more.

Thoughts to take with me today: The journey begins with one step and continues with love and joy.


  1. This is one of the best posts I have ever read. May I please keep a copy for my personal use? I've put a post on my blog with your link. I'm the old Mind Over Mouth (now deleted) blogger and I've used so many of the excuses you have in your post. This post has made my day!

    1. I wondered where your blog had gone! I always loved knowing that it was in Australia for some reason.

      Of course you can use it in any way that is helpful. One thing that is great is reaching out with common sense advice that attempts to cut through the hype and gimmicks. Face it, the weight loss industry has a bit of a stake in keeping people overweight and longing to be thin


    2. I've got a new blog going now. New Year, new blog, new me. Shall keep checking back for other inspiring posts in the months ahead!

  2. Such a great post! Fantastic advice!

  3. All commonsense advice that we all know actually works. But what it comes down to is actually doing it! Filling my brain right now with all the positives I can, including your blog. Have struggled all fall with knee and back issues - and the corresponding weight gain. Lots of depression and self-pity - and no good reason for it. Keep reminding myself: "Fall down 10 times, get up 11." My mantra for the New Year. In everything.

    1. Here's another one for you "Breathe in peace, breathe out stress." I must say that a hundred times a day some days. Does it help? I dunno, but ti's better than the alternative of thnking about how much I want to smack someone.

      Love to you always, always