Friday, April 6, 2012

Lesson 2: Intro to Weight Loss

At first, it seems a little weird that the introduction to weight loss is the second lesson - but I guess the idea was to get us started by setting goals and then work in the rest of the facts. I guess it doesn't really matter - I am just following the program here. So, I will get on with it...

This information is based from a Diabetes Prevention Program funded by the NIH. Surprise, surprise, the study found that easting right and exercising reduced your risk of diabetes.

This program supports making gradual, healthy, and reasonable changes. No cold turkey here. No instant changing everything. I knew there was a reason I liked this plan! This plan is designed to help lose 1-2 lbs per week.

We may be a bit unsteady at first, but we will get stronger!

The key to weight loss is controlling calories. You have to eat less and exercise more. Yep - that simple. To lose 1 pound you need to burn 3500 calories (eek!) more than you eat. To do this, you need to create a deficit of 500 calories per day. If you want to lose 2 pounds, you need a 1000 calorie deficit. Oh - the standard 2000 calories per day recommended - that's for average height and weight people. Those of us that are short - should be more like 1700 calories (what????).

Remember, these are just averages. Your metabolism rate changes things as well. BUT, most of us do NOT have a high metabolism -so that's not much of a help. (SIGH).

So, how do we do this?

  • Exercise AT LEAST 2.5 hours per week (~750 calories)
    • Pick activities you like
    • work up to your goal - this could take up to 4 weeks
    • spread the exercise out over several days 3-6 days is recommended
  • if you are less than 200 lbs - you should be eating about 1200 calories per day
  • if you  are more than 200 lbs - you should eat about 1500 calories per day
This helps us be aware of what exactly we are doing.  Write down everything you eat, when you eat it, and how much you exercise. This has been found to be the single best predictor of successful weight loss. Get your pens ready!

  • Be honest and complete - don't lie - it will only hurt you. Don't forget everything you drink and all the extras like butter, dressings, etc. Carry your journal with you  so you can keep track wherever you go. There are apps for this now, if that is easier for you.
  • Be accurate. Read labels. Use calorie guides (I have used this one)
    • Measure your foods to increase accuracy. You may be surprised at how little the serving sizes are.
  • For those of you familiar with Weight Watchers - this is a big thing for the program. For good reason! You can use their systems, or just count calories. Either way - you MUST know what you are eating!
  • At the end of each week, give yourself a grade on how well you stuck to your goals. Think about your exercise and eating habits.
A little about behaviors. I tend to be an emotional eater. When stressed, upset, bored, etc I go to the kitchen. This is always a battle for me. Do you struggle with this too? It is helpful to write down emotions in the guide too. I find when I am recording everything I eat, I tend to eat less, just be cause I don't want to write it down. Emotions and justifications are funny things. There are books out there on this subject and how to deal with it.

One other tip - Take pictures of yourself as you go. Every month or two. It is hard to see results when you are looking at yourself every day. Pictures help to show the changes. Body Measurements are also good. Sometimes, the scale doesn't show the whole picture.

Good Luck! If you are interested in a food log, I have an electronic version of the one included in this study. Happy to email it to you if you are interested. Just leave a comment.

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