Losing weight in the new year

Many new year’s resolutions involve losing weight. As many of you know, I lost 43 pounds in 2000-2001, and I’ve kept the weight off ever since. In short, I think you can be successful in weight loss if you follow three simple steps:

1. Burn more calories than you eat
2. Find a combination of food and activities that satisfy you in accomplishing #1
3. Convince yourself that you’re not on a diet, but that you need to make a change in your lifestyle

Honestly, I don’t care if you are going to use Weight Watchers, Atkins, or grapefruit. There’s no magic to weight loss — just eat less than your body physically requires. But be honest with yourself and make sure you can be satisfied with the changes now and for the rest of your life. Otherwise, the best effort can only lead to a temporary weight loss.

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5 Comments on “Losing weight in the new year”

  1. NS Says:

    Too bad it’s not simpler to measure intake and output, especially intake when eating out or eating prepared foods. People say "eat in moderation" but one Egg McMuffin has *alot* of calories. Eating in moderation could mean only one Egg McMuffin a week, which, unfortunately, could wipe out more than weeks worth of running.

    It’s really hard to do what you’re saying unless you stop eating prepared foods for a little while, at least until you learn what healthy foods taste like and get used to eating them.

    Not that I need any help in this department, but I’ve come to accept, over time, that 95% of people do not succeed.

  2. greg Says:

    First, I actually think the fast food outlets do a better job of disclosing their nutrition than most other restaurants: you can usually find nutrition on the web or you can ask for it at the counter. For example, see http://www.mcdonalds.com/ap… — an Egg McMuffin has 290 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 2 grams of fiber. Wash that down with a black coffee and you have a relatively good choice.

    As for knowing about moderation, simply keep a journal. For the next six weeks, write down the total calories you consume each day and the total number of minutes you do aerobic exercise. Each week, record your weight. Review which days and weeks went well and which did not. I think anyone will quickly figure out how to modify your lifestyle.

    Of course, a nutritionist or Weight Watchers will make this easier. But they will still follow this basic principle.

  3. NS Says:

    But estimating both the number of calories consumed and the number of calories burned is something that even conscientious people are, in practice, fairly bad at. And that’s in part b/c companies are fairly good at hiding how many calories are in something unless you look it up – you can’t common sense it. As for the McD’s example – I’m busted, they’ve reduced the fat in their dishes, but they used to be much higher. One of the McMuffins was pushing a thousand calories, and I was able to eat two …

  4. greg Says:

    1. Calories are published on every packaged item

    2. Calories are published for fast food

    3. You can estimate calories for restaurant food

    4. I didn’t say to record the calories you burn while exercising, simply the minutes.

    You’re not looking for numerical accuracy, just a valid correlation.

  5. NS Says:

    But its a moving target, as you lose weight you need to burn more calories to lose more.

    Remember, less than 5% of people who try to lose weight can do so and keep it off over a period of years.

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