Thursday, January 3, 2013

Successful Weight Loss Starts With a Logical Plan - Part 2

Onward and upward, unless of course you are looking at a scale... So assuming you have gotten past the marketing hype of the 101 gazillion different guaranteed solutions available to you in the marketplace and have done a bit of research into the methods utilized by people who were successful and losing and keeping it off, you are ready to start laying out the ground work for your plan.
 
I know, I know - you want to lose as much as you can as fast as you can, so you can hurry up and get it over with.  Duh!  That's not how it works...  Proper weight lose is done gradually and consistently with a long term focus, because keeping it off can be harder than losing it in the first place.

The first step is to establish some reasonable short term goals based on reality not emotion.  Sure, you might want to lose 100 pounds over the next year or 20 pounds in two weeks, but that really means nothing, as you are just tossing out numbers based on dreams and desires.  The quickest way to sink your ship is to fail miserably in terms of your goals, simply because they were unattainable, not necessarily because you were ineffective.
 
 
When I first started out, my Doctor advised me that 2 to 2 1/2 pounds per week was safe and realistic.  Anything beyond that was a mistake, as quick weight loss usually leads to quick weight gain because its unsustainable.  Plus, too much too soon is not good for the body.  And to be honest, it takes quite a bit of effort to even reach that goal.  Moreover,  because since it does take significant lifestyle change to reverse the weight gain trend, a successful plan starts with baby steps and ramps up from there.  You may not even reach the 2 pounds per week mark initially, but if you stay on track with a system that makes scientific sense and is "doable" by you, you should be able to get there pretty quickly.
 
 
Though you must stay focused on not overwhelming yourself with too much too soon, you do need to start thinking about healthy foods and turn this into a goal as well.  For a meat and potatoes guy like me, moving away from burgers and fries was not easy, so I just stuck with eating LESS in the beginning.  But as I progressed, I gradually begin to push away some of the icky stuff and focus on better ingredients for the body.  The concept of improving cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, reducing sodium, etc. all became important aspects of my goals. 

What the heck, I decided I wanted to live forever and had better start thinking like that with everything I was doing if I wanted to be around for awhile.  No guarantees of how long life will last, but why not do everything in your power to be able to enjoy it for as long as you can...
  
Back to the weight goals.  If you can get to a level where you are dropping 2 1/2 pounds per week, that will yield about 10 pounds in a month.  Using simple math, you would lose 50 pounds in five months - I did.  But nothing is that simple, as you will hit plateaus which will require you to modify your system...sorry! 

The sad truth is that as your body loses fat, it burns less calories doing its daily routines, thus you have to decrease your caloric intake while increasing your caloric burn in order to keep things moving in the right direction.  Eventually you hit a point where it all just kind of evens out and you are probably done.  At that point you will have to re-evaluate what you are doing and make changes to your plan if you want to lose more weight.
  
Another thing to be aware of is that muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are building muscle through exercise, you may be losing fat, but gaining pounds.  That drives me crazy because I am such a numbers guy, but my Doctor put it into perspective when she told me to focus more on how my clothes fit, than on the scale. 
  
And finally, track your progress!  Initially, you may want to keep a daily diary where you track every detail about what you eat and how you exercise.  Might sound tedious - it can be - but when you throw in a couple of innocent snickers bars during the day (at 275 calories each) that can ruin your plan if you are trying to limit yourself to 1200 to 1500 calories per day. 

This is extremely important for those times when you DON'T hit your weight loss goals.  Don't fall into despair and declare that your can't lose weight no matter how hard you try.  Chances are you cheated somewhere along the way, which is the real cause for your shortcomings.  Always remember that caloric content is not directly proportional to food size.  Big calories can come in small packages, so you have to be on constant guard as to what is going in your mouth!

Is this starting to sound "unfun"?  Sure, its going to take some changes on your part, but as you will see, there can be some fun aspects as well.  In fact, since this ultimately needs to be the basis of a new life, you absolutely have to inject some fun along the way.  If you want to see what I went through, presented with a lighthearted twist, you can read the Eat Slow Walk Fast book available for Kindle at Amazon.comIt also contains all the details of exactly what I did to lose those first 50 pounds (in five months), things that I still pretty much use today to keep the 70 pounds total that I lost from coming back...and its going on six years now.

Next we will address the food aspects of a realistic plan...

To Be Continued...

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