*Well, it’s that time again. You’re watching the year come to an end, and preparing for the annual ritual of the New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. Let me share some helpful information to make this coming year the one where you actually meet your weight loss goals.
When you think of weight loss and losing weight, the first things that probably come to your mind are either those “lose weight fast”. Maybe you’re thinking of all of those weight loss pills that claim to be safe and allow you to “eat whatever you want and still lose weight because the pill will do all of the work for you”. Or, maybe you’re thinking of rice cakes and never eating and being hungry all day long.
Weight loss is simple, burn more calories then you consume. If you can fully understand that then you are on your way to losing weight. There are 6 simple steps. Here they are:
1) Count how many calories you eat in a normal day. That’s right, wake up, and eat like you would normally eat and count the calories in everything you eat and everything you drink and keep track of it on a piece of paper or on the computer some where. You might be thinking to yourself, “yeah right, I’m not gonna sit around counting calories all day.” Well, if you’re thinking that, then you’re obviously not dedicated enough to losing weight. If this is the case, then feel free to go waste your money on the newest useless weight loss pill. But, if you are dedicated enough to take 10 minutes out of your day and count the calories, then keep on reading.
2) At the end of that day, add up the number of calories you ate/drank. Be as exact as possible. Once you add it all up, you now have the total number of calories you consume daily. Also, weigh yourself.
3) Starting the day after you counted calories, eat 500 calories LESS then you normally do. So, lets pretend that the day you counted calories you counted 2000. For the rest of the week, you would eat 1500 calories a day. Understand? All you have to do is subtract 500 from the total number of calories you consume in a normal day, and eat this new number of calories every day for the next 7 days.
4) Instead of eating 3 big meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), or eating all day all the time, spread those calories out over 5 smaller meals. Eat one meal every 2 and a half to 3 hours. Doing this will speed up your metabolism.
5) Cardio is an important part of weight loss. If you’re serious about losing weight, but don’t want to do the cardio workouts, then you are requiring your diet to do all of the work. Jog, walk, swim, jump rope, ride a bike, take an aerobics class, whatever… cardio + proper diet = better than just doing one of the two. All it takes is 30 minutes a day, 3 – 5 days a week. I say 3-5 days a week because I don’t know if you have 5 pounds to lose, or if you have 50 pounds to lose. So, depending on how much your looking to lose, figure it out. 3 times a week is good starting point though.
6) At the end of that week, weigh yourself. You’ll notice a difference just after one week! Now, don’t expect to see a 20 pound difference. Losing anymore then 1 or 2 pounds a week is unhealthly. So look for a 1 or 2 pound weight loss at the end of the week. Don’t sound like much? You can lose 5-8 pounds a month! That’s around 75lbs a year! So if you have A LOT of weight to lose, you can lose it. If have just a few pounds to lose, you can lose it also.
Now, a couple of words about those “FATS” and “CARBS”:
– THE BAD FAT MUST GO! Stay away from “bad” fat! Get rid of all the chips and candy. No more fast food, nothing fried. No more cookies, no more cake, no more of these saturated fats. There is no question about it and there is no way around it, get rid of these types of foods. Don’t get me wrong, you should NOT be eating 0 grams of fat every day, but the only places you should be getting your daily fat intake from are lean meats (not the fried fast food kind), chicken (again, not fried!), etc. as well as the foods that contain the “healthy” types of fat, which can be found in just about every type of fish (tuna fish, salmon, fish oil supplements, etc.), nuts, olive oil and flaxseed oil.
– LOWER THE BAD CARBS! Most people think that it is fat that makes people fat and that just by eating less fat, they are on their way to weight loss! WRONG! Certain carbs can be just as bad as fat when it comes to losing weight. Limit foods high in bad carbs. These carbs will eventually turn into fat. Foods like sugar, white bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. are high in simple (bad) carbs. Sure, your body needs carbs, which is why foods like these are ok to eat, but don’t go overboard. Stick to high protein/good carb/low fat foods like tuna fish (and other seafood), chicken breast, turkey, whole grains, fruits and vegetables etc.
– WATER! Drink water! Get rid of the soda, get rid of the beer, and get rid of the sports drinks. Drink around a half gallon a day, more if you can. Spread it out throughout the day, just like your 5 meals. Yes that’s a lot of water, but it’s that water that will give you energy and speed your weight loss.
– Weigh yourself at the end of every week. If you ever have more then 2 weeks go by without losing 1 pound, it’s time to change something. Eat 250 less calories then you’ve been eating. And keep everything else the same. Each time you see weight loss stop for more then 2 weeks, decrease calorie intake by 250 until you get down to where you want to be. Remember, NEVER starve yourself!
– Sleep! YES! Sleep! The easiest, yet most over looked step. Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
There you have it. You now know everything you need to know about losing weight. You didn’t have to buy any weight loss pills or books on losing weight, instead, you should use the money you just saved and go buy some good food or a gym membership.
Now, I never once said this would be easy. If it was easy, you would have done it already. Losing weight isn’t something you can just do “on the side.” You are going to have to dedicate your mind and body and your time to doing it! So, you now have the information you need, all you have to do now is use it.
Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just sound like one.
Take good care of yourself, and live the best life possible!
All information and tools presented within this column is intended for educational purposes. Any health, diet or exercise advice is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment. If you think you have any type of medical condition you must seek professional advice even if you believe it may be due to diet, food or exercise.
Glenn Ellis lectures and is an active media contributor nationally and internationally on health related topics, including health education and health promotion particularly relevant to the African-American community.
e-mail him at [email protected]
For more good health information, visit: www.glennellis.com