This article is only for people who have ever struggled with losing weight and keeping it off. If you are one of those people who can eat anything, do nothing more strenuous than push the buttons on your TV remote control, and still stay slim, please don’t bother reading this.
Losing weight (and trying to keep it off) is a major preoccupation for many adults in this country. Doctors tell us that being overweight is unhealthy. The media tell us that being overweight is unattractive. And the diet industry tells us (in no uncertain terms) that weight control can be a highly profitable business – for everybody but the person trying to figure out how to lose weight, for whom it can be a very expensive business.
How many times have you prayed for a magic pill or diet that would instantly solve your weight problem? How many times have you succumbed to the outrageous claims made for various diets, in the hope that this could be the one? How many pills or shots have you taken to try to lose those extra pounds quickly? How many times have you heard that the only thing that will really help you lose weight is to change your eating habits and increase your exercise? How many times have you rejected that advice as boring and impossible?
That many, huh?
Well, you’re going to hear it again, but this time with suggestions to make it easier.
While it is true that the only way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than you burn, it is not as difficult as you might think to cut down on the number of calories you eat. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give up everything you like to eat. It may just mean that you have to make room for food with fewer calories and more nutrients. Here’s how it works.
Your body is using up calories all the time, whether you are moving around or not. The rate at which you burn calories while at total rest is called your resting, or basal metabolic, rate. For women this is about 11 calories per pound of body weight and for men it is about 12. This means that if you are a woman who weighs 150 pounds, your body needs to take in about 1,650 calories a day just to exist. If you are engaged in light exercising, you multiply the BMR by 1 6, giving you approximately 2,400 calories to play with, moderate exercise activity requires somewhere around 3,450 calories (23 x BMR).
Let’s assume that this 150-pound woman is eating 2,500 calories a day and is doing light activity. If she cuts down her calories to 1,500 per day and does not change her exercisee pattern, in about 1 1/2 days she will lose a pound. If she begins to do moderate exercise and only eats 1,500 calories per day, it will take less time to lose the same pound.
You probably already know how to increase your activity level, but where can you cut those calories to make your weight loss plan as painless as possible?
• Instead of eating 1 croissant, substitute 1 plain bagel to save 72 calories.
• Instead of eating 1 whole egg, substitute 1 egg white to save 47 calories.
• Instead of eating 1 oz of Cheddar cheese, substitute 1 oz of part-skim mozzarella to save 42 calories.
• Instead of eating 1 tablespoon of cream cheese, substitute 1 tablespoon of 1 percent cottage cheese to save 35 calories.
• Instead of eating 35 oz of untrimmed beef, substitute 35 oz of trimmed beef to save 75 calories.
• Instead of eating 35 oz of lamb chop (broiled), substitute 35 oz of lean leg of lamb (broiled) to save 220 calories.
• Instead of eating 1 oz of regular bacon, substitute 1 oz of Canadian bacon to save 110 calories.
• Instead of eating 1 beef hot dog, substitute 1 chicken hot dog to save 67 calories.
• Instead of eating fast food French fries, substitute 1 baked potato (plain) to save 126 calories.
• Instead of eating 1 cup of ice cream (premium), substitute 1 cup of sorbet to save 350 calories.
The substitutions on this list also save many grams of fat and cholesterol, as well as calories. If you read labels, pay attention to what you are eating and eliminate the true junk food from your diet, you can come up with a 3,500 calorie savings in no time.
If you also start moving around and exercising a little more, you will lose weight even faster.
Now make no mistake, losing weight is hard work, requiring a lot of consistency and it will not work very quickly. But it is the most sensible way to lose weight, does not put money in anybody else’s pocket and will help you change your eating habits.