OK, Let’s talk about it. Is it time to bite the bullet and decide we finally need to lose those accumulated pounds? I well know. Initially a pound here and there was not a problem, but that weight accumulates. Eventually those few pounds turned into ten or twenty or more. So let’s get busy.
Except for very special and rare circumstances there are only two factors to lose weight. You have to consume fewer and burn more calories. I’m sorry, but those are the facts. One pound is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you consume 500 fewer calories daily, you’ll lose one pound per week. That is if everything else in your life is equal. Now look at the exercise side of the equation. The more calories that are burned in excess of maintenance, the quicker the weight loss.
First let’s talk about diet. Let’s find a source of needless calories that we can do without. Do you really need a Honey Bun with your coffee break? I’ll bet you can think of something you can do without. My weakness was potato chips. The old slogan “…bet you can’t eat just one,” was doubly true for me. But when I read the empty calories that are included in a tiny pack of chips, I decided I could do without them. Forty pound later, I’ve rarely broken over.
Aside from the item you will exclude from your diet, let’s talk about your remaining calories. First, we’ll deal with breakfast. Don’t skip it. Breakfast fuels the body for the rest of the day. An adequate breakfast will help reduce those bouts of craving as mid-day approaches. Don’t go wild. You can’t have IHOP every morning, but a sensible breakfast is a staple of a reasonable diet.
Lunchtime is a time to secure yourself for the rest of the day, but be honest, if you’re not involved in hard manual labor; lunch is to keep the body going till evening.
Growing up on the farm, if the day was spent in fieldwork, dinner was a big mid-day affair while supper was in the evening. Now I seldom have a day of hard physical labor, thankfully, so lunch can more basic. Out of my lunch bag, I pull a sandwich of some sort, a piece of fruit, and my diet soda. That gets me through the afternoon without undue sleepiness and I’m ready for dinner (or supper if you want to call it that). It also keeps the calorie count reasonable.
Dinner is the area where many people are challenged. We like to reward ourselves at the end of the day. Let me give a few points for you to ponder.
Green food is good. Try to have some greens every evening if possible. That can be cabbage or collards, salad or broccoli, or even green beans. The idea is complex carbohydrates and greens are an excellent source.
Our protein source can be downsized. Look at the entree in almost any restaurant. The hunk of meat on the plate is huge. Dietitians tell us that the size of your meat should be about the size of a pack of cards. Betty and I usually either share an entree if allowed, or simply take half home for another meal.
Bread can be the downfall of many diets. Wholegrain is better, and one roll will do just as good as two. Put half of the oversized meat in that second roll and consider it a breakfast sandwich.
Let’s talk about dessert. That’s also a fragile point for me. I love desserts and they love me. But were trying to lose some weight here, so let’s make dessert something we do on a special occasion. You can have a small sample of that ice cream heaven, just don’t have it too often. You’ll find that on a regular basis you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a piece of fruit.
Now that we’ve solved your dietary problems, let’s talk about how to burn some of those unwanted ounces with exercise.
Exercise is a topic for another whole article, but let me give you the current recommendations. For maintenance of a healthy lifestyle, get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly. That’s a thirty-minute vigorous walk five days per week. You can get an inexpensive wrist device cheaply to help count those calories. There I also a recommendation for two episodes of resistance or weight training weekly. There are ample choices for this and it can be an individual choice. Those are the maintenance suggestions. Remember that the more calories burned, the more weight loss can be obtained.
Is there a downside? Isn’t there always? As you adapt this healthier lifestyle, your body will become more efficient. You’ll need more exercise to achieve the same goals, but you’ll be able to go further and faster. You’ll likely hit plateaus when it seems no progress is being made, but be patient and you’ll have success and you’ll be healthier.
Good luck with your goals, and good health
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