Everyone seems to be obsessed with losing weight, doing it quickly, and doing it without any real effort. All you need to do is sit and watch a half hour of TV to see how large this weight loss industry is. There are diets you can choose, companies that will send you food to your door, magic powders to sprinkle on your food, pills to take, and now even a system that sends you the meals and a “special” microwave to cook the meals in! Weight loss is a multi-billion-dollar business and the vast majority of it is nothing more than the old-fashioned snake oil salesmen selling you something that cannot possibly work. If it sounds too good to be true, keep your wallet in your pocket.
Today, in this blog, I am going to give you a weight loss program that absolutely will work. It will cost you nothing out of pocket. All that this program requires is hard work, dedication, and some desire. I know. I probably lost half the people that started to read this blog with that previous sentence. The reality is, there is no free lunch!
In a recent blog we defined some terms that are important to our conversation today. We defined diet and nutrition. We need to have simple and easy to understand definitions of these terms in order to be effective with our weight loss program. We also discussed in that blog the various types of dietary plans. Remember that these plans are designed to cause a certain chemical reaction in your body called metabolism. Think of metabolism as a fire. A fire provides heat and energy and so does metabolism. The amount of heat, length of burn, and amount of energy depends on the fuel we use. The same is true of diets.
OK. Now we are ready to dive into the magic formula!! There are only a few steps to this formula, and I am sure you can do this! Step one is to set a goal. Be sure your goal is reasonable and has a specific time frame. I will not make people happy when I say this, but a reasonable rate of weight loss is about 1.5 to 2 pounds per month. This will become clear as to why in a few moments. You must set your goals accordingly. Remember, if you are like me, you have been adding that unwanted weight for longer than we care to remember, so it isn’t going to come off fast either.
Step two of the formula is to choose a diet plan. Here is my advice. Pick one. They will all work! The biggest concern we have in choosing a diet plan is making sure that we are making allowances for any special conditions that we may have. For example, a Keto or Paleo diet will force our bodies to burn fats and proteins. This will put a strain on the kidneys and liver to eliminate the waste products from that diet. This would not be a good dietary choice for someone with kidney or liver issues. We would also want to make dietary allowances for diabetes, gluten intolerances, thyroid conditions, and other similar conditions. Please be sure to contact your health care provider to be sure of any special allowances you may need.
Most of these diet plans are designed to work when the plan is followed to the letter. This is why I prefer to use what I call the commonsense diet. You instinctively know which foods are best to eat based on their nutritional value. Those are the ones we should eat. This is where things get interesting. We all make poor choices at times. What happens on the commonsense diet if we eat the donut instead of the fruit?
This is where step three of the magic formula comes into play. We need to be aware of calories for this step. I want you to think of calories simply as a unit of measure. Do not worry about a specific definition of a calorie. The rest of this weight loss plan is simple math. Our bodies need about 2,500 calories taken in as food in order to just stay alive. There will be a few more than 3,000 calories in a pound. So now we need to do some math.
If I do nothing all day but watch TV and I eat 3,000 calories (there are 1,800 calories in a Big Mac meal deal), I will be over the minimum by 500 calories. This means I will gain about one pound per week if that was all I did for that week. It is easy to see that we need to burn off some of those calories as well as consume fewer calories. Before you sign that contract to join the gym for a year, take a look at these numbers as well. If you weigh between 180 and 220 pounds and you walk at 4 miles per hour for an hour, you will burn 400 calories or about ¼ of that Big Mac meal!
The magic formula then becomes set a reasonable weight loss target that can be attained in a reasonable length of time. You need to make healthy nutritious choices when eating, eat smaller amounts per meal, and exercise more. Remember, you can make a dietary mistake with the commonsense diet, but the program requires you to compensate for that with some additional exercise. This successful weight loss program requires some thinking, some math, some discipline, some planning, and the flexibility to work around some of the “fun” choices in our diets that we all will make. If you do all of these things, I guarantee you will lose the weight. I also guarantee that if you do, there will be all kinds of people asking you for your magic formula for weight loss.