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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Five Facts About Weight Loss

Yes, a lot of this blog is devoted to weight loss, but that's because of where I am right now.  I've learned quite a few things, and I've still got a long way to go so I'll learn quite a few more things.  However, now that I've gotten to where I am right now, there are a few things that you just need to know to lose those pesky 20 or 30 lbs.

1. It's not how much you eat

Everyone always harps about portion control and whatnot, but that's an ugly, ugly path to go down from my experience.  Why?  Because a single portion of chicken, half cup of steamed cauliflower and a small sweet potato just might not be enough.  If you're hungry, you're far more likely to jump ship and start eating a bunch of crap you don't need to eat.

Instead, it's far more important to watch what you eat.  Vegetables are especially low in calorie for their volume, meaning you can eat a whole lot more.  From my experience, high protein foods like meat burn a lot of calories just to digest, so weight loss works well with them.  It's the starches that tend to kick you in the teeth.  If you're going to eat them, keep this in mind.  However, if you skip those and chow down on meat and veggies, you can eat a decent amount and still lose weight.  Why?  Your body is still in a caloric deficit, despite the fact that you're actually full.

2. Pay-for-food weight loss programs are over-hyped

You've seen the commercials where someone is standing next to a much larger version of themselves talking about how they lost 20 or 30 lbs with Program X.  Now, I'm not going to say that this is false, because I don't think it is.  However, they're over-hyped to a serious degree.

While they may well produce the results they advertise (and they always offer up a disclaimer that results aren't typical), but what are they really teaching you?  Most of these programs require you to purchase food that is delivered to your house.  You're not planning your menu, not really.  What you're doing is taking the easy way out in the short term and not building the skills that will let you continue on a healthier path.

Besides, they're expensive when compared to cooking your food yourself.

3. You need a support structure

I suffer from ADHD.  I have for a long time, and I have a pretty severe case apparently.  What does that have to do with anything?  Oh, it means that I have an impulse control problem.  Part of the reason for my backslide was because my wife, trying to help me out, would suggest that we order a pizza.  I had lost a few pounds while not eating completely clean, so I went with it.  This happened more and more, and before you know it, I've put back on 15 lbs (I started at 237 and went down to 201 per my records, then went back up to 216).

My wife loves me.  She wasn't trying to derail me.  Instead, she was just trying to make my life a bit easier since I'm generally the family cook.  When I realized what had happened, I sat down with her to talk.  I pointed out that personally, I can't handle even these suggestions.  I needed help, and that included not suggesting I eat horrible things.

If you have a family around you, then you've got to get them on board.  Even if they aren't dealing with weight problems, you still need their help and support.  If they refuse to help, then - and you have no idea how much I hate to say this - you either need to cut them lose or decide to stay fat for life.  Some folks might be able to do it on their own, but it's an uphill battle that is fraught with peril.

4.  Healthy food can taste good

I hit this in more detail yesterday, but it needs to be said.  The days of healthy eating meaning that you eat bland or nasty food are long gone.  Today, we know how to make food actually taste good while still being healthy.  The trick is to find the way you can lose weight while enjoying the process.  For me, that was going paleo/primal for the most part.  For my buddy Jason, it was a different approach.  For my friend Doug's daughter Amber, it was something even more different than Jason and me.

None of us would have lost anything if we didn't either love what we were consuming, or grow to enjoy it.

5. Be ready to buy new clothes

Honestly, when I started losing weight, I really didn't plan.  Before I knew it, my jeans didn't fit any longer.  Luckily, I had a few pairs of pants that I had owned before getting so fat, so I wasn't without proper clothing, but a lot of folks just aren't ready for success.  I wasn't.

On the same token, buying some clothing smaller than you can wear right now can be a nice morale boost when they suddenly fit.  Plus it has the added bonus of keeping you clothed.

So there you have it.  Five things I learned about weight loss that you may not have heard about elsewhere.  If you've got some of your own, I'd love to hear them!

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