In How I Lost 50 Pounds, Part 2 we discuss a variety of issues that pop up in the first few weeks of any diet (eating plan).
I’m moving forward having assumed you are very serious about trimming that fat. Yes, I said the “f” word, and I’ll probably use it a lot. I don’t like the word obese and I think overweight people hide behind it. “Fat” is what it is.
I will repeat the following until I’m blue in the face:
LEARN TO READ YOUR NUTRITION LABELS. READ THEM FAITHFULLY. COMPARE THE LABEL WITH WHAT YOUR NUTRITION APP TELLS YOU THAT YOU CAN HAVE DAILY. IT’S A REAL EYE-OPENER. BY READING THE NUTRITION LABELS YOU WILL COME TO REALIZE HOW SALT, SUGARS, AND FATS HIDE IN EVERYDAY FOODS. (see below)
Look at the nutrition label at the left. This is a nutrition label from a supposedly “healthy food”, which is raisin nut bran. The serving size is 3/4 cup. (not a lot).
Notice that there is a whopping 200 calories per one serving. That’s a lot folks. For example, it would take 8 (eight) cups of raw carrots to reach 200 calories. Total fat is not too bad, though I don’t like anything with trans fats in them. Stay away from trans fats.
Sodium is high. One serving of this cereal (without any milk) already gives you 10% of your daily salt intake. Carbs are also high at 14%. Fiber is good, and protein is decent, but look at the sugars! When you become a real pro at reading Nutrition Facts labels you will realize that 15g (grams) of sugar is very high for one serving. (My own personal limit on sugar is 30g per day, and this one bowl would give me half of that total amount).
LEARN YOUR NUTRITION LABELS. They can save your life.
Now, if you have very little self-control–that is, if you see it you’ll eat it, consider getting rid of the following and replacing them with the suggested items. This should get you started:
A lot of people swear that fresh fruits and vegetables are more expensive than fast foods. Are they?
I have to be completely honest here and tell you that at first I struggled with the budget when it came to fresh fruits and vegetables. I found out right away that I simply couldn’t afford the “organic” versions. So, I shopped at roadside stands, and at farmer’s markets, and I discovered that Aldi’s has some terrific deals, and there are other grocery chains that run specials.
The bottom line when it comes to fresh foods over fast foods is this: In the long run, fast foods cost you much, much more. Fast foods keep you overweight, unhealthy, and sluggish. And you have to eat them more often. Fresh fruits and veggies, on the other hand, go a lot further toward satisfying your urge to chew, keeping you full, and making you healthier. I think you’ll find that a cheap head of cabbage will last a lot longer than that 99 cent burger you bought at the drive-thru.
After a month of buying fresh you will learn what you can trim. And when you diet you eat a lot less anyway, so you won’t be laying out huge chunks of cash once you get your refrigerator stocked with healthy foods. In fact, I compared my monthly grocery tab before and after the diet and I had cut my monthly bill by over 40%. And a lot of that had to do with the fact that I no longer eat meat with every meal. Meat is very expensive, and we Americans eat far more of it than we actually need. (I don’t feel deprived of meat, as I still have it at least once a day).
What are the best apps to help me? The best web sites?
I tried three phone apps (all free) when I got going on my diet. I had trouble with two of them, though they all do basically the same things. The easiest to use, in my opinion, and the one I found myself using faithfully, is the “CalorieCounter” app (free version). It absolutely keeps me on track. But be honest and record EVERY SINGLE bite that goes in your mouth, or you may as well not use an app.
There are a number of web sites I visit regularly.
http://www.webmd.com/ (for general nutrition info, plus news about diabetes and other health issues)
http://caloriecount.about.com/ (to find nutrition label info on foods I eat)
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html (excellent page about BMI)
And there are many others. Just use Google and search for your own specific health-related issues. Be pro-active!
Is there anything I should purchase in the beginning?
YES!! If you don’t already have them, by all means get yourself a good set of bathroom scales. After reading all the reviews I bought a set of Taylor scales at Wal-Mart (less than $30) that are extremely accurate, down to two/tenths of a pound. They actually weigh the same thing when you get off them and get back on. Mine was model #7517, though I think all the Taylor scales are probably pretty good. (Try not to weigh yourself daily. Weight can fluctuate wildly over just a few days, due to irregularity, temporary water retention, etc. Pick one day a week to weigh on and judge your progress that way).
And if you don’t have it, a good set of kitchen scales (the one that weighs ounces) comes in extremely handy. For one thing, you will be a professional at reading those nutrition labels in short order. Many of the nutrition labels are based on ounces (or grams) so you will need to know how much of the food you are consuming. And it goes without saying that you should have an accurate set of measuring cups. USE THEM! If your label says a serving is one cup, don’t pull out a coffee mug and use it. A coffee mug can have as much as 1 1/2 or 2 cups’ worth of volume. Use your measuring cups, spoons, and kitchen scales.
Should I wait until after the holidays to begin?
Only if you don’t care how long it takes you to succeed. Personally, I would be suspicious of anyone who keeps putting off the difficult changes. Because, you know what? New Year’s celebrations are just around the corner. Then it’s Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, 4th of July…you get my drift. There’s always going to be a reason to eat a lot of unhealthy food if want there to be. Are you serious about your health or not? It’s your decision. No one’s holding a gun to your head. (Except maybe the Grim Reaper).
What about vitamins?
It’s a good question, and there’s always been a good deal of controversy surrounding it. Dietitians often say that if your diet is a healthy mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, fish, and lean meats you are probably getting all the vitamins you need. But just to be sure, I take a multi-vitamin, and a fish oil supplement daily. I also take one of those tiny aspirins, a vitamin B-complex, and zinc. There are many other vitamins and supplements you can buy, but I figure I’ve got most of them covered. For instance, I eat vegetables and nuts high in calcium–so I don’t need a calcium supplement. But, we could go on for days about vitamins and supplements, and for me it just isn’t an issue. Do your research if you have been told you have a vitamin deficiency. There’s always a food to correct it.
What happens the first few days, weeks?
Once you calculate how many calories you should have daily (your app will help with that, or you can look it up online at this site), hopefully you will begin tracking what you eat and adjusting your diet accordingly. Once you cut your sodium (salt) intake down, you will lose water weight very rapidly. It’s quite possible to lost ten or fifteen pounds in one or two weeks. VERY possible. Salt causes you to retain much more water than you actually need. Once the water goes, a lot of weight goes with it.
After the first few weeks–and certainly after you drop the first 20 pounds–your body adjusts itself into your new diet. It will also adjust to your increased level of exercise. It’s just nature, but as it does that your rate of weight loss slows. Not very fast at first, but you will have plateaus of several days or even a week where the scales don’t move. This is the point where many people get frustrated and quit. DON’T!!! Your body will continue to lose the weight if you keep at it. It’s a scientific fact. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, your body has to lose weight. And it will.
I have lost 52 pounds now, and I got frustrated after the first 20 pounds, then after 30, 40, etc. Your body will periodically REFUSE to lose another pound. But it’s just an act. It can’t keep it up. Eventually, if you keep exercising and eating the number of calories you need to, your body has no choice but to shed the fat. Just remember to eat a balanced diet (your brain needs protein, so don’t cut out all the meat).
Like everyone I get discouraged at times. But I see the bigger picture. I have a goal in mind, and I also have an image in my mind of me at my goal weight–at that perfect BMI.
I’ll get there, and you can too. Go for it.
© Wade Kingston