Fall down seven times, get up eight.
~ Japanese proverb
To paraphrase Sophie Tucker; I’ve been thin and I’ve been fat. Believe me, honey, thin is better 🙂
We are blessed to live in North America and I say that thinking of the wider community. The one billion of us who live in the Western World and have a lifestyle that is the envy of many others. In fact recent research suggests that there are now more overweight people (1.3 billion) in the world than there are underweight people (800 million) in the world.
So learning how to manage your weight is becoming not only an aesthetic ideal but it also helps to contribute to better health. Being overweight is detrimental to your health. You have a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many cancers amongst other health problems.
I know that with so much good, cheap and bad food out there it is hard to remain at a consistent weight. I’ve been there done that, got the bigger pant size.
But you can learn how to manage your weight not only for long term weight loss success as well as long term weight management, many people have done it before you and many folks continue to have weight management success.
The National Weight Control Registry has been following more that 5,000 members who have lost 30 to 300 pounds and kept it off for at least 1 year and up to 66 years. I’ll be drawing from their findings and adding my own thoughts and tips that have helped me personally.
So let’s get to losing weight and learning how to manage weight for best of health:
1. Weigh yourself daily
Most of the success stories at the weight control registry weight themselves at least weekly. I have found that weighing myself daily is even better. But there is a caveat with this. You need to learn to be patient and kind to your body.
I have found that over the course of a week, I can fluctuate in weight by a few or more pounds. In fact, from day to day, I have seen weight fluctuations of 2 and sometimes even 3 pounds.
Your body holds a lot of water and depending on your diet, hormones and general physiology you can lose or gain a couple or 3 pounds in water weight from day to day. So understand that your weight might go up a day or 2 per week as you weigh yourself daily. You might also not lose any weight for a week or 2 and this to can be normal.
As long as you are following the rest of the steps you should see over the long term (the months) your weight coming down and staying down.
You need to know some simple math. Math is your friend when it comes to weight loss. As I have written about tracking weight loss, you need to know some numbers in order to keep yourself on the right track.
You need to know your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) this is the amount of calories that you need to eat on a day to day basis in order to maintain your current weight. From this number we need to subtract 300 to 500 calories per day in order to create a calorie deficit in order to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Both FitDay and NutriDiary can help you determine your BMR as well as magically create the number of calories you need to eat in order to lose weight.
Just enter the weight you want to arrive at and the online nutrition and weight loss calculators will do the rest for you. I recommend now trying to lose more than 3 pounds per week as you might end up hungry too often and that can lead to slipping and binging. A modest 2 pounds of weight loss per week is great work and even a pound a week is terrific.
Remember it took some time to gain the weight – even though it doesn’t feel like it 😉 – so give yourself many months to take the weight off. We’re learning how to manage our weight and this can take some time. We have to create a new lifestyle of eating not just a diet.
I also like to monitor my waist circumference and neck circumference and I recommend you do to. If you are a woman I also recommend measuring your hip circumference as well. Do these measurements once a week on the same day and time. Like with weighing myself I like to do these first thing in the morning. I have found that my measurements will often change by a centimeter (half an inch) or 2 before I see much results on the scale so this can be very motivating.
3. Eat when you want how you want
So long as you are weighing yourself at the same time each day and measuring yourself at the same time and same day each week you will be able to self correct as the need arises.
On top of that, counting your calories as you eat them will be very beneficial in keeping you in a calorie deficit so you lose weight each week, plus it also helps you understand how little food we actually need for our daily allotment. This was an eye opener to me. I didn’t feel super hungry very often but I learned to appreciate the difference of when I was full as compared to when I was stuffing myself.
There are important lessons learned by counting calories. You become reacquainted with portion control and size as well as learning how to eat healthier foods so you don’t get too hungry too soon after a meal.
Look, the math is simple. You need to go into overdraft with your body’s calorie needs. It’s as simple as that.
So eat 1 meat a day if you want or eat 8 meals a day. It doesn’t really matter as long as you stay under your BMR. You could eat nothing but a cup of oil per day as long as the 1930 calories were below your BMR and you’d still lose weight. You’d get sick and unhealthy pretty quick, but you’d lose weight.
So don’t worry about this program or that program, this many meals per day or that many meals per day. Don’t worry about this supplement or that supplement, just eat what you want when you want but keep below your BMR.
Of course it is better to eat healthy foods. Try to eat unprocessed whole plant foods as much as you can. But if you want to have a snickers bar 2 or 3 times a week as a lunch or afternoon snack and your calories for the day show that you can afford it, then go for it. You’re learning how to manage your diet and weight and part of that is creating an eating patter and lifestyle that you can live with long term.
4. Movement is your heart’s healthy friend
In the weight control registry’s findings, most people 98% modified their food intake compared to 94% who modified their physical activity.
Your diet is going to be more important than exercise in weight loss as well as weight management. Exercise is helpful in keeping you healthy and in the best physiological shape you can be in, but it is not crucial to your weight loss success. I would encourage you to exercise because of the many health promoting aspects of exercise, but you do not need it for weight management or weight loss.
With that said, see if you can’t incorporate a little more exercise into your life. Try take the stairs more often. Park further away and walk more.
There are many free exercise programs online that you can do at home without any equipment that will help you get into better shape without being overly onerous on your physical body.
5. Help yourself with some cheats
These are not “real” cheats as in, splurge and eat a cheese cake, but rather these are some cheats that I have found helpful to keep me motivated and going when I hit weight plateaus.
If you’re coming to the end of your day and you only have 300 or so calories left, that’s not going to make for a big dinner. What I like to do is to drink a glass or glass and a half of water to help fill me up for several minutes. In fact, I have found this to be tremendously helpful if I think I’m hungry but not sure if I really am hungry.
Eat lots of soups and salads as meals. Minestrone soups, lentil soups are great for weight loss. A cup of these soups is generally only between 100 and 200 calories. You can add 4 cups of salad with one tomato and half a sweet onion and use 2 tablespoons of low fat dressing and including the soup it is only around 200 to 350 calories. Believe me, that is a very filling and healthy meal.
Fruits are your friend when you need a snack to tide you over until your next meal. Oranges and apples are great because they only have around 80 calories for a medium sized fruit. Bananas are good too at only around 100 calories for a medium one.
Drink lots of herbal teas and green teas too. They have no calories and can help give you some flavor to enjoy as well as fill you up.
If you are really struggling and want to eat something unhealthy then just go outside for a brisk walk around the block. Or do 20 push ups or 20 squats and the feeling might subside. Worst case, eat a green pepper or a couple of sticks of celery.
Keep junk food further away than arm’s reach. Keep it out of your home while you are learning how to manage your weight and trying to lose weight.
Good luck. You can do it. It doesn’t matter if it takes a couple of tries just keep at it and you will eventually have terrific success. Remember the Japanese proverb up above. Keep getting back up!