Tuesday, 6 March 2012
How to Lose 100+ Pounds and Keep it Off For Life
I am a 26 year old teacher and runner. I love to spend time making things and learning how to do something new. I love making things that make me a more efficient teacher. Most of all I love helpin...
Several years ago, I decided that my life had to change. I was very overweight, completely sedentary, and ashamed of what I had allowed myself to become. I had been on so many diets throughout my life and had always gained the weight back. This time it was worse than ever. 100 pounds to lose. I committed to losing the weight and making this the very last time. I lost 100 pounds and this year makes 3 years of maintaining the weight loss.
In this Instructable, I plan to give you an inside look at what it takes to lose a significant amount of weight (100+ pounds) without gimmicks or nonsense, no shakes or pills required. I also plan on telling you what it takes (mentally and physically) to maintain that weight for as long as you are willing to put forth the effort!
Take heart, friends! Stop reading diet books! There is NO secret, only science!
Disclaimer: I do not claim to have lost weight in the very healthiest or best manner possible. I ate processed food, I partook of sugar substitutes, and I indulged from time to time. This is the way that I lost weight. It worked for me and has made me into a very healthy person. I am at the correct BMI for my height and have a great body fat percentage. That's not to say that it will be the best way for you or that it can't be done in other ways. This is the experience of just one woman. I would also like to stress that you should be consulting your doctor before you begin any kind of new diet or exercise routine.
Step 1 - Prepare Yourself Mentally for Weight Loss
There are some things you need to consider before you begin any weight loss journey that is as big as ours.
-It will not be comfortable. You spent at least the last few years being comfortable and if you want to lose weight, you're going to have to switch up your routine. You will step WAY out of your comfort zone. You are changing your life and the way you treat your body.
-It will not be an overnight change. There is a reason that people say "weight loss JOURNEY". This is something that takes time, like anything else that's worth doing. It may be years before you reach your ultimate goals. You will have to remember along the way to celebrate the smaller milestones. Dropping a pants size, going up a resistance level on the elliptical, having a friend notice a difference, even just feeling better about yourself are all great reasons to celebrate.
-There will be temptation. The world will not stop because you are losing weight. Every restaurant you love is still open and the food still tastes amazing. Work is still stressful. Lounging is still easier than working out. The people you hang out with are still not making healthy choices. The only thing that's changing is you.
-Your goal needs to be healthy and realistic. A woman who has 100 or more pounds to lose should not strive to look like their favorite celebrity. Likewise a man in the same situation should not expect to look like the guy on the cover of a muscle magazine. Your primary goal should be health. Any physical changes should be completely secondary. Make sure to make your goal weight something within the healthy BMI range. We will talk about realistic time frames in the next step.
You need to ask yourself if you're willing to accept these facts. if you're not, you may not be ready. You will have to go into this thing willing to make changes, withstand temptation, and accept any setbacks or mistakes.
If you are going to do this, the first thing I suggest is to make a point of mentioning it to everyone you know. Tell them what you're doing and what your goal is so that you get asked about your progress constantly. Post it on your Facebook and Twitter. Don't give yourself a chance to cop out. Put it into your head that this is starting and there's no backing down.
Next up, let's talk basics!
Step 2 - Learn to Set a Healthy Goal
In order to lose weight, we are going to use a principle that is very simple, but tough to understand for some reason for a lot of people:
To lose weight, burn more calories than you consume.
That's really all you need. We'll talk more about this concept when we go into calorie counting. For right now, you need to know what constitutes a healthy goal, short and long term. Let's go through some figures you need to know.
In order to calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index), you will need to know your current weight. Now might be a good time to buy a scale and put it in the bathroom. This website will tell you your BMI and what category this places you in. It will also tell you what the healthy weight range is for your height. Many people will argue that using the BMI is not always an accurate way to find a healthy weight loss goal because the system is outdated. However, I feel that if you take the healthy BMI range and put your goal somewhere in the middle, you can readjust when you make that primary goal.
Ex: I am 5'7" and I weigh 240 pounds. Currently that puts me in the obese category. My healthy weight range is between 118 and 159 pounds, so I choose to set a goal weight of 140 pounds initially.
Daily Caloric Intake
Now you need to figure out how many calories to eat each day in order to get to your goal. This website has a great calculator for this purpose. If you put in your basic statistics, the calculator tells you exactly how many calories to eat per day during every week of your diet for the first year. It will even adjust the amount of calories weekly based on your updated weight.
If you are following my plan, you'll want to put in moderate on the activity level, unless you also have a very active occupation, such as a job that requires you to walk around and stand for most of the day.
There are some things you'll want to keep in mind when you make this goal:
-A healthy amount of weight to lose per week is about 2-5 pounds depending on your starting weight and current physical condition. If you are planning on losing more per week, I highly recommend consulting a doctor regularly, especially if you currently have any medical conditions.
-A healthy amount of calories to eat per day for most people on a diet is 1200 calories or more. If you put your goal into the calorie calculator and the calories per day numbers are below 1200 calories, you will want to lower your yearly goal so that you can safely lose less weight within the first year.
Ex: I am 5'7" and 240 pounds. My goal is a healthy weight of 140 pounds. I put in the goal of losing 100 pounds in a year, but notice that this puts me under a healthy amount of calories per day toward the end of my plan. I can either choose to lower my yearly goal on the calculator or go with the current plan with the intention of eating at least 1200 calories per day toward the end of the diet for a slightly slower result toward the end. I will be losing around 2 pounds per week. During the first week of the plan, I will want to eat 1762 calories per day.
If you're losing 100 pounds or more and trying to do it safely, expect to spend at least a year working toward your goal and likely more.
Step 3 - Food - Calories In (Introduction)
There is no better way to lose weight than calorie counting. If you look at any successful weight loss program, one of its main principles is limiting calories, whether you were aware or not. Food is fuel, and without any activity the fuel is stored.
Brace yourselves, here comes a metaphor:
You now have a daily calorie intake limit. It's a lot like the money you have in the bank. If you withdraw too much, something bad happens. In this case, you gain weight. If you don't spend it all, something good happens. In this case, you lose weight. You are already operating at a deficit if you've set a goal using the calculator, so we're doing great and "saving your funds"!
Here's another way calories are like your money. You have complete choice of what you spend your funds on. You are capable of being responsible and making great choices, or being irresponsible and wasting those funds. For a food to be something worth spending calories on it should be nutritious. Every day you need fruits and veggies, all your vitamins, and lots of protein, just like your mom told you. Some people choose to closely monitor this. I chose not to do this, but to keep it in mind. If you wish to understand your nutritional goals in more detail, I would suggest this article .
The choices you make will shape the way you feel all day. You can feel hungry and tired by choosing to spend 300 calories on a candy bar or full and energized by choosing to spend the same calories on whole wheat pretzels and a serving of natural peanut butter. You've been overspending your caloric funds for years, partly because your choices don't give you the nutrients and energy you need. We're trying to get more efficient.
That's not to say that you cannot indulge your calorie funds on your old vices, but you have to be realistic. Let's say that you love a good burrito at your local burrito place. It has rice,steak, beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole...YUM! You look up the number of calories in the burrito: 1100 calories. Oh no! That's almost all of your daily intake! Can you spend your calories on that? Sure. Will it allow you to fulfill your daily needs? No. That's why tightening the belt is about getting creative. You could go to that same burrito place and have something very tasty and nutritious. Delete the wrap, make it a bowl. Get the SMALL bowl with rice, veggies, black beans and grilled chicken. Sub pico de gallo or salsa for the sour cream and guacamole. You've just lowered your meal calories to 500 or less and made it much healthier for you. It's doable.
What you need to do is acquire the tools to understand this new language and execute this new plan. How do you know how many calories are in something and apply it to your daily goal?
Step 4 - Counting Calories
Years ago, counting calories was very confusing. Your only resource was the food label and often fast food restaurants didn't have their nutritional information readily available. These days, we have the tools to make it much easier!
Here are the recommended tools you might want to use for calorie counting:
-Smart Phone or Computer
There are tons of free websites out there to help you to lose weight. One that's available both online and on your smart phone for free is called Daily Burn . It's the one I use and is very simple to operate. It gives you a food and workout journal with lots of free content. The food journal is attached to a searchable database of foods, one of the largest I've seen. Put in the name of what you're eating and how many servings to get a calorie total and a running total of how many calories you have left for the day. One of the premium (pay) features of Daily Burn on the iPhone also allows you to scan the barcodes of many products to expedite the calorie logging process. There are many other great websites and apps for calorie and workout logging.
Here is a small list of some other great ones:
Spark People is a great, user friendly website that gives points for participation and has a social aspect.
LiveStrong is a very popular choice with it's MyPlate program which is also available on smart phone.
Fit Day offers very detailed reports and is available on smart phones.
You may also choose to use a calorie journal and calculator. A calorie journal can just be a pad of paper with your daily caloric goal written at the top where you write what you are eating and add up your totals. This is much less user friendly and more time consuming. I started out using a calorie journal and the only thing I will say about it is that it does force you to think a little bit more about how many calories are in everything as you are writing and calculating, which helps you later on during maintenance.
-Measuring Cups and Spoons
You cannot get by without these. Serving sizes for food are usually by the tablespoon or cup. On occasion they are by ounce, which is why it could be useful to have a food scale, but not necessary. When you put an item into your food journal, you need to pay close attention to the serving size. If the serving size is one cup, you need to get out your measuring cup and put that much on a plate. Likewise, if one serving has too many calories, you can cut that figure in half by only measuring half a cup.
That's really all you need!
Tips and Tricks
Being a dieter for a few years helps you to understand a few things you didn't before. Here are some things to consider as you count calories:
-Water is your friend!
You need 8 glasses of water every day. If you aren't hydrated, you run the risk of mistaking your thirst for hunger. It is always a good idea to drink a glass of water with each meal and 1-2 in between. This will ensure that you are hydrated throughout the day.
-You can eat more if you make a healthy choice.
If you want to be able to eat a lot of food, choose something healthy and low in calories. If you are eating cucumber slices dipped in salsa, you'd be surprised how much you can eat before you even get to 100 calories. You're getting your veggies at the same time. Instead of eating ice cream for desert, you can eat cups and cups of fruit for the same amount of calories! It's all about making good choices.
-Invest in some lowered calorie foods!
Some products are designed as prepackaged diet foods, such as ready made frozen meals with low calorie counts or sugar free ice cream/chocolate substitutes with lower calories. There is nothing wrong with using these foods as tools, but remember that prepackaged foods are not necessarily the best for you. Some of them are packed with sodium, sugar substitutes or preservatives, things that can set you back because of how they interact with your body. This should be an option you utilize when you are short on time or having monster cravings.
I would not be sitting here 100 pounds lighter today if I had not planned ahead. During my free time I would plan my next few days, maybe even a week of meals, then make sure I had shopped for the items, possibly even pre-preparing the meals and freezing them. It's not always easy work, but it makes your self-control possible when all the other elements of your life are in flux.
-Don't let your feelings get the best of you.
Many of us are hardwired to eat when we are stressed. Rewire yourself. This is your cue to take care of yourself better. If you're stressed, you're going to be forced to fix it, not medicate it with food. Find a way to breathe deeply, go for a walk, write down your feelings, or just plain do something else when possible. You'll feel better for it.
Step 5 - Exercise - Calories Out (Introduction)
To continue reading click HERE
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