Rules Of The Road

There are absolutely a million “tips & tricks” for weight loss out there… and looking at those who try them, I can tell you 99% have absolutely no effect on how much weight you lose.  One of my challenges over the years has been trying to figure out what will help me lose weight, and what will only frustrate me.

As a result, my “secrets to weight loss” are ridiculously simple: eat less, and exercise more.

If I want to eat a double hot fudge sundae (maybe deep fried, if we’re at the state fair), I can do that…  HOWEVER, that may be the ONLY thing I’m able to eat that day, depending on the calories…  so I have to choose wisely if I don’t want to feel really hungry by nightfall.

The other key for me has been to not try to lose too much at once.

In the past, I was going to STARVE myself.  I knew EVERYTHING I had been eating was WRONG, and so I would go from double bacon cheeseburgers and fries with ranch dressing to a petite grilled chicken breast, whole grain wild rice, and a glass of water.

Not surprisingly, my metabolism panicked and shut down.  I could GAIN weight eating less than I had last week or last month.

One of the things I discovered when I began counting calories was  that one day I would eat WAY too many calories, then the next day eat very little…  then a ton the next day, and back again.  The result was my metabolism would shut down after I didn’t eat very much… then I would double or triple the calories I was putting in.  Just evening out the number of calories each day would have helped.

Weight Watchers is an excellent program, and I recommend it.  My only problem with it was that they wanted me to lose 2 lbs a week…  an admirable goal, but too difficult for someone who eats to deal with stress like myself.

The MyFitnessPal app (free) I mentioned last post allows me to set my calories to lose 1/2 lb a week. That’s workable…  in fact, some days I’m shocked I haven’t eaten up to my calorie limit!  I still get hungry, but not impossibly so.

This also allows me to go shopping for “treats.”  I have 600 calories left?  What trivial food have I been denying myself because the energy return wasn’t great enough?   Pizza bites, sugary snacks, Fritos and green onion dip…  it all is on the table when I have leftover calories.

I used to believe there was “good” food and “bad” food… and I certainly I don’t advocate tobacco, or poison ivy…  but numerous media outlets including  The Daily Mail  and NBC News have cited reliable studies finding fat, even saturated fat, isn’t the health risk we used to believe, and salt isn’t the enemy it was once believed to be, according to studies cited by The Huffington Post and KFOR-TV.

Two of my biggest “don’t” rules go hand-in-hand: I DON’T ever not attempt to record what I consume in a day, no matter how far off the rails I go; and, I DON’T go over my calories EVER for ANY reason.

I’ve found with myself, if I give my self an inch, I’ll take a buffet.  A little cheat here and a little cheat there, and pretty soon I’m eating what I was eating before.  I have to hold myself to this if I’m at a party, ill, or suffering a loss like a death in the family or loss of a job.  Other plans allow a cheat day, but I don’t find that helpful.

Finally, I don’t let the scale determine my success.  If I know I’m staying under my calories (but eating as close up to them as possible), then I need to soldier forward, knowing eventually the scale will reflect what I am and am not putting in my mouth.  Like a game of Tetris, as long as I can make the food “fit” the day’s calories (as tightly as possible), then I have “won” for the day.

This has been extremely helpful over the past two weeks when I temporarily plateaued after seeing weight fall off…  just this morning I finally lost another pound.

Thanks for reading!  See you next Tuesday.

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