Warning: This entry is long!
To begin with, I’m speaking more to myself in this entry than to anyone else. However, if you find any of this helpful, you’re more than welcome.
I’ve spent a good deal of time watching TV and I’m aware that what most people, including me, who are overweight, want is a “fast-food” way to lose weight and get fit. Let me tell you something: There isn’t one. No pill will safely and effectively make you lose weight and keep it off. As for dieting, the word “diet” is just “die” with a “t” at the end. In order to really lose weight, you have to go through a complete change of lifestyle. You have to change everything about you that’s keeping you fat, mainly in the categories of what and how much you eat and how much you move.
When you’re grossly overweight (5’6.5” and 280 lbs is clinically obese), what you want to start off with are some fairly easy changes. After all, I’ve found that just saying good-bye to those guilty pleasures and digging that bike out instead of vegging in front of the TV or the computer is easy enough to say but not as easy to do. Also, most of the “diet” plans out there are designed for people who, in my opinion as a fat lady, aren’t really fat. You’re truly fat when you go to your doctor complaining about back problems and your doctor says, “There’s a simple solution, Mr/Ms X. You just need to lose some weight.” This is the kind of thing that drives my husband bonkers because both of us are obese and all of his doctors have been saying that his health problems would be lessened if he lost weight. It’s enough to drive anyone spare.
Anyway, here are a few easy changes to start off with. Weight Watcher’s teaches its adherents to “Eat Less and Move More,” and they have a pretty good success rate. Some of these suggested changes are things I’ve tried that work for me and some are things I’m planning to try. I’ve organized them in the two Weight Watcher’s categories of “Eat Less” and “Move More”
- Eat a healthy breakfast. This is one that every nutritionist will tell you. Never skip breakfast. Eating breakfast is to your metabolism like priming the pump. It prepares it to do its thing and burn off the extra fat your body has stored up.
- Figure out when and/or why you usually eat unhealthily. Most people are driven to unhealthy eating by a powerful emotion. Is it boredom, depression, anger, or is it something else? Keep your eyes open for moments when those emotions are present and find something else to do until your usual craving subsides.
- Replace your usual guilty pleasure with something healthier. Usually crave something sweet? Try fresh fruit. Prefer something salty? Put a little salt on some cucumber slices or some tomato wedges. Want something crunchy? Apples and pretzels are both crunchy. Want something cold? Here’s a trick, buy some sugarless juice powder and some berries. Mix up the juice and put it into your ice trays. Add the berries and freeze. Voila! Instant healthy frozen treat.
- Think you can’t get by without having some of that guilty pleasure. Here’s a surprise, even thin people eat unhealthily sometimes. Reward yourself for a month of healthy eating by treating yourself to a small amount of your usual guilty pleasure. You can usually get just about any treat in small amounts nowadays.
- Make a pact with yourself never to go shopping without a grocery list and not to buy anything not on your list. If you see something you’d like to buy that’s not on your list, write it on the bottom under the title “Under Consideration.” When you get home with your groceries, pin your list to the refrigerator. The next day, look at the items on your list. How many of them are things you need and how many are guilty pleasures? Put the things you need on a new list and, if you feel you need to, add one of the guilty pleasures.
- Avoid fast food restaurants like the plague, if you can. It’s true that you can lose weight eating just about anything, but most fast food are practically designed to make you want more and almost none of it is healthy. If you have to eat at a fast food joint, order a salad to start off with and then wait twenty minutes before ordering anything else.
- Limit yourself to a single plate of food and a single dessert, if any. This strategy works well if you’re eating at a buffet style restaurant when combined with the above suggestion. Have a plate of salad, first. Then wait for twenty minutes (it helps to bring a friend to talk with while you’re eating), and have a plate of some main dish. Be sure to put at least one vegetable dish on your plate. After you’re done, choose a single dessert. If there’s ice-cream, you can have a dessert and add ice-cream to it or you can eat the ice-cream alone.
- Get yourself a nice big mug or water bottle and sip from it regularly. Sometimes, the body mistakes thirst for hunger. Water is best, but herbal tea and herbal ice tea also works well. Soda doesn’t count as hydrating. A single soda is nothing but empty calories. Diet soda is better, sort of. It won’t stop you from losing weight, but it also won’t stop you from being thirsty because soda manufacturers want you to buy more, which you won’t do if you’re not thirsty.
- Before you do any exercising, check with your doctor and make sure that you don’t have any health problems you should worry about.
- Anytime you exercise, be sure to bring your water bottle, so that you stay hydrated. Believe it or not, much of the body’s extra weight comes from hoarding water.
- Any time you do aerobic exercise, check your heart rate by talking. If your heart rate is at fat burning levels, you should have just enough breath to talk, though perhaps not enough to sing.
- If you can afford one, get yourself a portable radio, tape, CD, MP3 player or iPod. Music always makes exercise more fun.
- Get a dog. Dogs need to be walked at least once a day, if not more. If you can’t afford a dog, you can always offer to walk a neighbor’s dog or visit the local animal shelter, which often has dogs in need of being walked.
- Get yourself a bike. If you can’t afford a new one, get a second-hand bike. Yard sales and thrift shops are good places to find these. Once you have it and a lock and helmet to go with it (both of these last should be new), make a pact with yourself to ride it at least twice a week, more if you can. Start small (at maybe a mile) and work your way up to more about once a month or so.
- If you can afford them, enroll yourself in some aerobics classes. Water aerobics classes are good to start off with, because water takes much of the pressure of your weight from your body and makes the exercises easier to handle.
- Anytime you go somewhere, park about half a mile away.
- If it’s an appointment, then give yourself about fifteen to twenty minutes extra time, which should inspire you to walk as quickly as you can.
- If you’re going shopping, park at the far end of the parking lot. Depending on the store, this should provide you with a pretty decent walk, particularly if you keep up a decent pace.
- Play your favorite radio station and dance to the music.
You don’t have to follow all of these suggestions at the same time. In fact, it’s probably best to only implement one at a time, say about one in each category every three or four weeks or so.
If you read this and find it useful, please click the “like” button. If you have any other useful suggestions, please include them in the comments, categorized by “Eat Less” and “Move More”. I may add a few more myself. Hopefully, I’ll soon be able to tell you that I’ve lost some more weight.