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beautiful-woman2Losing weight is as simple as eating less and exercising more, right?

If only it were that simple! As most of us know losing weight can be very challenging, both mentally and physically.

There are many things that influence overeating. Stress (stress hormones, like cortisol), environment are major contributors. A basic understanding of when, where can help explain why you may be overeating. Once you know the why, you can than devise a plan to increase your odds of losing weight and keeping it off for good!!

First tip: right down everything you eat...and I mean everything, in a food log. Note time, and any contributory factor you can identify (running late, ate fast food, stressed at work, grabbed some junk food, etc.)

Next, determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.

This can be done using one of the tools available to you at, or you can do a few simple calculations.

For the simple calculation you do not need to be a math wiz. Here is a simple way to find out how many calories your body requires to maintain your current weight.

Multiply your current weight by 15. This is roughly the number of calories per pound of body weight needed to maintain your current weight if you are moderately active. Moderately active means getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day in the form of exercise (walking at a brisk pace, climbing stairs, or active gardening). Let's say you're a man who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds, and you need to lose about 20 pounds to put you in a healthy weight range. If you multiply 200 by 15, you will get 3,000, which is the number of calories per day that you need in order to maintain your current weight (weight-maintenance calories). To lose a 2 pounds of body weight per week, you will need to lose 7000 calories less, or 1000 per day.

If you are sedentary, you will also need to build more activity into your day. In order to lose at least a pound a week, try to do at least 45 minutes of physical activity on most days, and reduce your daily calorie intake by at least 500 calories.

Because your body will soon adapt to restricted calories as a survival mechanism it is important that you average and cycle your calories to reach the desired deficit (7000 per week in the example above).  That would mean decreasing your calories in a manner such as this:








Using the example above you have reduced your caloric intake from an average of 3000 calories a day to an average of 2000 calories a day. That would be 7000 calories less a week for a loss of 2 pounds per week.

Meeting your calorie target

How can you meet your daily calorie target? The best approach iis to add up the number of calories per serving of all the foods that you eat, using a food log like a menu.   You can buy books at a book store or find information on the web that lists calories per serving for many foods.  You can also find some of this information at under the tools/resources tab in the tool bar.

Also take heed to the nutrition labels on all packaged foods and beverages. They will provide calories per serving information, and often also provide grams of carbs, fats, protein and more.  Ingredients listed are usually in the orderf of amounts as well.

Reading Before Eating

Always read the labels before eating. This will not only start to educate you about what you are putting into your body, but it will also help prevent you from eating the wrong things in error.

Do Not Forget Counting the Drinks

Drinks can have calories as well, and are often not tacked by dieters, and these same dieters often wonder why they are not losing weight!!

When tracking your calories always noteg the number of calories and the serving sizes.

Hate Counting?

If you hate counting calories, there are different approaches where you choose certain meals, foods and eat at specific times using specific portions (like the Weight Watcher points system).

The Sensible Approach

Whichever method you choose, research shows that a regular eating schedule - with meals and snacks planned for certain times each day - makes for the most successful approach.

This is also important for your long term success in keeping the weight off for good. Sticking with an eating schedule increases your chance of maintaining your new weight.

If you decide to not count calories (which personally I believe is the best way), and plan on trying a common sense approach it is important that you follow a few simple guidelines which will help increase your chances and success in losing and keeping off the weight.

1. Minimize the bad fats. Fats are 9 calories a gram more than double that of protein and carbohydrates.

2. Minimize empty calories such as gravies and other toppings.

3. Eat foods that are filling and low in calories. That means meals and snacks made with whole grains, such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and oatmeal, as well as legumes, such as lentils and other beans.

4. Consider fish and poultry over meat.

5. When you eat meat, choose lean cuts of meat and modest amounts - about 3½ or 4 ounces per serving.

6. Avoid fried foods. For stovetop cooking, it's better either to stir-fry foods in nonstick pans lightly coated with a cooking-oil spray or to braise them in broth or wine. Baking, broiling, and roasting add no extra fat to your meals.

7. Use low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of protein and calcium, but the whole-milk versions of these dairy products are very high in fat, so substitute them for the low fat or fat free varieties whenever possible.

8. Eat slowly. For more than 30 years, dieters have been told to eat slowly to reduce their intake of food. This idea "It started in about 1972 as a hypothesis that eating slowly would allow the body time for the development of satiety [fullness] and we would eat less," according to Kathleen Melanson, assistant professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Rhode Island. "Since then we've heard it everywhere and it has become common knowledge. But no studies had been conducted to prove it." Not until recently!!! In  a laboratory study of college-age women over the past year led by Melanson confirmed the long-held belief. In the study, 30 women made two visits to Melanson's lab, and each time they were given a large plate of pasta and told to eat as much as they wanted. When they were told to eat quickly, they consumed 646 calories in nine minutes, but when they were encouraged to pause between bites and chew each mouthful 15 to 20 times, they ate just 579 calories in 29 minutes. The study demonstrated that satiety signals  need time to develop. The women took in fewer calories when they ate more slowly, and they had a greater feeling of satiety at meal completion and 60 minutes afterwards!!! This data strongly suggests benefits to eating more slowly. The study also interviewed the participants who stated that they enjoyed the meal more when they ate slowly than when they ate quickly. Of important note, One potentially confounding factor in the study was that the volunteers were provided water to drink with their meal, and when eating slowly they had considerably more time to drink before completing their meal. The greater consumption of water might have contributed to satiety under the slow condition. However, Melanson said that this factor reflects the real-world situation, since eating slowly allows more time for water consumption.

9. Drink lots of water. Water can help you lose weight and feel full (see above) while also being very good for the body as well. Drinking cold water is best. Studies show that drinking cold water rather than tepid water can burn calories; drinking about 8 ounces of ice-cold water (1 degree Celsius) would cause the body to expend about 9 calories. Although this is not a huge deal, if you drank 100 ounces a day this way you could lose a pound a month, besides the calories you might not eat while drinking the water which would also help you feel fuller.  You can read more about it at : How Stuff Works: "Does drinking ice water burn calories?"

10.  Avoid fast foods. Hamburgers, tacos, fried chicken, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, French fries, and other fast-food meals and snacks tend to promote weight gain for two reasons. First, they are high in fat, calories, or both. Second, the "value meals" are often excessively large and tempt you to overeat.

11. Minimize beverages that contain calories. Why? because they can add up quickly and often leave you feeling hungry.

Last modified on Monday, 25 June 2012 20:30
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