Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Key to Losing Weight

These days, just about everyone needs to drop a few excess pounds; for some, even more than a few. But let’s face it, losing weight is difficult, and keeping it off is sometimes even more of a challenge.Hey, if losing weight and getting into swimsuit shape was easy, we’d all look like models and movie stars. Sadly, this is far from the case.

But there is good news for those of us (yes, me too; I am constantly working on my weight. Even though I am at a very healthy weight right now, I know that if I didn’t work at it I would be overweight and unhealthy very fast) looking to lose weight and keep it off; help is on the way. The key is to COUNT YOUR CALORIES AND MAKE YOUR CALORIES COUNT!

Sounds simple enough, and it is in theory. So then why are six out of ten people overweight? And over 30%, and growing at an alarming rate, considered obese? As I stated earlier, if it was easy to lose weight, we’d all look like Brad and Angelina. But we don’t and it’s not, but there is hope. Read on…

Any successful weight loss program, be it Weight Watchers or Atkins or Slim Fast or South Beach (the list goes on and on, doesn’t it?), has one thing in common: you must burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. There is no getting around this; it is a proven and steadfast fact.


3500. That is the magic number. In this day and age, people are looking for a magic pill, something to pop in their mouths to make all of their problems, like being overweight, go away. Here’s a scoop for you: THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL!

But there is magic!

* Magic foods! Foods rich in fiber (like fruits, nuts, whole grains, beans, soy, vegetables) are not only extremely healthy for you (most are loaded with antioxidants, tons of vitamins and nutritious minerals that help combat heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal maladies, and lots more), but WILL help you lose weight. Why? They remain in your stomach and digestive system longer, helping you to feel full longer, thus keeping you away from snacking and overeating. Fiber also promotes regularity and is a natural colon cleanser.

* Magic numbers, like: 3500. As I previous mentioned, the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you ingest. And the only way to lose a pound is to burn 3500 calories more than you ingest. It’s that easy; the math at least is. The rest is up to you. Here’s a simple suggestion: set daily caloric goals. An example: limit yourself to consuming 2000 calories a day. Then set a goal to burn at least 2500 calories each day. That will give you 500 net calories burned each day. Multiply that 500 x 7 days, and you have 3500. Using this formula you are guaranteed to lose at least one pound per week. Could it really be that easy?

YES!…and no. Because if it were that easy…ah, you know the rest.

But it can be done, and if you put your mind to it, are really motivated and really want to lose weight, as well as being ready to change your life, then it is that simple…you just gotta do it! And I’m here to help.

Let’s go back to my key to losing weight: COUNT YOUR CALORIES AND MAKE YOUR CALORIES COUNT!

The Key to Losing Weight

The first thing you need to do, literally, is to start counting. Everything that goes near your mouth, including: tasting while cooking, finishing a few bites from your kid’s plate, any and all beverages, all snacking and any sneaking. Remember, you want and need to lose weight, right? Then you’re only kidding yourself if you sneak a few bites here or there…right?

Back to the counting. Get yourself a nutritional book that lists content of all food that you think you will ever consume. I like this one: The Complete Book of Food Counts. Also, the Internet has several excellent sites that offer calorie counters for free (I offer several on the links page at my video site, A few tips: dining out every night will make this task that much more difficult. Why? Because you will have a tough time estimating the caloric content of what’s on your plate at your local diner, thus making it that much more of a challenge to count your calories. My solution: make your own during the workweek, and then, maybe, treat yourself to a nice dinner or two on the weekend. In fact, I encourage you to cut yourself a little break on the weekend, especially if you had a good week of calorie counting and weight loss. Ya gotta live, too, right?

Okay, so you have a goal of 2000 calories per day and you have been counting EVERYTHING that you’ve been consuming. I bet you’re finding it difficult to stay within that 2000 calorie threshold, right? Believe me, I feel your pain. This is where the “make your calories count” part comes into play. It is essential to make each calorie you consume while on a limited caloric diet. Why? Because you need to eat a balanced diet of fruits and veggies, carbs and proteins, fats (yes, fats! The good fats, that is) and dairy. And if you’re limiting yourself to only 2000 calories, those will add up quickly. The key:


This is why keeping a journal of everything you consume daily is important. Write it down and keep score, making sure that you not only watch how much you’re consuming, but WHAT you are consuming. The sad fact is you could eat a diet of nothing but potato chips, limiting yourself to only 2000 calories, and if you burn over 2500 calories a day, you WILL lose weight. But you won’t be doing it in a healthy way. And why is this a bad thing? Your body will rebel, you will be unhealthy, tired, vitamin, mineral, and nutrient deprived, and eventually breakdown. So, again, the key (for those of you who have not been paying attention):


When I lost all my weight, I kept a daily journal, listing EVERYTHING I ate. I also loaded up my plate with fiber-rich foods. Here is a typical day:

Soy bar
Orange or peach
Soy chips (snack) with hummus
Either almond butter or peanut butter on whole grain bread, or a high fiber and high protein whole grain cereal with soy milk
Baked potato (no butter, just a splash of olive oil)
Mix of veggies: broccoli, soy, beans, carrots, cauliflower, etc.
Large salad (lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cukes, with some type of bean: garbanzo, kidney, black). Low-cal, no-fat dressing

Believe it or not, all that food rarely exceeded 2000 calories. Notice there is no animal protein on my list, but feel free to add fish or poultry to your list. Just make sure you limit your caloric intake. I choose a vegetarian lifestyle for many reasons, improved health being a major factor, but the lower caloric intake and extra fiber are equally beneficial.

I’m not suggesting you become a vegetarian, I’m just giving you a glimpse of what worked for me. Your list may be far different than mine, and that’s okay, as long as you count your calories and eat a complete, well balanced diet.

Remember, if you are reading this then you are probably interested in discovering new ways of losing weight. My way, my key, worked, and continues to work, for me. I know it will work for you too. But you have to be ready, willing, and committed to doing what it takes to be what you want to be. Hey, what have you got to lose…except all those excess pounds. Good luck, I’m pulling for you.

Until next time…




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