Thursday, July 9, 2009
I lost some weight when I found out I was diabetic (135 lbs, down from 240 lbs). I didn't do anything special and I didn't join any clubs or follow any weight loss guru. I get a lot of questions about how I lost the weight so I thought I would share my strategy. Fair warning, if you are trying to lose weight you probably won't like my advice. My method is not for everyone but it worked for me.
The short version is pretty simple. Don't eat so much.
Luckily, the long version is just as simple. For starters, don't eat so much. Portion control is the single most powerful change any person can make to their eating habits. The good news about portion control is that as you lose weight, your portions will naturally become smaller and it will be easier and easier to control them. There are plenty of resources out there if you are looking for suggestions on portions but if you want to go the easy route just read the label on your food. The label has a serving size that the vast majority of people ignore but in reality that serving is pretty reasonable and much less than you would normally eat.
Another change every person needs to make is not calling what you do a "diet". If it is a diet you might as well quit now because the word diet implies temporary. If you truly want to lose weight you have to permanently change your eating habits. You have to create good habits that you can follow for the rest of your life. This is why fad diets and a lot of the weight loss programs fail. People lose weight while they are following their chosen diet but as soon as they get back to living the life of a normal person the weight comes right back.
Finally, get some exercise. You don't have to become a gym rat or train for the Ironman. What you do need to do though is get outside, do some walking, ride a bike, walk your dog, play with your kids, do whatever it is you can fit into your day. A little exercise can go a long way.
You'll notice I'm not giving food specific advice. It isn't nearly as important what you eat as it is how much you eat. I'm not suggesting you go on a diet of doughnuts and beef jerky in small portions but if you are eating reasonable portions, you don't have to confine yourself to salads and rice cakes. In general, everyone could cut out some carbs and fat in their diet. However, if you are cutting your portions down, you will naturally be cutting a lot of fat and carbs. Whatever you eat, keep the concept of balance in mind. There should always be a balance of carbs, fat, protein and fiber in your diet. Your body needs all of those things to function properly and most of us get fat because we are eating way too much of everything.
Posted by Patrick Chapman at 8:27 AM