Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to Lose Weight (Maybe)

I'm fighting a losing battle against aging. Despite eating fewer calories while continuing to exercise as much as ever, I'm growing a pot belly and my weight keeps climbing.

Dr. Michael Edelstein, an award-winning cognitive-behavioral therapist recommends this approach which I am trying:

1. Keep your house free of calorie-dense foods. Keep lots of fruits and vegetables within easy reach.
2. Write down everything you eat, before you eat it.
3. Read daily (with expression) the reasons you want to lose weight.
4. When tempted to eat something calorific, say aloud, with expression, the reasons it's stupid to do so.

I want to lose 20 pounds. I'll report back. Let me know if this approach works for you.


Anonymous said...

There is a theory, and I'm not sure if it's proven, that some people gain weight because of food allergies or sensitivities. It might be worth it for you to have a doctor run a test or for you to do an elimination diet test at home to see if you're allergic to any foods, even the healthy ones.

I've also heard the theory, again not proven, that every diet on the market will work for any person that sticks to it. The problem with weight gain is supposed to be a result of either not sticking to whatever diet plan you chose, and/or not adopting healthier choices after weight loss. If you go back to the habits that made you gain the weight in the first place, of course the weight will come back.

I've never done the 4th item on your list, but I have done the first 3, and my weight loss was most effective when I most faithfully did those. But there are so many ways to lose weight that there probably isn't one thing that works for everybody. I hope your plan works for you.

Anonymous said...

The first commenter highlights an essential ingredient in dieting success: persistence.

Persist in your regimen for at least one month before deciding it's not working for you.

Adhere strictly to your plan. A meal or two off can easily set back a week's compliance.

Also, maintain scrupulous records to stay honest.

Dr. Michael Edelstein

Marty Nemko said...

And therein lies the rub, Michael. Very few people can be that perfect: When 167.5 hours of the enormous restraint required to stay at 1300 calories a day can be undone by 0.5 hours of what most people would consider moderate eating, you're asking people to do have a degree of self-discipline that simply is unrealistic even for disciplined people like myself.

Anonymous said...

Try having a light dinner and not eating after 8PM. This is a rule I have found I can stick with. Many people eat a large number of calories just before evening/sleep, which is when you aren't going to use many.

Marty Nemko said...

Yes, AH, I've heard that too, often. Good reminder to all of us. Thanks.

Stephen said...

Over the past year I've lost a significant amount of weight, and have gone from being slightly overweight to "normal" according to BMI. The only reason I've been able to do so is that during that time I've taken a job that is very physical and requires me to be moving around on my feet for extended periods of time.

There inlies an important idea from the second poster: persistence. For most of us, persistence only happens when we are absolutely required to do something. Ideally we would get all of our physical exercise as a matter of necessity. Such as when people had to do a lot more physical work on farms before the advent of modern equipment.

I think a lot of people will schedule exercise at times that are more convenient. Perhaps opting to take that bike ride only when the weather is nice. Maybe they should be instead be going out when it is overcast and rainy, in order to give themselves a little more of a physical challenge.

I might be exaggerating slightly in that example, but the general idea is that most of us have to work a little harder in order to persevere long enough to really gain the benefits of a change in diet/exercise routines. It might be necessary to push ourselves a little outside our comfort zone and explore new ways of doing, new ways of cooking and eating.

Those new ways are really the old ways. Trying to strive for a more simple way of life. One in which you value the food that you buy from the grocery store, as though you had to grow it yourself.

Marty Nemko said...

I find that the most convenient exercise is an exercise bike in my home with a book rack attached so I can do my professional book reading while on the bike.

Alas, I find that my appetite increases in direct proportion to any increase in exercise, so I keep it to 30 minutes of quite (but not extremely) vigorous exercise bike riding 5 days a week.

Grace said...

Regarding exercise, I find that if I change the way I move all day, I lose more weight. So I consciously try to keep a good posture with my stomach muscles tightened, even when I drive. I take the stairs at work. I remember to take deep breaths throughout my day. If I am walking outside, I move my arms and move with purpose. Just making the most of every movement makes a difference in my vitality.

Regarding eating, using smaller plates and cups helps in maintaining proper portion control. (I used to drink my tea out of nice china tea cups, but now I drink a vat of tea each morning out of my huge coffee mug. Not good.)

I also found that I lost weight when I did nothing different in my diet with the exception of substantially increasing the amounts of fruits and vegetables in my diet. In this way, I lost weight by eating more.

I am going to try some of the suggestions in this post. Small changes made consistently will soon become second nature. And results will be seen.

Grace said...

Has anyone tried the diets that claim that the problem isn't in calories as much as it is in acidity? These people say that foods that cause a high acidity in our bodies will age us (acid breaks down our cells) and that we should eat more alkaline foods. I have never tested this theory, but I am tempted to.

Ah, the fads come and the fads go.

Marty Nemko said...

It's been two weeks, and I've followed the plan pretty darn well, eating about 1500 calories a day-and GAINED one pound--up to 198 pounds.


Grace said...

Have you been stressed? I think that there is a mental/emotional connection to weight loss. When I'm holding on to stuff (work/relationship stress), I could live off of celery and never lose weight. On vacation, I often lose weight, even though I tend to indulge in sweets. Just a thought.

Marty Nemko said...

Nah, Grace, I'm not particularly stressed. In any event, I gain weight under all conditions. Sigh.