most beautiful things in the world are those from which all excess weight has
the Going Gets Tough, The Successful Get Tougher
- Me plagiarizing
When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going.
The answer to losing weight for some people may be more sleep! According to a poll of the National Sleep Foundation conducted in December 2001 people are more likely to pig out if they don't sleep enough.
Sometimes what we think are diet foods have more calories than what we think are high calorie foods. I walked into a McDonalds and decided to be noble and so ordered a yogurt fruit parfait instead of a hamburger. Later I found out that the yogurt fruit parfait has 380 calories and the hamburger has 280 calories. Many people eat salad because they think it has lower calories than other foods and it does as long as you don't add salad dressing but how many people eat salad without salad dressing? I had a friend who heard that olive oil is a healthy food and used to drown tomatoes, onions and feta cheese in olive oil in order to have a healthy dietary lunch. 1 tablespoon of oil has about 180 calories. Needless to stay she couldn’t lose weight. Nuts are supposed to be healthy. 1 cup of chopped walnuts is about 750 calories.
If you were to observe the following two meals side by side on a table would you know which one had the fewest calories? The first meal consists of an apple fritter donut and a cup of coffee with artificial sweetener. The other one has six pieces of whole wheat toast with 11/2 teaspoons of raspberry jam on each one, one pound of cantaloupe, a bowl of cereal with ten large strawberries, a cup of whole milk for the cereal, a small glass of grapefruit juice and two cups of coffee with cream and sugar. Most people would not guess that the second meal had thirty fewer calories than the donut and coffee. Did you? Despite all of the other food, the second meal is very low in fat. Therefore, you get more food to eat for the same calories...
How about a lunch with three pieces of fried chicken, fried potatoes and an iced tea, as compared to three pieces of broiled chicken, a baked potato with sour cream, iced tea and six 1.45 ounce chocolate bars. About the same calories people don't know that. Now no one says you have to eat all of the chocolate bars, but you could, and that's a lot more food than the first meal, and maybe more pleasure, too!
After reading this I stopped eating jelly donuts at Dunkin Donuts and ate Cinnamon Raison bagels instead. Then my wife looked up calories on the Dunkin Donut web site and found out that a jelly donut has 270 calories and a cinnamon raisin bagel has 330 calories. No more cinnamon raison bagels for me! I always assumed that a Vanilla Chai would have very few calories because it’s a kind of tea. 1 serving has 230 calories.
Vegetables are probably lower in calories than any other food, a stalk of celery for example has only 15 calories, but a salad with a lot of salad dressing can be high in calories (1 tablespoon of Thousand Island Dressing has 59 calories and 1 tablespoon of Blue Cheese Dressing has 77 calories). Lets say we had 5 tablespoons of Thousand Island dressing on our salad. That's equivalent to 295 calories. Yikes! My experience has been that Low fat Thousand Island dressings don't taste good. One can make one that tastes good by combining ketchup, low fat mayonnaise and seasoning. My wife decided to lose weight by eating salad for lunch. The only problem was she chose to eat a Taco salad which had 350 calories. That's almost as much as my yogurt fruit parfait! The Taco salad she ate is low in calories compared to the Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad which has 860 calories.
My wife loves French Fries as do I. That’s usually a danger sign when it comes to calories. A large container of French Fries at McDonalds has 540 calories. That’s not as much as a Fiesta Taco Salad but it’s a lot.
Fruits are low in calories. (A naval orange has 65 calories and an apple has 81 calories. If you restrict yourself to vegetables and fruits you are likely to lose weight (If you do that take vitamin and mineral supplements). Although fruit is low in calories if you drink 5 glasses of orange juice a day that is 5 * 110 cal or 550 calories. Crystal Light makes soft drinks that are similar to juice that contain nutrasweet. Their juice that tastes the most like the real thing is their pink lemonade. There was a study that showed that people gained weight who drank diet sodas but according to webmd that study is inconclusive.
Wine women and song is a wonderful thing but alcohol has about 200 cal per fluid ounce. So if you have an 8 oz glass of wine which is 12% alcohol you have had 192 calories. Pretty soon you’ll have wine without the women and you'll be singing the blues.
One has to be careful even in restaurants that supposedly slim you down and dishes one would expect to be low in calories like tuna fish. According to MSN Health and Fitness, the Subway fast food restaurant may have several healthy sandwiches (the ones that helped poster-boy Jared slim down), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few bad choices on offer. The short 6-inch Double Meat Classic Tuna, thanks to lots of artery-clogging cheese and mayonnaise, packs 790 calories, 55 grams of fat, including 16 grams of saturated fat.
1 ounce of potato chips is equivalent to a pasta dinner (159 calories). One donut has 190 calories. Fried chicken breast with skin is 236 calories. The paragraph from the The ToppFast Diet Plan book about the apple fritter donut makes it clear how much we could eat for the calories found in one donut. They have more comparisons in chapter 21 of their book.
Pasta has a lot of calories but a pasta substitute Tofu Shirataki noodles only has 20 calories per cup. Shirataki noodles can be found in some Asian food stores.
If one eats less than 1200 calories a day one's metabolism can slow down and hinder dieting so one doesn't want to cut down one's caloric intake too quickly. According to the author of The ToppFast Diet Plan online book
Record keeping is the number one predictor of success in our program. You must keep daily records of weight, calories, exercise and deficit/surplus totals for the week...I have not worked with anyone who succeeded in long term weight maintenance who failed to keep records.
Matt Lauer interviewed Madeline Fernstrom, director of the Weight Management Clinic of the University of Pittsbugh Medical Center about weight loss on the today show, on 7/17/2006. She stressed the importance of counting calories and weighing oneself. The interview is outstanding and can be viewed by clicking here.
My wife has also found exercise that she loves to do. It's called water aerobics. Many people have trouble finding the time to exercise. A book called The Spark has a weight control plan in which one loses weight by exercising for short periods such as 10 minutes at a time.
One way my wife has kept her caloric intake down in the past is by drinking diet drinks which contain artificial sweeteners. There is controversy over the safety of artificial sweeteners which is discussed on the Artificial Sweetener page of this web site. The general conclusion is that artificial sweeteners are safe. On the other hand someone who is 40 percent overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely as an average-weight person. Obesity increases the risk of Heart Disease, Stroke,Diabetes, Cancer and other illnesses. Clearly being overweight is much more dangerous than eating artificial sweeteners.
I have included the calculator below for determining one's optimum weight.
This optimum weight isn't exact since one's optimum weight depends on one's build and other factors but it's a ballpark figure based on June 1998 guidelines announced by the federal government and is based on a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation. According to the guidelines a healthy BMI is 24 or less. This calculation assumes a BMI of 24. For more information see the diet calculator and the Cyberdiet Calculator). These calculators also calculate how many calories we should eat a week in order to achieve those weights. There is a calculator that will give calorie information about foods on the Calorie Control Council web site. The Ciberdiet web site has information about planning one's meals in advance.
Some people don't want to go through the trouble of counting calories. Another approach is to eat planned meals from a diet book. If one makes up one's own plan one has to be sure one's diet is balanced. There is software that will prepare diets for you which can be obtained from NutriGenie. Another approach to dieting is to eat a low carbohydrate diet. There is research relating excess insulin to hunger. Eating carbohydrate causes the body to release insulin. One rational behind low carbohydrate diets is that they will reduce excess insulin and so reduce one's hunger. Another is that ketones from fat breakdown are a natural appetite suppressant. The popularization of low carbohydrate diets started in the ‘60s with the Atkins diet. In the’ 70s, it was reincarnated as the Stillman diet. Then in the ‘80s it peaked again as the popular Scarsdale diet. The Atkins diet is being popularized again (see Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution). Another book that advocates this type of diet is The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program : A Personalized Plan for Becoming Slim, Fit and Healthy in Your 40s, 50s, 60s and Beyond.
Complications associated with low carbohydrate, high protein diets include ketosis, dehydration, electrolyte loss, calcium depletion, weakness (due to inadequate dietary carbohydrate), nausea (due to ketosis), and possibly kidney problems. If vitamin and mineral supplements are not taken this diet can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
According to Dr. Alan Schramm and Dr. Frank Toppos online book The ToppFast Diet Plan diets consisting of only protein can lead to heart attacks. They explain that:
If we continue "pure fasting" or "improper fasting," our bodies will next begin breaking down our own body proteins. Muscle, simply stated, is protein. Our bodies will actually begin breaking down its own muscle. Protein is converted, principally by the liver, into sugar (glucose), and this sugar is now used by the various body tissues as its energy source. Now, I can just hear some of you saying, "Well, big deal, I never wanted big muscular arms and legs anyway." Remember this, not only are the muscles in your arms and legs broken down, but so are heart muscle, spleen, and kidneys!! This is one reason why many unfortunate people died on the old liquid protein diet.
Apparently not all carbohydrate causes excess insulin release. Dr. Atkins writes that refined sugar and refined flour are the culprits. An article published on the Mayo Clinic web site called High Protein Miracle Diets - Three Reasons Why They Fail advocates the following approach to dieting.
Notice how they specify fruits, vegetables and whole grains as the carbohydrates to eat. The diet advocated by the Mayo Clinic avoids excess insulin release and at the same time avoids the potential complications of low carbohydrate diets.
The Volumetrics Diet
I bought this book and it has menu for 500 calorie lunches and suppers and 400 calorie breakfasts. That is convenient because you don't have to count calories for each item you eat. They also try and give you as much food as possible for the calorie so that you're not hungry but the diet still lets you have treats like frozen yogurt and so on.
My wife likes to go folk dancing and at folk dancing they put out lots of cookies and candies. In order to help her resist we planned a 200 calorie snack together which consisted of 2 cookies and enough cantelope to bring it to 200 calories. Since the cantelope has a lot of bulk per calorie she could keep nibbling and the cookies gave her a substitute for the cookies at dancing. It worked, she didn't eat anything at dancing other than her snack.
The problem with the volumetric diet is it entails a lot of cooking and shopping for the ingredients.
The Tailor Made Diet
Dieting doesn’t have to be difficult and full of hunger and frustration if certain rules are followed.
The following is a diet both my wife and I put ourselves on I didn't want to go lower than 1700 calories a day because I read that if you do you’ll be hungry. To make counting calories easy we broke up the day into
1) A 200 calorie breakfast
2) A 200 calorie morning snack
3) A 400 calorie lunch
4) A 100 calorie afternoon snack
5) A 200 calorie 5:30 snack
6) A 400 calorie dinner.
7) A 100 calorie dessert
8) A 100 calorie prebed snack
One rule we had was not to more than a certain number of calories by a certain time in the day. So we don’t want to eat our morning snack before morning snack time for example which we usually set to 10:30 AM. eat the morning calories before morning snack time which on weekends is 10:30 am. If we’re very hungry before snacktime we can eat celery or lettuce to quell our hunger because they have a lot of bulk for a very few calories. We can also drink an unlimited amount of diet soda or tea with artificial sweetener.
We had rules of thumb to help plan snacks. For example 1 cup of fruit we consider to be 100 calories. We try and get low calorie foods into her diet that have a lot of bulk per calorie so that she feels full. If she wants to have high calorie foods she can have them but they are balanced with low calorie foods. So for example, if she likes high calorie humous she can have that in a snack with celery. One stalk of celery has about 15 calories so we can cut up a lot of celery sticks and include that with 2 tablespoons of humous and her snack will only add up to 100 calories.
In the beginning I used to make sandwiches for her and prepare chicken salad etc.. but it was a lot of work and very time consuming. Soon we were buying food like lean cuisine and Amys and Celentano and Indian food that is in frozen boxes and that is all prepared for you. Many of these foods especially when vegetarian are in 200 or 300 calorie portions. Then my wife pointed out that a lot of these have high sodium content and she has high blood pressure. I had to be selective in the frozen foods I bought. I’d cut up a watermelon and cut that up into 100 calorie portions (2 cup portions). She likes strawberries sprinkled with splenda. There are rolls you can buy that are only 90 calories, some potato rolls for example and sometimes we put that with turkey mustard and slices of apple. My wife gets sick of certain foods so I adapt so that she’ll always enjoy her diet. Some great diet foods are popcorn and skinny cow ice cream bars. I love butter but to lose calories I used to use margarine but a lot of margarine and butter substitutes have almost as much calories as butter. In fact the lowest amount of calories I have found on the supermarket shelf is light whipped butter. It also has the other advantage that it spreads more easily than butter so you don’t get large high calorie chunks but still cover the bread.
When my wife is at work she keeps the food in the kitchen. It’s dangerous to have food next to you at work. It becomes hard to resist to keep snacking and that is fatal for dieting.
I try and follow the rule not to eat if I’m not hungry. So if I’m not hungry and it’s snack time I don’t eat and add the calories to what I’m allowed to eat later on. There is a whole weight loss method based on the idea is only eat when you’re hungry.
I’ve found that I can lose weight without being hungry all the time when I plan well. Although counting calories to make snacks is work in the beginning soon one learns how many calories are in different foods and one doesn’t have to look it up all the time. I can guess at the calories of what I’m eating and still lose weight because I have been looking up calories for quite a while.
There are diet plans where food is delivered to your door where all the calories have been figured out for you so you don’t have to bother adding up calories. Of course you have to pay for that.
The Approach that Got the Weight off Me.
One problem with the diet I gave above is that when one eats something one is more likely to eat something else than if one hadn't gone into the kitchen at all. I used to simply try and restrict what I ate but I would give in to often to the temptation of snacks and the weight didn't come off. One day I got on the scale in a Doctor's office and it was 200 pounds and I decided I had to do something drastic.
I do something drastic and it worked. I skipped lunch and jogged during my lunch hour if it wasn’t to hot and it if was I swam for a half hour. If I want to eat something I don't tell myself "you can't have that" but "you can have that later". When I do have ice cream later I make sure to only have a spoonful (portion control). Another trick I use is before I eat I drink a lot of water so that I won't have the desire to eat as much. When I resist an impulse to eat between meals I feel proud of myself and that helps me be strong. At dinner I stuck to a one plate rule which means I can have foods like chicken fish vegetables rice pasta etc. but only one plate full. If I want more food than that I can have it as long as it is low in calories like salad with low calorie salad dressing or fruit for dessert. Pasta and rice have a lot of calories so in general I preferred to have cooked vegetables instead. I dropped from 200 pounds to 178 pounds this way within a couple of months. I was not always that strict or I would have lost more weight. I weighed myself almost every day and when I saw the weight go up I get stricter and took it off the next day.
One good thing about not allowing anything between breakfast and dinner is that there is no slippery slope of well I'll have a little of this and well a little more of that won't hurt and so on. My approach has the flaw that when I come home and I'm hungry I have the urge to keep eating. It's important if you use this method to watch what you eat once you get home so you don't undo the weight loss during the day.
Sometimes the medication we take can cause us to gain weight. My wife was taking Beta Blockers to lower her blood pressure. One problem with Beta Blockers is that they slow down one's metabolism and by so doing cause one to gain weight. Increased weight leads to higher blood pressure. There are blood pressure medicines that don't slow down metabolism. It is good to be aware of the side effects of the medicine one is taking to be sure it is not contributing to weight gain. Meridia is a drug that suppresses appetite that can be helpful but it has the side effect of suppressing sexual desire as well.
Psychology and Weight Loss
A woman I know loses weight for a week or so and then quits her diet. She claims she quits because she gets scared because men start making unwanted advances to her. I told her she has to tell them that they are making her uncomfortable. She doesn’t want to hurt their feelings. I said you can say that you like them but you feel uncomfortable when they do x y z. I told her instead of being afraid she should give them a nice smile. Attractiveness is power. Generally men are eager to please attractive women. If a man insists on making unwanted advances despite being told not to do so then they can be warned that you will call for help. When you make such a warning though make sure there are others around in case the man gets angry.
The impulse to eat can be divided into the desire for pleasure and the impulse to avoid the pain of hunger. If people only ate when they were hungry they'd be a lot thinner. There is a lot of comfort eating or eating to feel better.
Self praise is pleasurable and if one resists eating one can praise oneself for having done so.
Losing weight involves making a plan and following the rules one makes for oneself. There is always to make an exception to the rule "just this once" but that opens the door to making another exception and another. It's important to realize this danger when tempted to snack on that delicious kit kat. It's important to be strict and stick to the plan even if one is hungry.
It's easy to get discouraged if one has dieted and the weight on the scale doesn't show it. At that point we can think "what's the point, dieting doesn't help I might as well have that delicious chocolate bar", or we can think "When the going gets tough I'm going to get tougher" and do more to lose weight like exercise some more or eat less.
Making a plan, sticking to that plan and reacting to adversity by trying harder is the way to succeed in almost anything, not just dieting. I say almost anything because there are some situations when one really is beaten and trying harder is about as effective as banging your head against the wall. In the case of dieting however, anyone can succeed because the weight that goes on depends on the calories that go in and we can all control that.
Obviously if we're not hungry we're less likely to eat. If we eat low calorie foods we can eat a lot more for and be less hungry than if we eat high calorie foods.
Sometimes it's hard to resist eating certain foods but if we have substitutes it becomes much easier. I used to always buy cookies to eat on my way to work. Now that I keep a box of cranberry apple tea at work with artificial sweetener, I'm able to resist buying the cookies on the way to work because I know a delicious sweet fruit tea is waiting for me there.
Part of the secret to losing weight is not snacking. Having rules as to what one is allowed to eat at specific times is a way to control snacking. If you have to snack on chips, having a bag set aside for the morning snack which only has 10 chips in it and a rule that one will not eat anymore than what is in the bag, is a way to prevent uncontrolled snacking.
I think hopping on the scale every day is a good thing to do. It can be discouraging and misleading because sometimes we have more fluid insides us than other times, (especially in the case of women) but I think on the whole it is a good idea. It can be very encouraging when the scale shows the weight coming off.
The Changing Oneself page has information about ways of rationalizing that we might be using to avoid weight loss. We are less likely to rationalize if we recognize our rationalizations for what they are. It is worthwhile listening to what you tell yourself when you struggle with temptation or give in to temptation. That way you can learn what your rationalizations are. Dr. Alan Schramm and Dr. Frank Toppos write about rationalization in their online book The ToppFast Diet Plan:
Americans always seem to want to blame their overweight condition on anything other than the fact that they eat more calories than their body expends. They love to blame the genes passed down to them from their fat Aunt Wanda. Or the influence of having been "forced" to eat their grandmother's special peanut butter cookies when they were six.
Before I married my wife she rationalized that I wouldn't marry her whether or not she lost weight. That's a self fulfilling rationalization. Obesity made her less attractive. She also rationalized that I should accept her the way she is. I think there is a difference between accepting someone the way they are and marrying them. When a person marries an overweight person they may be marrying a wonderful person but they are also marrying potential medical problems and someone who is less attractive than they otherwise would be. If one gets one's weight under control good things happen. Dr. Alan Schramm and Dr. Frank Toppos in their online book The ToppFast Diet Plan write that:
We've seen marriages and pregnancies occur when perhaps a year previous they were not even part of the person's wildest dreams or desires.
They mention that after weight loss there were a few divorces. Maybe what happened is once one partner became more attractive that person started having affairs.
I have noticed that often before I eat I am telling myself, I have to rush my work or else something bad will happen. That is a tipoff to me that if I want to lose weight I should try and reduce my anxiety about my work. Deciding not to rush but to just plug away and accept whatever will happen can reduce anxiety. Coping with anxiety is discussed on other pages in this web site.
It's helpful to listen to one's self talk regarding food.
You can't eat now
But I'm going to starve
This conversation tips one off that one should answer the statement of I'm going to starve with the benefits of dieting. One could tell oneself "You're not going to starve and you'll be slimmer, healthier and happier if you resist."
I discuss the techniques that I use that work for me in the section The Approach That Works For Me.
The same techniques used for helping one lose weight are probably also useful for overcoming addiction such as cigarette smoking.
Exercise is important if one wants to lose weight but many of us have trouble finding the time to do exercise. One way to do so is to attempt to incorporate exercise into one's daily work routine. For example if one lives close enough to work one could walk or bike there instead of driving. If one has breaks at work during which one usually snacks one could try walking around the block during those breaks. If one works on a highrise on the 18th floor one could walk up and down a few flights of stairs during breaks.
If one has the time to do exercise it's important to find an exercise that one enjoys. A friend of mine told me that a year ago she had lost weight by competitive ballroom dancing. She said she enjoyed it so much that she was very motivated to do aerobic exercise.
Also its important to remember that although the exercise may not be that enjoyable in the beginning as one gets into better shape it may become more enjoyable.
There are exercise bikes that keep track of the calories burned during exercise. There is a rule of thumb that every 500 calories one burns should result in a loss of 1 pound a week over the weight one would have had if one hadn't exercised.
Two people have told me that exercise actually reduced their appetite. I don't understand that because one would think that if one exercised one would need more food but this is what I've been told.
Things to Consider Before Deciding Not to Diet
Although most people know that being overweight in addition to adversely affecting one's social life can seriously affect one's health many people overeat anyway. Many people have tried diets and may have lost a few pounds here or there only to gain them back again. After a while this can become discouraging and people give up. There are several important things to remember before one gives up.
1) The more weight one gains the harder it is to lose any weight.
Supposing the way one likes to lose weight is by jogging. If one gains too much weight it becomes very difficult to jog. One is more likely to pull a muscle because of the added weight while jogging. What if one likes to lose weight by swimming? One might become too embarassed to wear a bathing suit in public if one is to overweight. These are some of the reasons why it's not good to procrastinate with "I'll start my diet tomorrow".
2) Weight loss is a question of tipping the balance between food intake and burning of calories.
Supposing a person has been overweight for the last 10 years but hasn't put on weight during that time. That person has reached a balance between caloric intake and caloric burning. That person only has to add enough exercise or reduce their caloric intake enough to tip the balance. This is important because people often become discouraged when they fail to lose weight without realizing how close they are to doing so.
A web page on appetite suppression from the Mayo Clinic Curbing Your Appetite says it's OK to eat in response to hunger but one should try not to eat in response to stress. Often I have caught myself struggling with a problem at work, getting stressed out about it, looking for an excuse for avoiding the stress and coming up with the not so brilliant idea of taking a food break. It's better to take a break and go on a walk instead. It's also better to learn how to reduce stress.
3) Remember that dieting gets easier.
A woman I know who went on a diet said that the few days were the most difficult but afterwards it was not difficult to stick to the diet. The article Curbing Your Appetite says that cravings for food are short lived.
Persuading Others to Lose Weight
If your weight is good but you want to convince someone else to lose weight you might find helpful information in the persuasion section of this web site. Unfortunately a lot of people feel hurt and rejected when one encourages them to lose weight.
I have a friend who told me that her boyfriend was motivating her to lose weight. She said he never gave her a hard time about her weight and just kept loving her even though she gained a lot of weight but that he was getting the pounds off himself so she felt she should as well. He was influencing her by setting an example.
I used to try to get my wife to lose weight by complaining every time she ate something bad for her. A relative pointed out to me that my actions were counter productive and that it is better to tell my girlfriend that she has to be her own policeman, that it's her life, and that I'm not going to say anything.
Another relative became angry with me when she heard me make a comment to my girlfriend about how fat she would be after I saw her take a bite out of a brownie. That relative told me that she had a problem with weight loss in the past and that people making comments like that caused her to rebel and to want to prove to them what she could eat inspite of their comments. My relative said the best thing I could do was to make my girlfriend feel good about herself so that she would want to lose weight on her own.
A small breakthrough in my ability to help my wife lose weight came while we were having a fight over food. I told her that if she sees me as a jerk who disapproves of her because of her weight problem then I won't be able to help her but if she sees me instead as a person who cares about her and is trying to help, then I will be able to help. My wife says that I got through to her when I said that.
What stopped me from harassing my wife was when she finally followed a diet. When I thought that everything she was eating was part of a preplanned diet I left her alone. Once I believed that she was following a diet I stopped panicking every time she put something into her mouth.
The following is a list of web sites with help for losing weight.
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