How to lose two pounds per week, guaranteed.

| March 15, 2007 | 154 Replies

Three weeks ago I noticed that I was overweight again, but I’m doing something about it again.

I’m not quite sure what did it.  Maybe it was the almost-nightly bowl of ice cream or maybe those french fries weren’t really counteracted by those side dishes of broccoli.  Whatever it was, three weeks ago I noticed that bad eating habits had kicked my weight more than 15 pounds over my usual weight.  Those 15 extra pounds I was carrying around weighed as much as a bowling ball.

I’ve had to lose weight before. Five years ago, I decided that I was tired of carrying around lots of extra weight.  Back then, I noticed how bad things had gotten after a friend showed me a photo of that 194 pound version of myself at the beach.  Back then, I decided to see if I could lose 10 or 15 pounds.  After doing a bit of research, I implemented a series of the eating and exercise strategies that worked well for me.  They worked extremely well.  I’m going to share them in this post.  I dropped more than 4 pounds per week, week after week, until my 194 pound carcass melted into 159 pounds, a swing of 35 pounds. After I got going with my program, it was almost painless.   I found myself feeling better and I looked better.  Based upon well-established statistics, I knew that I had substantially decreased my chance of being afflicted with heart disease, stroke and various kinds of cancer.  I was comfortable wearing my clothes again and I was no longer obsessed with food.  What was not to like?

I’m 5’ 11”.  For most of the past five years, I have carried about 163 pounds. When I recently noticed my scale rise to 178 three weeks ago, then, I declared war.  I’m fighting that war right now.  I calculated that my approach will take me back at my normal weight in about 5 more weeks, a steady weight loss of about 2 pounds per week. It’s working like clockwork. In three weeks, I’ve lost 6 pounds.  To give myself even more incentive, I’m making my weight loss ambitions public here!

This weight loss story is the sort of thing that has been told many times, of course.  But I’ll continue.

Over the past year, I fell into some bad habits about eating well and working out.  And to accelerate my weight gain, I haven’t exercised much.  I normally commute 10 miles/day by bicycle, but extremely cold winter has hindered that.  Also, I haven’t been getting enough sleep, a factor that is associated with weight gain. During the day, I work at desk job and I’ve been hovering over my computer several hours each night (much of it writing this blog).  Further, I take care of my two young children quite often; it is hard to work out vigorously when one is with them.  They just can’t keep up (although that is changing rapidly).

Now that we’ve had our winter thaw, I’m back on the bicycle almost every day.  I don’t belong to any health club.  My exercise program is virtually free. In addition to riding a bike to work (which saves 1/3 gallon of gas every day), I do floor exercises several times a week.  I do these floor exercises for only 10 minutes, in accordance with many of the suggestions of a pretty decent book, Eight Minutes in the Morning, by Jorge Cruise.

Here’s a short version of my “secrets” for losing weight: eat reasonable amounts of good food and exercise.  There’s no substitute.  Don’t tolerate excuses out of your own mouth.  Excuses are a dime a dozen and all of us have thought of all of them ready.  Here are a few of my favorites.   We live in a toxic society, nutritionally speaking.  It’s really tempting to eat all those sugary fatty salty foods.  It does take more effort to chop up some zucchini and stir fry at then to eat a big bowl of potato chips.  I could go on and on.  Tell your excuses to get lost.

When I try to determine a workable series of rules five years ago, I focused on several things.  My number one rule was that my approach to eating could not require any daily menus.  I wasn’t going to buy expensive concoctions or prepared foods.  My approach had to be an approach that I could use anywhere, whether at someone’s house or a restaurant.

Substituting nutritious food for bad food at home was a terrific jump start for dropping pounds.  In my case, I became sold that eating lots of whole grains (carbohydrates loaded with fiber) was a critically important basis for eating well.  I work whole grains into my breakfast, lunch and dinner (here’s why).  It’s really easy to swap out crappy cereal for cereal loaded with fiber.  There are many delicious whole grain breads available for purchase (look for bread that has at least 3 grams of fiber per slice).  I learned much about whole grains by reading Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, by Walter Willett, of the Harvard School of Public Health.

When I decided that I needed to lose weight three weeks ago, I didn’t realize how many bad habits I had gotten into over the past year.  It’s really easy to overlook all of one’s own bad habits.  I started noticing that I was grabbing food for numerous reasons having nothing to do with hunger: anxiety, nervousness, stress and boredom.  Many times, I was eating food when I was really thirsty and I should have been drinking water instead of eating. 

What’s amazing though, especially this time, is how hard it is to turn around one’s habits.  When we get into old eating habits, they are really hard to break.  It’s like trying to turn around an ocean liner.  One’s habits, especially one’s food habits, are quite personal.  To change one’s food habits is to change one’s self; it is to reject one’s (own) self.  The problem is that we tend to get used to ourselves and make lots of excuses for ourselves.  We humans are capable of liking ourselves the way we are, no matter who we have become.

I’m three weeks into my better eating campaign, and I notice that I’m starting to rediscover the good habits that I initially learned five years ago.  I’m eating more nutritious foods and staying away from processed foods.  I’m staying more conscious of my food while I am eating it and I’m enjoying it more.  Because I am again focusing on eating nutritious food (again, avoiding refined and over-processed foods lacking fiber) my metabolism has settled down.  Before I decided to get with it again three weeks ago, I was finding myself looking forward to my lunch break even when I wasn’t really hungry.  Now, because I’m eating well, I often find myself working straight through lunch, forgetting to eat.  Sometimes I feel “fatigue” at one or two in the afternoon, and then I remind myself that I haven’t yet eaten.  It’s not really fatigue that I’m feeling, but real hunger, something that I haven’t often felt during my year of bad habits.

I’m not suggesting that eating can’t be fun while eating well.  I’m really enjoying those extra doses of vegetables (I usually stir fry them) and whole grains.  I’ll still have a small cup of ice cream several times a week.  Sometimes, when I crave sweets, I grab a small piece of good quality chocolate—I’ve found that a small piece of good chocolate (I use Dove chocolate bars these days) is much more satisfying that large amounts of waxy cheaper chocolate.  The point is not that people need chocolate to lose weight–everyone will have their own favorite foods.  The point is that a bite or two of highly craved foods often extinguishes the craving and, if one deprives oneself of those favorite foods entirely, one might “compensate” for the un-extinguished craving by eating huge amounts of food one doesn’t really want or need.

During my past 3 weeks improved exercise and better eating, I find that I’m sleeping better–when I’m working out, I feel refreshed after getting only 7 1/2 hours sleep each night, rather than eight.  I’m happier.  I think faster and remember more, it seems.  And I’m losing weight.

Imagine if someone came up to you and said that they had an amazing drug that would make you feel much better, sleep better, enjoy life better and provide immunity from many horrible diseases.  Imagine that the price of this proven life-lengthening drug was $10 per day, more than $3000 per year.  Imagine all the people nonetheless clamoring to get their hands on such a drug!  Well, there is no such drug, but there is a free way to get all of these same benefits.

As I’m writing this, I keep thinking that I’m saying nothing new at all.  People know all these things.  But maybe it’s worthwhile to share a story like this so that others who want to drop 15 or 30 or 50 pounds can be reminded that it can be done.  A long journey begins with the first step, but that first step is the hardest of all the steps one will take.

So, without further ado, here the tips that I’ve used and I am again using.  This is the list that hung on my refrigerator.  After about a week, though, I knew these tips well.  These are the same tips I’m now offering to anyone else who wants to drop some weight. I’m offering this program free of charge.  If you are overweight, just follow this advice and you will lose weight.  I guarantee it.  It happened for me five years ago and it’s happening again.

So here is the information that worked for me.  It starts with a declaration that reminded me that my quest was not so much about weight loss as much as attaining a state of health.  Being at a healthy weight is not about not eating. Rather, it’s about eating well.

DECLARATION OF HEALTH

When Health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot become manifest, strength cannot be exerted, wealth is useless, and reason is powerless.

Herophilies, 300 B.C.

How Much to Eat

  • A well-tuned body is potent mental medicine. Your mind will follow the body’s lead.
  • Articulate your specific reasons for committing yourself to an energized existence, now and for decades to come. For instance, become a savvy eater to show that you really care for loved ones.  Do you really want to be around for your children/grandchildren?
  • 65% of Americans are overweight. A healthy BMI is less than 25 and closer to 21 (at 23 we are still 3 times at risk for adult onset Diabetes). Think like a thin person. Become a believer that your body is well-tuned only when your BMI is in the low 20’s.
  • Eat only until you are “70% full” (the European approach, as to the American approach (eat until you’re full).
  • Consciously identify seductive marketing and incessant social pressures to eat poorly and to eat when you’re not hungry. Clocks and other people are incapable of telling you when you are hungry.
  • Eat only when you’re hungry, not when you’re thirsty, bored, frustrated or trying to be polite.
  • Put the fork down when you’re no longer hungry. Food is much better off in the Tupperware (or even the trash) than in your full stomach. Praise yourself for leaving unneeded food on the plate.
  • You would never tolerate it if someone else forced you to eat food you didn’t need.  Don’t do it to yourself.
  • Choose small portions & beware huge desserts.
  • When dining out, think seriously about splitting a single meal.  My wife and I do this sometimes, and I’m always surprised that I am perfectly satisfied eating only “half” a meal.
  • Spoil your appetite, so not to eat ravenously later.  If you’re really hungry an hour before a planned meal, have a snack.
  • Starving yourself slows metabolism and burns muscle tissue. Starving, then, is not a sustainable approach to losing weight.
  • Slow down and eat consciously. Enjoy each bite. Eating should be pleasurable. Overeaters are always thinking of food, except while eating.
  • Focus on eating well, not on avoiding bad eating.
  • Don’t beat yourself up for eating lapses. You’ll use bad judgment here and there.  Don’t make an enemy out of yourself.  That makes it much harder maintain your enthusiasm.
  • Get enough sleep, or else you’ll reduce your metabolism and affect your levels of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. When levels are low you crave sweets and starches. Sleep deprivation also reduces growth hormone, which affects your body’s proportion of fat to muscle and repairs muscles.
  • Beware eating too much on while traveling away from home.  Exposure to too many large restaurant portions, and the fatigue of traveling, encourage weight gain.  Also, I have an often-recurring thought that taunts me on the road:
  • Don’t eat a little extra just because you are not at home, where food is easily available.
  • Be good to your carcass. You are your body. Treating it poorly is self-mutilation.

Exercise

  • Strength training increases your metabolism by 7-12% for 15 or more hours. Do it each morning for 10 minutes to add a bit more muscle.  It is really effective, though it doesn’t sound possible.  A pound of muscle burns 50 cal/day more than a pound of fat.  Here’s a book I recommend on short daily sessions of exercise:    8 Minutes in the Morning: A Simple Way to Shed up to 2 Pounds a Week Guaranteed, by Jorge Cruise
  • Cardiovascular exercise increases metabolism for an hour after activity. This burns extra calories and is essential for your heart and lungs. Briskly walk or bike whenever possible.
  • Track your progress once per week by getting on a good scale.  Don’t weigh yourself every day.  You’re body is telling you how much food it really needs, if you’re eating good food and staying away from starches and refined foods.

What to Eat & Drink

  • Here is my “Bible” on how to eat:  Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, by Walter Willett, of the Harvard School of Public Health.  Willett is an innovator, having argued way ahead of the crowd of the dangers of trans fats and of the need to drastically renovate the “food pyramid.”  The pyramid has been changed drastically, adopting many of Willett’s suggestions,  though many of Willett’s recommendations were ignored.
  • Substitute whole-grain carbohydrates for refined-grains (e.g., amaranth, barley, brown rice, bulgur, corn, millet, oats, rye, spelt, tritclale, wheat berries, and wild “rice”).
  • Beware the starches: white rice, potatoes, pasta and highly processed bread. These cause insulin to spike. Eating these is like eating pure processed sugar.
  • Replace saturated fats (e.g., meat & dairy) and trans fats (i.e., “hydrogenated” processed foods) with unsaturated fats (e.g., flax, canola, and olive oils).
    “Cholesterol free” does not mean lack of trans fats.
  • Do eat good oils, including omega-3 oil, and smaller amounts of omega 6 and 9. These oils suppress the appetite by activating brown fat (as opposed to white fat), responsible for 25% of the fat calories burned). For an easy source of omega 3 oil, grind up flax seeds and throw a tablespoon or two on your cereal.
  • Use liquid oils (flax, canola, olive) in lieu of butter or margarine.
  • Eat plenty of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (lean toward the dark leafy lettuce).
  • Eat flax, fish, nuts, canola, and soy. Soy, however, acts as a phytoestrogen. Limit it to 4-6 servings/week.
  • For protein, eat a healthy mix of nuts, beans, chicken and fish.
  • Nuts contain fat, but it’s mostly good fat.  Eating fat doesn’t make you fat.  In fact, taking fat out of one’s diet can do much more damage.
  • There’s no privileged place for dairy products in a diet, many of which are linked to prostate cancer. Calcium can be found in many foods other than dairy. Consider soy milk.
  • Use alcohol in moderation.
  • I take half of a daily multivitamin.
  • Drink lots of WATER. Reduce caffeinated drinks;
  • For snacks consider nutritious food.  Don’t overlook the great taste of real fruit & fruit smoothies (but avoid fruit juice), whole grain cereal in soy milk, brown rice,  beans, seasoned whole grains, stir-fried veggies (e.g., spinach or bok choy), whole wheat breads, popcorn.
  • Have healthy food & water easily accessible (e.g., in kitchen & backpack) and avoid bringing home processed or refined food products, to maintain positive momentum.
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Category: Food, Health, Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (154)

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  1. Ed says:

    Down to 162.9

  2. tmol says:

    "I tend to gain when I don’t consciously stay to my regimen, especially when the winter ice limits my exercise routine."

    So you gain weight when you don't exercise? Brilliant deduction.

    "I’ve floated up to 174. "

    Interesting choice of words.

    Is "floated" a euphemism for "fattened."

    So much for the way to lose 2 pounds a week, GUARANTEED.

    let's get back with the program.

    no excuses.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Being obese can take years off your life and in some cases may be as dangerous as smoking, a new study says.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29739036/

  4. Randie says:

    Flax seed is not as good fish oils when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oils contain DHA and EPA, which are the ones used in the body and cause all the good effects related to omega-3s. Flax seed has ALA, which has to be converted by the body into DHA or EPA. Although the body needs ALA anyways, to get the benefits of the DHA and EPA you have to consume 5-6X the amount of flax seed than you would have to fish. A tablespoon or two a day would not give you the levels needed. Salmon is a great source of omega-3s, and has one of the lowest mercury contamination levels of any fish.

  5. Dan says:

    Just a few points.

    Soy is not good for human or animal consumption and many people gain weight with soy due to the estrogens, Only fermented soy should be consumed by humans.

    Dairy provides excellent nutrition as long as it comes from grass fed cows and is raw. So fresh from the farm can help lose weight and help your body absorb good nutrition. The homogenized kind in most stores are not good. I lost 40 lbs after switching to raw milk.

    Lastly is beef. Again, if it is grassfed and raised in a natural environment, the meat will have fiber and nutrition. If it is raised on grain (like most sold in stores are) then the meat will not be healthy for humans. There needs to be a distinction between grassfed and natural vs grain fed and unatural. Most reports against beef and dairy do not make this distinction, but there is a huge difference and people need to be informed.

  6. TonyC says:

    I agree with almost everything you said – I discovered last year that my weight had crept up to almost 280lbs! (I'm 6'1") I joined a Gym, got help on appropriate levels of nutrition and exercise (suitable for account expense living and living or the road) and I'm down to 230lbs. According to a physical exam a year ago my lean (zero fat) body mass was 195lbs. Based on my current muscle load, I'm carrying just 25lbs of fat (lean body is now 205lbs based on a physical since I reached my initial target!!!!).

    However – plug my numbers into a BMI calculator and I am still obese (BMI = 30.5). with less than 10% body fat. At 205lbs I am still 'overweight' despite the physical exam indicating that is my lean mass!

    I need to start cutting into my muscle mass to get into normal range (185lbs = 24.4)

    To get to the low 20's I need to be 160lbs (=21.1). I think my legs weigh more than that! If I were 160lbs I'd be in emergency for malnutrition!

    I've had a larger than 44" chest since grade school. I'm not muscle-bound, I'm not built like a power lifter. BMI is just wrong.

    BMI assumes only one dimension is important. (height) Anyone who's flown as much as I have knows that we are all three dimensional – and every one is important for comfort!

    Height, depth of chest, breadth of chest, density of bone tissue, all contribute to significant deltas. BMI is only meaningful if your body dimensions are 'average'.

    (Sorry Erich – don't mean to imply you are average)

    • Erika Price says:

      BMI does perform quite poorly as a proxy for health. Most muscular athletes have off-the-charts BMIs despite their generally healthy regimens, and it's good to point that out.

      But weight itself can serve as a pretty poor sign of fitness, too, for the same reason. I have a friend that looks almost model-like in skinny petiteness, yet she weighs about fifteen more pounds than I (who does not approach waif-er thinness) do. All of that weight comes from muscle- the girl is cut out of friggin' rock.

      Yet many people in her position would stress over the number of the scale, which seems horrific for her height. A weight number can tell us nothing of the distribution, or the habits that have contributed to it. So what metric can we use?

      Personally, I advocate the hardest yardstick of all- just eyeballing one's habits. The body self-regulates pretty well, and a little bit of motivation and mild discipline can pick up what slack natural instinct leaves.

      I find that after establishing a routine of vigorous exercise, I begin to crave regular doses of it like any other necessary aspect of a healthy lifestyle. I suppose if guilting oneself with a numeric weight serves as the only effective motivation to exercise, in some cases, it may not be utterly useless.

    • TonyC says:

      I agree, Erica. I find I 'need' to go to the gym to work out now. My body demands it! My wife finds that her body wants her to run! (She hasn't run since high school, over 20 years ago)

      Most people who are unhealthy or 'out of shape' recognize that fact (wheezing while walking, never mind climbing stairs; last years clothes won't fit; snacks are bigger and more frequent), but are often unwilling to recognize that they need to be their own catalyst for change.

      For any change to be effective, you must first know yourself and be honest with your self assessment. If you can't – you need to accept honest external assessment (from a local gym, health club, medical clinic: wherever you'll get a rational unbiased opinion).

      BMI might work as a 'scare tactic', but it's so riddled with 'get out clauses' (I'm big boned, I've got a large frame, …) it loses it's effectiveness for any but the honestly committed (in my opinion).

      Likewise other 'un-guaged metrics' (weight) are open to too much 'interpretation' that allows those challenged by commitment or change to stay as they are (but I'm light on my feet!).

      In the end – for anyone in this situation (as I was a year ago) — you need supportive friends and family. And fat people DO go to the gym. I did! I still do. I'm no longer as fat as I was, but it will be a while before my body image catches up to reality.

      In the end it's about finding a healthy approach to life. (After all I want to make it EASY for medical science to keep me alive and enjoying life for another couple of centuries at least!)

  7. Erika Price says:

    Tony: Fat people definitely go to the gym. And fat people can be fit, depending on how genetic their fatness is and what their habits are. When I was a lifeguard, there were several chubby girls in my class who could swim laps around me, much faster, and for far longer than I could. Based on appearance, anyone would have guessed that I was in better shape than these girls, but I clearly wasn't.

    And I suspect everyone knows a rare, lucky skinny person who eats constantly and never moves. For fun, my roommates recently calculated the "weight watchers points" that a skinny friend eats in a day. According to weight watchers, a person of his height/weight should only consume about 21 "points" daily. In a day, he actually eats about 80!! He clearly is not the most healthy person, yet he look rail-thin.

    So even the appearance of fat is a poor proxy! No wonder people struggle with health decisions. The signals are hard to find.

  8. christopher grimes says:

    Started walking 5 miles a day two weeks ago at weight 235.

    Current weight 218 with a target weight of 185 by summer's end. Weight loss will be accomplished by walking 5-10 miles a day (combined with stretch routine) until 205 lbs when I will start running and start the PT pyramid http://www.military.com/military-fitness/fitness-… for strength training.

    I am also using pranic breathing technique while walking 7-1-7-1 count (breathe in through nose 7 steps, hold one, release through mouth 7 steps, pause 1, repeat) to expoand lung capacity and relieve stress.

    Hope this helps and Ill be back with weekly progress and a picture when I meet my goal.

  9. Erich Vieth says:

    From the Journal Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews (according to MSNBC):

    The authors conclude that while people do burn more fat when they are exercising than when they are not, they have no greater ability to burn fat over the next 24 hours than on days when they are couch potatoes.

    “If you exercise and replace the calories you burn, you’re no better — with regard to how much fat you burn off — than if you didn’t exercise,” says Melanson.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30826120/

  10. tmol says:

    "“If you exercise and replace the calories you burn, you’re no better — with regard to how much fat you burn off — than if you didn’t exercise,” says Melanson."

    utter nonsense. just more rationalization for the slothful.

    exercise 6 days a week for the rest of your life.

    period.

  11. julie says:

    Hi, Erich,

    I just lost 12 lbs. in 6 weeks. High triglycerides scared me enough to get serious.

    I kept a rigorous food diary for four weeks so I could know what 1500 calories a day looks like. I eat oat bran, flax meal, and a serving of legumes every day. No cookies or candy. No soda. Lots and lots of non-starcy vegs. some fruit. a wheat-free day now and then. Most importantly, I measure. I don't trust myself to eyeball. I keep measuring cups and spoons on my counter. At any meal, aside from the "free" veggies, I limit myself to half-cup portions, and fats by the half teaspoon. I like what I am eating. I also now remember what hungry feels like! I had eaten compulsively for so long that I forgot what hunger was.

  12. Ben says:

    I've lost about 10 pounds recently. I attribute it to hiking, biking, and avoiding HFCS (highfructosecornsyrup). Also have stopped drinking alcohol (1 year) and coffee (1 month).

    Thanks :)

  13. Jenna says:

    I’ve lost about 20 pounds recently. I attribute it to hiking, biking, and avoiding HFCS (highfructosecornsyrup). Also have stopped drinking alcohol (2 years) and coffee (3 months).

  14. Ben says:

    Jenna, this is not a competition.

  15. Prashant says:

    I gained 10 pounds recently. I attribute it to no hiking, no biking and indulging in HFCS-laden snacks. I also doubled my daily alocohol comsumption and tripled my coffee intake. Ben, can you help me?

  16. Ben says:

    Yes, I can help you.

  17. Amber says:

    Thank you so much! I plan on utilizing all of the resources and suggestions you made!

  18. Erich Vieth says:

    If you want to lose weight, get lots of sleep. That's the latest idea I've seen:

    Getting too little sleep might prevent dieters from losing as much body fat as they otherwise would have, a small study suggests. The findings, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, add to evidence that sleep habits play a role in weight regulation. They also suggest that people embarking on a weight-loss plan may want to make sure they are catching enough shut-eye each night, researchers say.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39509907/ns/health-di

  19. christina says:

    I have fallen into horrible eating habits and have never been a mover. I'm not severely over weight but if i gain 3 more lbs ill be considered over weight for my height. My bf has been talking about marriage and kids as of late and i don't want to start the rest of our lives on this slippery slope. I found your article today and it really inspired me to start my journey. I'm going to give it everything i have and hope in 6 months ill be atleast 15 lbs lighter. Thanks for all your suggestions.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Christina: It's a never-ending battle for me, and for many people, because we live in a toxic food environment (too many easy non-nutritious calories and it's too easy to not exercise). Don't beat yourself up, but do take real steps every day and you'll see changes happen.

  20. Dallas says:

    My name is Dallas and I am 17. I am 5'2" and 142 lbs. According to the BMI chart I am overweight. My goal is to lose about 20 lbs by mid-summer. Thanks to you I have a guide. I feel very confident that this goal is attainable, now that I have seen this article. Thank you ever so much and I will track my results in order to keep up with myself. =D

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Dallas: Take it a day at a time. Make each day be an OK day or a good day. Avoid having a bad day by being conscious of what you are eating. If you have an occasional bad day, don't beat yourself up, but recognize the problem and start moving forward again.

      I fluctuate up during the winter when I don't get enough exercise, and I'm on my program to get rid of 10 extra pounds.

  21. Online Sunshine says:

    I’m really frustrated right now. I’ve always had a healthy approach to weight loss. I eat less and exercise my butt off! And in the past, it always went right on schedule (about 2lbs a week).

    But I’ve been dieting for 6 weeks now and I’ve been stuck at the same weight for two weeks. I know I sound impatient, but for the amount of dieting and exercise I’m doing, and because of my past attempts, I don’t understand why the scale is stuck.

    I eat 1500 calories a day (same as always). I drink lots of water. I make food from scratch. I weigh and count things to make sure that everything is accurate. Most of my foods are lean proteins, fresh veggies, and healthy carbs in a good balance. I avoid sweets and don’t eat desserts hardly ever. And I divide my food up throughout the day with breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner.

    As for working out, I walk everyday on my lunch hour…4 miles as fast as I can. On the weekend, I either do a strenuous/long hike or go for a longer walk. I take one rest day off each week. I also do various strength training and stretching…..situps, pushups, or circuit aerobic video, etc.

    So, I feel like I’m doing everything right. I’m eating a balanced healthy diet and exercising….but the scale seems stuck. I measured myself and I’m not losing inches either. Initially, I lost 8lbs, but now I’ve plateaued and I don’t understand why. I still need to lose 37lbs to be down to 125lbs (I’m 5’5″).

    I just don’t understand. And I’m getting frustrated. I’m working my butt off with no results!!!

  22. Ben says:

    What weighs more, one pound of muscle or one pound of fat?

    It could be that you are gaining muscle, which I have heard weighs more than fat. Make sure you are doing plenty of stretching. Or maybe just try switching to tea instead of coffee, it might make a difference (just a guess). If you are desperate, try jumping (rope).

    I have lost about 10 pounds, and am now in normal BMI range for the first time in a decade. What did it for me (i think) is adding bike riding to my exercise routine. The bike is good because you can go at your own pace and then do (bike) sprints and without too much wear and tear on the joints, then coast til you catch your breath while the wind cools you off. Also I try to walk/bike to the store/restaurants. It might not burn much calories but seems to keep my hunger under control, perhaps something to do with metabolism.

  23. A pound of muscle weighs exactly the same as a pound of fat. One pound.

    Muscle tissue is denser, though, so it takes up less volume, and often when people begin a heavy exercise program they gain weight before losing it because they’re building muscle faster than they’re losing fat.

    Another myth—fat tissue does not ever turn into muscle. They are completely different kinds of tissue. When someone talks about converting fat to muscle, all it means (in reality) is that you are now burning the fat in order to build new tissue—muscle. Because that’s what fat is—stored energy. (Even plants have it, in the form of oils.)

    But here’s the other depressing thing about fat tissue—you never actually lose it. Once you have created a fat cell, it shrinks or expands, but the only way to actually get rid of it is through surgery. You can shrink it a lot, almost to the point where you think it’s all gone. But the reason people who once carried a lot of weight put it back on so fast is because all those fat cells are still there, waiting to be filled up again.

    Which means once you begin a regimen of exercise and sane eating, you have to keep it up. Always.

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