This site is completely focused on healthy ways for those of us over 55 to lose weight and keep it off for the rest of our lives. Over the past several weeks, the content has repeated the mantra of weight loss which is ‘Eat Less, Exercise More.‘ It seems strange that a multi-billion dollar industry fabricates tablets, equipment, powders, machines, diets, enzymes, experts, magic and a hit television show around an issue that is this simple! Okay, it is only this simple if you leave the human side of the equation out of the picture – feelings, emotions, head games and the like are the big culprit when it comes to weight loss sabotage. Many dieters understand only too well the role of the mind in the weight loss program – and simply give up on their weight completely because they have come to understand diet failure patterns only too well.
Let’s see if we can come up with a strategy that isn’t so cut and dried as ‘Eat Less, Exercise More.’ Let’s start with weight maintenance at first, and then tackle weight loss once we see progress at simply maintaining the weight we are at right now. How to do that? Here’s some hints:
- Assess your current weight realistically (that means don’t get on the scale fully-clothed, after a big meal and holding the cat!) and then set a goal date for when you want to check it again. One week out would be a good target – and all we want to see is no weight gain at that point.
- Use the hints posted here over the last two weeks to change your diet over from fast food to whole food, from processed to fresh produce and from food-rewards to rewards of another kind.
- Change your habits so that you can make five meals a day instead of three. . . (What? Eat More, You Say?) No, don’t eat more – eat more often! Each meal should consist of about 250 to 350 calories. Try for whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats (white chicken breasts are great), low-fat dairy products and lots of water. That’s 1250 to 1750 calories over the course of the day and you shouldn’t have a chance to get real hungry when food is scheduled for every 3 or 4 hours!
- Make changes to your lifestyle to assist you with the changed eating patterns. Watch TV less and walk more, play tag or touch football with the kids, go to the zoo or park, go to the library and have a nice quiet time all by yourself. The one thing all of these suggestions have in common is that they keep you away from the fridge and pantry – a sure way to keep your weight in check!
After a couple or three weeks of this, you should see some patterns emerging. Take note of when you are tempted to eat, when you are tired and irritable and so on. Schedule your exercise (even just a quick walk) during the time you are tempted to go to the fridge, schedule your eating for when you are tired and so on. Just don’t schedule food to soothe a bad mood or loneliness – that’s part of what got many of us here in the first place! Make these changes as permanent as you possibly can by repeating them over and over again.
Okay, now it has been several weeks – you are comfortable with the new routines, you are pleased that you have some control over your weight, and best of all, you are not fighting the urge to give up and go back to the old ways. Congratulations, the tough part is over!
Now then, let’s try something bigger. . . how about a new goal like losing a few pounds?? With your new lifestyle – and your new belief that you can manage your weight – set a goal of a few pounds by a certain significant date. How about dropping a dress size in time for your daughter’s wedding? Or pulling your belt in one or two notches before the start of the new NFL season? Make the goal small and easily attainable. Most importantly: be reasonable and don’t set yourself up for failure.
Congratulations again! You now know you can achieve your weight loss goals if you set them up for success. And remember, you cannot change unless you make a change. Remember the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome? Well, you beat that by doing something differently in the beginning to ensure that the outcome would be different!