I‘ve been through the weight loss cycle a bunch of times. At times I’ve lost 20, 40 or even 50 pounds. I feel like I’ve always been on a search for the best way to lose weight, whether it’s through a program like Weight Watchers or workout regime like with P90X, or if it’s through some fad diet. The time that I lost the most weight was when 3-4 years ago when I lost about 50 pounds using a program found in a book called Body For Life. While there are a ton of programs out there to lose weight, the best ones always seem to focus on the basics – to eat less and move more.
Eat Less Move More
To say you need to eat less and move more may be a simplification of things, but essentially it’s the truth. If you want to lose weight, and maintain that loss you have to reduce your calorie intake, and be more active. The programs that I’ve had the most success with – Body for Life and Weight Watchers, both have taken aspects of that maxim to heart.
Weight Watchers does really well on the end of eating less, helping you to control your portions through their PointsPlus program. Basically they help you to control what you’re eating in a way that makes sure you don’t feel deprived. They also encourage you to exercise more – even if it’s just a little bit more.
Body For Life also encourages you to eat healthier, and lays out some suggested meal plans and eating schedules. What it does really well, however, is on the exercise end of the spectrum. It helps you to lay out a 6 day a week workout regimen that will help you to improve your cardiovascular fitness, in addition to increasing your strength.
Experts have long said that this is the secret to weight loss, but unfortunately it just isn’t sexy and it isn’t necessarily what people want to hear. It’s boring, and it takes time for it to work. People too often want a quick fix, something easy.
The basics of weight loss are simple: Eat less. Move more. But consumers still flock to the newest best-seller diets, hormone injections, alleged hunger-controlling cookies, enthralled by glowing testimonials about sumo-to-svelte slimdowns.“There’s nothing sexy about ‘eat your fruits and vegetables,’ ” said Keri Gans, a registered dietitian. “We want to hear something else.”
“Consumers need to understand that health and the ideal body weight are not found from a gimmick. It takes hard work. The end result is long-lasting success.”
One man profiled on CNN.com did just what we’re talking about. He didn’t go with any fancy fad diets or any new programs. He just set out to eat healthier and started working out regularly.
There were no diet pills, shakes or detoxes. And no, it wasn’t caveman food, grapefruit, Twinkies, Taco Bell or Subway sandwiches.
Tony Posnanski’s 200-pound weight loss was straightforward, almost dull.
“I changed the way I ate,” said Posnanski, 34, who went from consuming 10,000 calories a day to 2,400. “I got rid of processed foods. I ate fruits, vegetables, lean meats. It is pretty boring, but the results aren’t boring.”
There was no immediate difference, he said. “My pants were still large after that first day. But I felt like I could do this. It was different.
“Before, I would tell myself I’m going to do this for a little while. That day, I was like, ‘You know what — I’m done. This is the rest of my life.’ “
That’s the key to weight loss, experts say. It can’t be a temporary fix; the changes have to be lifelong.
That’s really what it boils down to in my book. You have to change the way you view food, you have to practice moderation and portion control, and you have to do your best to be fit. It’s not rocket science, it just takes motivation and persistence.
You Have To Change Your Lifestyle, And Stick To It
Part of the problem with workout programs and other crash diets is that they aren’t realistic to continue on a long term basis. You can’t stick to it. Having that complete change in how you view food, exercise and so forth is what you need for the long term. If you can’t stick with it long term, you’ll gain the weight back.
For people who hope for shortcuts, Klein said: “There’s no magic bullet to lose weight and keep it off.” Smaller portion sizes (no fewer than 1,200 calories) and daily physical activity can lower cardiovascular disease risks, he said.
Posnanski, a former yo-yo dieter and restaurant manager, who gave up what he called “gimmicky” diets, shared how he has managed to sustain his weight loss:
- Monitor portions and keep track of food intake
- Stay away from processed foods, and eat mostly vegetables, fruits, lean meats and whole grains
- Work out one to two hours a day
“I don’t believe in quick weight-loss diets,” Posnanski said. “I believe in the rest of my life.”
For me, that’s where I’ve failed in the past. I haven’t done a program that I knew I could stick with. Instead I stuck with the program as long as I needed to, and then stopped – and got into my old unhealthy behaviors.
This time around I feel like I’m on a program that I can stick with long term, and I know I’m on my way to living a healthier life.
How about you? Have you found a program that you can stick with? Have you changed your relationship with food and exercise? Tell us your thoughts.
Disclaimer: This site is an advertising partner with Weight Watchers. I will receive compensation if a new member signs up through one of the links above. Please know that this post does discuss my true feelings of the program.