Before You Start…

What do you do before you start any weight loss program?

So, you’ve found the perfect weight loss program for yourself and you’re ready to get started! Congratulations! Assuming you’ve chosen a realistic and healthy way to get control of your weight and your health the process should be successful. However, there are a few things you should always do before embarking on any new regime, especially if you already have underlying health issues.

Ask your doctor — Let your doctor know that you’re going to start a new lifestyle. Do this to inform the doctor but also to ensure that your choice is a good one for you. Everyone is different and has different nutritional requirements. This is especially true if you are using any medications such as diabetes meds or blood pressure meds. If you’ve picked a healthy way to lose weight such as adding in more fruits and veggies, eliminating processed foods and counting calories you’ll find that your doctor will be very supportive.

Set Goals — Now that you have your doctor’s approval it’s time to set some reasonable goals. Remember that when you set a goal it needs to be challenging but possible. It’s also important to write down your goals in a substantial way. Don’t just write, “I want to lose weight.” Instead, write down exactly how much weight you want to lose in total, then move backwards on the calendar to figure out how much you’ll need to lose monthly and weekly to reach your goal. Then also write down how you’ll reach that goal. By filling in your calendar with exactly what you’ll do you’re automatically creating a step by step guide to get you to your goal!

Assess Yourself — You can’t set good goals without knowing where you stand today. Much like setting your monthly financial budget you’re going to need to find out where you stand right now compared to where you want to be. It’s a good idea to write down the numbers so that you can periodically check to see that you’re being successful. You don’t need to do anything too fancy, just write down in a notebook (or use your computer) to track your current measurements and weight. Then once a month or so check your progress and write it down so that you can track what is happening. It’s a good idea to also take a picture of yourself so that you can see for yourself how it’s all working for you. Oftentimes our minds don’t catch up to the change in our body without seeing it.

Plan for Success — Don’t forget to plan each week’s meals in advance. Have plans in place for parties, socializing, and guests. The thing is, you’re doing this for life, not for a certain time until you lose weight. Instead, this is your new life so plan in “cheats” that fit into your new healthy lifestyle instead of depriving yourself. If you know your best friend is getting married in a couple of months, save up calories and plan for enjoying that day, otherwise you’ll fall off the wagon and punish yourself with more bad choices.

Understanding Calories

What calories really are and how understanding them aids in weight loss

In order to lose weight it is important to be aware of your caloric intake as well as what your ideal caloric intake is for the weight you want to be. It’s pretty easy to determine this number. First a definition:

BMR — Basic Metabolic rate which is how many calories you need just to live without losing weight or gaining weight or doing any activities.

Now the formulas:

BMR for women — BMR = 65.5 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

BMR for men — BMR = 66 + (6.2 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.67 x age in years)

An Example:

I’ll do one for you for our 5.5 inch 140 lb female who wants to maintain her weight at her current weight. She is 35 years old.

65.5 + (4.35 x 140) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 35)

65.5 + (609) + (310.2) – (164.5)

BRM = 820.2

Now you take this number and you use a chart which is located here BMR Chart. This chart lists the multiplication factor based on exercise level. Our 35 year old woman is moderately active in that she exercises 3 to 5 days per week. This means we take her BMR and multiply it by 1.55 to get the calories she should ingest each day to maintain her current weight.

820.2 x 1.55 = 1272 (rounded up) calories

First of all, I’m sure at first glance you’re shocked at how few calories the average woman who exercises needs to maintain her weight without gaining weight. It’s also shocking to realize that most people eat double and triple this amount today due to the proliferation of fast foods and because of our busy lives. But, once you realize the relationship to calories to weight, you can use this as your daily budget to lose weight. If you weigh more than you desire, plug in the weight you want to be to get your number.

By choosing fiber rich, and water rich foods to eat you won’t have to be deprived even on a diet consisting of 1272 calories a day. Eliminate empty calories such as cakes, crackers, and candy and substitute low calorie healthy foods such as whole veggies and fruit to avoid feelings of deprivation and also to ensure that you get enough vitamins and minerals each day within your calorie budget. You must eat the amount of calories your body needs and no more or they’ll be stored as extra weight. It’s simple, calories in, calories out. No matter what the diet gurus say, it really is that simple.

When you start paying attention to the calorie and nutritional content of foods that you eat, you’ll find that you want to eat healthier foods over the processed and refined foods full of empty calories. The main reason is that as you give your body optimal nutrition, you will notice that you have fewer hunger pangs. Yes, you will still experience cravings, but learn to substitute healthy foods in place of the old cravings and soon you’ll find that they are greatly reduced because most cravings are due to a lack of nutrition, and as you give your body what it really needs you’ll experience more satisfaction in your diet.

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