Most people who need to lose weight DO NOT NEED to go on a diet. They need to make a few, likely simple, changes in the way they live and they must make them consistently. The more simple these changes are, the more likely it is that you can be consistent in making them. The typical patient who will benefit from these instructions is someone who is in reasonable health and anywhere from 10-70 lbs over their ideal weight. This does not mean you can’t make these changes in your lifestyle if you aren’t overweight or if you’re overweight by more than 70 lbs; anyone can benefit. If you make changes to your lifestyle in a controlled and consistent fashion, it will soon become a habit. Once things become habitual it hardly requires any thought to live in this way.
Step 1: Spend some time evaluating WHAT YOU EAT AND HOW MUCH. You will most likely need to significantly decrease your intake of simple sugars like candy, cake, cookies or pop, high fat treats like potato chips, alcohol, and excessive amounts of high starch foods like bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta. You must be conscious especially of the snacks that you eat between and after meals and especially how much.
Step 2: After making a general evaluation of what and how much you are eating, make some decisions regarding CHANGES you will make especially for HIGH CALORIE FOODS like some snacks or alcohol. You might decide to eat apples and oranges only for snacks and water or flavoured water in place of pop. Diet drinks can be substituted for the original variety.
Step 3: Start knowing EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOU WEIGH. Ideally you should weigh yourself daily first thing in the morning and keep a record of it. This will give you extra incentive to make consistent changes in your lifestyle when you see its positive results. A digital scale is often most helpful for this.
Step 4: Start using PORTION CONTROL at regular meal times. You can buy a portion control plate or you can change your regular plate size to one that is close to 8 or 9 inches. Divide your plate into 4 quarters and make a decision to fill your plate only once per meal with half of the plate being vegetables, a quarter starch, and a quarter meat. Vegetables should ideally include things like greens, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and salads; but should not consist of corn or potatoes as these are starches. Single course meals should probably cover no more than half the plate depending on how many vegetables they contain. Remember that starches like rice, potatoes and pasta may cover no more than one quarter of your plate.
Step 5: Evaluate how much EXERCISE you can do. If you do not have trouble WALKING, you should walk at least 10,000 steps per day at a brisk pace. Whatever exercise you can do however, is better than none at all. A pedometer can be essential for many people to monitor how much they walk. It allows you to monitor and record how much walking is actually being done. Even if you can’t walk much, most people can try walk just a little more every day by forcing it a little and will build strength over time. The more weight you lose, the easier the exercise will become.
Step 6: You will LOSE WEIGHT as you make the lifestyle changes detailed here. Depending on how significant the changes you make are, most people will be able to lose from 1 to 2 pounds per week. The longer you live like this, the more likely it will become a habit. After some time you will no longer be able to eat a standard meal at a restaurant, it will just seem like too much. Because you will continue monitoring your weight you will be aware of just how much the lifestyle changes that you make affect your weight. It won’t be stressful however, because now you know what changes to make to cause the extra weight to go away.
Love my Life and Yours,
Dr. Peter Eppinga M.D.