Editorial: Day 1 of starting a new path to better health

EditorialEditorial

Today you plan to start an anew, but what is next?  

Burger with Tape Measure

You are planning a new diet or a new pathway to better health.  So you aren’t sure of how to where to start? Don’t worry! This concern or question is one of the most asked questions for new dieters.  To survive droughts or period of less, we have built of this ability to store for a rainy day, but that day never comes.  Our fat does not run over our belt, and it is time to make a change.  Our storage of energy as adipose fat tissue is not in excess, and we need a self intervention to make a difference.  Don’t fret; the help you need is no farther than your own kitchen.

Today you plan to start an anew, but what is next?  

You are planning a new diet or a new pathway to better health.  So you aren’t sure how to where to start? Don’t worry! This concern or question is one of the most asked questions for new dieters.  To survive droughts or period of less, we have built of this ability to store for a rainy day, but that day never comes.  Our fat does not run over our belt, and it is time to make a change.  Our storage of energy as adipose fat tissue is not in excess, and we need a self intervention to make a difference.  Don’t fret; the help you need is no farther than your own kitchen.  

Why are we overweight

Shopping cart

Our bodies are fantastic machines. To survive the long struggle before we developed the supermarkets of the world, humans evolved the ability to store energy in our subcutaneous fat.  This fat allowed us to survive droughts on the farms and long periods in which our hunting and gathering came up dry.  The problem today is that we no longer have dry spells and we live the land of plenty.  In fact, food is not only plentiful but cheap.  

The more we eat, the more we store.  If you look around you, it would appear that many of us could live for months to years with limited intake because of past overindulgence.  The problem is that the more energy we have stored, the more overweight we are.  If it were just weight, it would not be a huge deal, btu we also prdispose ourselves to heart disease and diabetese by storying that extra weight aroudn our waist.  

A new start!

Empty Plate

Empty Plate

To start, we need need to level the playing field and allow you to understand the work ahead.  You need to calculate your calorie needs which will give you an idea of how much effort is ahead of you.  You can do this based on the number of pounds you want to lose.  If you desire to lose ten pounds, you need to burn 3500 extra calories per pound of body fat.  For ten pounds, this is about 35, 000 Calories.  This level of loss means that 500 calories burned per day in excess to you need will result in 10 pounds of weight loss in about 70 days or ten weeks.  

You can also look at 1 pound of weight loss per week which requires 3500 calories per week and 500 calories per day.  One thousand calories per day will result in 2 pounds per week and 750 calories less will result in 1.5 pounds per week.  It is simple math but can be overwhelming if you focus on a large number of pounds need to lose.  I recommend that you focus on smaller, short term goals that are realistic. 

Creating a deficit is the key to weight loss success.  This degree of the deficit is up to you, but I recommend that you focus on small interim goals rather than huge long term deficits.   Ultimately that decision is yours, but lofty goals can result in you becoming discourages and ultimately failure.  There is no perfect diet for everyone, and there is not a perfect answer to what goal is appropriate.  

Try to avoid depriving yourself of the foods you love.  If you like pizza, you can have pizza but remember portions will need to be smaller in weight loss.  If you eat a whole pie, you will not lose weight.  Instead, indulge in less with 1-2 slices instead of 4-6.  I suggest you try to replace processed foods with higher fiber and less processed alternatives.  There are many higher fiber and sprouted options to the traditional pizza crusts.  By replacing these less filling options with higher fiber alternatives, you are more likely to stay full longer and avoid overindulgence.

Although a slim waistline is made in the kitchen, you should never avoid exercise.  Exercise is great for your heart and helps weight loss and promotes satiety.  Exercise is not mandatory by any means, but without it, weight loss will be harder.  You can lose fat and create a deficit through diet alone, but exercise will multiply your success with extra calories burned.  

There is no perfection, and in fact, perfection is the enemy of success. You will struggle at maintaining your diet. The struggle is a natural part of life and weight loss. Anything that is easy will happen too quickly to build healthy habits that build maintenance success. If you slip, don’t dwell on it, but rather learn from it.   You can resolve to make the next meal or next day better and learn to improve.

The bottom line:  Weight loss is all about planning.  It all about the selections of foods you make and deficits created. Sustainability is the key to long term weight management success. Pick foods you enjoy and can maintain for life.  Go slow and learn to build healthy habits.  

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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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