On Losing Weight

93 kg now, so 11 down from where I started, and travelling well. The following is advice for me as much as anyone else, but I thought I might as well share.

The keys are:

  1. It will take time. A sensible, sustainable weight loss rate is half to 1 kg a week. I’ve been running at a fairly consistent kg a week so far, and am currently at 93, so 11 kg down from the start, in about 9 weeks (the first few are the easiest to lose). Set your time horizon to a year or so for your target weight, but with continuous improvement across that time. Any quicker and you’re doing dramatic stuff that is likely to get reversed.
  2. It’s not ‘a diet’, it’s your new diet. Dieting is not a temporary thing, and you go back to your current eating patterns when it’s done. It’s a permanent change. So it needs to be a proper, balanced diet of stuff you enjoy.
  3. Exercise is important, but it doesn’t have to be extreme. A halfhour walk each day is better than none, and things you enjoy are better than things you endure. If the gym is something you enjoy, great, but it’s not compulsory. Just get your body moving, because that speeds up your metabolism. It also reminds your body to burn off fat, not muscle.
  4. Water is your friend – drink heaps! Two reasons: it helps keep your system clean and flush out wastes, and it replaces other drinks that are loaded with calories, which is pretty much all of them. Even the ‘healthy’ stuff like fruit juice is heavy on calories, let alone soft drink (pop) and energy drinks and so on. Alcohol also has a lot of energy in it. Water – with a bit of lime or lemon juice for flavour, if you like. Just switching your drinks alone can make a huge difference.
  5. With food, smaller portion sizes – ask for a small instead of a large. Or better yet, make your own.
  6. It’s OK to be a bit hungry. In our society we seem to see hunger as a problem in need of an urgent solution, but a couple of hours of being hungry just makes a meal better and more enjoyable.
  7. Having said that, be kind to your body. Love it, don’t hate it. Don’t feel as though you are punishing it, but as though you’ve stopped punishing it!
  8. Fresh vegetables (as much as you can eat), fruit (a few servings a day), things like brown rice that fill you up better than white, oats, meat very much in moderation, maybe only one meal a day, beans and legumes. You probably know all this stuff, but just choosing the good food is also choosing the food that is much less energy dense (i.e. fattening). Potato chips have *8 times* as much energy as the same weight of potato… so eat the potato! You could eat 4 times as much, be much fuller, and still halve your calories.

I guess I could go on for 10 commandments, but that’s probably enough to be going on with.

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