A REALISTIC Approach To Weight Loss

Weight loss is a topic that is written about on a daily basis. There are all kinds of diets, weight loss programs and videos, weight loss organizations and weight loss support groups. I grew up in a family with obesity. My mother and my aunt were classified as obese and morbidly obese respectively. Health problems progressively affected the quality of their lives.  My aunt has since passed, but my mother continues to suffer from progressive dementia (initiated by a stroke about nine years ago), malnutrition, advanced osteoarthritis (severely limiting any mobility), recurring gastrointestinal issues… and the list goes on. Although the damage my mother caused herself is irreversible as a result of the lifestyle she chose, I did not want her ongoing pain and suffering to be in vain. I decided to create a plan involving a realistic approach to nutrition and exercise that could benefit my patients’ lives by helping them achieve a healthy weight and in doing so improve the quality of their lives.

In 2008, after spending a typical day in the office, I decided to see if I could develop a program that could easily be implemented into the average person’s lifestyle and effectively reduce weight and increase lean body mass.  Since I have used a software program for myself since 1995 to track my food and exercise, I decided to make myself the “guinea pig” and attempt to lose 20 pounds in three months.  The parameters included:

  1. No food type restriction. I could eat ANY food of choice
  2. I could eat any time of day
  3. I could eat as frequently as 6 time/day or as little as 3 times/day
  4. I was only allowed to exercise three times/week for no more than 20 minutes
  5. The timeframe was NOT to exceed three months for the weight loss to occur
  6. All food had to be entered into the software program.  This basically is a similar concept to keeping a food journal with the convenience of the program doing all the calculations.  I just had to enter the food and exercise. Here is what the results looked like.

Food JournalI started on August 18, 2008 weighing 173.5 and on November 25, 2008 my weight was 153.0. I violated a rule because I took 1 extra week, but I surpassed the goal.  THE PROGRAM WORKED!  I ate, ice cream, pizza, fast food as well as healthy food. The only exercise equipment I used for the three months was called the TOTAL GYM.  Chuck Norris and Christy Brinkley have been the two spokes people for the Total Gym for the last 15 years. I bought this because it was easy to use, required no set up, could fold away for easy storage, was effective at working all the major muscle groups and was safe and easy to use. It was also cost effective when comparing other home exercise equipment.  This simple to use home piece of exercise equipment made it difficult for people to use the typical complaints for not exercising which included:

  1. Driving to a health club or gym is too far
  2. It costs too much in gas
  3. It’s too time consuming to drive there and back and shower.
  4. It’s too expensive.  I don’t have the discretionary savings for this.
  5. The health club or gym environment is too intimidating.

The exercise and nutrition program I created achieved my goal WITHOUT HAVING TO SACRIFICE ANY FOOD CHOICES. 

The software program I used was designed to learn an individual’s metabolism and help adjust calorie intake on a daily basis. When you enter your weight at the beginning of each day, the program uses your history of food and weight gain or loss to calculate your required calorie intake for that specific day.  I worked with my patients to make certain they did not create unrealistic weight loss goals that would have required a ridiculously low calorie intake.  Remember, the purpose was to achieve a realistic nutrition program that could easily be implemented for the rest of one’s life; not simply until a desired weight was reached. This is one of the biggest differences between my plan and the typical yo-yo dieter.

If you’re saying this sounds too good to be true, you will retract that thought as I add some realities:

  • I had to get on weight scales EVERY morning before eating or drinking any fluids.
  • Each day I had a FINITE number of calories allowed.  I simply decided what foods to eat to fall within the calories allowed.  Unlimited quantity of any type of food on a regular basis is entirely unrealistic and will NEVER achieve success
  • I chose unhealthy foods to simulate the standard american diet (S.A.D. {pretty ironic}).  My goal was simply to prove that unhealthy choices could result in weight loss.  I highly recommend that the consumer think in terms of HEALTH; not simply WEIGHT. The goal is to improve the quality of one’s life, not simply to be thin and on multiple medications because of the damage your food choices are creating.
  • I weighed my food. (NOW RELAX!) The purpose of weighing was to know how much I was consuming. Entering food into a journal is useless if you give it inaccurate information. I was NOT cutting food to measure a certain weight.
  • I wore a heart rate monitor to know EXACTLY how many calories I burned during exercise.  This is not mandatory, but is suggested for multiple reasons (Calorie accuracy and MOTIVATION!).

The most exciting thing about this program is the reality of the food choices, time commitment for exercise and the increased likelihood for long term lifestyle changes.  It doesn’t force any foods or any type of exercise on the individual.  Therefore, the only difference between weight loss and weight maintenance is QUANTITY OF FOOD.  Each and everyday you get to decide which foods you will be eating. Over time, you will be amazed at the amount of knowledge you will gain about food.  My personal wish is that you take this knowledge and pass it on to someone else in need.

As far as exercise is concerned, the choice is yours as well.  You can use home equipment (like the TOTAL GYM), go to a health club or gym, walk and or swim, run, bike, treadmill, elliptical, etc… as long as you track and record your calorie burn. The program has a built in estimate of calories burned if you do not wear a heart monitor. Just remember, if you are not an exercise person, repetitive exercise (doing the same thing each day) will become boring.  Variety in food + variety in exercise = better end results.

I have attached a 1 minute video that was shot for a commercial for the TOTAL GYM. It is currently airing on TV nationally. I was NOT paid for the commercial nor are their ANY residual benefits to me if you decide to buy one. This video briefly explains my weight loss protocol. I also included it because I thought it would be nice to put a voice and face to an article like this to make it more personal.

 http://youtu.be/X5Wvb-Z8jS0

This article is a tribute to my mother who gave me a chance in life to live my life the way I have.  Her principals helped teach me the importance to help others.  I do not offer these words of encouragement for monetary compensation.  People are desperate and don’t know what direction to turn.  I am willing to help those who are TRULY READY for change.  This means I don’t want to hear phrases like:

  • …I don’t like…
  • …I don’t want…

from anyone!!!!

Changing one’s lifestyle is HARD. It is enormously difficult and requires a great deal of discipline. The proof is in the 70% of the U.S. population that currently is overweight or obese.  If it was easy, everyone would be a healthy weight. However, as dark and onerous as this may sound, just remember how empowering it feels to gain control over one’s life habits.

Life is about reasonable compromises.  If you are ready to improve the quality of your life and find that smile that shows real happiness and contentment, I encourage you to take the challenge.

what is the challenge you ask?

To improve (not make perfect) ALL aspects of life required to be healthier.  For most people, permanent weight loss is more than just eating and exercise.  Interestingly, a beautiful side benefit of creating this healthier lifestyle is… WEIGHT LOSS!

If you want to know more about this plan, reply to this blog.

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10 comments

  1. I can only recall one incidence when you ate ice cream. I’m interested in the program. I’ve been pre-preparing my meals for the week and that’s been very helpful. Loving your work my friend. Top quality stuff. Send me more info if you would and keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A little elaboration, the pre-cooking involves a meat such as chicken, pork or beef with a cup of cooked brown rice and a vegetable. I do this Mondays through Thursdays (my working days). We do fish on Fridays NAD eat whatever we feel like on weekends. making the meals ahead minimizes impulse eating and a great side effect is that it’s very economical to eat this way. I do smoothies with frozen fruit, coconut milk and protein powder for breakfast and deli meat ( roast beef or turkey usually rolled up in cheese). It’s working pretty well but I’d be very interested in learning more about your computer program. Thanks buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jay, your the man. You are so far ahead of the population that desperately needs to modify their patterns of behavior. This just proves that once a person gets on the path to a healthier lifestyle, their ability to stay motivated improves as well. Personally, I’m not a big fan of most dairy products (greek yogurt being the exception) and most deli meats (although high in protein) due to the processing and the high salt content. Check out Boars Head Turkey breast (NO SALT ADDED). This is NOT the same as Boar’s head low salt. Only 55mg of sodium per 2oz compared to nearly 500mg in the low sodium version. I’ll get you more info. on the program as well. Thank you for adding your information to the article. Other people responding will find it very useful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of the total gym as I elected to do it with the bowflex. It is way too easy to come up with a reason to not go to the gym. It could just be lack of motivation or it’s raining. I actually track my foods before hand by creating a daily plan to stick to each day and write down everything I do in a notebook to track my progress. And of course I am using a daily blog to be accountable for my actions. This is a great post and you have done some wonderful work.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is pretty much how I have been losing weight on my own. I believe that it is crucial to journal what you eat. Just writing it down can be an eye-opener to how much actually goes into our stomachs. Secondly, realistic goals are equally important. I know that for myself, If I feel deprived I won’t last long on a diet. For that reason it is important for me to eat the foods that I love.

    Everything else you have mentioned here has worked for me. The one difference I insisted on was that my weight loss not take over every waking moment of my life. I wanted to change the focus from weight loss to lifestyle change. No focusing on the scales for me. It is about finding joy in life again. Finding joy in being able to walk in the countryside without having to stop to rest. Finding joy in being able to move freely. Finding joy in exploring new and satisfying recipes from websites like http://www.eatingwell.com/.

    It is important to me to make the journey one of discovery, not something that has to be endured. Good luck with your program. I think it shows great promise. And good luck to the many people who will take up your challenge. I’ve got your back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ellen, you are a good person on a great path. I agree with your reply. I agree especially about living for a better lifestyle rather than a number on a scale. The scale does not truly measure success; it simply measures one’s weight at a moment in time. Good weight in and of itself is not the magic bullet that creates happiness. I use the scale to help my program calculate an appropriate amount of needed calories for each day. It literally changes every day! It is just a tool to help achieve a better understanding of needed calories.

      Thank you for giving me the website to view for recipes. I learn as much from people who correspond with me as I provide to others. Thank you for your continued consideration and information.

      Stay healthy and happy and enjoy the ongoing journey!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I traveled a similar path and have come to a similar conclusion. Several years ago I took off 50 pounds in 52 weeks. Did not count calories, but tried to eat intelligently. Did cardio five days a week and weights about three. I am lucky in that I live in a highrise and have a health club an elevator ride away. I have since also come to the same conclusion, namely, that weight loss is simply the entry to living healthy. I have since taken off another 20 pounds and have held in the low 150 pound area for the past five years. The last pounds melted off when I started writing my blog on diet and exercise. The keys in the final step were portion control and serving size. Once I understood these and focused on them, the pounds melted off. Oh yes, I did count calories for this step. A great tool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tony,
      You get it! It’s about understanding what you need to be healthy and then following the path. Just like everything in life, some parts of the path are NOT FUN. Life is about balance. When we recognize that health is NOT a passive event in life that magically takes care of itself without our input, the first baby step forward is possible. As we accumulate these steps, outward and inward progress is noticed. This sounds like your story. Congratulations and keep up the good work.
      You need to tell as many people your story as possible. It shows that change is attainable.

      Like

  6. Good stuff here Jonathan. I’ve lost 80 lbs and kept 50 of it off for more than 2 years. I have come to some of the same conclusions you have: 1) Information alone is not enough to elicit change without a real reason for making it happen. 2) Each person is unique and must find his or her own path.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jason, I have 1 additional suggestion:
      Find your Passion. When stressful encounters happen, we have a tendency to return to old patterns. If food has been a source of stress relief, this can again be a problem. When we have a true passion, this can replace food. It creates a positive and constructive way to deal with stress. Good luck

      Like

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