2 Rules for Successful Long-Term Weight Loss

Over the last 10 years the corn belt of the Midwest has been replaced by the elastic belt of our expanding waistlines. According to the National Center for Health Statistics: • 66% of adults age 20 years and over are overweight with 32% being clinically obese

  • 17% of adolescents age 12-19 are overweight
  • 19% of children age 6-11 are overweight

To drive home this issue of overweight and obesity all you have to do is examine the numbers. In 1960 45% of adults were overweight. In the 1970’s that increased to 48% and by the late 1980’s 56% of the adult population was overweight. In the 1970’s only 6.5% of children and 5% of adolescents were overweight.
Now, you might be thinking “What’s the BIG deal?” Overweight and obese individuals are at an increased risk for:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Gall Bladder Disease
  • Sleep Apnea and Respiratory Problems
  • Certain Forms of Cancer (Breast and Colon)

All of the primary causes of death and disability are found in the above list. Your weight, and the lifestyle that created it, is a significant factor in increasing your risk. The health care costs for being overweight and obese have now overtaken the health care costs of smoking. That’s significant. And, just like people struggle to stop smoking so too are people struggling to control their weight. This article will give you 2 rules to help you in this struggle. I firmly believe that if you consistently apply these 2 rules you will stop the weight gain and may even see your weight return to a more normal level.
Rule 1 – Drink Water Not Pop, Soda or Other Soft Drinks!
This is the number one rule for having success in weight loss, weight management, and improving your health.
Not to date myself but I remember when I was a kid playing in the suburbs of Chicago. A soda was a treat not an everyday drink. If we were thirsty then we were told to get a glass of water from the tap or use the hose outside the house. Today, the average American drinks 1.5 cans of soda per day. That represents 230 calories per day. You might be thinking “BIG deal it’s only 230 calories!” Well, it is a “BIG DEAL” as the following example will illustrate.
Let’s say you’ve experienced a 2-pound weight gain over the last 4 weeks. There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. By using the following formula you can calculate (on average) how many extra calories you are consuming on a daily basis over your caloric expenditure:
# of pounds gained times 3500 divided by 28 days equals extra calories per day
2 x 3500 divided by 28 = 250 calories per day
By switching from 1.5 cans of soda at 230 calories per day, to water which has zero calories you could almost completely wipe out your extra 250 calories per day. Just this one simple rule applied on a consistent basis would stop your weight gain.
Maybe you’re thinking that you’ll switch to diet pop. While this sounds logical the sad reality is this doesn’t work. There are numerous studies linking weight gain to diet pop consumption so even though you have reduced your caloric intake you haven’t satisfied thirst or hunger. This causes people to overeat. Plus, most diet products contain artificial sweeteners, colorings and ingredients which stress your liver. To compensate, your liver and body need the water contained in your diet soda to help detoxify your system. The water cannot go to the rest of the body’s cells causing them mild dehydration which lowers your metabolism and energy levels. The result is that you burn less calories which makes it easier to gain weight.
Water has zero calories, no cholesterol, no fat, no artificial chemicals and sweeteners, low in sodium and is not acidic. Water will act as a natural appetite suppressant and aid your body in metabolizing stored fat. Water will also provide proper hydration to reduce joint and muscle soreness, decrease back pain, improve energy and muscle tone, and help to eliminate mental confusion and disorientation. In this fast food world of “Super Size Me” portions it’s time to switch from a “Super Sized” soda to a “Super Sized” intake of water.
Rule 2 – No Eating Before Bedtime (The 2 Hour Window)!
The second most important habit you can develop is not to eat or drink calorie containing items just before bedtime.
I recommend a two hour window as your rule of thumb. If you go to bed at 10 pm then 8 pm is your cut off point. Why? Because if you stop consuming calories two hours before bedtime you will force your body to use its stored fat while you sleep. Let me illustrate this with some numbers.
A typical snack for many people could be a microwave bag of popcorn and a can of soda to wash it down. A 3.5 ounce bag of buttered microwave popcorn is 170 calories washed down with a 12 ounce soda at 150 calories equals a caloric intake of 320 calories. A 175 lb individual will expend approximately 70 calories per hour while they sleep. Assuming the national average for sleep which is 6.5 hours, their caloric expenditure would be 455 calories. Most of their snack calories fueled their caloric sleep needs. If they had eaten a large dinner meal then the majority of their snack calories would have been stored as fat instead of being used up in sleep expenditure.
Now, let’s repeat this scenario but with two changes. First, you replace the 12 ounce soda with water. Second, you eat your bag of microwave popcorn at least two hours before bedtime. Total caloric consumption is now 170 calories. The average 175 lb adult expends 40 calories per hour watching TV in the lying down position. However, if you sit up your caloric expenditure increases to 72 calories per hour! By watching two hours of TV in a sitting position you would have burned up 144 calories, almost all of your snack. This would allow you to enter your sleep phase with only the calories remaining from your dinner meal. Unless you really overate for dinner, your body will use up all your dinner calories supporting your caloric expenditure during sleep resulting in no weight gain. Better yet, if your evening meal was light, then at some point your body will begin using your stored fat as an energy source resulting in loss of body fat and helping you to lower your weight.
Rules Were Made To Be Broken!
These two rules for successful long-term weight management can be broken but not on an everyday basis.
If you want to make an exception on a Friday or Saturday night to enjoy time with family and friends, then go for it. Just don’t do it on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday! If you overeat on one day, then learn to under eat for the next couple of days. Once you are at the weight you want to be, these two rules are even more flexible. However, in the beginning, the consistent application of these two rules in your lifestyle will result in helping you stop the weight gain, may help you reduce your weight to a healthier level, and will have a positive effect on your overall health and wellness. The choice is yours. Choose rules 1 & 2 for a healthier life or continue to violate them leading to an increased risk of poor health and potential disease.

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The Wellness Loft is located in Studio City Ca. 818.398.6232