When trying to lose weight, it’s healthy to lose between 1 or 2 lbs a week. I believe that in order to lose weight naturally and develop a new lifestyle, it’s better to focus more on HOW you eat and less on the numbers you see on the scale. I wouldn’t advocate losing more than a pound of fat a week… Slow and steady wins the race!
Now don’t get me wrong, I am NOT advocating strict calorie counting and hours spent on the elliptical, but the reality is that weight loss really is simple math. It’s not that you have to whip out the calculator and write down the calorie content of every last bite, but you should be conscious of just HOW MUCH you are eating.
I watch this British TV show called “Secret Eaters” and it’s about people who keep gaining weight, but can’t seem to figure out why. On the show they hire Private Investigators to follow the dieters around, only to discover that they actually eat MUCH more than they think. Many contestants on the show spend hours at the gym. But they end up over-compensating and they eat back every last calorie they burned off… and then some! Regardless of how active you are, weight loss comes down to ‘calories in vs. calories out.’ Often, when hunger is spiked after a vigorous workout, most people feel they ‘deserve’ an extra treat.
Just because you go to the gym and burn 300 calories does NOT mean that you can eat whatever you want. If you do, you WILL gain weight. The key to sustainable weight loss and healthy weight maintenance is to be conscious of roughly how many calories you consume each day. Recently, a friend of mine was asking for advice on how to lose some pounds. She told me what she had eaten for lunch, which included 3 slices of swiss cheese on her pepperoni sandwich. I reminded her to be careful of her portions. She was shocked to learn that she had just consumed an extra 300 calories almost unconsciously. She tried to reason with me that it couldn’t be THAT much because swiss cheese is “tasteless.” She’s going to have to walk on the treadmill for an entire hour to burn those 300 calories!
I believe in “moderation in all things” so in order to allow for my daily chocolate treats, I am sure to watch my portions and moderately control my calories. My mom likes to say that ‘you lose more weight in the kitchen than in the gym’ and that you need to be smart about what you put in your mouth. It’s all about balance, but when you eat consciously and fill up on nutrient dense foods leaving room for treats, you can lose weight in a way that’s healthy, realistic and maintainable.
How about you? Do you eat ‘consciously?’