This is a post from my continuing series of Tuesday weight loss tips.
When I don’t plan in advance, I tend to eat and live poorly.
With the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a few other times out of the year (Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc) I don’t ever plan on eating without constraints. There are 20-25 times out of the year where I say, “Sure, BBQ, potato salad, cornbread, and sweet tea? Absolutely, go ahead.”
20-25 isn’t a lot — that’s out of roughly a thousand meals (at 3 meals a day).
Now, if the “damage” was limited to 20-25 meals a year I’d weigh 180 pounds today, have 6% bodyfat, an 8-pack of abs, and live on the coastal waters of the Gulf and have a boat called “Jenny.” But, that’s not the case. I’ve had more than a couple dozen damaging meals in 2010.
Lack of planning.
I’ve been able to escape this problem in the last couple of months, but it was definitely an issue around the turn of the year (09/10) for me. I found it incredibly easy to eat anything (fast food, particularly) for a meal if I didn’t plan meals at least 12 hours in advance.
I also found it easy to sit at home or go shopping/out to eat over the weekend and have almost zero physical activity on Saturday and Sunday. I’m not recommending you go to the gym 6-7 days a week (although, there are worse habits), but I am saying that it’s not okay to go to the gym Monday through Friday then sit around all weekend in front of the television.
Here’s how I plan my meals for the day (or next day):
Breakfast - I know what I’m going to eat the night before so I can make sure I have it in the house. Wholewheat toast, eggs, Raisin Bran, bananas, whatever I need to make a healthy, balanced breakfast. If I don’t plan ahead, I’m more likely to stop at Mickey Ds or Starbucks on the way to work.
Lunch – When I cook dinner, I plan on cooking a lot of leftovers so I can take some with me to work the next day for lunch. Sometimes, especially with big pots of food like spaghetti, I’ll make sure I have enough leftovers to take lunch for a couple of days. If I don’t have leftovers, typically I’m going to eat a big meaty sandwich with all the fixings on wholewheat or a PB&J or two.
Dinner – I plan dinner the afternoon or evening on the day before and make sure all the ingredients are in the house to make that meal. I’ll also make sure I have all the necessary dishes clean if the meal requires a lot of prep. This is the meal of the day where I’m most likely to trade it for something quick. If I get home after work and have to wash dishes, or run to the grocery store after a long, busy day, I’m more likely to just grab some Chic-fil-a instead.
Chic-fil-a, while delicious, is laden with calories and fried things.
As far as planning physical activity ahead of time, this is only an issue on the weekends. I go to the gym Monday through Friday without fail at 5 AM, so if I don’t get a chance to burn any extra calories (other than my normal physical activity) later in the day it’s no big deal. It’s easy though for the weekends to turn into a lazy affair — shopping, eating out, watching football/movies, going to the movies, visiting friends, etc.
Again though, none of this is as much an issue as it was several months ago.
Today, the weekends consist of walking around the zoo for 2 hours, playing catch with my daughter (it’s impressive at 19 months!), chasing her around the local park, dancing, etc. Mostly free things, no money required. By Friday night, my wife and I have discussed our weekend plans and we generally know what the weekend will include so we can both be on the same page.
Do you plan meals and physical activity ahead of time? What area of planning in your life could you most improve on and how?
Posted by Shawn Tyler Weeks on October 26th, 2010
As I said on Thursday, counting calories is the best way to lose weight.
You can lose weight, and might have personally done so by following Weight Watchers, Atkins, Raw Food diet, etc., but for most people, the general public, maybe a student, a 20-something independent, or a mom or dad with a job, mortgage, and 2.54 kids, the best way to lose weight is by counting calories.
Here are five reasons why counting calories works:
Counting calories is the easiest “method” to learn.
Counting calories means making sure the amount of calories you eat in any given day is less than what you need by about 500 calories for most folks.
Now, someone go ahead and explain Weight Watchers in two sentences. I’m not saying that Weight Watchers (which is very simple), or Atkins is necessarily difficult, it’s just not as easy as counting calories.
Rich or poor, counting calories is possible.
It doesn’t cost a penny to know or to implement the concept of counting calories. On the other hand, the basic Nutrisystem plan for men (28 pre-packed meals) costs $329.95 — a month. That’s nuts!
I lost nearly 150 pounds counting calories.
I’m a walking, talking billboard for counting calories. I recommend it!
Counting calories is practical and sustainable for a lifetime.
What happens when the meeting stop? What happens when you stop buying the pre-packaged meals, meal plans, etc? With most diet scams programs you’re taught how to spend money or how to eat select types of food. This is hard and expensive to do day in, day out for the rest of your life.
Counting calories is a lifestyle, it’s not a fad.
Allows you to enjoy your favorite foods and still lose weight.
While it’s true that all calories are not created equal and there’s more to be concerned about than just calories, if you want to have a couple of slices of pizza one night, or birthday cake at your daughter’s birthday party, you can do so “responsibly” and still say you’re living a healthy lifestyle.
And you can have your cake and lose weight too.
What are your reasons for counting calories? And if you’re trying to lose weight (or have lost weight) another way, what are your reasons?
Posted by Shawn Tyler Weeks on October 24th, 2010
What’s the best way to lose weight? Counting calories and moderation.
I get asked from time to time if I had it all to do over again (you know, the whole lose 125 pounds in 10 months thing) if I would still choose to lose weight by counting calories. Honestly, I’m taken aback a little bit. It’s like asking the winner of the World Series a few minutes after winning the championship whether they would’ve done anything different to get there.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Sure, I know that there are many ways to lose 125 pounds, but not only did my way work alright for me, I think it’s the best way to lose weight period.
Why is calorie counting the best way to lose weight?
Because it’s better than all the other ways, of course. What are all the “other ways,” you might ask? Well, here goes, and try not to get offended:
I strongly believe counting calories is the best way to lose weight for most people. While a couple of diets listed above might be appealing or best for those with certain conditions or set goals in mind (Paleo Diet, for one), for John and Jane Smith in Bangor, Maine or Boise, Idaho counting calories is going to be the best way for them to lose weight.
Remember, this is just my opinion (even though every health organization and government agency agrees with me). Don’t worry though, this post is the first of a two part series — I’ll back my talk up shortly with actual reasons.
For now, though, what do you think is the best way to lose weight? Why?
Posted by Shawn Tyler Weeks on October 21st, 2010