Friday, June 11, 2010

Weight Loss Tips

I have written this to pass on to people that need help getting started with weight loss. I decided to publish it on the blog and I will update it here as I make it better.

I say losing weight is 80% diet, 20% exercise... but that is probably reversed for keeping it off. Lifting weight in particular, since adding muscle increases your resting metabolic rate and burns more calories all the time. Doing cardio all the time can actually hurt you in the long run by burning up more muscle. The idea is to make your body lose fat but not muscle when it would probably rather do the opposite.

Here's an interesting article on that effect, but it may be overstating it a bit. Some of the pictures on the site are somewhat questionable for work. The content is good though.

- Take measurements and go by those instead of by the scale. You can track measurements here, and it includes instructions on how to take each measurement:
- From measurements, you can estimate your percent body fat
- There is a lot of great info in the forums as well. I particularly like the 'Over 35' board, there is also a diet board.
- Calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (though going to Step 3 is probably not necessary)
- You can start by subtracting 7000 calories per week from your total as a pretty good goal to lose 2 lb/wk (it takes about a 3500 calorie deficit to lose one pound)
- Track food somewhere that splits things down to protein/fats/carbs%. Maybe start with 50% protein, 30% carbs (from whole grains as much as possible, little sugar), and 20% fat (try to get in good fats like almonds, avocado, olive oil, etc)
- If it isn't working, make adjustments to calories or %s and try another week. Shake it up a little every couple of weeks anyway.
- One cheat day a week will help keep you on track and reset your body so it doesn't go into starvation mode and lower your metabolism
- Exercise! Do whatever you can do, and particularly what you like to do.
- Eat more, smaller meals… every 2 to 3 hours to keep blood sugar more stable. Include protein with each meal.

If all of the tracking is too much, an even easier start is to cut out all fried food, sugar, and highly processed carbs like white bread.

Good choices are:
- lean meats like chicken and tuna (light tuna, not albacore… the albacore has 6 times the mercury)
- lots of vegetables
- whole grain carbs like oatmeal, whole grain bread, long or brown rice.. But in moderation
- Good fats like almonds, avacado, olive oil
- Egg whites are almost pure protein, the fat is in the yolks. Some of the fat is good but not too much. I used to make eggs with one yolk and 3 whites, which seemed to work well.
- Low fat dairy is great: 2% cheese sticks, milk, cottage cheese. I eat cottage cheese with Splenda and vanilla at night. Cottage cheese is mainly casein protein, which digests very slowly so it can fuel your muscles while you sleep
- The Men's Health 'Abs Diet Power 12' has a good list of healthy foods to include

More good reading here:

And if you want to see some of my sample food tracking, you can see my food log here. I haven't done it in a while though. Use the left arrow by the date to go backwards.

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