Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weight Loss: 1+1 Doesn’t Always Equal 2 in the Human Body

Lately there’s been much chatter about the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program (I’ll get to that in my next blog). Participants are confused, they think a calorie is a calorie and the machines in the gym tell the truth “I burned 700 calories doing 40 minutes on the treadmill!” And then, Weight Watchers catches up to the body of science over the past 3-4 decades and Bam! Everything dieters have been clutching onto for years must be thrown out the window. They have to learn a new system and attempt to release their firm grip of the belief that 200 calories is the same whether it comes from a fat free chocolate cake or turkey meat. Worse yet, they must embrace the fact that semi-starvation and deprivation interspersed with “I’m just going to eat anything I want” just doesn’t work.

So what’s a dieter to do? First, be flexible. Science changes and sometimes it takes a program a while (in this case decades) to catch up. Second (and this is critical), stick with it. If I had a dime for every time a weight loss client disappeared into thin area or dropped off the radar then popped back up again, I’d be home day trading right now. It’s critical that you stick with it through the days of fresh salads and grilled fish as well as the days you down your weight in chips and cheese dip. And, that brings me to my third point – let it go. So you ate some chips and chased them down with a few brewskies. Get over it and move on. Don’t let that slip become a slide into a period of “whatever, I can’t lose weight, I’ll just eat anything and everything.” Because it’s times like this that the most damage is done. And last, but not least, believe you can do it and set yourself up for success. Tell everyone (well, the supportive people) around you about your goals and team up with someone to go to the gym (or hire a trainer), take classes or make you accountable to that boot camp. See a dietitian….regularly and tell them you want the accountability! Or, join Weight Watchers and get to know the people in your group so you can’t pull the disappearing act one day without anyone noticing.

Now, why did I title this blog post 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2 in the human body? Because, you can’t trust the machines at the gym – most overinflate how many calories you are burning. And, most people (especially those who are obese) underestimate how much they eat. And finally, calories are not all the same. A diet of 1,500 calories may make you lose weight or it could keep your weight steady depending on what you are eating and to an extent, when you are eating it. Oh and P.S., those calories you eat between Friday at Happy Hour and Sunday morning, they count too. If you are my client, I’ll make you account for those hours. If you aren’t and I’m out somewhere dining with you, don’t tell me with a guilt-ridden voice what you plan or ordering or start counting the calories or fat grams because, I’m off duty ☺

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