Best Tool For Weight Loss

It the answer that you seek lays before you, would you recognize it?

When is the last time you went to a bookstore or looked online for a diet book? Do so and you quickly find hundreds even thousands all claiming to have the answer you seek.  Diet obsession has become a quest for the unattainable; a metaphorical Holy Grail.

Recently, I was at a house party at a client’s home. The house was filled with smart and interesting people that I quickly discovered were largely physicians from various fields of medicine. As I made my way around the room and was introduced as the home owner’s personal trainer and weight loss guy I began to have several party goers engage me in conversation. First came their opinions that two of their colleagues’, (both my clients) were probably too thin now and might need to eat a little more. A few jokes in that regard followed. Of course opinions are only your opinion if you really believe them.

That human trait of commentary quickly gave way to another; curiosity. These same highly educated, top of their field people now wanted to know how I did it, made their colleagues so thin. Perhaps I held a secret - a secret that had escaped them.

Let’s stop and look at some facts for a minute. According to Market data Enterprises, a market research firm, Americans spent north of $60 billion last year trying to lose pounds. That’s billion with a B. This number includes gym fees, trainers, supplements, doctors, pharmaceuticals, surgeries, etc. Despite this Americans are still getting fatter, obesity is on the rise. Talk about a failed war on drugs, this number dwarfs what we spend on that. Food has become America’s drug of choice.

Okay, so back to those diet books, also part of that 60 bililon by the way, which do I spend my hard earned money on. Let’s see there is The Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, Paleo, Zone, Weight Watchers, there’s low calorie, low fat and low carb; lions and tigers and bears oh my!  

When you sift through the mounds of diet theories there is a common component, a through line if you will, to diet success. Those who kept a food journal not only lost more weight but keep it off longer. Knowledge is power so it only stands that knowing exactly what you ate last night, last week, last month can only empower you; that and having it on paper staring you back in the face.

 Person writing in food journal - Ultimate Health Personal Trainer Sudio City/Toluca Lake, CA

A recent study conducted by Miriam Hospital and published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine tracked and followed 3000 participants enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry for 10 years.  What makes this study different, other than its length, is that the majority of the subjects kept the bulk of their weight loss off. What made these dieters successful where others failed? Here are a few techniques they employed.

1) Keeping a food journal
2) Sameness of meals (size and make-up)
3) Weigh themselves regularly
4) Eat breakfast
5) 1 hour of activity per day

So, when we say, what is the most important tool, it’s actually several, however, it starts with the journal. Until you know exactly what goes in you are only guessing. It is so easy to forget a bite of something here or a piece of something there so don’t think you can keep it all sorted in your head. Write it down.  Don’t have time to journal at lunch, take a photo of it with your phone and write it down at a later time. I have clients who tell me that just seeing it in their journal was enough to scare them straight.

There are several ways to keep a journal. You can use one of many websites, use a smart phone app or my personal favorite just a plain old notebook.  Find whatever is easiest for you. Keep it simple. I usually don’t have clients count calories unless they’re not losing. I recommend starting with just listing the time of day, what you ate and approximate quantity.  A food scale would come in handy to measure portions. You should be able to make corrections from this. If you want you can take it a step further by tracking overall calories, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, fiber and salt. Listing your exercise/activities would be a plus. If you really can’t spot the problems to correct consider booking an appointment or two with a Dietitian, but I’m guessing you can.

Sustained weight loss is not achieved with lotions, potions or magic, but with knowledge and perseverance.  It’s your war so bring out the big guns and win.

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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