January 16, 2008

Bigger Loser's Biggest Tips

Lots of people ask me everyday, how did you lose 100 pounds?

Today at work, a friend said he and his wife were trying Nutrisystem. Their resolution is to lose weight this year. But every year he says he goes down 25 pounds and then up 25 pounds. A diet not going to work, they need a strategy.

And when I got home, my son emailed me to tell me he has decided to stage a local The Biggest Loser contest with 27 of his friends, acquaintances, and their significant others to put some peer pressure behind their collective New Year’s resolution of losing weight and living a healthier life. So every Tuesday they will be weighing in. To have a healthy life, they all need a strategy.

So to help all of you out there looking to lose 10 pounds...or 100 pounds, here are the most significant top 10 strategies I used to change my life:

  1. The most important tip is: portion control. If you want to be smaller, then make everything in your life smaller. I changed to a smaller plate. No more trashcan lids masquerading as dinner plates. I use only the salad fork, not the dinner fork. I take one helping of food. I measured out 1/2 cups of tuna, rices, and pasta for the first time in my life. I switched to 100-calorie portions of cookies and popcorn. Everything is smaller...including my belt.
  2. It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change. So everything you change should carry over for life. However, that said, there are some no-nos that worked like a charm for me to get to a better weight. No wine. No beer. (OK, one beer anytime the Patriots win.) No cheese. No bread. Absolutely, no pop (as they say in the Midwest). And for me, no red meat. I do have pasta, potatoes, and diet pop.
  3. Absolutely, no fast-food restaurants. (The rest of your life.) There's nothing in there that's good for you. And if you have the willpower to eat a healthy salad while everyone around you is eating Whoppers and french fries...well, then you should be teaching gurus how to walk across hot coals in bare feet.
  4. Get a food routine for the morning and afternoon. Men's Health magazine this month gives out this tip as well. Don't give yourself any choices for breakfast or lunch. Dr. Wansink's experiments have shown that with more choices comes overeating. Everyday I have egg whites and mushrooms cooked in an omelet with a little salsa for breakfast. Everyday for lunch I have a large spinach salad with lots of spinach, raw mushrooms and some cold turkey or chicken breast. I use Walden's Farms no-calorie Caesar dressing...everyday. For morning snack, it's a banana, and for afternoon snack, it's a 100-calorie pack of cookies or almonds.
  5. Mix it up at dinner time. Now that you don't have to think for breakfast or lunch, and you know exactly how many calories you are eating, then go wild for dinner. Use lots of spices. Use lots of vegetables. Use a little olive oil. Have chicken, turkey (without the skin of course), fish, soy, or vegetable entrees. Every Friday I cook fresh shrimp cocktail (with just lemon, no sugar-laden ketchup based cocktail sauce). Every Saturday it's fresh steelhead trout. On Monday it's chicken, on Tuesday, it's chicken, on Wednesday it's chicken thighs, on Thursday it's chicken, well, you get the idea.
  6. Go to bed hungry. I like to have a 100-calorie bag of popcorn with a big glass of flavored club soda for a night time snack. It's not ice cream, but it tastes better good after all that chicken. And go to bed a little early. If you stay up, you are going to just get hungrier.
  7. Eat fiber, or drink fiber. Every morning -- the very first thing, since I'm a little hungry -- I have a large glass of orange-flavored Metamucil. It's not what you think. It's a natural fiber that taste like Tang. And every doctor in the world says eat fiber. If you prefer, eat an apple. But for me, one glass fills my belly and I know it's making me healthy. Next, take your vitamins. Your body will crave something if it's missing vitamins and minerals.
  8. Don't beat yourself up if you cheat. I had a pizza last Saturday (veggie of course) but it still busted my 2,000 calories-a-day routine. Next day it was back to egg whites, spinach salad and grilled chicken.
  9. Tell everybody about your success. I used this blog to education myself and now hopefully educating others. Find your passion. Take photos that tell the obesity story in America. Help one inner city kid kick the fast food habit. Ask your mom and dad to lose a few pounds so they live to see the grandchildren.
  10. This is the hardest thing you'll ever do. Losing weight is a $35 billion industry. Getting a Ph.D. is easier. Going to the moon didn't cost $35 billion. But every year Americans spend $35 billion trying to lose more than one billion pounds. Give yourself a hand: you have taken the first step for yourself, one giant leap for healthy mankind.
  11. One last tip. Once you have obtained your ideal weight, go back to tip #1. Eat the right portion, and you can enjoy all the foods you love. I just got back from Italy after having a little pasta, a little wine, a little cheese, a little red meat, a little....you get the idea. Eating the right size will make you the right size and we'll all be RightSizingAmerica.
Please comment so others can share in your success!

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