While the bookstores and Internet are filled with complicated diets and revolutionary new weight loss philosophies (some of which I’ve been lured by in the past), my goal this time is simply to reduce my calorie intake. I was inspired by a recent interview I did with a nutritionist, who told me, “To lose weight, all you need to do is take in fewer calories than you burn.” Sounds so easy and basic, no?
To lose a pound, you need to expend about 3,500 calories. I was surprised to learn that it doesn’t really matter if you shave off the calories through eating less or through exercise. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism tracked the weight loss of two groups of people: one that reduced its calorie intake by 25 percent, and one that reduced its calorie intake by 12.5 percent, and burned 12.5 percent more calories through exercise. Both groups apparently lost weight at the same rate.
That’s it. Really. There are technically no “forbidden” foods, no complicated menus or calculations. But I’ve learned fast enough that in order to not be ravenous, I have to make my calories count — choosing a
100-calorie snack that’s high in fiber and protein, rather than, say, four Hershey’s Kisses.
At first the plan confused me. The only other real diet I’ve followed was Weight Watchers, in which every food is assigned a point value, and you have to stick within your point allotment for the day. But with Weight
Watchers, there were plenty of ideas and suggestions for meals and snacks. Now I’m on my own. I’ve become adept at reading labels, measuring servings to make sure I’m not overeating, and logging my daily foods on the Web site Calorie Count, which is a great free resource for tracking your weight and diet.
I’ve learned to actually (gasp!) enjoy a snack like reduced-fat Swiss cheese on a Wasa Crispbread. Or, for dessert, I’ll have one cookie instead of three, or I’ll have a big bowl of popcorn (a dietary bang for your buck, since you can have like three cups of it for only 100 calories!).
Of course, I’m already getting nervous about the upcoming holidays. Will overindulging reverse my hard-won 6-pound loss? My fellow Lime and Gaiam Life writer Joelle Klein has some really great ideas on how you can keep your willpower (and weight) in check during the holidays. … But to be honest, while I’m eager to fit into a smaller dress size, I’m just as eager to enjoy myself with my family for the holidays, without worrying about eating or drinking too much. After all, I can resume my calorie counting as a New Year’s resolution!
Republished courtesy Lime.com.