2 Basic Laws of Weight Loss


Here's a little statement I've made before in various forms and forums.

Effective, lifelong weight loss is simple...not easy, just simple.

Everyone is seeking the ultimate weight loss secret. However, the "weight loss secret" has been known for years. Simply stated, if you take in more calories than you use, you gain weight. If you use more calories than you take in, you lose weight.

In their attempts to wiggle around those two simple facts, people have discovered that some foods, and some diet products, are effective in "helping" you cut down on the calories; and they have found lifestyles, and diet products, that "help" you burn more calories, but two simple laws have remained for healthy, effective, lifelong weight loss and weight management.

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1. Get regular, moderate exercise

2. Regularly eat tasteful, nutritionally satisfying foods in reasonable quantities.

Do those two things, and your body will automatically adjust itself to a healthier, leaner, more fit state of existence.

Are there other things you can do to help the process along?

Of course there are. Drink more water, get more sleep, serve meals on smaller plates, eat more slowly...and so on. All these things and many other tips help the weight loss process, but, in the final analysis, it all comes down to those two rules up there.

Now, I said that if you do those two things, your body will automatically adjust itself to a healthier, leaner level. Unfortunately, since we are all different...in upbringing, in ethnicity, in learned habits, in likes and dislikes, in daily lifestyle, in metabolism, and in so many other ways, a perfect weight loss program for one person may seem to be not very effective for another. Also, since we may attack our weight loss problem with a different intensity or attitude or expectation, what we perceive as "being effective" may not satisfy our neighbor...or may seem miraculous to him or her.

In the absence of individual coaching from a personal fitness trainer, and a trained dietician to prepare our meals, some of our actions in the areas of nutrition and exercise are going to be a little hit and miss. Add into that mix the process by which most of us go about our daily lives...staying up too late, rushing around to get all our obligations (real and imaginary) properly discharged, eating unhealthy food in a state of stress and on the go...and from a point of ignorance...and there is no surprise at that statement I made about weight loss being simple, but not necessarily easy.

All that being said, however, most of us can easily make regular attempts to meet the requirements of the two laws I outlined above. We can easily find ways to insert more activity, both planned and opportunistic, into our lives, and we can exercise more control over the food we put in our mouths. A great knowledge of physiology and the science of exercise is not necessary, nor is it a requirement that we be extremely knowledgeable in the science of nutrition either.

Most of us are perfectly aware that a five, ten, or fifteen minute walk is probably better for us than sitting in front of a TV watching a completely mindless show. Okay, I confess, I watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" regularly. Hmmm! Why does my wife keep calling me Frank? Anyway, we all understand that a few minutes of yard work is better for us than raiding the fridge for another beer or that other piece of pie.

We also know that if we have to slip into the kitchen for something to munch, a handful of nuts or an apple is probably going to be better for us than that piece of pie. Doing the healthy things from day to day is what will help us live up to the two laws I have mentioned.

Would we be able to more effectively exercise with a little more knowledge and training on the subject? Of course.

Would we be able to more effectively take control of our dietary and nutritional lifestyle with a bit more information? Of course we would.

If we have more knowledge about exercise and nutrition, will we be better able to make that weight loss plan of ours more effective? Without a doubt.

There is nothing stopping anyone from learning and applying knowledge about exercise and nutrition. No one needs to learn all the knowledge of the fitness trainer or the dietician. A simple, basic understanding of the two fields will suffice in most cases.

I would like to make one last point. In both of the two laws I mentioned above, the words "regular" and "regularly" appear. In terms of weight loss, fitness, and health, what you do today is not worth a hill of beans unless it is tied to events either before or after it. To go out and walk a mile today is a good thing, of course, but in terms of weight loss, health, and fitness, it will be a habit of walking a mile a day several days a week, over many weeks which will eventually result in the change you and I are seeking.

A good side to this is the empowering knowledge that a slip in our program today is not going to matter that much as long as we get back into the swing of things as soon as possible. If you are exercising regularly and eating properly, a piece of pie at a friend's house, a dish of ice cream at a birthday party, just one more piece of that delicious pot roast will not destroy all that you are attempting to accomplish...just don't let it happen too often.

What the heck! Isn't the purpose of a healthy lifestyle the idea of being able to enjoy life?

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