Fourteen Weight Loss Do's

Rather than try and fail at another diet this new year, why not take a more strategic approach by making your goal optimal health?
01/24/2012 05:47 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2012

Rather than try and fail at another diet this new year, why not take a more strategic approach by making your goal optimal health? I believe that the human body desires to be well -- and that includes being at a healthy weight. Let's consider fourteen do's to pave the way for you to be successful in your quest to burn that fat.

Fourteen Weight Loss Do's

  1. Calm down. If you're wound up and believing that you're never going to lose weight, chances are you are going to fulfill that prophecy. Disciplining your mind through focused meditation can help your brain relax its vigilance. Meditation is simple and anyone can do it. My favorite led meditations are by Christopher K. Germer. They are free on his website.

  • Forget any program, system, pill, or book that promises overnight weight loss. It's impossible to lose more than two pounds of fat per week. If you lose more on the scale, it's water, your body's ready energy called glycogen (which is heavy), and muscle and bone.
  • Instead of dieting, eat a balanced diet of real, whole, living food. While proteins, fats, and nonstarchy veggies are the building supplies your metabolism needs, all carbs turn into energy (sugar) in your body, acting as fuel. To burn body fat, you want to cut your carbs below your body's need for energy. But if you cut your carbs too low can also cause insomnia and middle of the night hunger (which I've personally experienced using myself as a weight loss guinea pig), as well as stimulant craving (sugar, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, drugs). There is also disagreement if the ketogenic diet causes muscle wasting. Some believe it does, and other experts are adamant that it does not. The more muscle mass you have, the more efficient your metabolism, and the less muscle mass the less efficient your metabolism. I personally don't support extreme dietary programs, and feel that the ketogenic approach is extreme and ultimately not going to serve you in the long run.
  • Eat only real food (foods that could be, in theory, picked, gathered, milked, hunted, or fished), grown or raised in a clean environment, that haven't undergone any processing.
  • See the bigger picture. Every month is a party in this country. New Year's Eve/Day, Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, Mothers/Fathers Days, graduation, weddings, summer barbecues, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah, not to mention baby showers, birthday parties, and so on. The fact that we're faced with a party every time we turn around, rather than go on a diet that is going to make you feel deprived and alienated, adopt the balanced way of eating described above that will take you through the entire year. You can go to events and parties and enjoy yourself. I have eaten this way for fifteen years, and I can attest to the fact that you can go to any event, or any restaurant, or party and find enough low carb foods to eat to have fun and not feel deprived.
  • Drink one half of your body weight in ounces of purified water every day. Dehydration slows fat burning. A healthy diet contains fiber, but without water fiber can get bogged down, leading to constipation.
  • Eating well is all about developing new habits. Developing a habit requires repetition. The more you repeat an action, the more ingrained it becomes. It takes 21 days to develop a new habit. Commit to a new program of eating for 21 days and you'll have lost six pounds of fat, and you'll have likely developed the healthy food habit for life.
  • Plan ahead. To eat real food, you have to plan ahead, buy food, prepare food, take food with you when you go out.
  • To begin anything new you need motivation. Psyching up is a powerful way to program intention in your brain, and something anyone can do. Take out a piece of paper and write down your intentions. Review your intentions every night before you go to sleep. In the beginning you can refer to your list. As time goes by, you'll automatically review your intentions as you drift off to sleep. Tell yourself that you're going to plan meals, grocery shop, pack a lunch, cook dinner.
  • The second part of setting determination is reward. Reward is a powerful motivation. What are your rewards? List them. Aside from looking and feeling better, actually give yourself a reward after sticking to a balanced eating program for three weeks. Buy a pair of shoes or go out to a concert. Make it a celebration.
  • Recruit your entire family or at least a friend to join you in your quest for optimal health. Plan grocery trips together, explore cookbooks... and plan your rewards.
  • Forget numbers on the scale, and instead look at your body naked and clothed in a full-length mirror. Your body will find it's perfect body composition if you give it a diet of real, whole, living food. If you remain focused on a number on the scale you may never be happy. Rather than weighing myself, I have pair of jeans that tell me when I need to cut energy foods for a while.
  • Incorporate an exercise routine into your life. Even on days that you can't exercise, take the stairs. I was just in Chicago O'Hare and had to run from terminal B to C twice, and went up 60 steps three times. I ride my bike to do errands when weather permits. In bad weather, walk whenever possible. You'll be surprised at how much exercise you can fit into your life without formally exercising.
  • Cut yourself some slack. If you slip one day, so what? Beating yourself up is counterproductive, and can really set you back if you're an emotional eater. Write down some positive statements can say to yourself if you slip up one day. Tell yourself, "So I slipped up. No one is perfect. I'll start again, right now!"
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