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13 Point Check-List for Weight Loss (part 2)
copyright 2006 by Greg Landry, M.S.





Number 8: Daily aerobic exercise.

You know I like this one! Daily aerobic exercise, I think, is the most powerful indicator of how successful somebody is going to be long term.  In the people I have worked with, daily aerobic exercise is the most powerful indicator of long term success with weight loss.  When I say “daily”, I mean six to seven days a week. Daily is ideal.  I always get the question, “Well, don’t we need a day of rest, Greg?”  My advice is to not actually take the day off, but take a leisurely walk. Don’t break the habit!  You have worked hard at making exercise habitual, something you do every day, just like brushing your teeth. So one day a week (a lot of people like to do it on Sundays), maybe just take a leisurely walk and count that as your exercise.  But be consistent. 

So back to my point.  Exercise six to seven days per week.  Doing something daily is ideal. Here is why.  Your metabolism responds to daily activity. When you do something every day that raises your heart rate, your body says, “We’ve got to raise metabolism.  They do this every day, so we are going to raise metabolism.”  Your body RESPONDS to daily exercise.

So first thing before you do anything else, develop a daily exercise habit.  Now at first for sure, it doesn’t need to be long. Get out and take a 10 or 15 minute walk.  Developing that daily habit is the single most important thing you can do to ensure your long-term success. You can work on the length of that later, but get in the habit. Make it something you do without fail every day. Set time aside for it and get it done. The wonderful thing about this is, not only does it help with weight loss, but probably more importantly, it is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Everything physiologically, physically, emotionally, and mentally improves with consistent exercise. It is a wonderful medicine!  So I would really encourage you, if you are doing this, keep it up!  If you’re  not, really make this a priority!  It is a major factor in long term success.

Number 9: Know that you have a caloric deficit.

We talked about this briefly before, but know that you have a caloric deficit. We talked about this one when we talked about recording what you eat.

This is absolutely critical. You don’t have to do this for the rest of your life.  I would encourage you to at least spend a few weeks writing down everything you eat and determining two things: how many calories you are consuming and how many fat grams you are consuming. If you are consuming too many calories, even just a few hundred too many, weight loss may not happen. It can be as simple as that sometimes. You really need to know where you are. So if you are having trouble and weight loss is not as fast as you want it to be, KNOW that you actually have a deficit.  That can tell you whether you need to move it up a couple of hundred or maybe down a couple of hundred calories. It gives you a feel for where you are. 

Number 10: Create your own snacking system.

By this I simply mean have food ready at all times, whether you are at home, in the car, at work.  The situation that most people fall into is that they allow themselves to get too hungry. Typically it is not at home because it is easier to have food there that is healthy, but in the car, driving, at work, traveling, whatever. When you are hungry, you are going to get to the point where you are going to eat, even if you don’t have healthy food around.  So that will typically be something fast, maybe at a fast food place or a convenience store. If you don’t eat and you get home at five, six, seven or eight o’clock at night and you are famished, then you are completely out of control and you will almost always overeat in that situation and will almost always make poorer food choices in that situation. 

So have a system. Have healthy snacks in your car, have something at work. You have to take the time to plan for this because this is critical.  If that healthy food is not there you are going to end up eating things that you prefer not to eat. 

There are a lot of ways you can go with that. Some people like fruit. Some people like dry healthy cereal, snack bars that are healthy, but have something ready and available all of the time. 

Number 11: Fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

We touched on this because of fiber just a minute ago.  I know there is a lot of controversy right now with high-protein, low-carb diets.  But I think that most people—in fact, I talked to a lady this week—She had done one of the low-carb, high-protein diets and didn’t do very well. She didn’t feel well and actually had some health problems. She said, “You know, I knew intuitively that this was not a healthy way of eating, but I thought it would help me lose weight.”

I think that statement is true of most people. They know that eating that much fat and protein is not a good situation. We do know—I don’t know how this can be disputed—We know from years of practical experience with people and from research in labs, that fruits, vegetables and grains keep us healthy. They help people lose weight. Long-term, they help you avoid cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and the whole works. So focus your diet on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Again, as I mentioned earlier, that is where all the fiber is.  Animal products have no fiber whatsoever.

Again, it takes planning because you are not going to find fruits, vegetables and whole grains close to their most natural state, whole grains, breads, etc., out at fast food places. You can do that at restaurants, but it takes some work. So it takes planning on your part and it takes preparation, having the groceries in your house that you need and not having what shouldn’t be there, and planning.  Planning how you are going to eat for the next day.  I think one of the problems we fall into with our society the way it is, fast-paced, everything is fast, nobody cooks and plans anymore. So you go, and whatever is there, donuts at work, fast food place around the corner, we live fast. There is little time that is taken for planning, and we end up eating whatever is there. I think that is part of the reason that we are in the situation we are in here in the U.S.

Any questions so far?

Janice:   I had a question whether you felt we should also—If it’s helpful to try to track fiber for a while.

Greg: Absolutely, Janice.

Janice:  In addition to the calories and the fat grams, just to see if by increasing that, what the difference is. To prove something to myself probably more than anything.

Greg: That is an excellent point.  I think you’re right. At least for a week or two. Fiber is fairly easy to learn what is where, so I think once you do this for a week or two you really know if you are getting enough fiber, what has it, what doesn’t have it.  As I mentioned, we know that all the fruits, vegetables and grains have some fiber. But there is a great deal of difference sometimes.

For example, in beans, there are some beans that are just loaded with fiber and others that have less fiber than that. So absolutely, Janice.  Email me and let me know what those numbers look like. I am always curious to see what those add up to.

Janice: Okay. The other thing I was going to say was, I guess part of the change of my mindset is, in doing the snack quotient, I guess I made an assumption that there was an awful lot of stuff at the health food store that was probably better than at a traditional grocery store.  But obviously, this is just casting dispersion on everything. I probably need to really look at everything that is going on as long as it’s a packaged food product.  

Like you say, the natural state, I’m not as concerned about that unless there is a preservative in the product for the packaged or even frozen stuff. But some of the cereals I was looking at today were like, 300 calories per serving and only 2 grams of fiber, and you know, a pretty decent amount of sugar. I was a little flabbergasted.  I thought, “Well, okay, I guess you are teaching us to be regular label readers!”  Some of the product lines I’m not familiar with.  A lot of them are new to me.  Even amongst those, it still makes a difference. 

But I will track that for a while.  I am going to try to see what I can do.  Your recommendation on the grams of fiber is actually higher than a couple of other things I have read lately, where they were saying minimum of 30. That is Dr. Merkin’s Healthy Heart Miracle kind of stuff. Then another doctor online, he was giving a lecture somewhere and he was saying at least 30 grams and a very moderate amount of protein if you are going to eat any at all. He was not saying high protein, low fat. He was just saying make sure you don’t overload on your protein.

Greg: That’s good. 

Janice: What I will do is send you a link to that.  I think he’s got a mixed message in it, but he is also grounded. So I will send you a link to you and ask you to just read that and give me some feedback on it.  I am having a hard time sorting through the truth in what he’s talking about and what his background is.

Greg; That would be great. 

Janice: So I would appreciate your feedback.

Greg: That is a good point, Janice.  I want to comment on several of the things you said.  It’s easy—I do this too. In a health food store, you tend to think that everything is healthier, or at least in that direction. A good bit of it is. It is certainly better than a grocery store.  But we still need to be very careful because, well, cereal is a good example. There are a lot of cereals that aren’t whole grain, like you have seen. They have maybe an SQ of 150 or something like that.

The other thing that I think is becoming more and more of a problem—Anything that we eat that is processed in any way and certainly anything in a can, is loaded with sodium.  Now, sodium doesn’t affect fat gain per se. It does affect body weight because the more sodium you consume the more fluid you retain.  But it is bad for health.  I think when you look at fruits, vegetables and whole grains, if we believe that is supposed to be where we concentrate, in their natural state they contain very little sodium. You know, enough to keep us healthy. But everything that we get in a can is artificially—has sodium added to it.  So it’s extremely high when you consider what we should be getting.

The other thing you mentioned Janice that I think was a good point—most recommendations that you see are geared toward the general public, like American Heart Association says, “Under 30 percent fat”. They say, “Under 2000 mg of sodium,” they say, “30 to 35 grams of fiber.”  Realize that those are padded because they want the general public to at least make a little bit of change in the right direction. 

So rather than giving you the ideal numbers - like saying, “For fat, you really should be under 20 percent,” they know that the majority of Americans will never get there, so they say 30 to move it down from where it is, at 42. Sodium should be under 1000 at least. They put it at 2000. Fiber should be closer to 50 and they put it at 30 or 35. Their objective is just to move the masses a little bit in the right direction. For optimal health, those numbers are usually off. 

Janice:  You mentioned fiber 50 and sodium 1000.  What was the first number you mentioned, Greg?

Greg: Percentage of fat in the diet.

Janice: Okay.

Greg: Most of the experts that are not American Heart types believe that we should be around 20 percent fat for optimal health and for weight management - most of that should be "good" fat of course.

Janice: Well, the other thing Greg, I guess for myself, since I haven’t been eating a lot of packaged stuff for quite a long time, generally when I am eating at a pot-luck and making good selections or I end up making something according to a recipe, it doesn’t take very long to tell whether there was a packaged product or something had too much sodium because I am going to have a little swelling in my hands or feet or I am gong to react in some way.  I can tell that there is something in the food that did not set well with me, because for a long time I have been pretty toxic with a lot of stuff. I guess it depends on what kind of level of health you are seeking. I have been one to go after vibrant health for a long time and my path has been pretty long to get there. But I also know that what I have gained is mine and it feels very stable.  I also look at the public, and as much heart disease, toxicity, the diabetes and the obesity are just continuing to climb in numbers. The interesting thing is that it seems to me that I am seeing more people unhealthy than healthy.

Greg: You are absolutely right, Janice - to live a healthy lifestyle now, you absolutely have to go against the flow - you have to be different from 90% of people.

Janice: To actually not be healthy, not be moving, which is a little—It’s like we have gone into a flip-flop. That isn’t just children, it’s everybody.

Greg; That’s right. You know, if you extrapolate the numbers for type II diabetes and obesity over the next 10 or 15 years, it’s mind boggling to think where we’ll be. We could actually have a situation in the U.S. where 90% of adults are overweight!  Type II diabetes is increasing at such a rapid rate that it is incredible.  In the next 1o to 15 years unless something drastic changes, it is not going to be a pretty scene.

All right.  Twelve, thirteen and fourteen.

Number 12:  Create your own reasons list.

We talked about this in the Motivation Seminar.  Anybody can do pretty well at consistent eating and exercise for a short period of time, maybe weeks, maybe months. But it gets tough at some point for most people.  That’s when you have to have the motivation to continue.  Now, the word motivation, obviously, the root is motive - a reason to do it.  

So to stay consistent, you have to have a motive, a reason, several reasons usually.  So what I encourage people to do is make a list—A lot of people say, “Well, Greg, I know these reasons in my head. I can recall these.”  You might be able to recall some of them, but having this on paper is invaluable, because you can look at this and see, “Here are the 20 reasons that losing weight is important to me.”  Or, “Here are the 20 reasons that being healthy is important to me.” So, take a couple of days and literally write down every reason (this should be detailed), that either getting healthier or leaner is important to you. Be very specific.  Because this is your motive.  This is what motivates you to be consistent. It’s what motivates you to get up and exercise in the morning when maybe you don’t feel like it, or to eat two cookies instead of a half a bag.  These are YOUR reasons for why you want to get healthier and leaner. So, put it on paper, but it where you can see it, and refer to it often. You have to be reminded about why this is important to you.

Number 13:  Thirteen and fourteen kind of go together.  

Volume of food is important. We get really “hung up” on  how much protein we’re getting, how much fat, how much carbohydrates.  Those are important, but perhaps just as important if not more so, is simply volume of food.

Again, we are in a society where everything is “more”.  I saw where Wendy’s not only has Biggie Fries now, but they have Super Biggie or something beyond the huge one!  It is incredible, the portion sizes that we have.  This goes for restaurants, the whole deal.  In convenience stores you have these huge drinks to put Coke in. It is just incredible the portion sizes that we have come to. I think that eating has gone along with this.  So, volume is important. We can get hung up on what we are eating and you need to look at that, but Number One is volume.

Now, how do you control volume?  One of the best ways is eating slowly.  We know that there is a direct relationship between how fast someone eats and how much they eat. If you want to do something interesting, the next time you’re in a restaurant, look around and watch people eat. Look at the slow eaters.  Look at the fast eaters.  I think you will see a noticeable difference. 

Janice: I think that’s a good suggestion.

reg:  It really is.  If you eat slowly, I won’t say it’s impossible, but it becomes very difficult to overeat consistently. So I really believe the speed at which we eat is critical. Experts tell us that ideally they believe about 30 seconds between bites is ideal. 

Now, if you are not a slow eater, 30 seconds will seem like forever.  But I would encourage you to hang in there.  It’s a habit, and like most habits, if you consistently work on that for 30 days it becomes much easier.  It really does. Most people that hang in there with this, the first day they think there is no way they can eat that slowly, that it’s an eternity between bites!  But it really does get easier as it becomes habitual for you. I think this is one of the best habits, eating-wise, that you can develop because it affects so many things.  So, work on eating slowly. Chew your food a lot - savor every bite.

There’s another thing here. They also believe that the act of chewing affects satiety. So the more you chew a given amount of food, the more satisfied you are, even with the same amount of food. So chew your food very well, knowing that it affects satiety. Savor it, enjoy the taste of it. In thirty seconds take your next bite.  I think you will see that you can get used to that quickly and it won’t seem like an eternity between bites.


Okay.  Thanks, everybody!





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