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You talked, we listened. When you need to lose a lot of weight, reading about how to drop those last five pounds is like getting marriage advice when you're single: It just doesn't apply. Follow typical diet rules and you may shed a few pounds quickly, but you'll end up cranky and hungry. "Trying to do too much too fast is guaranteed not to work. You'll get frustrated, burn out, and be right back where you started," says Martha Beck, PhD, Oprah's life coach and author of The Four Day Win. Instead, the approach on these pages has been designed to help you lose at least 30 pounds in a healthy, sensible way.Step 1: Adapt and Adjust
Ditching a lot of pounds is as much an emotional process as a physical one. You'll need to lay a psychological foundation for success before you attempt to change your behavior, experts say. "Getting your mind accustomed to, and not afraid of, a new behavior is key," says Robert Maurer, PhD, a psychologist and author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life. Here's how to get your head in the game.
Happy hour, girls' night out, office goodies...food is a big part of our social lives. To stay on track, prep your peeps for the switches you're about to make.
We're not talking about a lifetime of celery sticks. Just a few simple changes to your shopping and cooking routines can go a long way. Try these:
We know, we know, you've heard it before. But when it comes to changing your lifestyle, a food journal is as fundamental as those black pants in your wardrobe. "I always recommend a diary," says Gidus, who believes it's the key to understanding what you're eating and why.
When you fill it out each night, make the experience as relaxing and enjoyable as possible: Light a scented candle, sip a cup of green tea, play some soft music.Each entry should include:
At the end of the week, read your journal. You may find surprising patterns, such as that you eat more when you're with certain friends or that you reach for crunchy foods when you're stressed at work.
It's time to figure out how many calories you should be eating in order to reach your weight goal. Once you know this magic number, you can choose the food plan that's best suited to your body's needs.
Your weight-loss equation:
655 + (4.4 times your goal weight in pounds) + (4.6 times your height in inches) - (4.7 times your age in years) = base calories
Multiply this number by:
1.2 if you get little or no exercise
1.3 if you're somewhat active
The total is the number of calories you should eat each day in order to reach your goal weight and maintain it.
Okay, now you know your number, but what the heck does a healthy 1,600- or 1,800-calorie-a-day eating plan actually look like? Our handy chart, here, tells you exactly how many servings you'll need daily of protein, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and grains, and gives you a range of calories for each. (If you're like most of us, you'll gravitate to the higher end of some of the food groups -- grains, say -- and to the lower end of others, meaning that your calorie count will even out over the day.)To begin this new way of eating...
Regular activity burns calories, builds muscle, reduces your risk of disease, and sharpens your mind, says Pamela Peeke, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fit to Live.
Don't put your life on hold until you hit your weight goal.
Calorie goal per day
|3 serv. per day = 75 cal||3 serv. per day = 180-300 cal||5 serv. per day = 300-500 cal||3 serv. per day = 240-360 cal||2 serv. per day = 160-240 cal||
3 serv. per day = 300 cal
|1,800||4 serv. per day = 100 cal||4 serv. per day = 240-340 cal||6 serv. per day = 300-600 cal||3 serv. per day = 240-360 cal||2 serv. per day = 160-240 cal||
4 serv. per day = 400 cal
|2,000||5 serv. per day = 125 cal||5 serv. per day = 300-500 cal||7 serv. per day = 420-700 cal||3 serv. per day = 240-360 cal||2 serv. per day = 160-240 cal||
5 serv. per day = 500 cal
"Being thin is sweeter than any food could taste. I love the new me!"
-- Michelle Friedson, 27, New York City, lost about 100 pounds and has kept it off for more than two years
"Friends tell me I look 10 years younger. My cholesterol dropped dramatically. I feel great!"
-- Mary Sorlie, 48, Bismarck, North Dakota, lost 30 pounds and has kept it off for a year
Click here for more inspiring success stories!
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, June 2007.