Even though 65% of American adults are above their ideal weight, only 25% are seriously trying to lose weight. The same Gallup® survey showed that a little over half of Americans surveyed would like to lose weight.
Surveys have many limitations but Gallup® is one of the most respected out there. I also thought it was interesting that since 1990, Americans’ goal for their “ideal weight” has increased, likely to reflect the reality of the obesity and overweight epidemic. But it doesn’t change the fact that most Americans not only want to lose weight, but they seriously need to.
When friends, colleagues, and family approached me after I went through my weight-loss redesign five years ago to ask me how I did it, I was very honest. I limited my calories to 1600 per day while I was trying to lose 1 pound per week. I exercised 5 times per week for 20-60 minutes. It was hard work and it took me about 9 months to lose 30 pounds. A lot of people don’t like that answer. They want to hear about a miracle pill or juice cleanse or surgery that will help them lose weight fast without taking ownership of their weight loss.
Losing weight is not easy or fast…if you want to do it permanently and safely. The key is to make small changes to redesign your lifestyle that will help you accomplish those goals.
Here is the first one:
Stop drinking calories: Only drink water at all your meals. Only drink water in between meals. Drink at least TEN 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Give up the 380-calorie caramel macchiato that you have every morning. Give up the sweetened tea. Give up the beer. And most of all, give up the soda. Not only will you actually feel better once you get through the sugar and caffeine withdrawals, you will also save calories and money! Whenever I dole out this advice, I am met with a lot of resistance: “I can’t give up my morning coffee!” or “I need my afternoon Coke to be able to finish the work day.” All I can say is that I used to feel the same way, but I knew that unless I gave up my International Delight-sweetened coffee, I was going to have a tough time losing weight. I quit cold turkey, and once I got over the headaches during the first week, I was OK. Now, I only drink my very calorie-rich coffee on weekends as a treat. Boy, do I look forward to it. By Thursday I am already anticipating drinking my coffee, especially now that I live in Costa Rica amongst the best coffee beans in the world!
I found that once I gave up sugary or caffeinated drinks, I did not feel that early morning sluggishness (because I wasn’t “hung-over”) or the 3pm slump. That afternoon slump is usually due to either thirst (not hunger!) or you are crashing from that morning’s caffeine or sugar jolt. The bottom line is that drinking caffeinated or sugary drinks sets you up for a vicious (and expensive!) cycle of dependence. Believe me, give them up and you will feel and look much better! And your wallet will thank you too.
Redesign Challenge of the Week: Try giving up ONE sugary drink for 2 weeks. One week is not enough because it takes about that long to get over the withdrawals. Try it and let me know how it goes!