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The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Weight Loss

From what I’ve seen, most people who want to lose weight skip the necessary steps to be successful. Based on my experience, and on the experience of people who have been successful at losing weight and maintaining the loss, there are a few conditions that are necessary. They are also sufficient. The vast majority of the people on the planet will lose weight and maintain the loss if these conditions are met in the order provided below. Those who don’t have some medical condition that makes their bodies react differently. The odds are massive you are not one of those.

Here are the necessary and sufficient conditions for losing weight and maintaining the loss:

  1. Maintain rigorous honesty: Honesty comes first and the most important person to be honest with is ourself. Instead of tying to cover up the reading as we weigh ourselves, advertise it. Wear a button that says, “I weight 200 pounds and my waist is 42 inches.” (Measure your waist one inch below your belly button — another honesty issue.) Say it out loud: “I am powerless over junk food.” Or, “Ice cream defeats me every time.” Admitting it is the first step in getting better. If you relapse and eat a piece of cake off your rigorous schedule, admit it. Don’t rationalize. Until you are rigorously honest, your efforts are doomed.
  2. Be willing to change: Wanting to lose weight doesn’t matter. Not a bit. What matters is having the willingness to give up preconceived notions that have never worked and to do things differently. You have got to be willing to listen to the winners: the people who’ve lost weight and maintained that weight loss for a long time. If you do that, you’ll find that the vast majority, like almost all, follow the fourth and fifth necessary and sufficient conditions.
  3. Learn to react to life differently: You also must change the way you react to life. If you eat ice cream when you’re worried, angry, or bored, you need a new way to deal with those feelings. If you don’t find that, you’ll never, never, never be successful.
  4. Effective Exercise is essential: Exercise comes next because so many people want to skip this part. If you’re not exercising, you’re doomed to failure. You simply cannot reduce your food intake enough to lose weight and keep it off. You must exercise, and you must be rigorously honest about that exercise. Plan on 45 minutes a day during which you get your heart rate up into your target zone. The harder you work, the more calories you burn (see # 5,) but an hour of brisk walking is good, too. Now look here: it does absolutely no good to sweat for 45 minutes, then reward yourself by eating a honey bun. You’ve just wasted all your effort.
  5. Believe you lose weight due to calories in and calories out: If you think calories eaten and calories burned don’t matter, you are doomed to failure. You just are. If you insist on believing that, stop reading this and accept that things won’t change for you. They won’t. Yes, I’ve seen all the stuff about good calories/bad calories. All that’s fine for fine measurements at the cellular level and for elite athletes.  For the vast majority of us, the calorie thing is key. An easy way to think about what to follow Dr. Harry Lodge’s rule about what you should eat that’s found in the book, Younger Next Year. Here it is in its entirety: “Don’t eat crap.”  We all know what “crap” is. Stay away from it.
  6. Eliminate decisions: At least for a while, meaning . . . oh, say . . . the first five years, you should do all you can to eliminate decision-making. Develop menus that have the number of calories that fit into your regime and stick to those menus. If you are cooking for a family, make their meals and make yours. Your menu shouldn’t be all complicated. At least for this time period, food should not be the center of your life. Have set times for snacks and make the snacks an apple or orange. Create a routine that you don’t change. When life forces changes, make careful substitutions. Notice, the word is not “exception.” Substituting one planned meal for another is okay. Eating a piece of pie as an exception is not. Don’t go to all you can eat buffets. Don’t go to covered dish dinners . . .or if you must go, eat your dinner before you go and don’t get near the food table. If you’ve tried to lose weight and have failed, or have lost weight but failed to maintain the loss, it’s clear your decision-making is flawed. Eliminate them.
  7. Give yourself a break: Take a meal off once a week. Eat what you want. Now, that doesn’t mean you eat as much as you want. Eat a piece of pie after your meal off — not a whole pie. When you are craving during the rest of the week, remind yourself that you can eat it during your meal off.

That’s it. If you do those things, you’ll lose weight. The concepts are extremely easy. If you’re honest about carrying them out, you’ll be successful.

2 comments

  1. Kim-Rock

    I lost 30lbs, then I quit smoking and drinking. I am 5’8″, 155lbs, 49yrs, female. I still feel like crap. I think I am going to start running. I used to be quite an athlete back in the day. What is my first step? Buy running shoes? I do not know how to begin. Help.

    1. ewyrick

      When nicotine is no longer provided, your body takes a while to adjust and that causes us to feel like crap. I can tell you that running helped me feel a whole lot better. The way you start running is to start running. But, it is critical to not try to do too much at first. In my book, I talk about the “resolution guys” I saw every year about January third. They’d be red in the face and looking like death. They’d last about a week. I started with running a minute and walking a minute. A year later, I ran two minutes and walked two minutes. Eventually, I got to where I ran for six minutes, then walked for one and just stuck with that. Well, except for races. Eventually, you’ll want to have good shoes because they make an incredible difference in how your legs feel, ect. But, in the beginning for the one minute on and off thing, I don’t think it matters too much so long as your feet aren’t hurting. I ran in clunky Nike leather shoes for the first couple of years. The hardest thing is getting going each day. One friend of mine said she always got dressed to go out and run and once she did that, it seemed dumb not to go ahead and do it. My motivation was a cardiac catheterization that showed a 60% blockage in my LED (widowmaker) artery. I hung a picture of that sucker on my wall and seeing that got me going. Finally, I’ll say that I didn’t enjoy the running too much. I mean, I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t too much fun. It is work. BUT, when it was over, I LOVED it. I would sit on my porch pouring sweat and just felt FABULOUS. It is pretty much like taking a drug, except it’ll save your life instead of ending it. Hope this helps. I’d love to hear updates about how it’s going. Feel free to use the “Contact” option for that. Thanks for the Post. Oops, I just realized this blog doesn’t have a contact button. I need to fix that. Meanwhile, go to http://www.myreclaimedlive.com and select the “Contact” option.

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