A Simple Math Equation
By: bonni zipp
If I had a dime for every person who asks me “what’s the best diet?” I would be the world’s wealthiest woman. As a fitness instructor and personal trainer since 1981, I have seen at least a gazillion diet fads come and go. I have watched more fraudulent infomercials than I can possibly count, each, promising 6-pack abs, disappearing thighs and perfect bodies after just a few weeks of use. No wonder we are getting more obese and less healthy with each passing year. Confusion abounds, and with good reason.
The answer to weight loss is so simple that people just don’t want to believe it. It really does boil down to a simple math equation. BURN MORE CALORIES THAN YOU CONSUME! Couple that equation with a little knowledge of nutrition and some almost daily exercise and you will find yourself on the road to a healthy weight, healthy body and healthy mind.
As a trainer, I suggest keeping daily food journals. Writing down EVERYTHING that goes in your mouth tends to keep you honest and much more on track. The brilliant Dr. Oz, often seen on the Oprah show, reminds us to overhaul our pantries and refrigerators, getting rid of items that have more than 5 ingredients on the label. If you are looking for one good book on weight loss, I recommend his book called “You on a Diet”.
If you are serious about losing weight and do not know the calories in an item, my suggestion is “don’t eat it”. Balance your diet with lots of fresh colorful vegetables, lean protein such as white meat chicken, tuna, or eggs. Personally, as a vegetarian, I often recommend tofu, but caution that for certain groups, such as menopausal woman, tofu may interfere with the metabolism. Include small amounts of nutritionally packed nuts such as almonds and cashews, which provide our bodies with the healthy fats we need. Olive oil and avocados, though high in calories, also provide healthy fats. The key to these is using and eating them in moderation. When I make a salad I include several different dark greens, lots of fresh veggies, a sprinkle of flax seeds and sunflower seeds and a homemade dressing of fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
We cannot overlook the importance of (almost) daily exercise. Here, too, balance becomes important. Exercise does NOT have to be grueling or boring. One does not need to join a gym but that’s a great option. Brisk, continuous walking will work if a gym is not for you. Adding some light strength training with free weights, elastic tubing or even vegetable cans from your pantry will help speed up weight loss results, while building stronger muscles and bones. Simply adding pushups after a long walk will be a big bonus for upper body strength and crunches will help bring strength to abdominal muscles. The stronger those are, the healthier the back becomes, which is a great bonus.
So if you are looking to change your body, the answer really is quite simple. Eat less, making more nutritional choices, exercise more, and drink lots of water. Water will help us feel more satisfied, but it will do so much more than that, as well. That, however, is the topic of another article.