Well, my New Year’s Resolution (one of two resolutions this year) is to lose weight. Now that is a big surprise. Each year I resolve to lose weight, and most years I fail. This year will be different, however, as this resolution will be blog-powered. I figure that if I blog about it, I will be accountable to the blog readers (literally about a million people across the globe, give or take a million). Additionally, I am taking an engineering approach, which includes ten common sense steps to easy weight loss.

I am not a Weight Loss Specialist, Doctor or Nutritionist

OK, first of all, let’s get one thing straight. I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I am an engineer. I do not have any special knowledge or training regarding losing weight. You should consult your physician before beginning any weight loss program or changing your diet.

Weight Loss is not Rocket Science

Weight loss is simple from a engineer’s perspective. Your body needs calories to live. Living burns calories. If you burn more calories than you put in, you lose weight. If you put in more calories than you burn, you gain weight. It is really that simple. In my opinion (remember that I am neither a doctor or a nutritionist), everything else is really just a second order effect. What you eat is important, but contrary to what Atkins might tell you, it is not the most important thing. The most important thing is taking in fewer calories than you burn. Only one way to do that as far as I know:

Eat less, move more

Big surprise. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories and burn more of the calories that you eat. Again, this is an engineer’s view, so let’s do the numbers. Let’s say you currently weigh 200 pounds and that you are a male with a low level of activity. According to the calorie counter on the American Cancer Society web site, you need about 2800 calories a day to maintain that weight. If you want to loose a pound each week, you need to run at a deficit of about 500 calories a day. That means that you need to eat about 2300 calories a day (instead of 2800 or more). Loosing a pound means missing out on 3500 calories. Pretty simple, eh?

Simple ten step weight loss plan

Again, I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I am an engineer. I do not have any special knowledge or training regarding losing weight. You should consult your physician before beginning any weight loss program or changing your diet.

But, I plan to lose weight this year with the following ten step plan.

  1. Begin with the end in mind. Know your weight now and your goal. This will raise some questions like “how much should I weigh.” I will address that in a later post. For now, know that a key is to have a goal that is written down.
  2. Make you goal a reasonable and safe one. It is not recommended to lose more than a pound a week. It is also recommended to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is in the green. Again, consult your doctor about the right target, and how fast you should try to get there.
  3. Weigh yourself every day. This keeps you mindful of your goal. If you way yourself every morning and write down your weight, it will reinforce your goal (and remind you not to eat that cake at lunch).
  4. Keep a chart of your progress. Make graph that shows your progress to your goal. It can be a thermometer-style chart, a line graph, whatever. Take credit for your progress and chart it. We do the things we are graded on. Grade yourself
  5. Tell people about your goal. Telling people about what you are doing will keep you accountable. It will also give your friends a chance to help and encourage you.
  6. Count calories! This is the secret to Weight Watchers, and it will work for you. As an engineer, I am trained to measure everything. So, measure your calories. There are lots of free web-based tools for this (more on this in another post).
  7. Choose green not grain. The most important thing is to hit your calorie target. The second most important thing is to eat things that are good for you. Make smart choices. Pick steamed veggies instead of croissants or Twinkies (I told you this was not rocket science).
  8. Use the “three bite rule.” Don’t deny yourself all the good stuff. If you a craving ice cream, eat some. Just limit what you eat to three bites.
  9. Get some exercise. I recommend that you never let more than two days go by without 30 minutes of exercise. Again, consult your doctor. Exercise could include walking, running, biking, playing with your kids, etc.
  10. Start over now. And again and again. Don’t quit. Put down that cookie now. If you fall off your wagon, get right back on. You will have setbacks. Roll with them.

That’s my simple plan. In my next post, I’ll tell you about oatmeal!

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