Beating Obesity: Small steps yield big results

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Here is the typical problem encountered by all who decide they really need to lose some weight. You know it works, you have probably done this at least once yourself and maybe many times. It starts they day you bravely step on a scale and cringe at what you see. Wow! I weigh 240 pounds and all evidence suggests that for my height and gender I should be around 120 pounds. You decide you need to lose weight and lot of weight and by golly you are going to do that right now.

So off you go on yet another wild ride into the world of severe diets and self-imposed near starvation. But there is a problem with that and it is a huge problem that absolutely guarantees total failure. The problem is that extreme measures always yield extreme bounce back. What do I mean? After years of over indulging you immediately seek better health by losing a lot of weight fast so you dive into a harsh regime and it quickly becomes painful, very painful so you snap. You hate yourself and think you are failure but so what the pain is just too much. So after a few days, maybe even a few weeks of the extreme diet plan you began you dive off of the cliff and run to your favorite pizza place and wolf one down. Yes it does feel good but you are again back on the losing cycle.

The smarter way, the only way that works long term is the well-planned, slow steady measured approach that you pursue one day, one meal, one hour at a time. You determine the maximum calorie intake you can have and still lose just one pound a week. That may not seem like much but it is 52 pounds in a year and over 100 pounds in two years.

A great place to determine what your calorie intake should be to lose that one pound per week is right here. Whatever the number is for you that is your plan plain and simple. No starvation, no absurd extremes. The only other thing to keep in mind is that as you shed that weight your daily calorie intake will also have to begin to drop a bit also for continued weight loss. But armed with that knowledge it becomes a simple every day focus, meal by meal, step by step, each day and every day.

You will typically have three main meals a day so divide your daily total by four and assign that number to each main meal. This allows for some snacking. It looks like this. Say you determine that to lose one pound a week you should consume no more — and no less — than 1,800 calories a day. Divide that number by 4 and your main meals should not be more than 450 calories each. With three main meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner that is a total of 1350 calories giving you another 450 calories for snacks. That is your daily target, that is your total focus.

Sometimes you will feel a hunger pang sometime during a typical day. The very first thing you should do when that happens is to drink a full glass of water. Doing so will usually reduce or even eliminate that hunger pang. You might also want to use some of those reserve snack calories and enjoy a nice apple at about 73 calories rather than let’s say a “health bar” formally known as a candy bar at around 250 calories. Apple yes, health bar no.

As you move through each hour of each day you keep your mind set on the daily goals you need to achieve your long-term goals, but keep you focus entirely on the short-term goals every hour of every day and let the long-term goals take care of themselves. When you begin to obsess over your long-term objective — “I gotta lose a hundred pounds damn it” — that is when you get frustrated, agitated and most commonly just quit, again.

Whether it is calorie management or exercise it is always the same approach, one step at a time. You must focus on each small goal within each and every day and in so doing the long term objective will simply just arrive over time.

Let’s say for example you begin with an exercise goal of walking five miles a day, every day. First of all if you have been fairly stagnant for a long time that might be too high a goal. If so back it down. But let’s say that is your goal and it is reasonable because you have been walking at least 3 miles a day anyhow. The worst thing you can do is get up in the morning and say to yourself “I have to walk 5 miles today.” The inner you will scream out and say, “What, are you crazy – forget that dumb idea.” Now you have a conflict.

If instead you start by implementing individually small but cumulatively significant actions your goals will be reached and reached comfortably be it your calorie goals or your exercise goals. The ultimate key to long-term and lasting success is to stay focused on each step along the way one hour one day at a time and enjoy with great satisfaction of how over time you bigger goals are reached. These small but very important steps absolutely do yield big results over a reasonable period of time. After all even those who successfully ascend Mount Everest do so one step at a time.

For those who need a little extra guidance there are many weight loss services available at a cost of hundreds even thousands of dollars. Then again for just $12.98 you can get this book and accomplish the same thing but keeping more of your money.

If you prefer you may also obtain this book from and

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To read more of Ron’s health columns and theatre reviews, click here. And we invite you to join Ron on the Hollywood Health Hike April 30.

Photos by Ron Irwin