Update to Weight Loss Article

How I Lost 25 Pounds in One Month is the most popular post on this website. Over 250 of you have e-mailed me to say that the diet is working for you and your family members, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

Also, some of you have made comments or e-mailed me with questions and at this point, I am starting to get the same questions again and again, so I thought this would be a good time to update the post.

The most common question I receive is about the caloric need calculators, which are not the same today as 10+ years ago. Most of you were expressing your concern over the number of calories they calculated for you under my plan compared to what I remember eating way back then. So I went back online to try to find a calculator that would give me 1425 calories for a 5’6” female wanting to weigh 123 pounds. Guess what – I didn’t find one. All of the calculators returned a number of around 1630 for me now, at age 38. When I input an age of 27, the result came back at 1688, still a lot more than 1425.

Obviously, if that had been the number I was given back then, my results would have been different. Why are the calculators different now? I don’t know. But here is what I want you to do.

Most of us have a basal metabolic rate of somewhere between 1200 and 1300 calories per day. That means, that if you did nothing but lie in bed all day, you would expend at least that many calories. The taller you are, the higher that number, so if you’re 5 feet or below, use 1200, if you’re 6 feet or above, use 1300. At 5’6” I would use 1250.

Take the number that the calculator below gives you, add your basal metabolic rate, (1200-1300, depending on your height), and then divide that number by 2. For example, this calculator tells me I should consume 1630 calories to maintain a weight of 123. 1630 + 1250 = 2880. 2880 divided by 2 equals 1440. So I would start my diet by consuming only 1440 calories per day.

What I have shared with those of you who wrote me about this, is that after that initial 4-week period, my weight started to go below 123. Once I hit 118, I began consuming more calories. I’m just guessing here, but I’d say I leveled out at around 1600 or a dab more, which is in line with what the calculators today are telling us. I’m betting that they are more accurate today than the one I used over 10 years ago. That would make sense. But if you’re not getting the fast results you want, cut 200 calories per day and you will get there faster. Just don’t go below 1200.

Something else I did not go into in the last article is the fact that there are 3500 calories in a pound. There are a lot of websites out there who tell you that if you want to lose one pound per week, you need to cut back 500 calories per day. Keep in mind that that is from your current caloric intake. So, unless you know what that is, that number is completely useless.

What some of you did, was a double-whammy, where you took the number of calories for your ideal weight, then subtracted 500 from that, which left you way below 1200. No. No. No. No. And No. Remember, if you want to weigh 123, all you have to do is eat like a 123-pound person, and you will eventually become a 123-pound person. Don’t make it harder than what it is.

On the flip side, here’s what some of you have done. When you use the calculator, you input that you are a moderately active person. Doing that will automatically allow you more calories per day than someone who inputs sedentary. But then, you decide you’re going to keep up your work out. I’ve told you I’m okay with that, (not that you need my permission), as long as it doesn’t “mess you up” in other ways like I talked about in the previous article. But here is what you do next – you take the number of calories the machine at the gym says you’ve burned during your work out, and you add that to the number of calories the calculator gave you, forgetting that you’ve already allowed for those extra calories in your original calculation by saying that you’re moderately active. So if you want to use the numbers on the machine, tell the calculator you’re sedentary. Or forget the numbers on the machine, and stick with the number from the calculator. Any extra calories you burn at the gym will help you reach your goal faster. But only if you refrain from eating calories to make up for the ones you burn.

Losing weight is an exact science, but when you throw in too many variables, it becomes complicated. That’s why I like to keep it simple and not exercise in the very beginning. That’s also why I limited my diet, for those first three weeks, to only microwave meals and fast food. This leads me into my next topic.

I know that a lot of you out there who will be reading this are teenagers, more specifically, teenage females. And while my diet plan makes sense to you, your parents get a little suspicious of anything on the internet. They get especially suspicious when you start talking about buying microwave dinners to live on for a month and buying a book that only talks about fast food. You know what; they have every right to be suspicious because they are your parents. They are responsible for your well-being and they take that responsibility seriously. Be thankful that you have parents who care enough about you and your well-being to question what you do. Here’s what you can do.

One reader printed out my article and took it to her mother to read. Once she did, she understood it and actually helped her daughter with the system. She has lost 27 pounds, and her mother is starting to use the system as well.

If you have a parent who won’t let you buy microwave meals because of the chemicals that are in them, you will have to purchase a set of food scales and a book that gives you calorie counts for raw foods. You can still follow the system, you’ll just have a little more work to do. But you can do it.

If you are anorexic/bulimic, you can use this system to retrain your body back into a healthy way of eating in conjunction with your psychotherapy treatment. One reader says is helped her keep a sense of control – counting the calories and keeping a spreadsheet. I can see how that would help because in this system, you eat exactly what your body needs, and not one calorie more. So there’s no need to worry about gaining unwanted weight. It is very much about control, but it’s easy.

Most importantly, this is not about doing anything unhealthy. I want you to follow your intuition and do what feels good to you. If you think the caloric needs calculator is giving you too high a number, take a couple hundred off – just don’t drop below 1200. If you don’t like fast food or microwave meals, find what you do like that can keep the calorie count of. If you’ve developed a habit of exercising and don’t want to quit – don’t. Take those extra calories into consideration and enjoy them! This plan is rigid only in the number of calories you consume. How you arrive at your number is completely up to you. To weigh 123, you must think, eat, and act like you weigh 123.

Our natural state is well-being. All is well. I encourage you to look at the reasons you overeat. For me, it was just plain ignorance. That was it. If that’s what it is for you, because I believe that’s what it is for a lot of people, it’s okay. The good news is, once you find out you’re ignorant of something, anything, you’ve already become more enlightened. Can you see that? You don’t know what you don’t know. Once you become aware of a subject, you can start to learn about it, and come to know it. I overate because I did not remember that eating more calories than I needed would cause my body to store fat. I ate because something tasted good and I didn’t want to “waste” anything. Once that thinking changed, so did my eating habits, and so did my life.

UPDATE 2/20/2009 – A lot of you have expressed concern over the number of calories various calculators return to you. If you use a Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator, like the one at http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ you will get a better “starting point.” Read the two short paragraphs at the top of that page, and then make a common sense judgment from there. If you are sedentary, try eating just 150 – 200 calories above your BMR. For example, my BMR at the time was 1250, I ate 1425, and lost the weight fast. Your results will depend on your BMR, how much you eat, and how much you burn. Your enthusiasm and vibrational energy also play a factor, and here are more things to consider. (Back to the original article)

Resources:

This is the best information I have ever seen on losing weight and well-being. You’ve got to get a copy of this. If I could post it for free, I would, but it’s not that much of an investment. Besides, you deserve it. Read the comments on it and feel free to ask me any questions you have.