Losing the FIRST 30 pounds – Lose weight by thinking about you what you eat

For those who don’t know I have been on vacation and while it is wonderful I am happy to be back home. I did bring my coffee with me – discovered that England doesn’t have good coffee – which is whythey drink tea (yes, I’m sure they do).

I wrote a book a while ago about losing the last 30 pounds, which is the hardest for weight loss surgery patients, because that is where the work begins for many. It was based on the experience of 213 patients who had made it to that goal and what they did. Today I am thinking about those first thirty pounds, whether you are a weight loss surgery patient or not. How do you lose them and keep them off. If you lose them, but they come back you didn’t lose them – you just misplaced them.

If you follow the popular press there is lots of people telling you about the latest diet, as well as what is good for you and what is bad for you. But lets start with the greatest experiment that you have going: you.

When patients come to me one of the questions I ask is what started the weight gain – there are three answers (a) I eat more volume than my body burns (b) I eat the wrong things (c) I eat out a lot. People who say to me “I don’t know because I don’t eat much” are a difficult category. The purpose of that is to see what got them there – and the second question is harder – what is keeping you where you are?

So start with this premise: if your weight is stable, and you want to lose it then you have to make a radical change in what and how you are eating. First you should know that weight loss is hard. It is even difficult for those patients who we remove 90% of their stomach. And weight loss is much slower than you can ever imagine.

So where to start? It always starts with accountability. Lets do the simple things first: write down everything that you eat – everything that you drink. See what your “diet” is. Do not assume that what you eat is “healthy” and do not assume what you eat is “good for you” or that it is “protein” or that it is “diet food.” Just write it down. Remember what you eat from the last week – for breakfast for lunch and dinner. Take this week to do it.

One patient came in and told me how she was eating “all the right things,” and when her friend came in she told me that she was eating a lot of sugary drinks, had a few candy bars every day, never missed dessert, and ate meal portions that would make a lumberjack full. People don’t have an accurate idea of what and how much they eat.

Here is the conclusion you will have to draw if it isn’t working for you: somewhere on this list of food that you are eating, something has to change. Maybe all of it. There is nothing on that list that is helping weight loss. So for the first thirty pounds (yes you have lost that before, but remember it came back) – you have to assume that you will eat something differently. It may be getting rid of salads, or bread, or sweets, or soda.

Start with one thing to change: just one thing. Get rid of something (my favorites to get rid of include yogurt, soda, sweetened coffee, nightly dessert).

This is a hard exercise to do – but knowing what you eat – knowing how much you eat is only possible by writing it down. Then when we change something – you might be amazed.

One more story: another patient followed our simple plan for weight loss and it involved eating increased quantities of plants and some starches. In her notes on her weight loss journal she wrote that it couldn’t possibly work – the first month she went from 200 to 194 pounds.

So, this week is simple: write down the foods you eat – and think about this: the foods you eat are keeping you where you are. It isn’t the exercise you are not doing – it is the food you are eating.

Next week – lets see some of those food lists.

On a more personal note: thank you all for your kind comments about my mom who is now in a memory care center. My mom and dad will celebrate 66 years in September, and this is very hard for all of us. I have had to take a fair bit of time with trips to see them and had to cancel some appointments and operations, and I am sorry if you were inconvenienced by this. Mom has deteriorated rapidly – but she still recognizes us, and for that we are grateful. It is amazing the people who work to help these people.

Ok – weigh yourself, see if what you did worked or not. And remember this: to be sustainable weight loss it means you will be eating differently than you have ever eaten.

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