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Weight Control Part II-Facing Facts

How do we know instinctively when we’re eating too much, and how many calories we’re burning? How do we eat less, exercise more, and stick to it?


Let’s face it. If we’re overweight and trying to lose, there is no question that most of us will feel a sense of deprivation when we set out to eat fewer calories and exercise more. Compared to what we were doing before, it’s different and change is hard. Once the transition is made to healthier living, the sense of deprivation will wane.

Will power

No matter what anyone says, it takes will power to get over that sense of deprivation. What’s easier, lying around eating and drinking as you please, or eating less calories and unfamiliar foods and sweating at exercise? Anyone who says you can lose weight without some degree of will power is just wrong.


Very, very few of us can overcome ravenous hunger on a regular basis. If you’re feeling this, this is a sign you’ve chosen the wrong weight loss program for you. Virtually no one has this kind of will power. It’s unlikely to work in the short term, and certainly not in the long term. Try something else.

The truth about exercise

  • Some is better than none, but “some” may not give you visible results
  • Running three miles burns only around 500 calories (one Big Mac).
  • Walking three miles burns the same 500 calories, but it takes 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Despite these grim statistics, regular exercise is absolutely essential for weight control

So, walking 15-20 minutes a day is going to burn only a third of that Big Mac, but if that’s all you can do, better than nothing. You’ll have to compensate by eating less calories.


No matter what anyone says, you have to find a way to count calories. If you go to the USDA website http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=17032 you’ll find a tool that counts calories for you. Soon, you’ll know the calorie content of most foods you eat.

If you don’t want to do this, join Weight Watchers. It has a point system (based on calories, so you don’t have to count).  NutriSystem has prepackaged foods, and if that’s all you eat, it will do all the work for you. However, you eventually will want to maintain your weight and eat your own food, so doing it yourself is best.

Remember, 1500 vegetable calories is the same as 1500 McDonald’s calories. But you’re going to feel fuller on the vegetables.

Secret to weight control

Getting enough fiber. Why? Because it’s low in calories, and makes you feel full. Most Americans get less than half the recommended daily amount of fiber. Men need about 35 grams and women need about 30 grams per day. The only good way to do this without supplements is to eat certain fruits and vegetables. Again, the USDA website can help with this. Some supplemental fiber can help.

By getting enough fiber, most people simply won’t be able to eat as many calories as they’re used to, because they’re too full. And less calories is the bottom line.

For most of us, this will require major changes in the types and amounts of food we eat: way more fruits and veggies, and way less carbs and fat.

Next week: Putting it all together. How can we actually do this??

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