I’m over 50, and we all know that the metabolism slows down as we get older. Slow weight loss and menopause is a double whammy, but for me – it was also reality. So when I decided to lose weight, I knew that it was going to be harder than it had been when I was half the age I am now.
I had quit a three-pack-a-day smoking habit three-and-a-half years ago, and after that, I gained 20 pounds. I blamed it on those cinnamon jaw breakers that I sucked on all day, instead of cigarettes. But – really – after I quit smoking, everything just smelled and tasted better. When I would finish a meal, instead of pushing my chair away from the table, I’d just sit there and think, “What can I eat now?” I do breathe a lot better, though, and I’m sure that I have extended my life. (It’s amazing the things you start changing after you hit the milestone age of 50!)
Before I started dieting, I did some research and learned that you have to reduce your calorie intake by 3500 calories for each pound that you want to lose. So I took my current weight and the number of calories I would need to eat to maintain it. Then I decided on a 1200-calorie-per-day diet, which is about as low as you should go in calories because you don’t want your body to go into “starvation mode” and start holding onto fat. I needed 1527 calories to maintain my current weight. By eating 1200 calories a day, I was reducing my calorie intake each day by 327 calories. If I divided 3500 by 327, the answer was 10, which meant that I would lose one pound every 10 days. By exercising, I was able to lose at least one pound every seven days.
I began my 1200-calorie diet 3-1/2 months ago and haven’t cheated once. To date, I have lost 20 pounds. I’ve gone from a Size 14 dress size to a Size 7! Over time, I have completely changed my eating habits and am now able to judge my portions and calories when I go to a restaurant or some other social function that involves food.
I’ve heard people vow to lose 50 pounds in a month and try everything under the sun to lose weight, from diet pills to drinking onion soup all day to the “Hot Dog Diet” to fasting to running miles and miles every day. I have discovered, though, that even if you lose the weight quickly, you won’t be able to keep it off without changing your eating habits FOR LIFE.
It is not realistic to lose 20 pounds in a month, but it IS realistic to lose 20 pounds in 3-1/2 months. If you do the latter, it may take you a little longer, but by changing your eating habits and your attitude towards food, you stand a much better chance of eating that way for the rest of your life.
That’s my plan. It is realistic, and 20 pounds and 3-1/2 months later, it’s still working for me.
Here are some helpful links for dieters:
This site will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your current weight:
This site will tell you what your ideal weight should be:
Remember: It’s not how fast you lose the weight that matters. What’s most important is to lose the weight – over time – and keep it off for good!