Tag Archives: fat

How to Eat Out and Lose 50 Pounds a Year (or Gain!)

(First published in The Huffington Post)

(The author is a psychotherapist who lost 140 lbs. when he developed his methods, and he’s kept it off for over 30 years. Read about his method in his book at the right, or listen to his audiobook, free sample provided here.)

Consider these selections when dining out for a day:

Breakfast: Egg McMuffin and coffee at McDonalds.
Lunch: Cheeseburger and Diet Coke at McDonald’s.
Dinner: Filet Mignon, grilled vegetables and garlic mashed at Outback.

This would add up to about 1,200 calories. If you are a woman 5’6” with average activity habits (a metabolic rate of about 2000), you’ll lose about 50 pounds a year eating like that consistently!

However, consider what would happen if you weren’t paying attention and made some slight changes:

  1. Sausage Biscuit with egg and an OJ instead of the Egg McMuffin and coffee.
  2. Quarter Pounder with cheese and a regular Coke instead of Cheeseburger and Diet Coke.
  3. New York Strip, chopped salad and loaded mashed instead of the filet, grilled veggies and garlic mashed.

They look and feel almost the same, but with the second example, you’d be at 2,700 calories and gaining 50 pounds a year instead of losing them!

For a population facing an exploding obesity epidemic, the world of fast food, restaurants and convenience food is a minefield, with caloric nuclear bombs everywhere you turn. It’s a miracle we all aren’t over 600 pounds.

Consider this: Did you know that you could gain 100 extra pounds (!!) in four years by overeating as little as one latte per day? It’s true! If you are out of balance, over your metabolic rate consistently by 250 calories per day (an average latte), you’ll gain 25 pounds a year, or 100 pounds in four!

The science is in. Our body burns calories each moment we are alive, awake or asleep. Our organs, muscles and cells metabolize fuel each second we live and breathe. There’s no mystery in knowing why we gain or lose weight. It’s a matter of the energy or calorie balance. Eat 3,500 more calories than you burn and you store them as fat and gain a pound.

Most of my clients who are obese first got that way by being only a little out of balance, creeping up on the scale 10 pounds per year. That amounts to eating only 100 calories more per day than you need, the number of calories in an apple or banana! How can you avoid eating too many calories, and way more than 100, with the way we eat in this country?

When you think about it, with the way food is pushed at us, it’s a miracle that we aren’t all morbidly obese (70 percent of us are now clinically obese). A Big Mac is 563 calories. A Cinnabon Classic Roll is 879. How hard do you think it is to go over a 2,000-calorie budget when breakfast at Denny’s can be 1,000 calories and lunch at McDonald’s can easily be 1400 or more? One of the shrimp dishes at Ruby Tuesdays is 1,475 calories! They have a salad that’s over 1,100!

So how is that 30 percent of us are not overweight, and some don’t even have to try to stay slim?

This is a more startling observation than the obesity epidemic: Many people maintain the same weight, year-in and year-out, without even trying. I find that miraculous. Think about it. A person who burns 2,000 calories per day burns 730,000 in normal activities through the year and consumes 730,000 to fuel that activity. To gain or lose a pound it would be because they were off by no more than 3,500 calories in an entire year! That averages about 10 calories per day! How could a person match their consumption to their utilization that closely by accident, without even trying?

The answer, of course, is that there must be some sort of inner process going on, like unconscious programming, that tells them how much to eat and when to stop so that they end up eating only enough to meet their needs. Dietitians have always told me this and that I should listen to my body. I tried that, but all I ever heard was, “I need something to eat” and “more, more!” If such a self-limiting thing ever existed in me, that programming was deleted long ago, probably by a combination of conditioning, all the food nuttiness in my environment, and 25 years of yo-yo dieting, gaining it all back and more after each attempt.

How to attain and maintain a proper weight automatically even when eating out.

The secret to permanent weight loss is in creating new programming — habits you can live with and enjoy that will produce the weight control you want — habits that will become automatic. It’s like getting addicted to gratifying undereating instead of overeating. For this to happen, these conditions must be met:

The plan must allow the foods you want to eat for the rest of your life. You need to learn how to eat, not diet. It does no good to lose weight by denying yourself what you know you’ll eat in the future. All you’ll do is gain it back and then some, when you go back to what you like.

The plan must be a pattern of eating that achieves the caloric values needed for the desired weight. Believe me, there is a way to create a behavior pattern that includes the food you like and hits the right caloric targets at the same time.

There must be a method of behavioral training employed to install these habits so that they become the new preferred and unconscious behavior. One of the keys to behavior therapy is simply repetitions of meals that are sensually satisfying and hit the caloric target. Other keys, besides positive reinforcement, are mental imaging and cognitive restructuring. It’s a matter of using behavioral science instead of simple will power.

Suck it up

For years while I was overweight and obese, I kept looking for ways to lose weight that were easy. I avoided anything that sounded hard, and paying attention to the calories sounded hard. Or, I’d look for ways to get someone else to do the work and make me successful. I had lost faith in myself. Avoiding doing the work myself just made me gain more weight as the years and failed attempts dragged on.

I get clients who think learning to control their weight should not be as much work as learning to pass tests for professional jobs or getting good at a sport or music. That’s a big mistake. You’ll never be successful with weight control until you decide controlling your weight is your first priority and you’re willing to work harder to develop that ability than the effort you make to grow professionally or highly skilled in sports or the arts.

Quit being mad that it’s not easy for you like it’s easy for those people I talked about who maintain the right weight without even trying. If you are like me, you are one of the people who seem to gain weight naturally and have failed to succeed many times. You need to accept that you’ll never be like them.

However, I think it’s better to be like us. All living things have the ability to learn and change. You have within you the power to get better. There is within you an incredible mechanism that helped you learn to speak and use a vocabulary of thousands of words. That was in you even before you knew who you were. You have within you the power to heal wounds and broken bones and get better when you are sick. That’s not your will power, but another kind of power at your disposal when you don’t lose the faith that it’s there (like I did for a while). I think it’s better to be like us than those people who never had the problem. We can solve this problem and when we do, we have a strength, knowledge and wisdom that they may never know.

Get started

All restaurant chains with 20 or more units must now post the caloric values in what they serve. Most have that info on their website too. Restaurants who want our business will provide that info even if they don’t have 20 units.

We need to be like the formerly obese people, now successful in weight control, who are studied by the National Weight Control Registry. They do not put anything in their mouths without knowing the caloric value. Eating without knowing the caloric cost is like charging up stuff you like at the mall without looking at the price tags. With either practice, disaster is the result.

So, start by getting to know the amount of calories that you are putting in your body. When you recover from the initial shock, you’ll be ready for the next step, which is to plan ahead. All formerly obese people who have become successful, plan ahead. They don’t eat spontaneously or wait until they are at the table with the menu of all those tempting things. They know ahead of time what they are going to order, and with the menus on the websites these days, it’s much easier than it was years ago.

That will get you started in the right direction. You can switch from my example of eating out to gain 50 pounds a year to losing 50 pounds this year. Believe me, it’s worth it!

How to Lose Weight and Still Eat Everything You Like.

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Most people think you have to deny yourself your favorite foods and stick to a rigid diet to lose weight. On the contrary, the key to learning how to lose weight permanently is learning how to eat and enjoy everything you like in the right way, not making yourself go without. You even learn how to “splurge” on the weekend without gaining weight. This is not only possible, but is absolutely necessary if you want to lose weight permanently.

(The author is a psychotherapist who lost 140 lbs. when he developed his methods,  and he’s kept it off for over 30 years. Read about his method in his book at the right, or listen to his audiobook, free sample provided here.)

I was overweight and obese my entire life, well over 300 pounds at times and a miserable failure at diets and weight loss plans. I had given up more times than you can count. Fortunately, I kept looking for an answer and at the age of thirty-three, I finally learned how to lose weight for good and lost 140 pounds at a pretty fast clip. I’ve kept the weight off pretty easily for over thirty years now, and I eat everything I like. I don’t eat diet food and I don’t exercise like a health nut. I’m a Licensed Counselor now, I’ve helped thousands to succeed like I have, and I’ve written a popular and respected book about it, The Anderson Methodavailable in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook.

The truth is that there are no “bad” foods or “bad” calories. Managed healthfully, they are all good! I eat everything I like, and I’ve learned how to lose weight while going out to dinner, to parties, on vacation and how to have drinks and desserts and still lose weight pretty quickly. Here’s why and how it works:

If, over a month’s period of time, you’ve eaten fewer calories than you’ve burned in normal activities, regardless of what you’ve eaten and when you’ve eaten it, you’ll lose weight. You’ll lose weight even if you’ve eaten all your favorite foods, even if they are the things that the “diet experts” say you can’t eat.

If you’ve been listening to diet nonsense on TV, in the magazines and at lunch, you may be skeptical of this, but this is science. It’s easy to verify at any university or college. Your body doesn’t operate on a 24 hour schedule. A five foot four inch woman needs an average of approximately 1400 to 1800 calories per day, depending on the individual, and will not gain weight if she doesn’t exceed that. However, if she has habits where she averages that most of the time, and exceeds it only occasionally, which is very easy, she’ll get overweight and constantly gain weight! If you’re a normal American, this has probably been happening to you.

Instead of thinking of it as a 1800 calorie per day daily budget, think 12,600 calories per week. If you keep your weekdays at 1200, you’d have to eat more than 3800 calories per day on the weekends to gain weight! Keeping your weekdays austere gives you the ability to fit in anything without going “over budget”. A piece of cake is about 350 calories. A glass of wine is about 100. A normal serving of lasagna is about 500. If you think you can’t fit those things in on a day with a budget of 1800, we need to talk about that.

However, getting these new habits in place isn’t a matter of “will power” or “just making up your mind”. There is a scientific method in how to lose weight and keep it off, but it is not so much the science of nutrition as it is the science of psychology and behavioral medicine. Will power and self discipline were never within my grasp before I discovered the methods I teach my clients, the methods of Behavioral Medicine I call Therapeutic Psychogenics.

Reprogramming habits is the result of using these therapeutic techniques, methods of behavioral therapy. Once the habits are in place, we get a different result. We become and stay the weight we want to be. You’ve seen other people do it, those people who seem to eat just like you or worse and stay slim. You can do it too! Now, we eat only our favorite foods. We waste no calories on mediocre food. Our “diet” can include every kind of meat, potatoes, pasta, sauce, wine, drinks and even desserts that you can think of, as long as they are good enough for the calories they “cost”. We deny ourselves nothing.

There is a proven way to “reprogram” your habits so the calories come out right and it becomes automatic and habitual, even easy to maintain for many. Learning how to lose weight permanently is not impossible. It’s just work, and not hard work at that.

You don’t have to live a miserable life of diet food and torturous exercise to solve your weight problem. In fact, permanent weight loss is the result of learning a more pleasurable way of living that includes some of your most cherished foods and activities, a way that becomes habitual and normal for you. You can even become one of those infuriating people who seem to eat all the wrong things and “have no problem”. Read my book and you’ll truly find out how to lose weight.