How I Lost Forty Pounds and Kept It Off and Why You Probably Can’t

How I Lost Forty Pounds and Kept It Off and Why You Probably Can’t

By Vic Napier

Losing weight is easy. It’s an easy concept anyway. I lost over forty pounds and have kept it off for 20 years. You can live your dreams if you are willing to pay the price to make them come true. Unfortunately, the price of losing weight is simply too high for most people. I’ll tell you how I did it and maybe you can join me.

Before doing anything else you will need to educate yourself about food and nutrition. Don’t worry. It’s easy! All you have to do is start reading nutritional labels. The law requires that any packaged food must have a nutrition label listing things like calories, carbohydrates and fat.

When I started reading nutritional labels, one of the first things I learned was how incredibly small a serving size is. This is the first shock for many people taking the first steps to controlling their weight. Part of the problem is that we do not use plates and bowls for their intended purpose.

A portion of cereal is one ounce, about a quarter of a cup. The first time I dumped a quarter of a cup of flakes into a soup bowl intended for three cups of soup the flakes looked ridiculous. Just a little dab of color in the bottom of the bowl. That same amount of corn flakes in a cereal bowl looks more like a serving. At least it did when I got used to eating only one serving at a time.

As I learned more about serving size, I realized that we humans need very little food to stay healthy and even less to lose weight. When I cut down on portions and calories, I found myself becoming very pragmatic about the foods I eat throughout the day. I started thinking more about foods that satisfies hunger in small portions. Lunch consisting of avocados and sardines is an excellent choice. It packs lots of nutritional value, keeps me satiated, is inexpensive and discourages thoughts of second helpings.

Whenever I heard about diets and weight loss, I also heard about exercise. Most people think exercise is a key to losing weight, but it isn’t. I found that exercise did not make as much difference in weight loss as reduced calories. Decreasing caloric intake is the most effective way for me to lose weight, but exercise is important also.

Exercise does two things that go along with losing weight. First, it keeps you generally healthy. It’s a good idea to have strong bones, clear lungs and highly oxygenated blood. Exercise also makes you look good, which is one of the main motivations for losing weight.

Think about it…you might lose the blubber on your belly, but if the underlying abdominal muscles are soft and saggy you will still look fat. So get on the floor, slide your feet under the dresser and start those sit-ups.

Unlike exercise, changing my diet didn’t take any time. In fact, since I spend less time eating I have more time for other things like exercise. There are all sorts of guides and standards telling me how much time to exercise every day but none seem to agree with one another. So I decided to spend about an hour a day alternating between strength training and aerobics. As time passed, I found I liked walking and increased my exercise time to about two hours a day.

That is about all there is to losing weight, at least for me. Read nutrition labels, cut calories and carbohydrates by about half and spend an hour a day — less than 5% of a 24-hour day — exercising. I did these things for only a couple of weeks and started seeing lower numbers when I got on the scale. When I got to the weight I wanted I ate just a little more. With a little experimentation, I found I could easily maintain my desired weight.

I know what you are thinking. “If losing weight is that easy why are so many people overweight? He’s not telling us everything.”

Well, yes there is one thing I have left out. It has nothing to do with the biology of losing weight. The “Eat Less and Exercise More” principle really works.

What I have avoided until now is why none of this works, at least for most people.

Read the rest at Medium.com

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Eric Plantener

    A wonderful article with a treasure trove of insight. Mr. Napier’s outside the box approach to weight loss is an absolute must read.

  2. Kurt Septon

    You are correct in that you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. However, just reducing what you eat doesn’t always work either. I was trying to loose belly fat (not weight in particular), and was diagnosed by a nutritionist as ‘not eating enough’. (I get focused at work a lot, and tended not to eat all day. And eating a big late meal messes with my IBS, so I just wasn’t eating a lot at all.) Apparently, if you eat under a certain amount, your body goes into a ‘starvation mode’, and it will attempt retain as much fat as possible. So, you have to have the “correct portions”, not just eat small.

    Also, when exercising, you may gain weight. As I mentioned, I was not necessarily concerned about losing weight. I was suffering from osteopenia due to decades of using inhaled steroids for my asthma. So, one of my main goals in exercising was to build bone density (which I did). After about two years of working out, I in fact GAINED 20 pounds. I don’t think people think of that when they exercise…..

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