General Topic: > Weight Loss

Summary: Want to lose weight? Is it really as simple as diet and exercise? Let's find out (Tweet This!)

A few days ago, I covered the golden rule of money. In case you missed it, it is Spend Less Than You Earn. Today's golden rule of weight loss is similar... but different:

Diet & Exercise

[Note: I'm always hesitant to use the word diet when I mean "eat less" as they are very different. After all, I could go on a Super Size Me diet. Alas, society tends to use "diet" as being synonymous with eating less. ]

Most health professionals know that a pound of body weight is 3,500 calories. Want to lose a pound? Simply eat 500 fewer calories every day for a week. Since most of the food in the United States comes with a calorie counter, this should be easy, right? Unfortunately, it is wrong. I don't know how many times that I've read that Americans could drop 15 pounds if they just switched from drinking one can of full calorie soda a day to diet soda. I know a number of people who gave up full calorie sodas and they didn't look like they lost any weight.

Eat Less, Exercise More

If only bathroom scales were this blunt with you.

Yesterday's lesson of spend less than you earn didn't seem to have this problem. I don't want to go all Paul McCartney on you, longing for yesterday, but money was such an easier game to play. The problem is the human body is pretty efficient. If you stop eating, your body will conserve calories making it more difficult to exercise. Exercising without eating can be physically dangerous.

Even if our bodies weren't against us, most of us would still have problems losing weight. We don't prioritize exercise. Everyone I know is going to spend tomorrow working (including commuting) for 9-10 hours. What happens to the rest of the day? Much of that is spent getting ready for work in the morning, making dinner at night, spending time and with the spouse and kids. Exercise is often the lowest priority.

Finally, the money's golden rule of "spending less than you earn" often fights against the goal of losing weight. Unless you are one of the few people who has never been to a McDonalds, you know that McDouble is a lot cheaper than a salad. Gym memberships and personal trainers are expensive. (Though I'll cover a lot of ways to lose weight on a budget.) These conflicting goals can make things difficult.

How You Can Eat Less

There are a lot of ways to trick yourself into eating less. You can use psychological tricks to make it look like you are eating more. You can drink more water to slow you down from overeating. You can make wise choices of foods that fill your stomach on fewer calories. (By "eating less", I mean calories, not volume of food.)

When you combine these together it gets easier. I won't sugarcoat it and say it's "easy" by any means.

The Key to Exercising More

I know a lot of people who don't like exercise. They find elliptical trainers boring. If you are one of those people, I'm with you. However, a lot of those people like activity sports like tennis. Even some of the newer video games can be fun and trick you into exercising more. Finally, there are motivational tricks such as setting SMART goals . I'll cover a lot more of these in greater detail over time.

You shouldn't give up losing weight just because it may be more difficult than saving money. If you think it's impossible, just watch The Biggest Loser. People on the show have a 100% success rate at losing weight over time (though they sometimes put some of it back on).

This post involves:

Diet, Exercise, Health / Fitness, Weight Loss

... and focuses on: