Need To Lose 5 Pounds? Here’s Some Helpful Tips For You By Bill Wilkat 2019/01/03

Need To Lose 5 Pounds? Here’s Some Helpful Tips For You:

So you need to lose 5 pounds, or maybe more? The holidays were great but you over indulged? Here’s some helpful tips to lose 5 pounds and get your weight back where it should be.

Chicken Schnitzel Served with Couscous, Cumin Spiced Tomatoes & crisp summer salad

We all do it. Visit family and friends and eat those terrific dinners and desserts loaded with extra carbs, fat, salt and sugar that we don’t normally consume. Combined with enjoyable beverages like a glass of Chardonnay, a frosty beer, or an Irish coffee loaded with whipped cream, we know we’ll pay for it later. Most of us don’t usually have the willpower to sail through this time of year without gaining a few pounds. So you’re certainly in good company LOL! Here’s some helpful tips for you.

Where To Begin?

Let’s assume your goal is only to lose 5 pounds. That’s actually a good place to start, since setting your goals too high can often result in failure.  In fact, if it’s only the “after the holidays” weight gain you want to shed, you likely haven’t gained more than that! So let’s examine what it takes to lose that first pound. Each pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. Now that may seem like a lot, but you’re not about to cut that many calories out of your diet. Starvation is not the method you should use. A safe and sensible approach is to shoot for a loss of about one pound per week, So in order to do that, all you need to do is to reduce your intake by 500 calories per day. Seven times 500 equals 3,500 calories, or the equivalent of one pound of fat.

NOTE: This is really a short-term solution. For long-term goals, consult with your doctor & dietician. Many factors, (like exercise) influence weight loss. So if you want to lose more than 5 or 10 pounds, you’ll need a more comprehensive plan.

How Easy Is It?

So let’s consider how easy it is do that. If you think about what you eat and drink each day, I’m sure you’ll quickly come up a few goodies that add up fast. A single slice of bacon is between 75 to 80 calories. That means two slices with your eggs already totals 150 to 160 calories!  Another slice of toast adds as much as 100 calories. So at breakfast alone, you can cut out up to 260 calories. That’s more than half your reduction for the day! Trim another 150 calories off of lunch and dinner, and you’ve done it.

How Do I Know How Many Calories I Need?

To determine how many calories you need, you first need to be aware of what’s normal.  Typically, most women require about 2,000 calories per day whereas men need an average of about 2,500. If you’re already consuming more than these amounts, it’s easy to start cutting out those bad snacks and beverages. High calorie potato chips and sugary colas need to top the list as they are among the worst things to consume.  You know this already, so just do it!  That being said, don’t waste time switching to diet drinks and so-called low-fat snack foods—they really don’t work. I’ll discuss that in more detail later in this blog.

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What’s Your Goal?

Earlier I explained that if your goal is to lose 5 pounds, you can easily do that in 5 weeks. That’s accomplished by cutting 500 calories daily. If your goal is greater than this, then you need to know what your ideal weight should be.  Time to use the Body Mass Index (BMI) to see what range you should be in. Use this link to calculate your BMI. 

Here’s a helpful example for your goal:

If your goal weight is 130 pounds, your calorie intake should be no less than 1300. This is considered a safe level to prevent problems. Going below that will make you weak and even cause dizziness that can lead to injuries and other health issues. You simply multiply your goal weight by 10 to determine your caloric intake.  However, this is not something to do forever. Consult your doctor and dietician before starting any new diet! See this link for a guide for losing & maintaining your weight.

What About Diet Drinks And So-Called “Light” Snack Foods?

The reasons for avoiding diet drinks and so-called light snack foods are quite compelling. Aside from the fact that many of these products don’t even taste very good, they still are not really good for you either.  Perhaps the most surprising thing science has discovered about sugar substitutes is that they can actually make you gain weight! That’s based on a study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (as reported in the Toronto Globe & Mail July 17/2017). And other studies, like this one: Artificial Sweetness May Make You Fat

So-called light foods, such as “fat-reduced” often punch up flavours by adding more sodium or sugars. Be sure to check the labels as they can often do you more harm them good. And, products labelled “sodium-reduced” often compensate by using fat to improve flavour.

Exercise—What You Don’t Want To Hear

I know you don’t want to hear this, and you already know it, but exercise is still important too. It does not have to be strenuous. Every year many people waste their money signing up to fitness clubs. You don’t need to do that to lose 5 pounds. Don’t waste your money. Instead just do things like a 30 minute walk each day (shopping centres are an ideal year round place to do that). My current approach is to include a morning routine of calisthenics every other day and 30 minutes daily on my treadmill. Some days you will miss or skip an event but that’s okay, just do them as regularly as you can. You can burn off from 130 to 178 calories in 30 minutes of walking depending on your current weight. See this helpful chart from Harvard Health Publishing .

Learn How To Cook:

Why learn how to cook? It’s a no-brainer. Once you do, you’ll see what’s in the food that you eat, and how much you are eating. This enables you to make better choices and experiment with recipes to remove bad ingredients and add good ones. Learn how to use herbs to flavour your meals as an alternative to pouring on the salt or butter. Simple little changes make a huge difference and your taste buds will thank you for it! For example: I sprinkle cinnamon on my grapefruit and don’t add sugar—and I never miss it.

Portion Control And How To Apply It:

The best trick I have ever learned has to do with portion control. I use a smaller plate. LOL!  Using a breakfast plate instead of a larger dinner plate and not going back for seconds will reduce your intake and help you lose weight. Try it—it works!  Additionally, meet with a dietician and they will teach you what you need to know, and how to balance your meals. Filling your plate only with a large steak won’t work LOL!

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Get Yourself A Kitchen Scale:

Today’s kitchen scales are quite remarkable. Not only can they help with accurate weight measurements, they can even tell you how many calories are in the item weighed. That, and conversions from metric to imperial are easily done. This will help with portion control, and give you a better understanding of what you are consuming. We have one like the Gourmia brand shown below and it works great!

Choosing Foods:

Haddock & Garlic Lemon Sauce

One of the difficult aspects of losing weight is deciding what to eat. There’s no doubt that you’ll lose pounds faster if all you eat is salads. But that’s not the best way to do it. You need a balanced diet, or you won’t get adequate proteins and carbs to function properly. Just like our cars need gas and oil, we require proteins and carbs.

For example, I love pizza, but I won’t cut it out of my diet. Instead, I’ll make it myself and use portion control. Simple low-calorie options exist like making a personal pizza using pita bread. This is a super tasty and satisfying choice and won’t amount to as many calories as regular pizza. Don’t over do the cheese, skip the pepperoni, but be sure to add the veggies. Use fresh tomatoes instead of sauce, add some healthy olive oil and herbs, and some peppers, basil leaves, or arugula.

Healthy Pita bread pizza

It’s even easier to choose today since we can search for on-line recipes, and determine how many calories anything and everything contains.

Good Luck for 2019–be safe, healthy, happy, and prosperous!

Note: And remember: Consult your doctor and dietician before starting any new diet!

Author: Bill Wilkat

Retired Luthier, and now a blogger writing about food including recipes, restaurant and product reviews, and guitar related information which includes "how-to" info. and more.

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