The secret to weight loss.....
The secret to weight loss…..

At this time of year, many people think about losing weight.  This is no joke – obesity is the single most dangerous state that can happen to a person.  Obesity significantly increases a person’s risk of strokes, heart attacks and cancer.  Obesity also significantly increases the risk of diabetes and infections of all kinds.  These infections can range from simple urine infections to flesh eating disease!

So – why are there so many obese people?  And why do so many people have such a hard time losing weight?

Here are the answers to these questions:

1) In our society, it is easier now than ever to take calories in with little to no calories expended.

2) Human beings are psychologically wired to intake calories for comfort, cravings and consistency (we are creatures of habit).

How to lose weight?  The process begins with a simple decision.  You have to want to.  And I mean you REALLY have to want to lose weight in order to do it successfully.  It’s a lot like smoking – there is no point bothering to try unless you really want to.   Once you “really want to lose weight” – the process is the following……

1) Eat less and let yourself gradually get used to the feeling of “being a little hungry”.  You have to reset your “hunger thermometer” and teach your body and mind to get gradually more used to the feeling of craving and hunger.  This can happen successfully a little at a time.  Start with regular, disciplined portion control.  Nothing spectacular.  Just eat a little less volume at regular intervals.  That’s it.

2) Never cheat.  Ever.  And don’t make excuses like “it’s by birthday”, or “it’s Friday”, or “the second hand moved on my watch”……

3) Eat whatever you want, including junk food.  But know that it has a cost.  So if that bag of potato chips has your maximum amount of calories in it (1800 per day is all you get)- that is all you get for the day.  Is it worth it?  Only you can say.

4) Never drink juice or pop or any other “liquid calories” like those choka moka drinks from Starbucks.  Same applies to alcohol.  The empty calories in these “drinking calories” is incredible, and really eats into your total 1800 calorie per day maximum.

5) Exercise daily even when you just can’t seem to muster the energy.  Do at least 30 min with an elevated heart rate.  An hour is better.  Be realistic about this.  You simply don’t have time to go to a gym.  Going to a gym means you have to make yourself “presentable”, drive there, change, work out, drive home, shower, make self look presentable again…..etc.  The whole process is as exhausting as the workout and who has the time for that?  Best to walk/jog outside when you’re able and to ride a stationary bike or treadmill, etc. when you can’t.  A once weekly trip to the gym for weight training is awesome if you can do it.

6) Don’t bother with excuses.  A lot of obese people say they “just can’t” lose weight – and they come of with a litany of reasons for this.  The problem is that exercise and effort is uncomfortable and even a little painful.  “My this or that hurts when I exercise….” is the most common “reason” that people give for short circuiting their efforts for weight loss.  Of COURSE it hurts!  You may have to re-learn the difference between “good” pain and “bad” pain.  Many obese people do not realize that there is a “good” pain – like the soreness after or sometimes during a workout – and they stop in fear.  Work through that bit of discomfort and don’t give up.  Of course, if it hurts “abnormally”, then see your Doctor.  Most of the time, however, the pain or working out is a “good pain” that you just have to realize is “good”.  Don’t be scared of it.

7) Never criticize yourself and do not accept the criticism of others.  Losing weight is tough to do and it goes against hundreds of thousands of years of evolution.  Just ask a “skinny person” to carry two 30lb weights with them everywhere they go….and then tell them to “work out and eat less” – none of them will take you up on it because it is very hard to carry that weight around and to feel happy through the constant hardship.

If you follow these 7 principles of weight loss – you will do well and you will be successful.  Each pound of fat contains about 3600 calories.  A daily calorie deficit of only 300 calories lower than what you “burn” – will therefore help you lose 1 pound of fat every 12 days – or roughly 2.5 pounds per month.

This “gentle” approach to weight loss will therefore take about 6 months to lose only 15 lb and a year to lose 30 lb.  But it WILL work.  So be realistic about the amount of time your desired weight loss will take you and above all….HAVE FUN!



The Secret to Weight Loss – for real.

Dr. John Fernandes

B.Sc., M.Sc., M.D., LMCC, CCFP, FCPC Clinical Lecturer, University of Calgary I am a Physician with over a decade of experience in my own Private Clinic as well as a full admitting Physician to a Tertiary Care Hospital in Calgary. Married with two daughters that both want to be Physicians as well. Hobbies include skiing, golf, mountain biking and Karate.

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