Weight Loss for Beginners 

I did everything wrong in my start and stop efforts to lose weight in the past. I didn’t know what I was doing or the fundamental principles for losing weight. 

I tried the “beet diet.”  And I hate beets!  I stayed on it a week or two, lost 2-3 pounds, and couldn’t take it any more. So, it was back to pretty much eating whatever I wanted. 

I tried the “liquid diet.” I drank fruit juice during the day and ate a plentiful supper in the evening. I gained weight of all things!  I didn’t know that fruit juices were loaded with calories and had no fiber. 

I tired “milk shake” dieting. My wife and I loaded up on Slim Fast at the grocery store and drank ourselves fatter. We followed the plan as best we could and ate a big meal in the evening like the program called for. 

I even paid for a six month gym membership many years ago.  I went one time!  

I never did try the magic “diet pill” route though I thought about it. I mistakenly thought skipping breakfast would help my quest to get slim. Boy, was I wrong about that!

I tried eating only when I was hungry. If I wasn’t hungry, why eat?  Wrong again. 

But of course, there were many times when I ate and wasn’t hungry like when invited to eat with friends at our house or theirs or when we went out to eat together or with friends

Dining at our favorite Mexican restaurant, I always ordered a jumbo Marguerita and rationalized that it can’t be that many calories in a jumbo. I was shocked when I began learning about the caloric value of food that a jumbo has 600 calories and 120 grams of carbs. Whew! I was packing it in and packing it on. 

In all these fad diet programs we tried, my wife and I continued to eat out two or three times a week and eat all that we ordered. We knew no better. After all, we were dieting! And the pounds kept creeping up on us. 

Seeing no results with my feeble, half-hearted efforts, I continued eating pretty much whatever I wanted diet or no diet until that eventful morning after Christmas when half asleep, the scale shouted 240 pounds!  240!  Talk about a wake-up call!  That was it. I never weighed that much in my life. 

So, I went to my pastor-counselor, Rev. Roger Bennett, and asked for good, sound resources that I could read about weight loss. 

Roger handed me I Can Do This Diet by Dr. Don Colbert, a medical doctor and nutritionist. “Oh no,” I thought, another diet dooming me to failure. 

I read the back cover and my interest was piqued. “The latest medical breakthroughs discussed in Dr. Colbert’s book helps you design a custom plan you can live with and stick to.”  That sounded encouraging, and I dived in. 

I wish I had had this resource ten years ago!  But even at 65, it’s never to late to teach an old dog new tricks. 

I read the book in a week and then reread it again, and this time I underlined and made notes. 

“Yea, I can do this!”  It’s reasonable, motivating, and has been proven successful. So, I began my journey on January 1 determined to keep this New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get my health back. 

It’s been two and half months. So far, so good. 

Another thing I learned from Dr. Colbert is the necessity for a lifestyle change with food and exercise. It’s not a quick fix that I and so many others yearn for. It’s forever – well as long as I live forever. 

He explains that it takes about twenty or so days to form a new habit. My habits in eating have been indeed changed. I have no desire to go back to my former eating habits. As Paul said, “I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back” (Philippians 3:14). 

I’m not turning back. I don’t want to go back. I feel better, my jeans are loose, I’m in my last belt notch, I have energy, depression has dissipated, and I’ve lost seven pounds! No, no, no, I won’t go back! Ever!  

I’ve learned a lot about what to do and not to do like not doing those “fad diets” to lose weight. I’m losing pounds the healthy way now. That way the pounds won’t come back. Moreover, I’m not starving myself in doing so like I did before by skipping meals. That only led to binge eating and more pounds. 

In beginning a weight loss program, I’ve learned first, to educate myself about nutrition. I’ve learned what healthy and unhealthy foods are and what healthy and unhealthy drinks are like the unhealthy Diet Coke I enjoyed and felt no guilt because it had no calories. But, the other additives, I found out, are unhealthy. 

 I’ve learned the necessity of eating fibrous foods like oatmeal, fruit, and Fiber One cereal, the best cereal on the market. Fiber rich foods move food through the digestive system, clean the intestines, and they don’t stay with you. You poop out fiber. Fibrous food is a winner for sure. 

Moreover, I sometimes was constipated or had the opposite issue of diarrhea, and I wasn’t regular. Since I’ve added fibrous food to my diet, I’m as regular as clockwork and no longer suffer from constipation or diarrhea. Amazing how healthy food makes the digestive system function on all eight cylinders.  Amazing!

Another beginner’s principle I’ve learned is that weight loss, like stocks and bonds, takes time to be effective. I’m looking at a year to get down to my ultimate goal weight of 180 pounds. You can’t decide one day to lose 20 pounds and expect it to come off in a week or even a month of hard dieting and vigorous exercise. It ain’t gonna happen no matter what the diet industry tells you. And if it does, the odds of keeping it off are about as good as winning the lottery. Slow and steady is the best way to lose it. I’m shooting for 1-2 pounds per week. 

Sometimes, I lose three. Sometimes it’s none, and sometimes it’s a slight gain. Yikes!  But, I believe I am doing it the healthy way, and I will reach my goal. 

Moreover, I’ve learned that success depends upon smaller portion sizes. We don’t use the 12 inch plates any more. We use the 9 inch plates that makes the smaller portion look big. Sometimes, it’s a matter of perspective. 

And when, we go to our favorite Mexican restaurant, we try and order healthy food from the menu – like a fajita and don’t wrap it in a soft shell. Then we get a second, empty plate, split the entre, and don’t eat all of that. Man, they give you enough to feed a horse!  Whereas before, we’d eat it all including the beans and rice along with an order of cheese dip and eat a whole basket of chips. Now, we count out 10 chips each. 

Before, we’d leave stuffed. Now, we leave satisfied. 

And skipping breakfast and eating only when hungry?  No way. I’ve learned that a healthy, small portion breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It wakes up the metabolism, and metabolism burns calories. Strange, eat to lose weight!  But, that’s the way it works. 

Along with that is the necessity of eating three meals a day with 100-150 calorie healthy snacks in mid-afternoon and before bedtime. It keeps the metabolism furnace stoked and burning away calories. Otherwise skipping meals slows metabolism making us fatter. Who would have thought that?

And what about those carb-free diets being promoted. Nope!  Carbs are used in energy production. They are like logs added to the fire to keep it burning. No carbs. No energy production causing a slower metabolism. Not good. 

What is metabolism anyway?  Metabolism is the amount of calories your body uses to keep itself alive. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. Simply put, metabolism burns calories, and that’s a good thing. You’re burning calories even when sitting and sleeping. Neat!

And, the higher your metabolic rate is, the more calories your body consumes. The metabolic rate can be increased, but that’s a subject for another day of writing. But, you can look up on line what you can do to increase your metabolism rate. http://www.bestlifeonline.com/ways-to-boost-metabolism-after-30

Another couple of tips for weight loss beginners are to stay away from processed foods as much as possible and avoid junk food altogether. 

Processed foods are foods made in food factories. They are the main reason why people all over the world are getting fat and sick.  How do we knowthat? Every time a population adopts a “Western” diet high in processed foods, they get sick. For example, after sugar was introduced into the Native Americans diet, diabetes soon became a major health problem. 

Processed foods are usually loaded with added sugar or its evil twin, high fructose corn syrup. Just look on the nutrition label of processed foods. You will find that sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup are in the top three or four ingredients added to it. Sometimes, it’s number one!

It is well known that sugar, when consumed in excess, is seriously harmful.

Sugar is “empty” calories and has no essential nutrients, but a large amount of energy that is immediately used or stored as fat. Most of it is stored as fat. Not good!

Empty calories are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the harmful effects of sugar. Many studies show that sugar can have devastating effects on metabolism that go way beyond its calorie content. 

It can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, increased levels of the harmful LDL cholesterol and increased fat accumulation in the liver and abdominal cavity. 

Sugar consumption is strongly associated with some of the world’s leading killers including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

In addition to added sugar and high fructose corn syrup, most processed foods have added salt and fat. We very much like sugar and salt, and the food manufacturers know our weakness. Plus, sugary and salty food are addictive which pleases the food industry. You will keep buying and eating more of their products. Remember the old Lay’s Potato Chip commercial?  “You can’t eat just one!”

Processed foods are convenient, but can greatly hinder weight loss. Here are some of the worst processed foods: bacon, granola bars, instant ramen, dried fruits, fruit snacks, flavored nuts, hot dogs, potato chips, Dunkin’ Doughnuts, and margarine. There are many, many other “worst” processed foods, but these will give you an idea of what they are. 

Limit your intake of processed foods. Go with natural foods as much as possible. 

In understanding weight loss for beginners, it goes without saying. You need to move. Healthy eating of smaller portions won’t do it alone. You’ve got to move. I had to stop making excuses. I had a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise didn’t appeal to me even though in my early 30’s, it was nothing for me to jog five miles. 

I had to get up and get moving and made it a part of my New Year’s resolution to go along with my healthy eating resolution. 

My wife was all in. She said it was an answer to her prayers. She always goes with me on my walks.  She’s lost weight too! 

Our first walk was at the nice walking track near our home. Four times around equals a mile. “Nothing to it,” I thought. 

Man, was I wrong. I barely made it around four times and almost had to stop once or twice. The next day, my calves started hurting, but I walked through the pain. Commitment urged me on. 

We also started walking in the 1200 acre Clarks Hill Wildlife Management Area. It’s beautiful, fun, challenging, and has nice well-marked trails. Sometimes we stumble up where a homestead once was as evidenced by these beautiful daffodils. It is very hilly. Going up the hills is a cardio workout. Huffing and puffing. 

We kept at it day after day. The Wildlife Area. The track. Some days we did two miles. Most days a mile and a half like today on the track. 

We always take our two Shelties. They add to the fun and enjoy it too. They need to get out and walk as well. 

With healthy eating of small portions and walking, slowly but surely, the pounds are coming off. Some weeks, it’s over a pound. Some weeks, it’s a pound. Some weeks it’s less than a pound. And some weeks, it’s no pounds and even a gain of a few ounces. But all in all, I’ve lost seven pounds since the first of the year. 

I have energy and commitment. We even walked at night on the lighted track one time when the day got away from us. I have motivation, and I feel better emotionally. 

I’ve learned a lot about weight loss, nutrition, healthy eating, and exercise. Weight loss begins with understanding your body’s cry for health. It begins with becoming knowledgeable and implementing what you are learning. Then after beginning, the results and good feeling keep me consistent, focused, and motivated.  

But, the first step is to begin. The second, third, and fourth steps, and on and on are to keep on keeping on. I did it. So can you!  

I would love to hear from you. You can reply in the comment section or post on Facebook or send me a private message on Facebook Messenger.  Thanks. 


4 thoughts on “Weight Loss for Beginners 

  1. Well written, thanks ! I am now beginning my 5th week, thanks to you, basically eating smaller portions and cutting way back on breads, sweets and fats. Nighttime snacks are still my down fall. Losing a few pounds but slow and that is the best way.


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