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Ask Charlie!



Q: I want to lose weight. None of the diets I've tried work. Help!


A: Losing weight comes down to one word and it isn't "diet".


It's MODERATION.


If you gorge yourself on food you know is unhealthy you are going to keep gaining weight.

If you starve yourself or over-exercise you are going to lose weight (and damage your health) and the minute you start eating again you are going to gain back even more weight because your poor desperate body has no idea when you are going to be starving it again for no reason.


The trick to losing weight and keeping it off is eating sensible food in reasonable portions (yes, even dessert) and finding some sort of physical activity you enjoy. Hell, even if you don't enjoy it - find something you can stand doing for half an hour a day.


Put on some headphones and go walk at the mall and look at all the great clothes you'll be able to fit into eventually. Get a stationary bike and pedal when you're watching TV or staring at your phone. The trick is to not to force yourself to do something you'll dread. Like if you get a gym membership and you can't bring yourself to go and then you feel guilty about not exercising AND wasting money and that makes you feel even worse and then BAM you are sulking on the couch eating a pint of something.


Eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can. Drink as much water as you can stand. Beverages shouldn't have calories when you're actively trying to lose weight. There are plenty of choices out there. Carbs aren't your enemy but they aren't your best friend, either. Your plate should have plenty of protein and veg and SOME carbs. Good carbs. Like brown rice. Or sweet potato fries. A nice baked potato. But protein and veg should always be the star of the show.


Take a moment and think - how am I going to feel after I eat this? If the answer is "crappy" then you've just given yourself a magical time machine where you can go back and not eat whatever it was and not feel crappy.


Don't deprive yourself. It doesn't work. If someone is celebrating a birthday and there's cake, have a damn piece of cake. One. Average size. Just like everybody else. Then try to be aware of your carb intake for the rest of the day to try and balance things out.


When you want to eat, think about why you want to eat. Is it because you saw something on TV and it made you crave it? Is it because you're bored? Is it because you're used to snacking on something while you watch TV? You can still have the food - just make sure your subconscious knows you're keeping an eye on things.


And about your subconscious. There's a ton of subconscious stuff going on in relation to food. Like I have this thing about finishing everything on my plate even if I'm so full I can't move. It's not because my mom made me do that when I was a kid. It's more like if I don't eat it all I'm going to want more later and regret leaving stuff over. I've examined it and I've tried to fix it but it's just something I do. So my workaround is taking smaller portions. Or saving some for later so I don't have to worry.


Food tastes good. It lights up the part of our brains that make us happy. There are people out there who only eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full. That is a concept so alien to me that I didn't even believe it was true at first. But it's true. I will never be that person but I can find ways to work with the person I am to help me on this journey. And so can you.


Of course all of the advice in the world doesn't change the fact that sometimes we need to eat our feelings and anyone who tries to stop us is going to get bitten. It's okay. But think about it first. Acknowledge that this is exactly what you're doing and you know it. (I'm watching you, subconscious!) then go ahead and do it and if you can stop sooner than you usually would then stop. Bottom line is that It's okay to self-soothe, even if it isn't the healthiest way to do it. After you're done, see if moderating the rest of your food that day doesn't give you a win/win kind of situation.


Which reminds me. If you screw up, don't give up on the day. I used to do that all the time and it doesn't work. Every good choice you make to moderate is important.


MODERATION.


Find something you can do continuously and constantly. Slow and steady wins the race, baby.

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