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smartphone-veggiesThe way I see it, every situation we encounter in life falls into one of four categories:

  1. There are things that are NOT hard and NOT complicated (i.e. watching “The Kardashians”).
  2. There are things that ARE hard and ARE complicated (i.e. rocket science).
  3. There are things that are NOT hard, but ARE complicated (i.e. line dancing).
  4. And then there are things that ARE hard, but are NOT terribly complicated (i.e. losing weight).

If you followed all of that you reached the same conclusion I did: losing weight ain’t rocket science.

It is, however, very, very hard.

Losing weight isn’t terribly complicated because, even though it’s not as simple as “all calories are equal” or “calories in / calories out,” (more about that later) it’s still basically a formula. Revealing that formula won’t win me a Pulitzer Prize (or any friends, for that matter):

If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight.

There are three parts to this formula that we’re going to talk about this week. Part one is absolutely fundamental and (sorry) inescapable in weight loss:

You must know how many calories you’re consuming.

The best way to do that is to track them. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this:

  1. Write it down, old-school style, on a piece of paper (a notebook works well). If you do it this way you’re going to need a source for calorie counts. My favorite is Calorie King, but there are several good sites that offer calorie and nutritional information for hundreds of thousands of grocery store and restaurant foods.
  2. Use a calorie-tracking app on your smartphone. This is what I do and it couldn’t possibly be any easier (seriously, they invented the word “foolproof” because of me). You can enter the name of a food, you can ‘create’ a food if it’s not in their database (that almost never happens), or you can scan a UPC code and the program enters it for you. My favorite is Fooducate. Watch this video to see how it works!
  3. Join a calorie-counting weight loss program. Weight Watchers is the best known, and even though I realize their shtick is “counting points” it’s essentially calorie counting. It’s a great program that offers leader and peer support, online tools and decades worth of research and user success behind it. No, I get no kickbacks from them, darn it.

Options 2 & 3 are preferable because the programs will establish a reasonable daily calorie (or points) range that is personalized for you. Online or smartphone tools are especially helpful because they provide calorie subtotals throughout the day so you can adjust as needed. They also offer detailed nutritional information based on what you enter so you can determine if you should take in more protein, or less cheese (ahem, I mean fat).

Start here, start now.

Weight loss is hard, but it’s not terribly complicated.

Having said that, it’s not a straight line either. Even if you do everything “right,” you may have challenges that others do not. Or you may have lingering emotional issues you need to work on. But commit to the process, follow the steps, be honest with yourself about your choices and you will lose weight.

Ten Weeks. Ten Pounds.

Oh man, we have SO got this!

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