Thursday, 18 October 2012

As requested, my "must do's" for weight loss and long term maintenance

So I have been asked several times for advice.  I'm not exactly sure what kind of advice to give, considering that every weight loss experience is different.  I was hoping that by writing what I go through everyday and how I cope with day to day life will help some people see how *I* do it, writing out a list of "tips" seems kind of silly, since most people will forget most of them by the time they leave my blog and are on to the rest of their internet journey.  By writing my experience with stories and events, I hope that it will be easier to remember. Plus real life examples are easier to relate to than bullet points.

That being said, ask and you shall receive!  I do have some pointers and tips that have worked for me that I will mention in other blog posts, they may not all be right for you, but they are my keys to weight loss and weight loss maintenance.  (The key word is maintenance for those of you who missed it.  How many of you have lost weight? Over and over again, even?  Now how many have maintained that weight loss?)

So what I mention in this post are things that *I* think absolutely everyone should do.  Some of my tips you can take it, or leave it, but these things I mention now are kind of ground rules that everyone can do, and I'm pretty sure every doctor would agree with these.

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dietitian, etc etc etc. This advice is based on my own personal experience. Always take your doctors advice over internet advice)

Number one thing you need to do is book a doctors appointment.
Even if you only have 20 lbs to lose.  You should be seeing your doctor yearly anyways, right?  Get out a notepad and jot these down, here are some examples of what you should discuss:
-what your target weight should be
-ask about starting an exercise regimen
-ask for your blood pressure to be taken (and write it down!)
-ask for a recommendation for a specific diet plan if you have PCOS, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
-ask for blood work to be done
-If you're a woman experiencing infrequent/absent periods, hirsutism, alopecia and other PCOS symptoms (found here) then talk to your doctor about getting diagnosed for PCOS. This can change your diet plan.
-be prepared to bring a sample food diary of at least 2 days worth of food and be prepared to talk about it
-have your thyroid tested for hypothyroidism
-if you think you have an eating disorder, then discuss your options with your doctor and ask for recommendations as to who you can see about it. Here is info on Binge eating disorder. (More eating disorder info can be found on my side bar.)
-ask for recommendations for a dietitian, nutritionist or information for nutrition classes
-be prepared to answer questions about family history of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol etc.  Then ask what your chances are of getting them.

Please don't worry about going to the doctor, I didn't go see my doctor when I first started losing weight, and I regret it.  I really want to know what my starting stats where for blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.  I went to my doctor after I had lost about 70 lbs and he was almost giddy, that's how happy he was for me.  Most doctors don't like to discuss weight with their patients anymore because they don't want to hurt their feelings, so please take the first step. It's VERY important.

Notice I didn't mention weight loss surgery once?  I'm adamant that it's not needed.  Why?  Simply this: It's much better for you in the long run to experience every single craving, and every single plateau, and every single emotion related to your new diet than it is to not learn about your eating habits at all.  You might think you know your eating habits, that you like to binge, that you like to "eat lots".  Let me tell you, you have no idea.

When you have weight loss surgery they do teach you how people should eat correctly, but they don't tell you how you will react.  Losing weight is easy, the emotional journey is the hard part.  Without that emotional journey and figuring out what makes you tick (and what makes you eat), you have a high chance of regaining weight.

After you talk to your doctor you need to educate yourself.
Education, whether it's about nutrition, exercise, etc helps to hold you accountable.  I really recommend talking to a dietitian or a nutritionist, or to take nutrition classes.  Even if you think you have a really good idea of what's healthy, it's still best to talk to a professional.  They can analyze your food logs, and make suggestions and help you with rough spots.

For example, I talked to my dietitian Renee about the snack recipes she emailed me.  At first I was really optimistic about making them, but then I got quickly disinterested in them.  I had no desire to make granola at home.  No desire at all, actually.  So she asked what I would normally like to eat.  "Chips" I said. (Well it's the truth!).  So she emailed me recipes for different kinds of chips I can make at home.  She also said popcorn in moderation was fine too.  The main reason I recommend a dietitian is because they can help you set up a plan that fits your lifestyle, any ailments you have, and it will fit your eating style too.  Through food logs I found out that I wasn't eating the afternoon snack she had put in place for me.  So we changed it to an evening snack and Voila! My snack cravings went away!

I cannot be a bigger fan of Renee.  Even though I don't see her anymore, I still email her updates even! She will always be available to me for quick advice or if I want a quick appointment to help with a struggle.  Dietitians are on your side, they will help you out, I promise.

Start a food log
This is kind of "no duh", but you'd be surprised by how many people are wishy washy about starting one.   I hear a lot of  "I don't have time", or "I don't want to be that person who has to make a big deal of what she's eating when she's around friends" etc.  Now that's the point of a food log, it *is* a big deal!  Especially if you emotionally eat.  Taking the 2 minutes to write down your food, and to assess your feelings helps you to understand why you're eating.  Are you hungry?  Bored?  Celebrating?  I hate to break it to you, but losing weight is hard, and if logging your food everyday is too much of a pain, then you're boned! (sorry for the rant, but seriously, don't make excuses for something that takes 5 minutes out of the day and could save your  life.  Especially if you're a binge eater or an emotional eater.  It takes work to get through it, and this is it!)

Chances are if you go to a dietitian they will ask you to make a food log anyways. but here is some more info on them and starting one.

In very basic terms, weight loss is calories in vs. calories out.  Diet change is about 80-90% of weight loss.  You can start food logs at SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal.  Both have apps as well to help you track your food.  I chose writing down food in an actual journal.  I found it less tedious than trying to search through food on websites and I can make notes when necessary. The apps can be very handy, especially if you're on the go.

So to find out how many calories you need to eat, you can try calculators online, or the ones on SparkPeople and MyFitnessPal.  Here is also a website that gives you the actual formula so you can do the math yourself (which I recommend you do over calculators).  If you are obese or morbidly obese then it is most likely that the calculators will be wrong.  They will overshoot how much you should be eating, sometimes by a lot.  (Another reason to see a dietitian! They can help figure that out).

Here is an example of my food logs:

October 17, 2012
Breakfast (@home feeling content)
-2 pieces whole wheat toast                               110
-1 tbsp Peanut Butter                                          90
-2x coffee (1 sweetener, 1 whitener)                    30

Lunch (@home, rushed, getting ready for work)
2 Eggs scrambled                                               140
1 tsp Olive oil                                                       20
2/3cup mushrooms                                                10
1/4. Orange pepper                                              13
1/8 cup Salsa                                                        13
2 pc. Toast                                                         110
2 tsp. Becel                                                          35

Dinner (@ work)
1 Can light tuna                                                 140
1 Whole wheat tortilla                                       130
2 tbsp Mayo                                                       30
1/4 Orange pepper                                             13
1 Slice Pumpkin pie                                          250
1 Oikos yogurt                                                   90

Other snacks:
1 light babybel                                                 50
Decaff Coffee                                                  30
2 pc. Toast                                                    110
1 tbsp Pumpkin seed butter                              80

Total:  1494

September 14, 2012 **stressful day!!**
2 pc toast                                               110
Peanut butter 1 tbsp                                  90
Coffee x2                                                 30
1/2cup oats                                             180
1 cup froz. blueberries                               80
1 cup almond milk                                     30
1 tbsp. ground flax                                    50
Nature valley granola bar                         170
Snack (unexpected, mom brought it to work)
Timmies Tea with cream                            90

2 Tortillas                                              260
3 tbsp Tzatziki                                         75
6 Mushrooms                                           13
1/2 red pepper                                         16
52g Light cheddar                                  156
1 tbsp olives                                             45
Tomatoes, grape 1 cup                            30
Hummus & roasted red pepper              113
Total: 1528
Weight: 238.8 (weigh in day)

So what now?  Well it's all up to you. These are just building blocks, and your journey is your own.  You can expect ups and downs, food cravings, screw ups, binges, everything! If you write them down in  your journal, you can learn from them and move on. Some people need people to hold them accountable, but in time that shouldn't be needed anymore. It really is possible to do it on your own.

Again, I'm not one to give you unnecessary tips. (We've all heard the "use a smaller plate" tip, and "put lemon in your water" tip. It works for some not others, it's up to you to discover what works.) But, please feel free to ask more specific questions.  If you're struggling in one area I can always give advice, or support.  Even feel free to email me:

I dislike being preachy, but these three things I'm very VERY passionate about. So, if you have stopped by my blog what are *your* keys to weight loss and/or maintenance?  Any helpful tips you'd like to pass on?


  1. I love that you've added this in, especially about the doctors appointment. I'm sure a lot of people never even think about doing that before they start to really get serious about losing weight (I wouldn't have thought of it myself until after I'd lost some weight or someone had mentioned it).
    I've been thinking about starting a food log pretty soon, but it seems like something I'd continuously forget about and then just give up on it. How did you remember to write it in after each meal/snack when you first started?

    Great post Daphne, very informative. :D Can't wait for the next one!

    1. Awesome question! At first I had to do it! I was seeing Renee and she wanted every days' food logs delivered to her every week. I put the log on my kitchen table so I can write in it while I'm cooking/getting food prepared for work. It was surprisingly easy to remember if you leave it out in plain sight. I also wouldn't eat in front of the TV computer until I had written down everything and had logged the reason why I was eating. (ie. eating in front of the TV because I'm bored).

      Hope that answered your question!

  2. You look fantastic!! What a great story. Looking forward to reading more :)