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Building a Food & Exercise Plan

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

Every body is different and the best way to get weight off and keep it off is to find a way to eat that you could comfortably do the rest of your life. Extreme diets are hard to maintain and are rarely sustained. My recommendation is a diet that includes the things you like but offered in such a way that there is more reasonable amounts of them. You don't have to miss anything you enjoy, but you learn to find ways to be feel full so you don't accidentally eat too much of it. Here's an example of what I did from 250lbs to 190lbs spread out over 16-24 months.

First, I downloaded a calorie tracker. I treated it like my wallet. I have X Calories to spend, I can spend them on special things like candy or fast food, but it gets expensive quick! This shift my mind into recognizing what I could enjoy for "free" or "cheap" vs. what "cost" me a lot of Calories.

I set my tracker app (myfitnesspal, completely free app!) to around 1800 Calories initially, aiming to lose around 1/2 lb. to 1 lb. per week. It doesn't seem like much, but it adds up slowly. I did not weigh myself daily or weekly, but monthly at most. Water weight and daily fluctuations can be enough to throw off a sense of daily progress.

I found replacements for my cravings. If I craved sweet, I would go for crystal light drinks with 0 Calories, sugar free candies, a cup of hot chocolate (Swiss miss low Calorie is 40 Calories per cup) or go ahead and spend some of my daily allowance on a candy bar. I could make up for it elsewhere by planning a 500 Calorie meal instead of a 600-800 Calorie bigger meal. I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I "paid" for it. I learned to budget my intake and just like a real savings account, a surplus of Calorie balance began to pile up over the course of months.

Some foods were fantastic replacements or practically free to eat. Pickles are essentially 0 Calories. I used different salad dressings and less of them, still getting most of the flavor I wanted without turning a 50 Calorie pile of crisp fresh greens and carrots into a 450 Calorie drenched ranch-flavored full meal. Portobello mushrooms and white button mushrooms are 100 Calories per pound. If I ever felt like I was hungry enough to get banned from the local buffet, I would make a pound of mushrooms and a 1/4 lb. of ground beef (130-180 Calories depending on how lean, plus 100 for the mushrooms) and I would be full for at least 12 hours for about the same cost as Snicker's bar.

For exercise, I set the bar low because I don't like to exercise. Don't tell my doctor, but exercise and I don't get along, despite me always feeling better when I do. The kind of exercise I recommend to those like me is anything that gets you short of breath to where you would have difficulty keeping up a normal paced conversation. Stairs, treadmill as high or low as you like, bicycle, jogging, etc. Anything for a solid 15 to 20 minutes. Do this 3x/week or more. Set a reminder in your calendar. My goal isn't to run marathons or get flex on the beach muscles, it's just to keep my metabolism from reverting into savings mode from the reduced Calorie intake.

Whatever you decide to do, keep it simple, keep it as attainable as possible, and make it realistic. Small steps add up over time. I'm more likely to keep off my 60 lb. weight loss if I got there gradually and the habits that got me there are better formed. If a medication is used, it can be trialed off once you reach your goal weight, but we select only medications that can be used long term, so rest assured your hard earned progress can be maintained. Thanks for reading!

If you haven't signed up yet, try our free 14 day trial and access diagnostic surveys, get a tailored to you care plan, ask for medical advice, and recieve prescriptions from me, Dr. Guzman.

Short Version:

  1. Get myfitness pal app or a similar Calorie tracker

  2. Set Calorie goals/weight goals in settings to be reasonably generous at first (e.g. 1/2 lb. or 1lb a week at most goal loss)

  3. Find delicious recipes with lots of proteins and low Calorie bulk type foods like carrots mushrooms lean meats that will help you feel very full for minimal Calories.

  4. Use your Calorie tracker like a wallet, pay for everything you eat. If you go over budget, it's okay, we're not perfect all the time. Just keep tracking and you can look back at your habits later to find out what hurt your budget the most.

  5. Plan for a cheat day. If you ever crave large amounts of the high Calorie foods, write them in a notebook or your phone's notepad to "save" for your monthly cheat day. On that day, enjoy whatever you like. This allows you to have something to look forward to and avoids the feeling that you will never get to enjoy your favorite foods again.

  6. Weigh Monthly, no more frequently than that.

  7. Medications and certain types of foods and behaviors can make this process easier by making you feel more full and stay full longer. Sign up for free with our app, fill out a survey and intake form. Pay for a subscription when you are ready to get replies and prescriptions from me, Dr. Guzman!

  8. Exercise can be as simple as 3x/week 15 minutes of an activity that's enough to get your heart rate up or make you short of breath. Start slow and work your way up to 5x/week 20-30 minutes. It should help keep your metabolism from slowing to account for the decrease in Calories.

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