Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Losing weight with minimal time investment

with one comment

Steve of Kafeneio pointed out the advantage I have in losing weight: I’m retired, so I have fewer daily distractions.

That’s a good point, so I decided to see how much I could reduce the time commitment and effort, based on my experience to date.

First, minimize decision points. For example, work out a good breakfast (mine is oat bran, turmeric, homemade pepper sauce, a boiled egg, and Bac’Uns) and eat it daily. This may not be possible for those who demand novelty, but as a fallback, they can work out four or five good breakfasts and pick one daily. The idea is that breakfast no longer requires a decision.

Also, do eat a midmorning and midafternoon snack, but make it uniformly a piece of fruit: an apple, an orange, a cup of strawberries. No decision required: get the fruit, eat one piece (or one cup), and that’s the snack.

Thus food decisions come down to two times a day: lunch and dinner. I suggest that those decisions be:

1) what protein to have (and you’ll have 4 oz of whatever it is);

2) what starch to have (and, generally, you have 1/3 to 1/2 cup cooked, usually 1/4 cup before cooking—1/4 cup usually cooks to 1/2 cup, but if I have cooked rice on hand, for example, I take 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup, though the latter is a serving: I like a small serving of the starch)

3) the vegetables: pick two; and

4) how to cook: sauté, stew, stir-fry, roast, whatever.

That takes care of the decision part. No additional time involvement over what you’re doing now, since you already fix and eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in any case. This just tailors the direction of your existing effort.

BTW, food decisions also are easier if you cull your cabinets of all foods you know or strongly suspect you should not eat—if it’s not around, you don’t have to decide whether or not to have some. So get rid of chips, sodas, candy, and the like. (For me, that includes croutons: I don’t have them in the house.)

Next, keep an accurate record of your foods, your weight, and your exercise, daily. Technology helps here: the Withings scale records your weight and lean-body mass and computes your BMI with every weighing, and since it is Wi-fi enabled, you automatically build a record that you can view as a graph, download as a spreadsheet, etc. No time required, and you can look at your record on your computer, iPad, or smartphone. So keeping daily accurate track of your weight takes no time at all.

The food does require entering the meal, but the breakfast and snacks can basically be entered with a keystroke, so again the only issues are lunch and dinner. I recommend using or some similar site, and using your smartphone or iPad (or computer) to record the foods on the spot.

Exercise is similarly recorded in FatSecret or the like.

So the only significant time or effort demand so far is taking out your smartphone at a meal and recording what you ate.

The other thing is to look at the data—the record of foods, exercise, and weight—and think about it. I used a journal, but perhaps you can just review it of an evening, looking at the data and reflecting on it. You may find adjustments. You may find, like me, that you have been unconsciously eating foods of which you were unaware. But (in my experience) after about six months of keeping an accurate record and reviewing it, and tackling problems as they occur (my discovery of the “bites” problem), you’ll find that you “get it” and understand much better what’s going on. And controlling it at that point is rather easy—or so I’ve found.

The point: with a little technology, some of which you may already own, you can swing into this with practically no investment of time, just by paying attention.

Just a thought.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 April 2011 at 9:21 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

One Response

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  1. Perfect, you’ve solved the first part….the conceptualization. Now, how to avoid eating all the day’s calories all over again after dinner!!!!!! 🙂

    As Gerry Seinfeld said in the famous hotel reservation episode where they gave his reserved room away: “It’s not enough to TAKE the reservation, you have to HOLD the reservation”.


    28 April 2011 at 11:53 am

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