Thought for the Day--March 17, 2011: ATRIM (Assess, Test, Reassess, Implement, Maintain)
Yesterday, I suggested that you
Today, I offer some general guidelines on how you can launch your new lifestyle.
Let's begin with ATRIM, an acronym for Assess, Test, Reassess, Implement, Maintain.
During this phase, you are gathering your personal stats, such as weight, height, build, Body Mass Index (BMI), and any other pertinent health information (such as Diabetes and insulin resistance, among other conditions), bits of important info that will help determine your optimal calories needed per day for good health and weight loss.Okay, now you are ready to test your program, which could be a typical diet for someone your weight, height, and age; a higher protein and lower carb diet (for insulin resistant dieters); a lower sugar (for Diabetics) diet; or a vegetarian diet for those who choose this option, among other special diets.Depending on the state of your general health, you may need to consult your physician to help you develop your personalized program (Teens under 18 and seniors over 65 should always consult a physician).If you are an adult of normal health, then you can do the simple calculations yourself.
Just make sure that you select the right doctor and not someone who just throws diet pills your way. Don't be afraid to ask questions and, if something doesn't feel right, seek a second opinion. Just like any other professional field, the medical field has its share of bad eggs.
Below is a BMI Calculator:
From: CDC.gov widgets
What do the numbers mean?Below 18.5 = UnderweightAlso, About.com offers a web tool that estimates your daily weight-loss calorie count per day, based on your current weight, target weight, height, activity level, and age.
18.5 – 24.9 = Normal
25.0 – 29.9 = Overweight
30.0 and Above = ObeseFrom: CDC.gov
These calculations are intended for normal, healthy adults.
If you are on a commercial weight loss program, beware of one-size-fits-all, especially programs that require you to buy and use their meals, vitamins, supplements, and other products through their own vendors, where you will never enjoy real sale prices. Before signing any contracts, ask questions regarding costs and product availability.
As you may know, I prefer Weight Watchers because1. Within its PointsPlus system, it's flexible.I am convinced that you will be more successful in losing weight and keeping it off if you start your program with ordinary food and allow yourself some special treats during the weight-loss phase.
2. The program is based on regular food that you can buy, using coupons, at your supermarket, which may also offer WW foods at deep discounts.
3. The program does offer its own convenience products, but you can buy most of them at the supermarket, and you don't have to buy them at all. It's possible to successfully complete this program without buying one WW product!
4. Even when I wasn't on the WW program, I used many of their products because I and my husband like them, and they are convenient.
Most people will need to eat 1,200 to 1,800 calories per day. If you join Weight Watchers, at your first meeting, daily PointsPlus points, between 29-71, will be assigned to you.
This one is easy: you simply try and track (by writing down everything you eat) your new program to see if it works for you.Reassess
If you are are on the Weight Watchers program, the above assessment, with some personal tweaks, is done for you, and most doctors do recommend, as an option, Weight Watchers for their patients.
In any case, you now have your optimal number of points or calories. Surprisingly, the more you weigh, the more PointsPlus points or calories you will be able to eat per day.
For example, if you weigh 300 pounds, eating a mere 1,200 calories per day may actually shock your body into starvation mode, and may actually cause you to lose weight slower. Also, you will be hungry all the time and, thus, will be less likely to stick with your program long term. Going from 10,000 calories a day to 1,200 per day could do more harm than good.
So if you are morbidly obese, eat what you need for good health, and don't try to lose fast (unless you have an urgent medical condition, such as impending surgery, that necessitates a quick weight loss. Your doctor is the expert; he or she will follow your rapid weight loss carefully and prescribe vitamins and supplements to help you keep your potassium and nutrients at optimal levels).
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the starvation mode claim (some contend that it doesn't exist), and I'm not going to argue the issue, but I can tell you this: whenever I have gone on an extremely low calorie diet, I was always hungry, and while I lost weight fast, I couldn't keep it off, for when I started eating normally for my weight, I started gaining weight back.
Test your personal program for at least two months; in the first two weeks or so, you will lose a lot of water weight, but don't expect that to continue. After the initial large loss, you should aim for 1-2 pounds a week, even less as you close in on goal weight.
After testing for about two months, you will probably lose 7-15 pounds, give or take, depending on your starting weight. For example, if you have only 10 pounds to lose, you should not expect a large drop in weight. On the other hand, if you have a 100 pounds to lose, you can expect to enjoy a larger loss and to lose faster.Assuming that your program has passed the test, now you can implement and commit to your plan.
Expect to reach a plateau or two during the testing phase. Your body does not necessarily follow an exact weekly timeline, so be patient.
If your overall loss is on target, then you will know that you're on the right track.
However, if your progress is extremely slow or non-existent, you should check with your doctor, for you might have a metabolic or other medical issue.
If you are still losing, but not as fast as you think you should, it may be tempting to dig in and cut calories or points, but don't do it!
Instead, confer with your Weight Watchers' leader and/or doctor, and show him or her your food tracker (food diary). You may need to tweak your program and remain in the testing stage for a while longer.
Implementing and committing to your plan is the toughest and most likely the longest step--well, except for maintenance.Maintain
The initial excitement has worn off. Tracking your food may become a chore. Worst of all, boredom with your food may set in.
This is the time to shake things up a bit. If you are on Weights Watchers, don't forget to use your extra weekly and activity points. If you are on your own, don't forget to allow yourself some weekly yummy treats; just maintain a good overall nutritional balance of proteins, complex carbs (fruits and vegetables), fiber, and healthy fats.
If you fall off the wagon, forgive yourself, and get right back on. I can't think of one perfect person that I know, so don't be hard on yourself.
If you are committed to your program 80% of the time, you will succeed. The other 20% consists of minor detours and meanderings, just a part of being human.
So what if you lose slower. What's the worst that can happen? So you reach goal weight six months later than if you had been following your program 100%.
Remember, this life journey is a marathon, not a sprint. See
Finally! You have achieved your goal weight.Good luck with your journey!
At first, it will be exciting: you will feel better; friends and family will compliment you on your new look; at Weight Watchers, you may receive a special award; you will buy new clothes; maybe you will find a new positive path in life; and you will go on a personalized maintenance program, which may start out as a graduated process.
This is also the most dangerous time. To some people, the end of the weight loss phase also signals the end of all restrictions.
Unfortunately, this simply is not true.
You are just beginning your new life as a slimmer and healthier you and must now take the good habits you have developed over the past months or years and incorporate them into your everyday life.
Yes, the restrictions will be less, but you will never, ever be able to chow down daily at the local buffet or fast food restaurant--not if you want to maintain your new weight loss.
So your new challenge: find your best maintenance program and follow it as best you can, using the 80/20 percentage guideline. (No one's perfect, right?)
The longer you maintain your weight, the more likely you will keep it off, so make it your maintenance goal to track your new weight over an extended period.
Note: If you don't succeed this time, just keep trying.