Ways To Gain Less and Lose More

Yes, even the diet and lifestyle doctor overdoes it on the eggnog sometimes. Happy New Year, and like everyone else, I’m stepping on the scale saying: “I’ve got to get back on track!”

And that’s okay. I’m not beating myself up for putting on a few pounds this season. I’ve had a lot going on, between my book release, the holidays, and just being a working parent. Hey, it could have been more than a few pounds, but it’s not.

But why isn’t it more? Throughout the craziness of the season, for most of the days, I’ve maintained my basic habits: a mostly plant-based Mediterranean-style diet, some kind of physical activity, and some kind of self-care.

That’s a lot of italics there, but I’m making a point. You don’t have to be perfect to be okay.

But it’s the New Year, and I’m resolving to be better. Now’s when I break out the scale and login to Myfitnesspal. A few weeks of focus and I’m going to feel great!

Studies show that tactics like logging our intake and monitoring our weight are associated with successful weight loss. Want to know more? Here’s an excerpt about these from my book, Healthy Habits for Your Heart. From Chapter 6, Lose Weight For Good: Healthy Weight Loss Habits:

# 67: Monitor Your Intake   Multiple studies have shown that tracking your food intake is associated with weight loss. Logging food intake can be low-tech (like a little spiral-bound notebook with daily dietary choices scribbled in) or high-tech (like a smartphone fitness app). In a study of more than two thousand people participating in a diet and lifestyle program, logging food intake for even only three days a week was associated with clinically significant weight loss (5 percent of total body weight) at six months. For a 250-pound person, that’s 121⁄2 pounds! Scientists hypothesize that when we keep track of our intake, we become more aware of what we’re eating, which helps us make healthier choices and consume less overall.

Tips to Make the Habit Stick:

  • Even if you’re not yet ready to change your eating habits, it can be eye-opening to log your food and become aware of what you’re consuming every day. Without changing your diet at all, log your daily food intake using a free app like MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, or SparkPeople.
  • Apps can be intimidating, so a consultation with a nutritionist can help. A nutritionist (there are different kinds—see Chapter 2) can help you calculate what you eat on a typical day, as well as sort out what you should eat and how to keep track

#68. Weigh Yourself Regularly    Studies show that people who weigh themselves regularly are more likely to stick to a healthy weight loss plan and to successfully lose weight. In a study of two thousand people participating in a diet and lifestyle pro- gram, people who weighed in at least three days per week lost at least 5 percent of their total body weight after six months. People who have a history of an eating disorder, however, should be careful about systematically weighing themselves, as this action can be triggering and is not medically advised. For people who do not have that history and sincerely want to drop some pounds, the experts advise that you are less likely to lose weight if you are not following your weight, so get a scale.               


Tips to Make the Habit Stick:

  • If you don’t have a scale at home, consider getting a simple one. No need to get a smart scale that syncs to your phone and watch.
  • Weigh yourself at about the same time of day, and without clothes, for more consistent comparisons.



Multiple studies (tracking food)… L.E. Burke et al., “Self-monitoring in Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of the Literature,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 111(1), January 2011, pp. 92–102.

In a study of (logging food)… S.L. Painter et al., “What Matters
in Weight Loss? An In-Depth Analysis of Self-monitoring,” Journal of Medical Internet Research 19(5), 12 May 2017, p. e160.

Studies show that (regular weighing)… D.M. Steinberg
et al., “Weighing Every Day Matters: Daily Weighing Improves Weight Loss and Adoption of Weight Control Behaviors,” Journal of the Academy

of Nutrition and Dietetics 115(4), April 2015, pp. 511–518.

Just a couple of tips, from me to you. Happy New Year! Now go out there and be okay.

Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

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