FOR the first three weeks this past month everything really went well. I lost two pounds per week and almost began to think that it was going to be easier than it seemed at the start to follow the plan of losing gradually. People who lose more rapidly are more likely to regain lost weight quickly because it's harder to stay on the more drastic programs. My goal, as you may remember, was to lose five pounds a month, and I had bettered that in the first three weeks.
Then came gloomy Thursday! I'm still not sure what happened. On Wednesday I ate a good break fast as usual, a respectable lunch, and in the evening thoroughly enjoyed a large glass of grape juice. There were times during the previous weeks when I had eaten more than that, but the next morning the scales were up four pounds! I clambered on and off three times before I could accept the fact that the scale was actually reading four pounds more than it had the day before. During the following week I lost two more pounds and ended up with a four pound loss for the month rather than the five pounds I had planned.
The physicians I talked to about this turn of events seemed to think that what happened was not at all unusual. They explained that often there is a weight fluctuation of as much as four pounds in a day, depending upon such factors as the amount of salt eaten and the amount of fluids drunk. This can be helped some by limiting the in take of salt. There is also a tendency to level off after three weeks on a diet, owing to the body's ability to adapt to less caloric needs. One thing that helps alleviate the latter problem is to combine more activity with the caloric-reduction program than ordinarily. It was also suggested that some find it is helpful to avoid discouragements like the one described above by weighing only once a week or even once a month.
The pressure of my work and its sedentary nature are such that I don't get as much exercise as I should. So my plan for this coming month is to attempt consciously to get more exercise. Some dieters are discouraged about exercise when they hear that it takes a very large amount to burn up enough calories to contribute to much weight loss. For instance, you would have to ride a bicycle for approximately 61 minutes to burn up the calories gained in one malted-milk shake. And in order to lose one pound of body fat you would have to walk rather briskly for fourteen hours.
But the point is that we don't have to lose so much all at once and we don't have to do it all by diet. By combining a reduction of just 300 calories per day and adding enough activity or exercise to burn up another 200 calories each day, we can lose one pound per week, since it takes about 3500 calories to make one pound of weight.
There's another advantage to exercise that has intrigued me as I have been reading about it recently. Considerable research has been done concerning what it is that regulates our appetites and signals us as to when we've had enough to eat. It really isn't the feeling of fullness in our stomachs. Instead, the researchers believe that there's an "appestat" in our brains, located in the hypothalamus, which is the appetite-control center and signals us when we've eaten enough. But studies done by Dr. Stanley Schacter, a social psychologist at Columbia University, and other researchers indicate that for many obese persons this appestat doesn't work as effectively as it does for the normal weight individual.
One way to help your appestat function the way it should is consciously to avoid gulping food down. Eat more slowly. Savor your food more. Purposely lay down your fork every once in awhile and join in the conversation at the table.
In order to secure healthy digestion, food should be eaten slowly. . . . The benefit derived from food does not depend so much on the quantity eaten as on its thorough digestion; nor the gratification of taste so much on the amount of food swallowed as on the length of time it remains in the mouth. --Ellen White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 107.
It also has been found, although not yet adequately explained, that the appestat works well only in active people. In recent studies rats that were allowed to exercise ate less and remained at normal weight as compared with rats that were prevented from getting much exercise. The less the rats exercised, the more they ate. The conclusion is that if we increase our activity level a little we will actually end up eating less. Of course, an unusual amount of activity might result in a desire to eat more. In these days when we use so many labor-saving devices and mechanical means of transportation most of us have to devise ways of getting an adequate amount of exercise. It doesn't have to be strenuous, but in order to help control our weight it should be consistent.
To those of you who feel the need but have not yet joined the Losing With Leo Club, come join the battle of the bulge. You have nothing to lose but some excess pounds! And our watch-your-weight- word for this month is "Exercise."