Does it Work?

One Wine Diet reader asked whether The Wine Diet really works.  He thought there was no way it was possible.  But it is.  Dieting is not a complicated thing.  Eat less than your body expends.  That's it.  But for most people it's hard.  Don't take my word for it, just look around when you are out in public.  Most people are overweight.  Many don't even realize how much they are overeating.  Making dietary changes are a very hard thing to do even though it doesn't seem like it.  What, when, and how we eat are made up of much more than the food we put in our mouths.  It is part taste and preference, part lifestyle, and part habits.  For the gents out there who watch sporting events, they are probably drinking beer and barbecuing too.  And how may people do you know that have the Starbuck's habit.  You never see those folks with out some sort venti frap in their hand.  How many people drown their sorrows in sweets?  You can count me on that one.  Whenever I am stressed out or feeling bad, the first thing I reach for is the ice cream.  Since what we eat is much more than food, losing weight often means bigger changes than just eating salad at every meal.  Our choice of diet must also take into consideration our lifestyle choices and our routines.  After all, what is the point of being thin if you are not happy?  Isn't happiness in life the ultimate goal with living long enough to enjoy it the second goal?  To help this reader on his journey, I would like to share with you, why The Wine Diet framework will make you successful in losing weight and keeping it off.

Losing weight is simple.  Eat less than you expend.  This fact can be stated simply by the following equation:  

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR: the rate of energy used by the body at rest) = Food - Exercise

If the food you eat and the exercise you perform are less than your BMR, odds are you will lose weight.  If the food you eat and the exercise you perform add up to more than the BMR, odds are you will gain weight.  To see how intuitive and easy this is, consider the following example.  Let's say that person x has a BRM of 2,000 calories.  If person x eats 4,000 calories a day without exercising, then person x will gain weight.  Why?  The body stores extra calories as fat in case of potential food shortages that would have faced our ancestors.  The more you eat, the bigger you get.  The second half of the equation is the exercise that you get.  The more you exercise, the more calories your body burns.  While exercise is very important to your overall health and well being, weight problems are more likely caused by the food we eat and not by the lack of exercise that you get.  For example, running for one hour (depending on pace and terrain) will burn somewhere between 600 or 700 calories.  A one hour steak dinner could easily end up in 1,200 calories consumed with plenty of options closer to 2,000 calories.  Working out to burn calories is significantly harder than eating less calories to begin with.  So watching what you eat is far more important in my opinion than how much or how hard you exercise.  Now that doesn't mean stop eating hamburgers and ice cream.  It just means that you should find a way to eat the same foods for less calories (like holding the cheese).  If you eat less than your body burns, your body will have to get energy from somewhere else.  That somewhere is the reserves currently being stored as fat.  Do this for long enough, and odds are you will lose weight and be thin.

Disclaimer: I recognize that there are more to food than just calories.  There are also nutrients to consider which have different impacts on our body.  For example, proteins takes longer to digest that do carbohydrates.  Most people should consider this topic after they have developed a solid understanding of how they eat now and how many calories they eat.  There is no sense in focusing on a marathon when you cannot run a mile.  So focus on one mile at a time and eventually you will run that marathon.

To make weight loss permanent, two skills that have to be developed.  First, you must learn about and become conscientious of what you eat.  Your lifestyle will change over time.  The person you are today will not be the person you are tomorrow.  A person in their twenties will not live or eat the same way as a person in their forties.  Since tomorrow will not be the same as today, having a specific meal plan won't be very effective.  Once your lifestyle changes, your meals will change, and you will find yourself out of balance and potentially gaining weight.  Understanding how many calories are in the food you eat is an invaluable tool for making healthy decisions for the rest of your life, no matter what lifestyle you are currently living.  The only way to develop this skill is to write down what you eat.  Do this for just a couple of weeks and you will have covered all of the foods you generally will eat.  The second tool for success is building better habits.  It doesn't do any good to know that a slice of cake has 700 calories and then eat two slices.  You have to develop the tools and the habits that will keep you eating on the right side of the weight loss equation.  Little habits like the reset meal and eating right at breakfast are invaluable habits to get you back no track even if you fall off for a week, or even two.  

Most important is to understand that learning to eat right happens OVER TIME.  There are no quick solutions (other than surgery; which as I understand offers no guarantees of permanency).  So give yourself time and be easy on yourself.  Reward your healthy eating habits daily.  And when those times come around at a party or celebrating some success, don't worry about you are eating and live in the moment.  There will always be plenty of time to get back on track but some memories will last a lifetime.  So be happy, drink wine, and lose weight. Cheers!