Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical Lose weight.

  1. Jun 14, 2008 #1
    Hi all.
    For a person trying to lose weight should they decrease their calorie intake or their fat intake or both.
    Sorry if its a stupid question, I know very little about this stuff.
    Thanks for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 14, 2008 #2
    A calorie is a calorie regardless of whether its source is protein, fat, or carbohydrate. With the caveat that protein is used to build/maintain muscle mass while the the other two are not, it does not matter how you create your calorie deficit.

    The first thing you need to do is identify "the extras" in your daily intake. Drink soda? Skip one. Try to get so you can enjoy your coffee black and without sugar. If you're in the habit of getting a fancy coffee drink (anything besides black coffee qualifies), cut back. But don't make the mistake of just substituting a juicy drink for any of the above. Those can be pretty calorie laden as well.

    At the beginning, you will be amazed at the progress at the progress you can make by just "having one less".

    Don't look for the progress the day after you start! Give it a couple of weeks.
  4. Jun 14, 2008 #3
    Ah ok I get it.
    Another quick question, do weight loss pills actually work? I've heard a lot of hype about them but I am not sure.
    Thanks again.
  5. Jun 14, 2008 #4
    Some do, some don't. Some of the ones that *definitely* worked have been taken off the market due to side effects.

    It is a good thing to get information about the potential paths you take, but be careful that you just aren't looking for a shortcut. That mindset often leads to undeserved dissapointment. i.e. you expect too much too quickly.

    If you use your energy and scientific skills in other ways, it will help you significantly.

    Take a few moments, and think about the major meals you eat on a daily basis. Then think about the snacks you you consume. Don't forget about the pre-colloquium snack fest, the late night treat etc. Remember the general gist, write some down if necessary.

    To get a good idea of how much you are consuming, it is a good idea to analyze what you eat for 3-4 days (morethan one to get a decent average). Get a notebook, and label a page "Monday" for example. Write down your major meals and snacks, leaving space in between for the items you eat/drink.

    The reason you want to do the subdivision ahead of time is so that at the end of the day when it is time to fill in your food journal, you'll be less likely to forget things.

    You can find some websites that have average caloric values for typical foods. You'll need to find one you like (google search for "calories in average foods"). Add up the calories. If you like, post the info here, and I'll calculate it for you (once you've done it a few times, you can get good at estimating the calories within 10%).

    Do that for a few days (the more days, the better the statistics) and average your results.

    That number now represents *your* average calorie intake necessary to keep things *as they have been*. You have to honestly think back and reflect on your weight over the last few years....have you been gaining 2 pounds a year, 3? 0?

    That rate whether positive or negative is what you can expect to maintain if you keep doing things the same. Most people gain weight every single year, with fluctuations due to short term responses (fad diets and such).

    Once you have your daily caloric value, you can decide what you need to do to either, slow down the gain, or begin losing weight.
  6. Jun 14, 2008 #5
    Thats sound like a plan, I will start this of today.
    Thanks so much for your help! I really appreciate it.
  7. Jun 14, 2008 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Weight loss pills should only be taken with the guidance of one's doctor. Diet pills can reduce the hunger feelings that one experiences with diet.

    In the vein of seycyrus, one can reduce the calories (particularly from processed foods, sugar and fat), but then increase one's metabolism with exercise.

    Reducing calories can mean simply not adding sugar to one's beverage, e.g. tea or coffee, or drinking sugar-free (also free of corn sweeters) sodas, and I don't mean diet sodas with artificial sweetners.

    There are other benefits to exercise, such as improving cardiac efficiency.
  8. Jun 14, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Some good suggestions from seycyrus. I'd also emphasize not completely cutting out your favorite foods, just reduce how much or how often you eat them. It's hard to stick to a diet if you cut out everything you enjoy from it. Rather than using crutches like diet pills, it's better to just work on adjusting what you normally eat to just reduce the volume some, and if you are deficient in some areas (like fresh vegetables), starting to shift to eating those instead of higher calorie things you cut out. Rather than setting a goal for quick weight loss, set a goal for lifelong healthy eating habits, which might involve a much slower weight loss but will be something you can stick with forever rather than just a diet now and then going back to your unhealthy eating habits after you've lost the weight and regaining it all again. Actually, even that can help...don't think of it as a diet, think of it as a change to healthier eating habits.
  9. Jun 14, 2008 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    It helps a lot to eat more vegetables and fruits, and even just to drink more water. The added non-calorie volume will keep you satiated without making you fat.

    I'm not saying to drown yourself, mind you.
  10. Jun 14, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I first started working out 20 years ago and I've found that weight loss plans vary for each individual. However, the basics are quite simple: proper diet and exercise. The main thing is consistency. Be consistent with your workouts (i.e. don't skip them), and don't binge too much - once a week is ok typically.

    Good luck.

  11. Jun 14, 2008 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Alli is the only FDA approved diet pill. I've heard it works but can have some rather unpleasant side effects.



  12. Jun 14, 2008 #11
    I recommend this as well. Its addicting, but can be more expensive than a normal diet, but it's undeniably more filling. I went from a terrible diet with fast food, pasta, and pizza regularly to--with daily runs, walks, basic workouts like situps and pushups, and a diet revamp dropping some 60 lbs over a year or so (I'm actually a bit underweight right now, and working to get a little more weight on me). Nothing fills more than fruits and veggies.

    Quick tips:

    1) Exercise. Doesn't have to be much, just set simple goals for yourself. I started out with a walk down the street when I wasn't otherwise occupied per night, 10 situps, and 5 pushups, etc, then added on every few days until I started feeling a bit of a burn, per-se. Nothing major, but every bit helps. Moved to a light jog, and I'll tell you, they were relaxing.

    2) Don't drink soda. Drink water. I don't know how much more simple it gets. It's just that much better for you.

    3) Fruits and veggies are your friend. Most common fruits and veggies are like 80+% water by mass, so they're certainly filling. Watch out for dried fruits and snack food gimmicks. Steamed veggies are wonderfully delicious. Mushrooms with succulent meaty textures in a mix of some asparagus, carrots, broccoli--there isn't much out there that's more delicious in my opinion; and it's all great for you. Soup is pretty good stuff too, just be careful. A lot of the "cream of ____"s are made with well--cream, which can be loaded with all sorts of fatty creams, etc. Homemade chicken noodle or rice soup with light on the salt and a thinner or chicken based broth is just good for you though. Feel free to add veggies to taste :)

    Oatmeal with water is usually pretty filling if you're looking for grains. Will help digestive tract Good for protein though. Avoid overly sugary cereals (i.e. boxed candy) and trail mix type things (little fill to high energy), unless you're exerting yourself and need the boost :]]

    4) Skip the dressing, sauces, cheeses, extras, go for skim milk, etc. Also, there's like nothing to pepper, so that's all good. Hot peppers work if you need zest, but stray away from adding salt to meals for the most part. There's so much salt in everything we eat, you'd be surprised. Stick by the idea that if you have to douse your meal in spices or dressings, than what's the point in getting the meal in the first place? The best foods are the ones that you don't have to mask their true flavors with.

    5) As was pointed out earlier: a calorie is a calorie, and if you take in more calories than your body uses, your body stores that excess away in your body eventually leading to body fat.

    6) I don't know how many people have the reserve, but after changing my diet for a bit, I stopped eating dessert all-together. It just lost its appeal, like most comfort food. Just doesn't turn me on anymore.

    7) Watch out for juices. Trust me on this one. Stick with water, or make some tea (avoid honey/sugar if possible, it's still incredible if made right!). Cut the half and half from coffee and stick with skim milk.

    Just some friendly advise. Hope I could be of some help. I don't advise using unnatural methods for overly rapid weight loss, as they can have harmful side effects and don't leave you in control all the time. Also; don't worry about measuring out exact portions and going super overboard about your meals--trust me on this. Just watch what you eat, and don't shoot for an unrealistic goal. Just aim for something healthy.

    There isn't any trick to weight loss, no real magic pill that anyone needs. In all but a few cases, it really just comes down to eating healthy and being relatively active.
  13. Jun 15, 2008 #12
    Thanks very much everyone, I feel a lot more educated in this now to start a healthier life.
  14. Jun 15, 2008 #13
    No problem!

    Keep us updated. Your story will help keep me motivated as well.

    By the way, there's been a lot of good advice tossed out, but don't forget to do that food journal thing. It can really help you get a sense of it all.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Lose weight.
  1. Best way to lose weight (Replies: 44)

  2. Infant weight (Replies: 3)