Dr. John Day
Dr. Day is a cardiologist specializing in heart rhythm abnormalities at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed his residency and fellowships in cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology at Stanford University. He is the former president of the Heart Rhythm Society and the Utah chapter of the American College of Cardiology.
How to lose 100 pounds
Have you ever wondered what happens to the “biggest losers” on reality TV shows? When the cameras stop rolling, do their incredible transformations stick? Not usually.
Researchers have found, in fact, that these contestants’ crash diets send their metabolism into a tailspin, making long-term weight maintenance nearly impossible. In most cases, the weight comes right back and, even six years later, their metabolism is slower than it was before they started filming.
This is what scientists call “metabolic adaptation” and is something you definitely want to avoid. That’s why, no matter how much weight you have to lose, and especially if it’s a lot, you need to take drastic actions that won’t crash your metabolism but will result in long-term sustainable loss, even if that loss amounts to just one pound a month.
In my case, I had 30 pounds to lose to get down to a healthy weight. Ten years later, I have still maintained this weight loss but it hasn’t been without effort. Every day, without ever a miss, I faithfully follow the 4-steps below.
You can do this as well by taking four big-but-doable actions—steps that will re-engineer your environment to make it far more conducive to weight loss. So, here is how to lose 100 pounds in 4-simple steps.
1. Eliminate All Temptations
First, you need to clean the cupboards and the refrigerator. Throw out the sugar and anything with added sugar. Then throw out the flour and anything made with flour. Finally, throw out anything that is processed—that’s basically anything in a can, box or bag that doesn’t still look like the ingredients from which it came. If it’s made by a company, rather than grown by a farmer, it needs to go—even if it “seems” healthy.
Like the famed organizing consultant Marie Kondo going through a cluttered home, you need to go through your kitchen with ruthlessness. As Kondo does to sentimental items, you may choose to thank those foods for their service or, if it pleases you, curse them instead. Either way, these foods need to be gone from your home. Once that is done, it’s off to the store to shop for veggies, fruits, intact whole grains and legumes, nuts and seeds. Your cupboards and refrigerator should now look like a miniature farmer’s market, stocked not with cans, boxes and frozen meals, but with single ingredients that can be eaten separately or mixed together for meals.
Maintaining a healthy weight loss is effortless if you can eliminate all temptations. But, depending on your family situation, this may not be possible. As I have 3 teenagers and a 5-year old, junk food always seems to enter our house. While I encourage the children to keep their junk food out of my sight, this rarely happens. Thus, maintaining my 30-pound weight loss becomes much more challenging as I have to battle temptations daily and rely heavily on steps 2 through 4 below.
The important thing here is to take action and eliminate temptations. In the process of eliminating temptations, you are banking willpower. You are creating a system in which you don’t have to go to war with yourself in your own home. Now, junk food binge eating is a lot harder. To do that, you’d have to leave your home—giving you precious time to let cooler heads prevail.
2. Eat As Many Non-Starchy Vegetables As You Can
Second, now that your kitchen is stocked with healthy foods, it’s time to eat. You can eat as many non-starchy vegetables as you want, as much as you possibly can. It’s almost impossible to eat too many vegetables. Whenever a vegetable runs out, replace it as soon as you can; in your home, eating something healthy should always be easier than eating something unhealthy.
Personally, I shoot for at least 10 servings of vegetables daily. And every day I fill up on at least one massive salad, one massive serving of broccoli, and one massive serving of cauliflower to go along with my other food choices for the day. If I can pack my stomach full of vegetables then it helps me from getting hungry and making poor food choices.
3. Track Your Food and Weight Daily
Third, you need to start tracking your food and weight and face some consequences for bad decisions. There are more things you’ll need to learn to track in the future—but these two things are vitally important. If you aren’t keeping track, you won’t make progress.
Since losing 30 pounds 10 years ago, on three separate occasions I thought I was strong enough to stop recording every bite of food I take every day. And on each of these three occasions, I quickly gained 10+ pounds within a month.
I learned the hard way that no tracking means no awareness. And this is why it’s also important to be accountable to someone, like a trainer or an accountability partner, or something, like an app. In my case, I use the free version of the Lose It app on my iPhone to record every late bite of food I take.
Tracking, or accountability to someone or something, is the “face the consequences” part of this program. For me, I’ll do almost anything to prevent a daily “bad score” on my Lose It app. For others, you may not want to let down your trainer or accountability partner.
There’s no reason for self-flagellation, but putting something on the line can offer a huge boost in willpower. An AFib patient named Heather, for instance, gave her trainer a crisp Benjamin Franklin and instructions to donate it to the election campaign of a politician she abhorred if she failed to make her goals twice in a row. One year down the road, the trainer put the $100 in a card and told Heather to buy herself something nice.
4. Exercise 1 Hour Every Day
Fourth, exercise. An hour a day. And this recommendation for an hour a day is based on research from the National Weight Control Registry. An hour of daily exercise helps to keep your metabolism running at a high level.
It seems that when I encourage my patients to work toward an hour daily of exercise, I usually get at least three excuses as to why they can’t exercise. Everyone can do something. Even my patients who are wheelchair-bound can still do daily arm exercises.
Remember, this is the step that helps you keep weight off. You cannot expect to see changes to your weight from exercise if you’re not also making changes to your diet. And yes, an hour each day is a big commitment—one that can be especially difficult for people who are taking drugs that sap them of their strength or for whom exercise is an AFib trigger. But it’s also a commitment that will help save your life. And it is for this reason that I never miss a daily workout.
If you already have a heart condition and would like to see one of the great cardiologists I work with every day, please call my team at 801-266-3418. My personal practice is 100% limited to patients suffering from documented arrhythmias. Sadly, telemedicine visits outside of the state of Utah are no longer possible due to government regulations following COVID. Also, if you liked the photo attached to this article, it is a painting my son created.
Disclaimer Policy: This website is intended to give general information and does not provide medical advice. This website does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. John Day. If you have a medical problem, immediately contact your healthcare provider. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Dr. John Day is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your medical decisions.