12/19/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Secret To Permanent Weight Control

The standard weight loss advice doesn't help much. We are told to eat less and exercise more. This doesn't help because it is way too vague. Eat less than what? How much less? Exercise how much more? Eat less of what foods... Too vague for sure.

I will tell you in the next paragraph how to be the weight you want to be and stay there permanently. It is all the information you will ever need. If you use it, you can be successful at achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. I have lost over 50 lbs. and have been maintaining that loss for over 18 years. I have helped hundreds of others do the same. You can do it too. Here is the secret:

To be the weight you want to be you need to balance your calories in/calories out to equal that weight. To do this you need some numbers. To determine how many calories a day you need, women take their weight and multiply it by 10, men use 12. That number is the approximate number of calories you need, without exercise, to maintain that weight. So, for example, if I want to weigh 130 lbs., I need to balance my daily calories around 1,300. I can take in 1,300 calories a day, on average, and/or I can add in some exercise and take in more and still weigh 130 lbs. If I burn 200 calories in exercise, I can take in 1,500 calories.

How to achieve this caloric balance is the hard part. You will need to keep food records and learn the calories and portion sizes of the foods you eat. (Drinks as well if they have calories) Most people aren't willing to do this and continue to try crazy diets and look for a quick fix. Since you need to deficit 3,500 calories in order to lose a pound of fat, there is no such thing as a quick fix. You can lose many pounds of water weight quickly when you go on a crazy diet but that comes right back when you go off the crazy diet. Keeping food records is tedious, I know, but there is no way you can "eat less" if you aren't aware of what/how much you are currently consuming.

One cautionary note: if your weight is high, don't try to balance your calories around a super low weight. Shoot for a 20 lbs. loss to start. For example, if you are a woman and weigh 200 lbs., you are probably taking in about 2,000 calories a day. Start by balancing your calories around 1,800 per day and this will eventually take you down to 180 lbs. Then shoot for 160 lbs. by balancing your calories around 1,600 per day. This gentle weight loss will allow you to lose without feeling too deprived. Extreme deprivation can be fattening as we all have a tendency to binge and throw in the towel completely.

More on how to keep and use a food journal in my next blog. Until then, good luck and let me know how you're doing.

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