Food & Fitness

Operation Lose Five Pounds

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Operation Lose Five Pounds

Carrying around an extra five pounds may not seem like such a big deal, but even just a few unnecessary pounds of fat can be a health hazard. Most of us can significantly reduce our risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes simply by losing about five pounds of excess fat. The benefits of losing five pounds goes beyond the physical to the mental: losing five pounds can vastly increase our energy and boost self esteem.

Due to the sudden return of disordered eating that I’ve dealt with over the past couple months, I’ve gained five pounds. Actually it might be closer to 6 pounds, but “Operation Lose Six Pounds” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. My clothes are just a little too snug and my body feels uncomfortable. For physical health reasons, for emotional health reasons, and- I’ll admit it- primarily for vanity reasons, I’m ready to lose these extra pounds.

It seems like an opportune time: university is over, I’ve moved into my new home, and the stresses in my life have reduced to an extent. More than that, I’ve been able to really address my disordered eating problems and- I think- resolved them at this time. Inspired by the sistertraveller’s motivation to return to a healthy weight, I’ve been spending the past couple weeks looking at all angles of my emotional eating issues and figuring out the best way to ensure the pounds come off and, more importantly, stay off.

The number on the scale certainly is not the be-all end-all: being more muscular can translate to a higher number on the scale, and our age, gender, height, and body shape differences can show drastically different numbers on the scale. But if you’ve noticed that the scale has gone up, like me, and that you don’t feel good, then it’s a good indication that losing five pounds could be beneficial to you.

It’s been a while since I have actively had to go about losing weight rather than maintaining, and it’s surprised me how difficult it has been the past couple weeks to get a start on “weight loss”. I forgot that you have to deal with feeling a little bit hungry and that sort of thing (which I have not been adapting well to at all. It takes some adjustments to reduce our intake of food by enough that it makes a difference but not by so much that we become famished and over-eat later on in the day!).

Here are a few key things that we should all do before jumping in whole-heartedly to the business of losing and keeping off a few pounds:

1. Understand why you want to lose weight.

As discussed above, our physical and mental well-being can benefit hugely from losing a bit of weight. For myself, I would also like to lose the five pounds to increase my energy so that I can run another 6km race this summer, and to appease my vanity so that I fit into my pants comfortably 😉 But seriously. My jeans have become embarrassingly tight. I want to be able to properly fit in them because it’s the right size for me when I fit into my jeans comfortably and without strain.

2. Realize what obstacles you will face and begin to figure out how you will address them.

I eat pretty healthy for the most part, in terms of eating real, whole food. The unhealthy thing about how I eat is the sheer size of my portions. I’m aware that I’m eating far more than is necessary, so now I need to take steps to control portion sizes. This means that I will be using my measuring spoon for nut butter, for example: typically, if I have nut butter on toast, it’s 1/2 tbsp for my bread and a tbsp or two for my tummy. So I will be cutting back on nut butter by using my measuring spoons and making sure I don’t dip back into the jar for “just a little taste”.

Another issue I have is my love of carbs. Specifically, grain-based carbs! I am a happy girl if you give me a loaf of multigrain bread and a tub of Earth Balance. But when it comes to weight loss, even whole grains aren’t going to be helpful if we eat too many of them.

3. Identify your trigger foods and take steps to avoid them.

Much as I love popcorn, I’ve come to the sad realization that (at least at this point in time) I cannot eat popcorn when I’m alone. It causes me to overeat and it also makes me have huge cravings. To prevent this from happening, I am now only going to have popcorn when I’m with others or if I make it at home and then bring it with me to work as part of my lunch. I’m beginning to realize that grains in general seem to have this affect on me, which is probably a good indication that I should be upping my protein intake and reducing my grain intake.

4. Replace your cooking hobby with something else.

I love to cook. And bake. And for the most part, it’s healthy stuff. At the same time, I think that spending so much time in the kitchen makes my life revolve around food a bit too much. I want to try to get back to the basics of simple, easy dishes (for the most part). Now that university is over, I am only working part time (but am job-hunting to ensure that I can afford my condo, haha); this means that I have much more spare time than before. I used to love sewing but I really got away from it over the past couple years because life got so busy, so I am hoping to incorporate that into my life again.

Disclaimer: Although I’m calling this “Operation Lose Five Pounds”, I feel the need to stress that this isn’t so much about the “pounds” as it is about healthifying the body. This might mean losing inches around the waist instead of pounds. If I fit into my pants and like what I see in the mirror and I still happen to be at my current weight, then I’ll consider that a success. But I have found that my body functions at its best when it’s about five pounds lighter, so that’s why I’m talking about “pounds” rather than inches etc.

Having some kind of timeframe is also a good idea when embarking on weight loss; otherwise, I could say “I’m trying to lose five pounds” for the next year and not make any actual progress. So, I’m going to aim for roughly seven weeks from today: June 25th. Ish. That will be a nice steady 1-lbs loss each week (I hope). It’s important to lose (or gain!) slowly so that the body has time to adjust. Plus, I want to lose weight and drink wine, too. I don’t want to be super-strict about this: just try to adopt some healthier, more mindful strategies than what I’ve been doing.

Not everyone, of course, needs to lose weight. Some need to gain weight instead. Or maybe you’re at just the right healthy weight for who you are! In any case, leave a comment to let us all know where you stand. I’d be curious to see where we’re all at! Will you be joining in on Operation Lose Five Pounds? Are you going to do your own variation (using inches instead of pounds, or gaining weight instead of losing it)?

Next post, I’m going to offer some tips and ideas for how you can sneakily arrange your cupboards to influence your subconscious to eat healthy! What steps do you take to ensure that you are mentally ready for losing weight?

I know. Who talks about jumpstarting weight loss on a Friday? If you aren’t up to starting a weight loss program on a weekend, then maybe take the weekend to think about where you stand and how you might deal with your own obstacles.


  1. asithi

    Actually Friday is a good day to jumpstart a diet. I am one of those people who eats healthy and exercise all week (because of the rigidity of the work schedule) and tend (ok, always) indulge on the weekend. So for someone like me, the best time to diet is always before the weekend start. Good luck.

  2. Holly

    Loved this Sagan!

    I am really trying to get a handle on my eating (read: not bouncing back and forth between binges and a little restriction). It’s no fun to live that way, and I think all of your tips are wonderful! I am also at the point where I cannot keep my trigger foods in my house. I DO hope to be there one, day, though – since all of them are things I love! I’m anxious to hear your tips on rearranging your cupboard. Maybe those will come in handy when I reintroduce those things back into my pantry!

  3. Dr. J

    On no, not popcorn!!!

    Whether 5 or 50, the principles are the same.

    Actually, if you are a healthy eater already, it’s a little harder to find ways to clean up our diets. I saw a show the other day where a very well conditioned, large not fat, rugby athlete ran on a treadmill and lost 16 pounds in one session!! Not fair is it 🙂

    Popcorn? Must have been a typo…

  4. Sagan Morrow

    Amanda- I’m glad you enjoy 🙂

    Asithi- Some people might thiink it’s more difficult to navigate healthy choices on a weekend. My problem- like you- is not having a rigid schedule. If I have tons of time off, I might spend a good chunk of it exercising… but I’m also likely to spend a good chunk of it wandering into the kitchen to munch. Not so good! Finding healthy choices isn’t as big of an issue, I find, as just managing portion sizes.

    Holly- I agree with you: it can be really difficult to keep trigger foods in the house but it would be WONDERFUL to reach that point. I just ran out of peanut butter a couple days ago, and IT is one of my trigger foods, so I’m going to hold off from buying another jar at least for a little while, and see if that is any help.

    Michelle- I sure hope so!

  5. Maggie

    I’m in!

    I have been trying to lose maybe 6-7 pounds for the last 2 months. I gained from late November through the end of February and then maintained for the last two months… but I gotta get serious about losing it now that my wedding is coming up in July. I know that 7 pounds is not much to lose in 2.5 months, so I know I can do it.

    My problem is carbs at night. After dinner I will eat a few bowls (big bowls) of oatmeal, and/or bread, and/or rice, etc… I’m thinking that for a week I want to cut that out completely, and then slowly add it back in while monitoring closely and with moderation.

    This is like my “operation wedding”. Keep me accountable!!

  6. Pubsgal

    I’m in! It’s not impossible, but it seems to hard to do lately. I figure there’s not much else I can do fitness-wise, so I have to face it on the food front. I’m calorie tracking, with an emphasis on moderate and primarily fruit and veggie carbs I’m aiming to eat about 200 calories less than I usually do, and to go easier on the nuts than I have been lately. I’ve also committed to tracking my food all week long, instead of tracking and doing fine during the week, then pretending that calories don’t count on the weekends. 😛

    I’ve noticed my weight creep up gradually since last summer (about 5-10 pounds depending on the scale reading du jour). I’d like to fit better into the stuff I bought last summer. I’d also like to get within the waist measurement health guidelines; that seems to be the last place from which the excess body fat wants to come off, though, on my type of body.

    Good luck to all of us!

  7. julie

    Hi Sagan, glad you like my post. I’m noticing more and more in this world how portion sizes can make or break weight loss efforts. I think a person can eat ANYTHING and lose weight if they ‘re careful of portions, but not everyone wants to eat 2 bites of cake, one and only one slice of bacon, or one cup popcorn. It’s hard to find ways to cut back when already eating healthy, I’m worried about feeling deprived if I push too much, give up too many indulgences.

    I wonder about the grain thing as well. I think I don’t lose weight if I eat too much bread or rice noodles, irregardless of caloric balance. Maybe I’ll try to stick to whole intact grains, as I do think they’re healthy, but don’t like them enough to overeat them.

  8. Emergefit

    “Carrying around an extra five pounds may not seem like such a big deal, but even just a few unnecessary pounds of fat can be a health hazard.”

    In an era when bicyckes are measured in ounces, 5 lbs. is like a ton.

    ” I am a happy girl if you give me a loaf of multigrain bread and a tub of Earth Balance.”

    I live this regualry. It is this “odentify and avoid” process you write about tah helps me keep it at bay.


  9. Michelle @ Find Your Balance

    My husband is in this situation now. I don’t think he’s ever had to try to lose weight in his life before! For him, it’s all about exercise. I mean, he could clean up his diet for sure (ahem…lose the soda…) but he hasn’t been exercising or moving at all lately! Good luck to you and let me know if I can help!

  10. Sagan Morrow

    Maggie- A big event is good motivation- we’ll keep you accountable! 😀

    Pubsgal- Me too! All of it. We can do it!

    Vered- Very true. My problem, though, is that I don’t keep junk food in the house; I have to keep things like all-natural nut butter and popcorn kernels out of my house because THOSE are my “trigger foods”. It’s tricky when healthy foods are actually triggering.

    Julie- I think you’re right; it technically doesn’t matter what we’re eating in terms of weight loss, it’s more the PORTION sizes that really count. Whole grains are healthy, but it’s easy to overeat them, which is why they’re a good thing to cut back on.

    Cammy- Nope! I’m more interested in being HEALTHY but still fitting in my clothes. And, as always, ENJOYING myself 😀

    Emergefit- Good point about the weight. Even a bit can be a big impact.

    Michelle- Get your husband to read my blog for the next month or two and he should be able to lose the weight 😉

    Charlotte- We’ll be able to get off these extra pounds!

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