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"First time I lost 100 lbs was on a bicycle"

“The first time I lost 100 lbs was on a bicycle.” said the man in my office. Processing this and trying to figure out how this phenomenal weight loss was possible, I heard him add, “actually, the 2nd and 3rd times were on a bike too.” How could anyone lose a hundred pounds, let alone 3 hundreds; alone without a personal trainer, a nutritionist or support even? Looking at him again I guessed he was easily eighty over a healthy weight and over the next year I had the opportunity to see him lose it all again.

It conjured a memory from my single days of a lean, muscular first-date once saying he h

ad “lost 100 lbs in one year, just walking.” I countered, “did you diet?” He said no he ate the same and walked two hours a day. I argued a little more, “obviously you lift weights, too though.” Nope, he said he didn’t start at the gym until AFTER walking off an average of 2 lbs per week for a year. I did the math. Walking burns about a hundred calories per mile and I’d heard a pound of fat is worth about 3,500 calories of energy… his 4.5 mph was probably about 900 calories per day. Something like 1.8 lbs. of body fat per week was about a hundred pounds in just over a year! It was possible!

Like having your foot on the gas and the brake, we have control in both directions!

Calories are a measurement of energy; energy in, energy out like gas in your car. Two hershey’s kisses or 4 cups of unbuttered popcorn, about 100 calories in. Walk or run a mile; about 100 calories out. And if we take in more than we use, we save it for later.

For most of us extra fat seems to just creep up as we get older but what’s really happening is more like putting pennies in a piggy bank. Often we eat the same but our bodies use less as we become less active. Even just a slight shift in this direction looks like this: 100 calories a day more than we use is like one slice of bread, one pat of butter, even one banana or the equivalent and over the course of a year can become about 10 lbs of stored energy in our fat cells. That’s not “bad”, it’s just there, waiting for you to use it up.

Yet when we want to lose weight, we tend to want to do it right away. Magazines promising Lose 40 lbs in 30 days! Deceive us into thinking our modest 1 to 2 lbs. a week seems somehow a failing when it’s just about right. I don’t know how to lose 40 lbs that quickly without losing a limb or two. There are several different ways to accomplish a pound or two of weight loss (or fat burn) a week.

We can eat less, we can move more. We can add muscle and eat the same amount, increasing our metabolism to balance things out. Everyone has advice on WHAT foods and WHICH exercises… but it’s pretty basic. The only advice I offer is don’t fall for gimmicks.


American weight loss is a $66 billion dollar industry and climbing; the problem is, so are American average weights so something isn’t working with what they’re selling us.


Mamma Leighanna’s advice? Keep it simple. 1) Eat real food, slowly enough that you can tell when you’re not hungry anymore, but also not full 2) Move and play enough every day that you’re breathing hard but can still talk to a friend and 3) Choose foods by whether they are what your body needs right now. (ok I have a fourth: SAVOR small amounts of wine and chocolate. Seriously, it works!)

Leighanna opened BalanCenter in 2007 and now offers the most intuitive, skilled and highly trained massage therapists, personal trainers and nutrition coaches in multiple San Francisco Bay Area locations. In 2018 Leighanna and her husband bought KaiaFIIT Davis near Sacramento, CA and are offering women of all ages and fitness levels strength, balance and flexibility as well as nutritional support. “What’s most important to us is your overall health.” Call for more information about health or about business opportunities, including co-owning new locations of these wonderful vehicles for health in our communities. (650)201-9558.

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