How To: Lose Weight and Keep it Off

This section gives many tips on how to reduce and maintain a weight that you are happy with.

If you are happy with your weight you may wish to skip this section and move onto the How To: Follow a Low Carbohydrate Diet section.

How motivated are you to achieve a healthy weight and stay there?
Is it something that you have tried to do before and not reached a weight you were happy with?  Perhaps you did become slim again but somehow the weight gradually returned?
Here are some tips from fellow health minded people to give you some inspiration and help.  
Have a clear picture in your head of how much worse you will look and feel if you keep on your current habits for the next year, five years or ten years.
Have a clear picture in your mind of what benefits you will have when you are a healthy weight or even a little slimmer than you are right now. How will you feel? How will you behave differently?
List the foods that you eat a lot of, that you know you can't resist, and that you know are stopping you losing body fat. If you really cannot resist them perhaps it is best to decide not to buy them and not to eat them at all.
Keep an accurate food and drink diary.  
Plan to eat or have a snack every 4 hours or so to prevent you overeating when you are hungriest.
What activities can you do to relieve stress and boredom?  List the sorts of things you can do indoors and outdoors, in company and alone that you are going to do instead of eating to deal with emotions.
Cut back on your portions.   Measure them.
Stop eating when you are not hungry any more. Not when the plate is empty.
Eat a good breakfast. High protein is best as it fills you up for much longer than carbohydrates. What sorts of high protein breakfast items are you going to stock up on to get your day off to a good start?
Avoid anything other than small portions of sugar and starch. They can be very addictive for some people.  
Eat real food. Avoid the processed package meals that have lots of unhealthy fats, sugars and chemicals added.
Have a high protein or fibre afternoon snack to prevent you gorging at your evening meal.  
Eat your evening meal early enough that you have time to digest it before bed. You will be less hungry with an earlier evening meal too.
Carry a small high protein snack with you. Boiled eggs? Cheese triangles? These are more filling than a danish pastry and will keep you out of trouble.
Eat enough protein at your main meals to stop you becoming ravenous before the next meal.
Shop for food on a full stomach. Your impulse buys are likely to be less.
At a buffet fill a small plate once.
If you have an indulgence get back on track right away. Not Monday and not tomorrow.
How can you reward yourself without using food?
Foods that fill you up include seafood, eggs, meats and  high calcium dairy foods.
Eat meals that contain a  fixed amount of calories or have a fixed portion size.
Think about how you are cooking your food.  Fried food and dressings can easily add a lot of calories.
Stick to your good habits once you are at a weight you are happy with.
Wear attractive neat fitting clothes.
Don't allow yourself to go more than 5 pounds over your goal weight.
Exercise every day if you can and at least three times a week.  
Think ahead about what healthy foods you need to buy so you don't run out.
Weigh yourself or put on a particular close fitting outfit (eg trousers) once a week. You need to know when you are going off track.
Cutting calories one way or another is usually needed to lose weight. A typical weight loss programme for a woman will be 1,200 kilocals and day and 1,800 for maintenance. The type of food won't change just the higher quantity you can allow yourself when you have stabilised at a weight you are happy with.
Look at the internet, books and speak to your friends about what works for them before deciding which plan to commit to. What sort of programme would suit you best?  
Exercise during and after weight loss.
Change aspects of your life that have been making you unhappy. This can help your mood considerably.
Develop other interests in your life that don't involve food and drink.
Low carbohydrate diets tend to cause more weight loss through better compliance than low fat/ calorie counting diets. Lack of hunger is a main advantage. For diabetics or people with metabolic syndrome there are are other benefits such as more predictable blood sugar control, lower blood pressure and healthier lipid patterns.  
Some kinds of diet work better for different people. Do your research and once you decide on a plan stick to it consistently for best results.

Quick Quiz
1. A useful strategy to control your weight is...
      a Write down everything you eat.
      b Write down how miserable you feel feeling fat.
      c Write your will.
      d Write to Santa Claus.

2. You should eat...
      a Only when you are hungry.
      b Regularly around every 4-6 hours during the day.
      c Everything that is on your plate.
      d Everything that is in your fridge.

3. A useful strategy to help you eat less is to...
      a Miss out breakfast when you are not hungry anyway.
      b Divert yourself while you eat by reading or watching television to keep your mind off the food.
      c Stop cravings by eating just a little bit of the food so it has less power over you.
      d Measure out your portions.

Have you got it?
1 a Keep a food diary. Many people lose track of what they really are eating and doing this simple thing improves success. For those who are going onto the low carbohydrate diet sections knowing this accurately is essential for success.

Writing about how miserable you feel will just make you feel more miserable. Not what you want I'm sure.

2 b Regular eating makes it less likely for you to binge when hunger overtakes your best laid plans.

3 d Measuring portions helps. Portion sizes have increased to around double what they were about 20 years ago. Most people will just eat it if it is on their plate without realising that it is more than usual or whether they are still hungry or not.

Breakfast eaters tend to be thinner than breakfast missers.

As for cravings it is very hard to stop once you have started.

Reference Info:
Dr Stephen Gullo's book The Thin Commandments: The Ten No-Fail Strategies for Permanent Weight Loss discusses the common emotional and behavioural patterns that determine how successful we are likely to be in sticking to a food plan for weight loss and weight maintenance.

I have summarised some of his more important tips in this section. If you want to understand more about how your brain could work better FOR you instead of AGAINST you when it comes to dieting, this book is a good start.

Where to Go Next?
Now please continue onto the How To: Learn About Metabolic Syndrome


Additional information