Summer is creeping up on us and so is the crusade for the battle of the bulge with starvation, marathons and diet plans galore. Depending on how much weight you want to lose, often times the results are less than satisfactory. I personally have lost 44 pounds with 11 pounds to go to reach my goal. I thought I would share with you some of the methods I have used/am using to shrink back into those tiny clothes of yesteryear, even my bikini!
The first step of a good weight loss plan is to get an okay from your doctor about the amount you should lose and the type of exercises to do. Most people take this as a clicheand ignore this. This helps keep people on a realistic weight goal and helps to prevent them from injuring themselves while doing exercises they should not have been doing. I also love it when my doctor gives me high fives whenever I go to see him because I dropped another ten pounds. He is a great supporter of my efforts.
The second step is determination. I have to be stubborn about battling my compulsion to over indulge or chances are I will binge within a few days and then quit the diet. No matter what diet plan you choose, if you don't have determination it won't work. Almost all diet plans work with the right mind set. This includes the determination to exercise, as well as to eat the right foods.
Yea, I know. I just said a bad word. Exercise is a very negative term. Only the hard core do gooders like that term. I prefer to call it an activity plan; dancing, biking, weight lifting, kayaking, whatever. Exercise is very important not only for achieving faster results while dieting, but also to lose the weight in the places that you want to lose it. I have found that losing five pounds is pretty much equivalent to losing an inch of fat. You can choose to lose that inch around the bust by just sitting at your desk or around the waist by doing some fun activities. Most people prefer the waist. There are three guides for choosing an activity plan that works for you. 1) choose at least three types of activities that you really enjoy doing, not things that bore you or are hard for you to accomplish or stick with, with at least one of them having aerobic benefits; in other words, you should do an activity that burns at least 350 calories an hour. Here is a link to Nutri-Strategy that gives you the specific counts for certain activities: http://www.nutristrategy.com/activitylist.htm There are several other links from that site that are helpful, also. 2) The activities you choose must be conducive to your desired fat loss areas. If you want to lose the most fat around your mid-section, for example, slow waltzing is not going to help you very much. To get the most benefit, you should choose dances that do a lot of twists and gyrations. Experiment with several variations of the same activity. Rather than sprint walking down the same level street all the time, for example, try hiking some mountain trails or walk up and down several flights of stairs. If you choose different types of variations in your activities you can work different areas of your body and not get bored doing the same thing all the time. 3) Make a daily activity plan with at least one aerobic type activity 10-15 minutes per day, five times a week to lose weight and three times a week to maintain it. ALWAYS BACK-UP YOUR WORK-OUTS 15 MINUTES BEFORE AND AFTER WITH GOOD PROTEIN SHAKES OR SOME SOURCE OF HIGH PROTEIN (15+ gms) FOOD. I put that in capital letters because it is critical to muscle recovery and hydration. Stay completely away from carbs and fat during these times. Drink lots of water during exercise, too.
The third step to persistent weight loss is appetite suppression. Sometimes it is hard for me to tell when I am really hungry and when I am just on an emotional binge. This is when determination is most crucial. You can lose weight without an activity plan (it just makes it a lot harder), but you can't lose weight if you are bingeing all the time. I can usually curb my binges by reminding myself that dieting is only a temporary assignment. It won't last forever and I satisfy my craving with the thought of looking forward to the day when I can eat a big piece of peach pie ala mode again. If I am really craving chocolate or chips bad and can't even work with the obsession of it all, I permit myself one or two small bites and drink a large glass of water very quickly. That is just enough to satisfy the craving. I force myself to put the chocolate away and then I take the emotional baggage that caused the obsessive thought in the first place and transfer it onto more productive activities. If I do binge, and I still do occasionally, I don't let it get me down. The guilt and frustration with myself can really damage my progress. I just step off the scale, shake myself off, and move on. It's only a setback, it's not a total failure.
If I get to a point where I plateau (a week without any weight loss at all,) I stop dieting for awhile and let the weight be what it is. Sometimes this process of building my determination back up takes me a few days, sometimes it takes me several months, but whatever the case, I don't allow myself to gain back more than five pounds of what I lost. I still cut back on the carbs and fats, but I don't fight it anymore. Then, when I'm ready to get back into the ring, I drink a lot of tea and water while forcing myself not to eat anything until I have lost another pound or two, depending on how stubborn my weight is in coming off. I weigh myself several times a day while I'm doing this, so usually this is a fairly quick process. (If 24 hours has passed and I still haven't lost a pound and I'm starving, I do more exercise.) This type of fasting, which in short spurts is not a bad thing, jump starts my diet again.
The fourth step to successful weight loss is to eat the right foods. I am a fond lover of anything sweet and salty, neither of which is helpful to good health and a fine figure. I have found that the saying, it's not what you eat, it's how much you eat, is not true in my case. I can eat just five little potato chips (about what you get in an individual bag) beside my regular meal and gain a pound. If I want to lose weight, I HAVE to stick to eating the right foods. I get kind of sick of fish and spinach and apples, but I have learned to experiment with different recipes. The variations of different spices and sauces are really delightful to the taste buds. Although I don't like to cook much, I have found the challenge of finding easy and tasty recipes to be rather fun. I have begun to treat the whole kitchen affair like a game in which I always win!
The fifth step for losing weight is to keep a daily log of your weight, what you ate (yes, every bite) activities you did, emotional status and comments. This helps to establish a good diet plan that works for you, plus charts your progress. Some people can do alright without this step, but studies have shown that the more dedicated (and honest) you are to the paper work, the better your results. When you feel discouraged you can look at what you have written and see how far you have come. I keep my weight log on the bathroom mirror (with dry erase marker), activity log in my exercise room, emotional and food logs by my desk. That keeps it all as simple as I know how.
The sixth step to success in losing weight is to keep a positive attitude. Attitude is everything in the war against fat. Sometimes that is very hard to do because, if you lose weight properly, it is a very slow process. We want the perfect body NOW; we don't want to have to work so hard for so long. But, it's all about progress, not perfection. I don't believe I can fit into those smaller clothes again, I KNOW I will. It's only a matter of time.
If you really feel you must lose some weight really fast, the HCG diet and drops are probably the most successful over the counter weight loss plan that I have tried. I can lose .5-1 pound a day if I follow the 500 calorie diet that it requires. I would not recommend it for long term plans (longer than 40 days) or if you have some serious health issues, though. It is very expensive, and if you deviate from the strict diet even a few bites, it does not work at all, thus, it is extremely tough to stick with. It is much better to just eat healthy and have fun and take it all one day at a time.