Lose Weight and Keep It Off - Ten Tips

Losing weight can be very difficult for some of us. Losing weight and keeping it off can be even harder. We all seem to be looking for the same thing - quick guaranteed weight loss. There are any number of diet plans that will yield quick results. Some of them even offer a fairly high margin of success in the maintenance phase.

The Holy Grail of all dieters though, is the plan that guarantees quick, permanent weight loss, with little effort. Of course, the plan should also offer a wide variety of tasty foods - preferably of foods you love to eat - and not require you to make any changes to your lifestyle. Unfortunately, no such plan exists that actually delivers all these requirements - at least not at the time of this writing. No matter how much we would like to eat and drink as we please, and not make any chnges in our lifestyles, that is just not possible.

Inspiration - photo credit: aboutweightloss.com
Inspiration - photo credit: aboutweightloss.com
A steaming cup of coffee - photo credit: www.myspace.com
A steaming cup of coffee - photo credit: www.myspace.com

Wake up and smell the de-caff

True, some plans are far less painful than others - less restrictive, more palatable, and easier to maintain. It is definitely worth your while to do some research and choose a plan that looks workable for you.

Not all diet plans are created equal, nor do all diet plans work equally well for everyone who tries them. Some do well on a restricted carbohydrate plan, while others lose quickly and easily by restricting fats. Still others do well on portion or calorie control plans, such as meal replacement or points plans.

There are a number of things you can do, though, regardless of the plan you are using (or not using) that will, over time, guarantee weight loss. By making them lifestyle changes, you will not only lose weight, you will keep it off permanently.

Cool, clear water...

Fresh, clear water - photo credit: filterwaterdirect.com
Fresh, clear water - photo credit: filterwaterdirect.com

Five Tips for Weight Loss

1. Drink plenty of water. Yes, every food guide in the world tells you to drink water. Eight glasses per day is a recommended minimum, but how many of us drink that much water? We'd rather drink a soda, fruit juice, a fancy, calorie-laden coffee beverage, or even a flavored sports drink. We have no excuse in North America as almost everyone has access to an unlimited supply of clean tap water. Pop a pitcher of water into the fridge, and serve it over ice with a sprig of fresh mint and a twist of lemon for a refreshing natural beverage that is naturally good for you. A single, 8 oz. glass of water before meals will help you feel full faster, allowing you to eat less.

2. Add fresh fruit to your diet. Many of us drink fruit juices, or fruit flavored drinks, but these do not have the same nutrients, fiber, and anti-oxidants as the whole, fresh fruits. Whole fruits, especially berries are a good source of Vitamin C. There is more Vitamin C in strawberries, gram for gram, than in oranges. Blueberries are also a great source of micro nutrients and anti-oxidants. Adding fresh, whole fruits and berries to your diet not only adds flavor and variety, and can be used as healthy substitutes for high fat, high calorie snacks.

3. Eat more vegetables. Fresh vegetables and raw vegetables are the best. Many vegetables loose valuable nutrients when cooked, and are best served raw, or lightly steamed or sauteed. Raw vegetables are high in fiber, and are a tasty and healthful replacement for high salt, high fat, high calorie chips, and other dipping snacks. Add a low-cal ranch-style dressing in place of a traditional dip, and you will save even more calories. Those savings will gradually add up in lost poundage over time.

4. Use a smaller plate. Strange as this may seem, and simplistic as it sounds, using a smaller plate does make a difference in how much it takes to fill you up. Choosing a luncheon plate over a dinner plate means less food is needed to fill the plate. Even if you are used to eating two helpings, filling a smaller plate twice still doesn't add up to the same amount of food. As well, because our eyes see a full plate, our brain tells us we've eaten more than we actually have.

5. Eat more slowly. Many people who are overweight tend to eat very quickly, and not chew their food properly. We all continue eating eating until our brain tells us we are full. By slowing down and chewing our food more carefully, we actually take in less food before the message is sent. People who eat quickly take in far more food before that signal is received than they would if they ate more slowly. It really is that simple - slow down and enjoy the flavor of your food, and you will naturally eat less.

Five More Tips

6. Start with soup or a salad. It's a proven fact that when we eat out and start our meal with a bowl of soup or a green salad, we consume up to a third fewer calories than if we started with the entree. Soups and salads also contain fewer calories than a typical entree, for an added saving. Starting your meal with a large tossed salad fills you up faster on low-calorie, low-fat, fresh vegetables, and makes you less prone to want dessert, or to eat as much as you might have, had you skipped the salad.

7. Cut out the junk food. If the idea of chowing down on plain carrots or celery sticks makes you run for the nearest corner store for a bag of chips, buy the dip instead, and serve a variety of fresh vegetables in place of the chips - raw mushrooms, sliced peppers, cauliflower and broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes, raw turnip sticks, sliced jicama root. That alone will halve the salt and fat load. Choose whole grain, baked crackers instead of deep-fried snacks. Substitute air-popped popcorn for micro-waved. Ice cream is a dessert, not a main course, so choose a smaller dish for your treats, and remember, as much as we would like it to be, chocolate is not a food group.

8. Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are generally higher in fats, salt, and sugar. That's what makes them taste so good. This means when you go shopping, you should stick to the outside aisles of the supermarket where the unprocessed staples are - eggs, meat, poultry, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Marketing managers are becoming more clever, and some stores place their bakeries and delis on or near the outside aisles, and it can take some vigilance and determination to avoid the ready-to-eat traps, especially if you are hungry. Read the labels, and know what you are putting on your table and into your mouth. Processed foods may be great time savers, but they also can be full of chemicals and preservatives. A general rule of thumb might be, "If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't eat it."

9. Plan your menus. When you're trying to lose weight, planning your meals is essential. Menu planning gives you the opportunity balance your meals and improve their nutritional value, as well as greatly reducing the tendency to "just grab something quick" when you're hungry and rushed - particularly on the way home from work. Spending the time to plan your menus for the week and then shopping for those ingredients will not only lessen the stress of wondering what to serve, it will also save you money by cutting down on impulse buying.

10. Get moving. Becoming more active will not only assist in your weight loss, it will have long-term health benefits. You will feel better, and be able enjoy your life more. It won't take much of a change to make a large impact over time. You don't need to take out membership in a gym, or buy expensive equipment. Start small and work your way up - 5 minutes of exercise, two or three times a week can make a significant difference. Going for a brisk walk several times a week would be a great next step. You don't have to run marathons. Start with once around the block and work your way up from there. The main thing is to decide that this is a change you intend to make, and then stick with it.

Time for a change...

One more tip - this one is from Oprah's personal trainer. Eat nothing after 8:00 p.m. According to him, it's very important to stop eating by that time as anything you eat then will not be used up as fuel. It will just hang around as excess weight.

For what it's worth, a friend who suffered badly from acid reflux, and rarely ate dinner before 8:30 or 9:00 p.m., was told by his doctor to eat nothing after 8 p.m. After changing his meal time to 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. at the latest, not only did his reflux clear up, but he finally started to lose weight.

The biggest factor in any weight loss program is actually starting the plan and sticking with it. Sounds simple, but anyone who's ever faced that particular "Rubicon" or river of destiny knows how very difficult it can be to get started one more time.

Whether you have had limited success in the past or failed miserably and gained it all back time and time again, these tips will help you lose weight and keep it off. Your biggest weight loss aid though, is your attitude. You have to want it enough to stop day-dreaming, wishing, or thinking about it, you have to want this badly enough to make the necessary changes in your lifestyle and stick with them.

Start small. Do the easy things first, and once they become habits, move on to the next. Keep going, and one day you will look in the mirror and see a healthier, happier, thinner you.

© 2010 Imelleda

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12 comments

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

Extremely thorough good tips. Love your side-bars too. Good luck on your pick.


Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Very well written. I love your very sensible tips. Eating after 8P.M. is the most difficult one. Great Job! and good luck!

Sage


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

Very well-written and you covered the subject with good useful details. I hope you win for I'm voting for you. Good luck!


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Great basis steps for having a healthy diet for weight loss. Thanks for sharing and congrats on being selected as a contender in the 2nd week's best hub contest. :)


Imelleda profile image

Imelleda 6 years ago from East of the Sun, West of the Moon Author

Thanks so much, angInwu. I hope I win too, but it's really nice just to be recognized ;)

Thanks Sage! That one kills me, too. Especially if I went a bit light during the day.

Thanks, Money Glitch. Pretty nifty to have both hubs selected, too. Thanks!


wordscribe41 6 years ago

Great tips, Imelleda. Water really does have an appetite suppressant effect, I SO wish I would drink more of it. I always seem to head for a diet soda. Naughty me. I definitely agree with the menu planning tip. No doubt, if it weren't for that our family would be eating off the "no no menu" far too often. Anyway, this is a wonderfully put together and well-written hub. Cheers!


Imelleda profile image

Imelleda 6 years ago from East of the Sun, West of the Moon Author

Thanks so much, wordscribe41. I really appreciate your comments, and congratulations on your winning!


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hey, congrats, keep on writing girl! Maita


Imelleda profile image

Imelleda 6 years ago from East of the Sun, West of the Moon Author

Thanks, Maita - I sure plan to! ;)


Imelleda profile image

Imelleda 6 years ago from East of the Sun, West of the Moon Author

Thanks for your comments, screation. I've added them here without you link. I really liked your hub, though, so I added it and a link to it in the links capsule above.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

All very sensible tips and advice. Rated up.


Imelleda profile image

Imelleda 5 years ago from East of the Sun, West of the Moon Author

Thanks so much, KoffeeKlatch Gals! So nice of you to stop by and comment :D:D:D

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