Diets That Work To Help You Lose Weight

Before I go any further I should probably confess to one thing. I am not drastically overweight.

If you look on the height-weight charts I usually fall into the healthy range but make occasional forays into the overweight category. It's during those periods that I generally decide upon the need to take some action and start a new diet.

The trouble is that like most people my desire to be thin (well, ok thinner) is far, far greater than my willpower. Every January sees me with yet another resolution that somehow I will lose weight. If I have a deadline I can generally be successful; when I needed to lose weight to get married I did it very easily. Something to focus the mind really seems to help.

I know that you are not to supposed to just diet for a period, lose weight and then put it all back on again slowly over the next few months, but let's be realistic. That is what people like me, who are just a little heavier than we would like to be, do. We are probably never going to be stick thin, but we are concerned enough to realise that when our weight gets out of the healthy range we need to take action. We aren't concerned enough to make the huge lifestyle changes that would be required to make us actually model thin, but we don't want to be unhealthy.

So, I thought I would write about the diets that I have had success with. The ones that have got me to my target weight relatively painlessly and within a reasonable timeframe. The truth is that when I was younger I occasionally crash dieted too, but whilst I lost weight I also got anemic, which defeats the whole point of keeping my weight under control for health reasons.

How I want my belly to look after my diet. Of course, it never does!
How I want my belly to look after my diet. Of course, it never does!

The Diet Recommended By The Australian Govt.

Lite N Easy

Lite n Easy is an Australian weight loss program that delivers fresh and frozen ready cooked meals to your door. It offers choices of different calorie levels so you can choose the rate at which you lose weight. There are different programs to select from but I used the full diet plan which meant that all of my meals, seven days a week were delivered to my house. This also included all snacks.

Each meal offers a choice of two menu items and I was very surprised to find that they were very tasty. There were a few things about it that I noticed, such as that the portions of certain items were much smaller than I would have at home. Bread rolls were about half the size of the normal ones that I get. Nonetheless I never felt like there wasn't enough food. In fact, surprisingly I felt like there was too much if anything. Sometimes I almost had to force myself into eating the snacks.

Although this diet isn't available all over the world there are similar alternatives in many countries.

The good news is that I did lose weight on this plan. I only lost slowly at the rate of one to two pounds a week, but this was despite the fact that I did cheat a fair bit. By this I mean that I ordered the meal plan with the least amount of calories, but had a small glass of wine each night. I'm sure that if I had cut out the glasses of wine I would have lost even more. I used this plan for about six weeks the first time and ended up losing about 11.5 pounds which I was very happy with. The second time I only did three weeks and lost about 5.5 pounds.

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I know that Atkins has a bad reputation and frankly I'm not that surprised. I had the old pre-revamp Atkins book and it was brutal. Not only that but the book was fairly long and it was surprisingly easy to make mistakes that rendered the whole thing totally invalid. Also, it was too easy to forget important things like the absolute necessity to take vitamin supplements whilst you were on it. Fortunately Atkins has now been overhauled and there are masses of foodstuffs to help you through it as well as a new (much healthier) plan and shopping guides.

Having said that, even in the case of the older version of the book, Atkins works. I mean it really, really works. I lost a lot of weight on it, and fairly quickly. The only problem is that I really did constantly feel on the old Atkins that it wasn't a particularly healthy way to eat- at least, I didn't feel healthy when I was on it. So I was thrilled to see that the new Atkins includes what I consider to be a much, much healthier way of eating. The only downside I didn't lose weight quite as fast, but, I still lost a lot and I did it in a much more healthy way, so I think overall that is an improvement.

Atkins isn't my favourite diet because I am something of a carb and cake addict, but I said that I would write about the diets that work, and this one really, truly worked for me.

UPDATE: There is now a new updated Atkins book out since I wrote this review and it seems to be a lot healthier, with less fats and more fruit and veg. So, I may be back on it come January!

Healthy Fruit And Veg
Healthy Fruit And Veg

My Own Home Made Diet

This isn't scientific, it isn't doctor recommended, it isn't any of those things- but it works for me.

Every now and then when I am getting a bit low on clothes that I can still do up, or when the scales are telling me that I soon will be, I implement a little eating plan of my own. It is loosely based on the premise of the Atkins diet that it is carbohydrates that make you fat. I believe that premise to be true having used the Atkins diet, so when I want to lose weight I often just cut some carbs out of my diet.

Whilst the Atkins program is drastic I don't do it in a drastic way at all. Rather, if we are having chicken, rice and vegetables for dinner I knock out 75% of the rice and give myself extra chicken. Instead of two slices of toast for breakfast I knock out one slice and add an egg if I find I am still hungry. You get the picture. The funny thing is that although it isn't anything like as drastic as the Atkins diet it still works. Just by cutting down a little bit on the carbs at every meal I find that I lose weight.

Of course, it doesn't make me lose weight quickly; quite the opposite. I lose a couple of pounds a week, but the thing is that I barely notice that I am doing it. Don't bother trying this if you want to lose weight quickly though, as it really won't work. What it is though is the closest I have ever got to finding something that might be sustainable for me in the long term.

Exercise just doesn't make me lose weight... and it makes me HUNGRY!
Exercise just doesn't make me lose weight... and it makes me HUNGRY!

Exercise Doesn't Work For Me

Many years ago, before I had children and when I had a little time for myself, I used to be a gym bunny. By that I mean that at least 3-4 times per week I used to go to the gym and work out. I would spend about an hour and a half doing cardio, some light weights and then swim about a mile. The interesting thing though is that as soon as I started to do this I actually gained weight. Now, I'm not just talking about the kind of weight that you gain by turning fat into muscle. I'm talking about the kind of weight that you gain that means that you can't do up your clothes. Even my face got fatter.

I have subsequently read that many people, when they increase their energy requirements by exercising, immediately increase their food intake, usually without realising it. I think this is what I was doing and have always done every time that I try to lose weight by exercising, as I simply never lose weight either in actual pounds or in inches.

However, I still think that it is important to exercise whilst you are trying to lose weight. I try and go for a few half hour walks a week at the very least. What I do now is just make sure that I don't increase my food intake to compensate. The truth is that I like to try and tone up a little bit if I can because even the thinnest people don't look great if they are thin but untoned.

Last time I got thin(nish) for me, I noticed that even though I felt quite slim I still had the body texture of a marshmallow. I really did need a bit more muscle tone. So I just made sure that I walked a bit, went on a few bike rides with my kids and tried to run around with them in the park. Although I know this isn't going to give me the body of Jennifer Aniston I'm hoping it will stop me getting any more wobbly than I already am!

In conclusion

I haven't set out to tell you how to lose weight in this hub. If you need to lose a lot of weight your doctor is the best person to advise you how to do it. Rather, I just wanted to set out what options have worked for me in my never ending quest to lose a few pounds here and there.

If you have had great success with any methods that don't involve crash dieting I would love to know via the comments form below; it is January as I write this and my mind is again turning to the fact that I need to lose my Christmas weight!

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