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Easy Rules to Lose Weight

Updated on April 17, 2020
Dan Carbon profile image

The author is currently doing his MSc. in Medicine. He is board member of IFMSA Ghent which has a healthy food program.

First of all, I am not a medical professional (yet). These are some rules I use myself to keep my weight under control. I wanted to share these so that maybe other people could also benefit from them. You can follow all these rules, or chose to follow only some. Which rule you follow, is completely up to you.

Go for a Walk Every Day:

If you are like me you hate exercise, especially jogging. You need to change your outfit, you sweat a lot and you feel like you're dying. It is not sensible to force yourself to get exercise if you hate it. You can only fail. That's why it's better to have a half-hour walk every single day in stead of jogging. A half-hour walk could burn as much as 200 kcal! If you do this every single day, you'll lose two pounds a month (6000 kcal in 30 days), just by walking. Because walking is moderate exercise, your heart rate stays low enough so it burns mostly fat. Try to walk at least 30 minutes, the more you walk the more weight you lose.

You also get the added health benefits from having enough moderate exercise, like less risk of heart decease, higher metabolism and mental benefits. If you chose to follow only one of my rules, do this one. I'm serious!

It is not sensible to force yourself to get exercise if you hate it. You can only fail.

Don't Eat Anything after Dinner

I used to eat before the TV. On a night I could easily eat a full bag of chips without even being hungry. When I stopped doing that, my body was really craving for food every evening for a week. After that, that feeling just stopped as I conditioned my body that after dinner was not a time to eat. This saved me a tremendous amount of calories and I significantly lowered my intake of salt as a side effect. If you really have to eat something, try to eat things that contain almost no energy like slices of carrot or raw cauliflower, whatever you like as long as it contains almost no calories. Your body must learn that it cannot ask for calories after a certain hour.

Make Smart Switches in your Food

I love making improvements that you don't even notice but that will benefit me in the long run. It is like changing a classic lightbulb for a LED-bulb, you don't see the difference, except when you need to pay the electricity bill. You can do the same in your food. If you could change some ingredients for healthier ones without you noticing the difference, you can only profit. Unfortunately in the real world you will notice a difference, but hopefully the difference is small enough for you to really bother. Some examples are skim milk, skim cheese, whole-wheat pasta...

Big disclaimer: Most light products are not healthier than their normal versions. Most products contains more sugar to compensate for the loss in fat. People also tend to eat more of the product because they can eat more for the same calories. This is not the case for diary products. They do contain less fat without adding more sugar. The same with light mayonnaise.

Your latte could contain more calories than you think...
Your latte could contain more calories than you think...

Stop Drinking Calories

How much soda do you drink a day? How much calories is one serving? Multiply those two numbers and you know how many calories you could save by not drinking them. The best thing to drink if you're thirsty is water. Other things that contain zero calories are (decaf) coffee, tea, sparkling water, diet soda*...

*Avoid drinking diet soda, it keeps you addicted to sweet things. But if you cannot let go of soda, it is better to drink diet soda.

Eat When You Are Hungry and Eat Slowly

Sounds simple enough, but a lot of people eat at a certain time because they are used to eat at that time. And when they eat, they sometimes continue to eat even when they are not hungry anymore. If you eat slowly, you have time to feel the signals your body sends you. It could also help to put smaller amounts of food on your plate. It is an extra barrier to put some extra food on your plate and it gives you time consider if you are still hungry or not.

Disclaimer: If you are hungry at night because you are used to eat in front of the TV, this rule does not apply. If your body is used to receive food at 10 PM, it will demand food at 10 PM. Your body needs some time to adapt. After a while your body will ask for food because it is in need of nutrients, not because it is used to receive nutrients at that specific time.

Stand on the Scale Daily

This is a hard one, I know. But you just cannot run away from your problems. The benefit of weighing yourself daily is that you can make changes quickly when you weight goes up in stead of down. You can chose to ignore your weight for a few days, a few weeks, maybe even a few months, but that cannot last forever. I also did that once until my pants didn't fit me anymore.

It is better to monitor your weight closely. To measure is to know and to do something about it, before it is too late.

To measure is to know and to do something about it, before it is too late.

Get a Fitness Tracker

For the same reason as weighing yourself daily. It is a good thing to have stats about your health. This way you can make adjustments if necessary. I have a Fitbit Charge 3 and it has an option to let me know if I didn't take enough steps that day. It also gives me rewards when I achieve certain goals which is really encouraging.

Just remember: To measure is to know and to do something about it, before it is too late.

Do Sit-Ups (and other Exercises too)

Sit-Ups do help. Not because they burn calories (well they do, but not nearly enough to make a difference). Not because bigger abs raise your metabolism (also they do but only training your abdomen won't make that much of a difference).

You do sit-ups because you are doing something. Sometimes people just need to know that they are at least doing something to fix their problems, even though it has very little effect. It makes them feel in control of the situation. A lot of people think that they really need to do exercise to lose weight and feel guilty if they don't.

The added benefit of doing sit-ups is that after a while you can see that your stomach looks more muscular and a little flatter. Also by training those abs, you are making them shorter so they are less easy to stretch to make place for more food in your stomach. So in theory you can eat less.

If you combine the sit-ups with squats, pull-ups and push-ups, let's say you do each exercise 50 times every other day, then you have a killer workout that doesn't take much time and give enough muscle growth to really boost your metabolism!

Stay Away from Unhealthy Food

The most effective is just not to eat things you know are unhealthy for you. I am not talking about everyday food, but the food that is known to be bad for your health. Your body absolutely doesn't need chips, happy meals, kebab... If you eat these a lot, then this rule should be your first priority.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Dan Carbon


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