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How To Lose Weight Fast And Keep It Off

Updated on August 13, 2015

What's in this article?

Losing weight doesn't have have to involve a dietitian, sure they know more about how your body works than you do, but losing weight isn't a mystery. A dietitian is highly recommended for those with health concerns, but for the average person, all they do is tell you how to live a new lifestyle, what to eat, how to exercise. I have seen lots of those and they all look the same, it is just about educating the patients to know what to eat. You can do most of that by finishing this article and doing your own research online (from trusted sources).

Whether you are overweight, obese or want to shed some pounds, this article applies to all, it is the same principle.

A study conducted on 200 overweight and obese people was published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found the importance of behavior and lifestyle change in losing weight, one group received and extra hour of therapy to learn how to change their behavior, the other group received an extra hour of low-intensity exercise. In a year, those who had the therapy maintained their weight loss, while the other group members did not.

So for those of you who want to lose weight and stick to it, keep in mind, it's a lifestyle change not just a phase. This is why I don't believe in those diets that promise quick and easy (but not healthy) ways to lose weight. For example: an all veggie diet, all liquid diet, all smoothie diet, volume diets, detox diets or any diet that does not guarantee you getting all the nutrition your body needs and incorporating it with your daily life (The internet is full of them, seems like every day a new diet is invented).

It bothers me when people notice that I lost weight and ask me which diet are you on? I tell them it's my own diet. There is no quick way or a cheat to lose weight while keeping it healthy.

As I said, it's a lifestyle change, not a phase, if you finish a diet and lose weight then go back to the same food or low activity as before, the pounds will return.

Going on a weight loss journey should not be hard, it should not let you suffer. In time you will learn to incorporate this new lifestyle into your daily life without giving up on foods you love. With the satisfaction of knowing and self-learning how you will keep the weight off, live healthy and never worry about gaining weight again.

I am hoping you will incorporate these tips into your lifestyle and live by them as you purge your mind from the unhealthy habits that surround us.

You might like to break this article up into sessions and come back later to continue where you left off, and for those who are new to all this mumble jumble, you might want to review it again later (It's no big deal, it's just how your body works and about your entire life!!)

SUMMARY OF CONTENTS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let's begin by learning why the body stores fat and how to manage it - Calories!

It's all about calories! Yes, that number written on any food item you buy from the supermarket.

For those of you who are familiar with calorie intake and calorie burning, just skip this part or review it one more time because it is absolutely crucial to build your own diet lifestyle that is tailored to your own life and guaranteed to work for you

In the near future, you might find yourself looking up everything you buy at the supermarket and just standing there looking for the number of calories it contains. But with time you will get used to it and learn it so well that you will start guessing the number of calories and nutritional value in each product.

Your body needs energy to fuel it's functions, whether it is breathing, thinking, moving around, cooking, exercising, going up the stairs or just sleeping, every activity requires energy.

The average human body needs a specific number of calories to simply survive and it depends on gender, age, height, activity level, current weight...

  • To maintain weight, eat as much as your body needs daily
  • To gain weight, eat more than your body needs daily
  • To lose weight, eat less than your body needs daily

it's as simple as that, so how to follow this rule?

Accurately determining the calories you burn can only be accomplished by physiological testing. But, you can estimate it by using some web tools like this one

After you have determined your daily calorie need you have to know how much calories are in the food you consume.

Now you've probably heard of the five food groups, the key to eating well is to consume a variety of nutritious foods from each of the five food groups, The Australian Guide To Healthy Eating lists these five groups as:

Click on each for more information on what these groups involve and how much to eat daily.

And yes, you should eat carbs, vegetables, fruits, grains, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and more even on a diet. Your body demands it!

But to control your calorie intake, you must understand how many calories each contains and how much you should eat from each group.

Going on a diet should not involve eating less and feeling hungry! on the contrary, you must snack, stay full over low calorie foods and never feel hunger. Hunger can be a bad thing when you have this urge to eat anything your eyes see! and making bad choices. Eating well guarantees that your body has the energy to go on during the day and be able to exercise efficiently and pick up your metabolism (energy burning) rate, which is important to lose weight.

The crucial part of controlling your calorie intake is to understand how much calories there are in the food you have, for this you have to do some research, start by googling anything you eat from now on, or use google now or Siri and ask using your voice for faster results "how many calories in watermelon", "how many calories in an apple", "how many calories in whole fat milk" or "how many calories in dark chocolate".

Here are some tips of how you should manage your diet:

  • Don't drink bottled juice or home made natural juice! it might be natural and healthy for you, but if you eat a fruit instead you will get more fibers, more nutrients, it will make you feel full and has less calories. Because when you make a fruit juice, you are extracting the water, sugar and flavors in the juice and removing most of the fibers and the nutritious part
  • Your favorite meal might be pasta with sauce and meat, to make this more healthy and less calorie rich, substitute the pasta with boiled vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower with carrots and beans. This way, even with the sauce and meat, you removed a huge amount of calories by substituting the pasta and pretty much tastes almost the same, not only is this low calorie meal, it is also nutritious, full of vitamins and fibers to make you feel full longer, and the removed carbohydrates from taking out the pasta will make you feel less hungry later
  • Always set easily achievable goals, for example losing a pound per week when starting the diet
  • Do not store or keep calorie rich snacks and candy around the house
  • Do not go shopping when hungry to avoid making bad choices
  • Walk more often instead of driving there
  • Keep a daily log and keep track of your exercise and food intake to keep you motivated, there are many apps for your smartphone that can do this
  • Losing weight is a gradual process, do not expect results to show quickly, but as you lose weight and keep going, it will feel amazing

This kind of stuff is what you need to do to incorporate a successful diet into your daily life to lose weight with a smile

Before you know it you will understand the food you are eating and so you can guarantee that you are consuming nutritious foods from the five groups and at the same time switching to low calorie foods and controlling your calorie intake to less than your body burns, so it can burn off calories from stored fat.


Lifestyle change - Food

Technically, you can live a day and lose weight on chocolate bars or bags of chips as long as they contain less calories than your daily need. But, this does not conform with the basic rule of eating from the five food groups to give your body the nutrition it needs and will leave you hungry due to their high calorie content which means you barely eat at all to get your daily calorie need.

So basically I compiled these important rules to follow for a healthy food loss diet:

  • Losing weight is not about eating less or starving yourself (3 to 5 meals per day are a must, digestion is the most energy consuming process in the human body that is done autonomously, so eat more low calorie meals to burn more calories)
  • Try to eat daily from a variety of the five food groups to get enough nutrition to your body and keep a high metabolism
  • Do not starve yourself or deprive yourself of one or more of the five food groups. Not only this would be bad for you, it will leave you hungry so you may make bad food choices later and you might feel tired to go on with your day or exercise
  • Do not eat deep fried foods (fries have at least 10 calories each, technically you can eat a couple, but careful for the calorie intake)
  • Do not eat candy or sweets with high amounts of sugar (and no-added-sugar candy doesn't mean low calories! be careful, read the calorie count before buying)
  • Again do not eat too much sweets or carbs, a plate of pasta, rice, or baked potatoes have a lot of carbs and those carbs will become sugars in your body, when the sugar level spikes, the body releases insulin to lower your blood sugar, when there is a sharp decline of blood sugar, you will feel very hungry and have very bad food choices after a few hours of a high carb meal
  • Do not consume dairy products with full fat content. Instead, skimmed, low fat or no fat dairy are a better option to avoid high fat content (technically you can consume full fat dairy products but keep in mind the amount must be less)
  • Avoid processed foods (Including spreadable cheese or processed meats and fast foods which have a high fat content, salt and harmful chemicals. Remember, natural and fresh is better for you in every way)
  • Eat a lot of salads especially before lunch, due to high fiber amount and low calories, this will aid digestion and make you feel full easier, but be careful from fatty dressings, use olive oil and such instead of mayonnaise
  • Try to steam or boil food instead of frying (I found many of my recipes where frying is involved can be switched to baking in the oven or boiling instead)
  • Have up to 3 servings of fruits per day for it's high content in vitamins, minerals, fibers and antioxidants! (Avoid fruit juices because they do not make you feel as full as the fruit itself and contain less nutrients)
  • Drink a lot of water about 8 to 10 glasses per day, 1 or 2 of which before meals (most people have less water than they should) this will hydrate the body, improves your skin and reduce your appetite
  • Replace vegetable oil, butter or ghee with olive oil or canola oil. and do not excessively heat up oil because it becomes saturated and bad for you. Reduce saturated fats consumption which mostly come from processed and fast foods.
  • Make sure you eat foods high in Omega-3 fats. These are crucial and can be a acquired from lots of different foods including fish, mostly salmon or Sardines, or walnuts and almonds (if you are concerned google it and find foods that are available in your area, but fish or seafood are very important at least twice a week.
  • Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, supplement your body after it's been starving all night to give you the energy you need for your day.
  • Studies and self experience have shown that a good breakfast will reduce your appetite for the whole day (Start your morning out of bed with a glass or two of water and one of the three servings of fruits of the day then breakfast during the first hour after you wake up)

Food tips and tricks

  • Eat slowly, it is very wrong to eat your meal quickly because your brain receives a message from the stomach telling it that you're full to stop eating, in at least 20 minutes. And so, have your meal slowly within 20 minutes and you will feel full but eat less
  • Socialize and converse with your friends or family on the table while eating to spend more time during a meal
  • Leave your spoon or fork on the plate after every bite to help chew better which is the first step of the digestion process
  • Drink 1 to 2 glasses of water 15 minutes before a meal to help make you feel full faster
  • Avoid eating while watching TV, reading, using a computer or any other device
  • Leave the table as soon as you finish eating and remove your plate or any snacks found around your house to avoid the temptation in between meals
  • Studies have shown that people eat less when they use blue plates and smaller spoons or forks

What exactly can I eat? Portion control

Choosing the right food to eat is not always easy, if there is a fine line between what to eat and what not to eat, then you need to follow these rules to ensure a successful diet plan.

  • Carbohydrates (In moderation)
    • One portion:
      • 1/3 cup of rice
      • 3 slices of bread
      • 1/2 cup of pasta
      • 1/2 cup of bulgar (I found bulgur is a good substitute for rice and has half the calories)
      • medium sized baked or boiled potatoe
    • Allowed:
      • All types of bread, but preferably, whole wheat bread for lower calories and more fibers
      • Boiled or baked potatoes without butter or whole fat milk
      • Unsweetened corn flakes or oatmeals
      • Rice and Oats
      • Boiled Pasta
    • Not allowed:
      • French fries or chips
      • Biscuits and donuts
      • Croissants and muffins
      • Pasta with heavy cream sauces or processed cheese and such
      • Noodles
  • Vegetables (Daily average should be 4 to 6 cups or more)
    • One portion:
      • One cup of raw vegetables
      • 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables
    • Allowed:
      • All kinds of fresh vegetables
      • Should be eaten raw, boiled or steamed
    • Not allowed:
      • Fried vegetables such as cauliflower or egg plants
  • Fruits (Daily average should be 2 to 3 portions)
    • One portion:
      • Medium sized fruit
      • 1/2 cup of fresh juice
    • Allowed:
      • All kinds of fresh fruits in moderation
    • Not allowed:
      • fruit Juice which is not fresh or not natural
      • Instant juice powder or syrup (which you mix with water)
      • Canned fruits
  • Milk and dairy (Daily average should be 1 to 2 portions)
    • One portion:
      • One cup of low fat or non fat milk
      • 3/4 cup of non fat yogurt
      • 30 grams of cheese
    • Allowed:
      • Low fat or non fat milk (to avoid saturated fats)
      • Low fat white cheeses
      • Low fat yogurt (Greek yogurt recommended)
    • Not allowed:
      • Full fat milk or yogurt
      • Processed (yellow) cheeses such as cheddar or spreadable cheese
      • Condensed or evaporated milk
  • Red meat, chicken or fish (Daily average should be 1 to 2 portions)
    • One portion:
      • 30 grams of red meat, chicken or fish
    • Allowed:
      • Low fat red meat, chicken or fish grilled, baked or boiled
      • Chicken breast without the skin
      • Turkey and fish without the skin
      • Grilled or baked fish
    • Not allowed:
      • Fatty meats
      • Chicken wings or thighs with the skin
      • Organs such as liver, spleen or tongue (if you're into that)
      • Cold cut meats or canned meats
      • Sausages, bacon, chicken nuggets and others
      • Fried fish
  • Fats and oil (Daily average should be 1 to 2 portions)
    • One portion:
      • One teaspoon of olive oil
      • 8 olives
      • Half an avocado
    • Allowed:
      • Vegetable oils such as olive or canola oil
      • Olives, avocados and raw nuts like almonds or walnuts
      • light low calorie mayonnaise
    • Not allowed:
      • Butter, ghee, mayonnaise, coconut oil or hydrogenated oils
  • Eggs (2 to 6 times a week)
    • One portion:
      • One egg
    • Allowed:
      • Boiled, poached or blanched eggs
    • Not allowed:
      • Fried eggs especially in butter
  • Sweets or candy (In moderation)
    • Allowed:
      • candy from artificial sweeteners, non fat milk, brown flour or egg whites
      • Diet/light jello
      • Dark chocolate
    • Not allowed:
      • Brownies, custard, cake, muffins...
  • Drinks
    • Allowed:
      • Water, tea, coffee, herb drinks or fresh fruit juice (without sugar or with artificial sweeteners)
    • Not allowed:
      • Bottled unnatural juice
      • Soda
      • sugar sweetened drinks

Lifestyle change - Exercise

Exercising daily might sound a lot but it is a very effective way to lose weight fast and after a while it will become a habit, you could start out by walking half an hour daily then picking up speed and every week extend this walk to jogging over a longer period of time. I started out with a half hour walk then picked up speed gradually over a few months until the exercise developed to a 2 hour power walk and run up the mountains, and as I picked up speed, the same distance took 1 hour only. I found that having a partner on a daily exercise schedule made this less boring and really easier to commit to, but it is not an excuse to not get off the couch and get going alone.

I found treadmills really boring and if that's the only way you can do it then it's OK. But consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regime if you have any health concerns.

Anyways, you fill find an exercise suitable for you.

Maybe you heard that losing weight is 90% food and 10% exercise so why should you exercise?
I have to disagree, not only exercising is good for losing weight, exercising is good for almost any problem you face with your body!

Yes you can exercise well and then eat the calories you burned again which makes exercising useless, but remember how many calories an exercise can burn, exercising easily doubles the speed of losing weight if you commit to the diet!

Take for example my case, my body needs about 2200 calories per day, I consumed about 1500 calories (That's about 700 less calories than my body needs), and with exercise I burned around 700 calories. So that is 1400 total calories lost per day.

Why didn't I just eat 700 calories less instead of exercising? Well because there is that balance we talked about, I need to consume from the five groups, I need my high metabolism to burn more calories, I need to have energy throughout my day. So exercising is a great advantage and a necessity.


Exercise tips and tricks

  • Exercise daily for at least half an hour especially aerobics/cardio exercises
  • Start with an easy exercise routine like jogging for at least half an hour daily then pick up speed or find new hiking paths
  • You will endure more as the weeks pass by and you will find that your last month's routine is too easy now
  • Find an exercise partner where you can both go to the gym or walk/hike together


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