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How to Lose Weight With Common Sense

Updated on February 22, 2011

Obesity is a major illness trotting its way around the globe. People overeat for all kinds of reasons, and I'm not going to debate them here. (Although, you're welcome to read my article about Why Americans Are Fat if you'd like.) Instead, I'm simply going to say that I've been pudgy -- and damned-near fat -- more than once in my life. And I'm now the thinnest I've ever been; and I didn't use a special diet or special exercise program to get this way. What I did do, was change the way I live. Not that I did it intentionally; I liked living a life of uber convenience. I liked sitting on my arse in the drive-thru. I liked being able to order any kind of food I wanted and not have to get out of my pyjamas to get it. I liked driving everywhere. I liked having loads of crap too sugary for an ant in my cabinets. I liked sitting around and watching the 1000+ channels I got on satellite.

And then I moved to Europe, to a country which, while being quite modern in some respects, is still quite old-fashioned in others. For example, you do your daily shopping at the grocery store -- you don't take the Hummer to WalMart's Super Store and pile it high once a month. You don't go to McDonald's every day of the week, and when you do go, you don't super-size everything. You don't sit indoors when the sun is shining and the weather is nice. You don't drive one block to the post office when you could walk. But let me not count the ways life is different now; let me just tell you how I lost weight. The following are simple, if not obvious, tips which most people ignore, despite knowing better. Changing your daily routine or lifestyle doesn't happen overnight, but some of you really need to start trying for the sake of your health.

1. Eat Less.

Sadly, I'm not even taking the piss here. And while it may seem like I'm stating the obvious, there are clearly millions of people who don't get this concept; if they did, they wouldn't be super-sizing everything all the time. I'm not saying eat one meal a day -- I'm saying eat 3 normal-sized meals a day instead of 3 super-sized meals a day.

2. Don't buy crap you'll binge on.

I'm better at ignoring the oreos these days (mostly because you can't buy them here) but I know damned well that if you stuck a bag of super-stuffed oreos in my cabinet today, I would have a super-sized arse tomorrow. Some things are just addictive to some people -- the trick is outsmarting your addiction. If you're a weak fool (like me) when it comes to things like oreos, then JUST SAY NO and don't tempt yourself.

3. Only eat when you're hungry.

Again, this sounds obvious, but if it really were, we'd have less obesity in the world. Some people eat whether they are hungry or not. And I'm not even talking about "comfort eating" here. I'm talking more about having an oral fixation -- which I happen to have. If you've got an oral fixation, natural inclination would be to constantly have something in your mouth. (Let's try not to get perverse, mmkay?) Food satisfies this urge quite well; unfortunately, it also makes one fat. If you've really got to have something in your mouth, try ice-cubes, celery, carrots, or lollipops instead.

4. Don't be a social-over-eater.

Yes, I made that term up. Eating is a means of socializing in the USA. People will go out to a place like Fridays and order up all types of food they don't really feel like eating, just to have something to do with themselves while they are socializing. Hello? Go to a park if you can't keep your hands off the Buffalo wings. And if you really have to go to Fridays, buy a salad instead.

5. Take public transportation.

The less you drive yourself around the more exercise you will get. Even just walking to the bus stop is more exercise than walking to your garage. The same goes for taking the train, the subway, tram or trolly. Ride a bike to work! Rollerblade! Anything is better for you than driving (and it's better for your piggy bank, too.)

6. Drink more fluids.

And no, beer doesn't really count. If you're hungry but it's not time to eat, drink some water. Drink some tea. Drink something that isn't fattening, but will fill you up until it's time for you to eat.

7. Walk.

Walking is the best and easiest way to lose weight. It's less stressful on the body than other activities and it can be very calming and relaxing. Go for a walk after dinner or before breakfast or both and you will start to see results. I use salsacise for toning, but walking is how I keep the weight off.

8. Don't eat things out of their containers.

For example, don't eat ice-cream straight out of the bucket. You'll consume far more than you intended. Instead, give yourself a portion. Same goes for things like potato chips. Portions!

9. Chew your food.

I'm not trying to be facetious here, it's just that many people seem to inhale their food these days. Do you even know what that steak tasted like? How could you? You barely had time to chew it. Chew your food and eat slowly. This will give your body a chance to recognize when it's full -- many people eat far more than they need to eat because they do it so quickly that they don't realize they are already full.

10. Don't starve yourself.

Going a day or two without eating is not going to do your body any favors. That, and you'll just be more likely to eat three times as much when you finally do eat. And then you'll spend four times as long in the bathroom wishing you'd just eaten a normal amount of food to begin with.

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