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Sure Fire Weight Loss on the Cheap

Updated on December 5, 2011

Lose 30 Pounds in 6 Months - I Did and You Can

Are Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem just too expensive? Are you self-motivated so you don't need a costly meeting to keep you on track? Do you realize that the only thing weight loss supplements make thinner is your wallet? If so, this article is for you.

Materials suggested: walking shoes, resistance bands, measuring cups and spoons, a notebook and pen, access to a scale for weighing yourself, Natow and Heslin's "The Calorie Counter", "Recipes for Weight Loss" from the Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library, and the American Heart Association "Cookbook". (Both these cookbooks list calories and other nutrition info per serving in each recipe.)

Ready, set, go! Get out that notebook and pen. Multiply your weight in pounds by 12. The resulting number is your maintenence calories or how many calories you are eating daily to maintain your current weight. To lose a pound per week, you must reduce this by 500 calories per day. Subtract 500 from your maintenance calories to get your daily calorie target. Do not eat less than an average of 1200 calories per day unless your diet is supervised by a doctor.

You'll have to measure what you eat to be able to figure the calories. After a while, you'll know what a cup of food looks like in your favorite bowl and you won't need the measuring cups. Write down every bite of food or drink and add the calories in. When I first started dieting, I was amazed at how little food I actually need.

If you add exercise, you can add calories back. A 150 pound person burns 100 calories by traveling a mile on foot whether walking or running. A heavier person burns more. If you walk two miles, you can add 200 calories to your daily calorie target.

Say your birthday is in three days. You're going to have a big dinner and a piece of cake. Figure out how many calories extra that will cost you. Divide the calorie cost by three. Eat that many calories less than your daily calorie target all three days. Then go ahead and celebrate your birthday. You'll still lose a pound that week.

To figure out how many calories are in your favorite recipe, first look up the calories for each ingredient. Add up all the calories in all the ingredients. Divide by the number of servings per recipe. Be sure to mark this number in your cookbook so you don't have to do it again.

Weigh yourself weekly. If you aren't losing enough (healthy maintainable weight loss is 1/2 to 2 pounds per week), adjust your daily calorie target down by 200 calories. If you're a menstruating female, don't make any adjustments for not losing the week before your period. You will have gained some water weight, which will come off the next week.

As you lose weight, you'll have to refigure your daily calorie target. Do this every time you lose 10 pounds. Remember, your calorie target is based on your weight. Every time you lose 10 pounds, you'll need to eat about 100 calories less.

When you get to your goal weight, don't stop weighing yourself weekly. If you gain two pounds, start counting calories again.

If this seems complicated, I recommend going to Weight Watchers for 12 weeks to learn their program and get all their booklets. Then follow their program on your own.

Now, about those resistance bands. Weight training, which is what resistance bands offer, builds muscle. Muscle tissue burns calories and will help you keep the pounds from returning.

And a word about staving off hunger: Volume of food is mostly what keeps us satisfied. Eat foods that are not dense in calories like non-starchy vegetables and strawberries. You can eat a lot of them and not go over your daily calorie target. On the other hand, a doughnut or two 12 oz. sugary drinks aren't very satisfying and have all the calories of a whole meal. I'm not saying to never treat yourself to a doughnut, but that most of the time you'll be less hungry with other choices.

Don't forget to eat a balanced diet. Every day you will need some non-fat dairy, whole grains, lean meat or beans, fruit, and vegetables.

Getting a good night's sleep boosts metabolism, makes you less hungry, and makes a higher percentage of the weight you lose be loss due to fat loss rather than lean loss. Jump start your diet with a good night's sleep.

My 1200 calorie diet looked like this:

Breakfast: 1 cup whole grain cereal (e.g., Cheerios sweetened with aspartame) and 1/2 cup skim milk or 2 eggs fried in PAM with a slice whole wheat bread. (I use Roman Meal honey split top bread at 65 cal per slice.) (Each of these breakfast choices is just 200 cal.)

Lunch: Sandwich of two slices light whole wheat bread, two slices fat-free cheese and brown mustard (200 calories)

Snacks: apple (80 cal), banana (100 cal), navel orange (50 cal), or 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt (50 cal)

Dinner: 500 calories of whatever from one of the listed cookbooks with 2 cups microwaved frozen veggies (100 cal) Hint: 4 oz of lean meat is about the size of a deck of cards and has about 200 calories.

Here's to the slimmer you!


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    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      thanks, JS. i've been told the hub is too long. glad someone appreciates the thoroughness.

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Good job. You cover all the bases here very thoroughly. 30 pounds in six months...outstanding! Now if I can just get my motivation back! I do well until later at night when I want to eat eat eat.

      I like the matter of fact quality of the hub. Because you state just what's so, what it takes to lose weight.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US


      yup. weight loss is big business. the bottom line is you must burn more calories than you eat. the above is one sure way to accomplish that.

      thanks for reading.

    • DeborahFantasia profile image

      Deborah 6 years ago from Italy

      Very informative and interesting. There are SO many things that claim to help you lose weight. This doesn't sound hard at all !

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 7 years ago from Washington MI

      No problem, not much of a sweet eater. Trying to go gluten free. keep up the great writing!

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 7 years ago from northeastern US

      hi, cbr,

      best of luck in dieting. also, if you have to go over your daily calorie target because of hunger, stick with fruit or non-starchy veggies rather than baked sweets.

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 7 years ago from Washington MI

      Really great hub, some really useful information. I am going to give this a concentrated effort. I don't eat bread, or dairy products because of allergies, but I think a plan like this might help me see if I am eating more than I should be. As soon as I gather up the necessary tools I am going for it!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Of course, cathylynne, being a girl, you can "talk-off" several pounds a month! Just kidding, dear, you know why! Excellent hub. I once found I could walk off all my excesss weight - about 60 pounds - in one year by just walking...but it had to be about 9 miles a day to really work: most won't have the time...Bob

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 7 years ago from northeastern US

      thanks, ingenira.

      i've gained a few back and am back on the plan as suggested in the hub. will let you know how it goes.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Wow, you lost 30 pounds in 6 months, that's a lot. It shows determination and discipline, and of course the right approach as mentioned in this hub. Great hub.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 7 years ago from northeastern US

      thanks, gh.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      This is so cool. Will share