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What to Expect When You Go on a Weight-Loss Diet

Updated on March 17, 2016

Separating Diet Fad from Reality

With the mass amount of information about diet and weight loss in today's world, it can be tough to separate the diet fads from diet reality.

If you have been struggling with being overweight, you probably already know that there are diet pills, weight loss teas, wraps, tonics, books, videos and even reality shows all telling you to join their group, use their product, and you will be slender in no time. Many of these product manufacturers make grand claims that you will lose a pound a day or somehow effortlessly glide to your target weight with ease. You will leap and prance around in your new cloths with absolutely no effort on your part.

And you also know that the products don't always work. That the rubber belly buster didn't really work. And on it goes. So here, with out the hype, you can read about what you really can expect when you seriously attempt to take off the excess fat on a sensible reducing diet.

How to Choose A Sound Weight Reducing Plan

  • Make sure the food plan is a drastic improvement over the way you have been eating. Most people struggle with getting proper nutrition even if they do not need to reduce.
  • Take some time to write down what you regularly eat when you are not reducing. This one technique will benefit you because, perhaps for the first time, you will be taking an unfiltered look at what you are really putting in your body.When I finally got serious about it and lost 70 pounds, I used a food log before I went on yet another diet. It was difficult to admit what I was really eating on a daily basis, even to myself. After the third day, I knew I was eating way, way too much fat. So I knew that I would need a diet that included plenty of healthy food, but reduced the amount of fat drastically.
  • Good Carbohydrates only, please! Good carbs come from vegetables and fruits and whole grains. They do not come from snack crackers (usually), most cold cerals (sugar), heaping portions of white rice and potatoes. Generally, a sound reducing diet will limit the bad carbohydrates.
  • Protein. If a diet does not allow for significant amounts of protein, it will fail you. While you are reducing, and even beyond, you will need to take in adequate amounts of protein in order to fuel your muscles, skin, and organs. Even your hair and nails are made up mostly of proteins.
  • Exercise. Any sound reducing plan will include exercise in some form. If it doesn't, it is probably a fad.


Week One of the Reducing Diet

Leaping, soaring, and galloping with good intentions, you begin day one of your diet. If you have done what you know you should do, you have already cleaned out the cupboards and refrigerator, and gotten rid of all the junk food. You made your list and went grocery shopping the day before. If you are like me, you had one last hurrah, and ate and ate all the things you won't be able to have for a while just to get it out of your system.

You stepped on the scale, preferably in your birthday suit, and wrote down your beginning weight. If you stick with it, here is what you can expect during your first week.

  • Significant reduction in weight the first week. Why? Because your body is cleansing itself. It is getting rid of the buildup of all the inflammation (which is essentially water), and making the switch from having to store the excess to having to use the stored fuel. Many people will say, well, that is just water weight and it isn't good for you to just loose water. It dehydrates you. Fitness pro Bob Green, in his book, "The Best Life Diet" talks about this. While I do not agree completely with his view, I do understand what he is talking about when he says it isn't good for you. What he did not talk about in this section of his book is that there is a difference between taking diuretics as a means to see the scale go down, and the natural release of bloating and excess water that builds up in our systems in the form of inflammation. When we eat an unhealthy diet, we can retain water in the form of inflammation in our cells. When we give our bodies the proper fuel, our bodies begin to heal themselves and that swelling and bloating is released. This is my opinion as a person who finally was able to succeed at the reducing game, and one who has read countless books and articles about reducing. I am not a doctor or health professional, though, so I always advise everyone to check with their doctor before going on any reducing plan or exercise program.
  • A few intense cravings for carbohydrates, sugar, and fat. The reasons for these cravings are both psychological as well as physical. Everyone is comforted by food. It tastes good, helps us relax in the moment, and we like that. The physical component to cravings, in my opinion which is based on my experience with myself, is that when we clean up the fuel we put into ourselves, our body has to work a little more to process the food. I talk about this in my hub, The Weight Loss Way.
  • Joy, Jubilation, Excitement and Thrills. If you manage to stick with your program for an entire week, you will find that you are moving easier. You most likely will have fewer aches and pains. Expect to feel a huge sense of accomplishment and for your clothing to be looser than it was.
  • Sudden, intense boredom. This completely blindsided me more than once. I didn't realize how much of my time was spend eating, preparing to eat, and then eating some more.


What to Expect During Week Two of Losing Weight

During the second week of your reducing diet, if you stick with it, you will begin to see some real changes taking place.

  • A surge in energy. After the first week you will begin to experience a youthful surge. The spring in your step comes back. Suddenly your daily life becomes easier because it is not so hard to get up off the couch, or to get out of your car. You begin to move with an ease you thought you would never experience again.
  • Continued significant weight reduction. During the second week of your diet you can expect the weight reduction to continue on at a fairly good clip. Most people, if they are working a very honest reduction program without cheating can expect to lose around five pounds in the second week.
  • Fitting into a smaller size. For most people, two weeks without cheating is enough that they should be finding clothes they had grown out of now fit, or almost fit. This does depend on the individual, and how tight your clothes were on day one. Most of us keep wearing clothes even if they are too tight because we think we will lose the weight, or we simply can't afford to keep buying larger clothes.
  • A huge reduction in cravings. By the end of the second week you will most likely find that your body has made the adjustment and most of the cravings will either go away or become little blips instead of huge storms.
  • A brighter outlook. Because you feel so much better, your mood and attitude may improve drastically.

Have You Ever Tried a Food Log?

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At the End of the First Month

If you make it to the end of the first month without cheating you most likely will have experienced the following:

  • Week Three: Weight loss slows down. This is where you even out and find your stride for the long haul. During week three you can expect to reduce your weight by about three pounds. By this time your body has corrected the irritation and inflammation and now your cells are using water they way they were meant to use it. You have a continual process of hydrating and flushing the toxins on a daily basis. Your body is burning stored fat for fuel, and it should not be losing muscle because you are eating plenty of protein. You are now exercising and moving your body more.
  • You are getting stronger. Even if you are not joining the fitness fad of super hard workouts, you will notice that your body feels stronger. You are walking and maybe doing a few wall push-ups, arm circles, and other toning exercises.
  • Your abdomen has gone down. Most seriously overweight people find that their abdomen gets larger when they gain weight. Even my friend who carries most of her excess weight in her hips was having trouble with her waistline as well. By week four, you can expect to have reduced the amount of fat clinging to and pushing at your internal organs and thus, a softer and smaller abdomen.
  • A sense of routine in your program. After having stuck with it for 30 days, you will now have a much better sense of routine. You will find that choosing and preparing your food requires much less time and energy because it is becoming second nature to you.
  • You may want to celebrate with food. Don't do it. This, and other blind-sides can occur at this time. You absently put a chip in your mouth before you even realize what you did. And then you find you are able to taste the processing preservatives, etc. when you eat it. The cake you thought you loved suddenly does not taste good to you anymore, but somehow, you want more. Be ware of the trap of celebrating with food. It is much better to take that same money and buy a new top or pair of shoes to celebrate.
  • People are beginning to notice you are slimming down. On the one hand, this is great. On the other hand, be ware of jealous coworkers and others who will try to derail you. Don't fall for it when they say, "Well, just one bowl of ice cream isn't going to hurt." Misery loves company, and people will want you to go back to eating loads and gaining weight because it makes them feel better. Then they can say with confidence, "See! I just knew she wouldn't do it. I just knew she would gain it back." This validates all their reasons for not eating healthy. And of course, there is the well-meaning motherly love in the form of food. Be strong and you will make it to your goal.
  • A weight reduction of between 10 and 15 pounds during the first month. This accounts for clearing the sludge out of your system and actual reduction of body fat. If you have been eating enough protein and calories (your body will go into starvation mode and hang onto the weight if you eat less than around a thousand calories a day) you will not experience any significant muscle loss. In fact, you will have gained some muscle mass if you have been exercising.


Month Two and Beyond: Weight-loss for the Long Haul

During month two of your weight reduction program, if you stick with it, you will likely experience the following:

  • A plateau, or set-point. Most weight loss books describe set points as a weight that your body stays at even though you are working a perfect program. You may even gain a couple of pounds and get stuck there. My theory is that when we put the weight on, we do so in increments. Gain five pounds and stay there for a while. Gain ten and level out. Like that. So it is only logical that when we are going back down in weight, our body wants to hang out at those weights where we stayed the longest. My personal experience was that I hit a plateau about every 10 pounds. This is where having taken your measurements on day one can really help. When you hit the plateau just get out the measuring tape to affirm you are still reducing inches. If you stick with it, the scale will suddenly drop by 2, 3, or even 4 pounds after having not budged for days.
  • A sudden desire to eat for comfort. Because life happens, we all have those days when we need comfort, and sometimes we want that to be in the form of our old friend, junk food.
  • Another 8 to 10 pound reduction, depending on the person. For some people, this figure could be a little less, or a little more. But the weight reduction will continue.
  • Another size smaller. Most people can expect to keep reducing by about one clothes size per month. Again, this varies from person to person. I once went down three complete sizes in a month when I experienced a long plateau and only about a five pound reduction in weight. However, I was exercising and building muscle, so my clothes got really baggy.
  • Attention, sudden popularity. New friends. People will begin "following" you to check on your progress. Ironically, this can throw you for a loop. All the attention at work and in your community can make your head swim. Especially if you have been living a lonely life. Take is slow with your new-found popularity and create good boundaries with people. Choose new friends wisely. And keep your eyes focused on your goal.
  • Your lifestyle has changed. You are more active. You interact more with others. Relationships change. You begin dating if you are single. But the healthy eating and exercise is now firmly ingrained into your own unique lifestyle.
  • A renewed determination to make it all the way this time. If you stick with it, you will find that you may become very protective about your weight loss. You fiercely guard yourself from going back to your old ways. You are aware of the hard work it took to get to this point, and you do not want anything to interfere with your progress.
  • Confidence in all areas of your life. After sticking with a diet for two whole months, your confidence level soars. You have really accomplished something. You now move freely, look better, feel better and have a new sense of who you are and where you fit in this world.
  • You have the tools and experience to carry you through to reach your goal weight. After coming all this way, you now know your body and how it responds. You know yourself better and how you respond to life. At this point you can choose health and fitness

© 2014 Nancy Owens


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