Here's the outline:
And that's it. I know it looks insultingly simple. But let me explain...
Do NOT try to lose the weight quickly. Do NOT try to restrict your diet to eating things you hate. Do NOT choose exercises that you despise.
The thing to keep in mind is that a crash diet means that you're doing things you hate. They are things that you just can't wait to stop doing. That means, when you hit your target weight you'll abandon all the habits that got you there.
Instead, you should find things you like to eat and do. Because in order to keep the weight off you'll have to adopt a diet and lifestyle that you can live with for the rest of your life. This is one of those things that ends up being more of a journey than a destination. If you hit your target weight, then great. You can relax just a little. But if you're doing things you like to do then you're far more likely to continue doing them. And that means that you're far less likely to fall back into the habits that put the weight on to begin with.
My example: I'm just over six feet tall and at one point in my late-thirties I hit 205 lbs. I would get a little winded just going up stairs. I basically hadn't been getting any real exercise for the previous ten years. I didn't like that.
I had started playing softball shortly before that. But softball once a week is not much exercise. About that time my roomie got me interested in playing hockey. A little later I was on two hockey teams. So I was finally getting exercise.
As for eating, I simply started paying attention. I noticed that I would get the three enchilada dish at lunch, and that I was really having to force myself to finish my food. I decided that I'm an adult, and I live in America, the land of plenty, and I didn't have to finish my food if I wasn't hungry anymore. It didn't feel like I was making a sacrifice because I was already full. In fact, it actually felt better to not overstuff myself.
Simply not-finishing the ridiculously huge meals in American restaraunts can be the key to losing weight. So I started ordering the two enchilada dish or equivelant at a given restarant. And I don't always finish even that. Nowadays, I often only eat half to two thirds of a meal at a restaraunt and take the rest home. It makes a nice-sized snack.
It took me six months to go from 205 to 180 lbs. And I held that for almost four years. I have a little trouble around the holidays. Mostly because there's a break in my sports seasons, so my exercise drops off drastically. A year and a half ago I let my weight creep back up to 195. It stayed between 190 and 195 for most of a year. After seven months I've finally got it back down to 185+. But as one gets older it really is more difficult to get the last bit of weight off.
I've seen recommendations that one should not weigh themselves every day. I guess that's because most people don't realize that their weight varies a few pounds from day to day. So if they hit a new low and then see their weight go back up four or five pounds they become discouraged.
I weigh myself every day as part of my morning ritual. I take into account the exercise and food from the last few days. And I can usually predict about what my weight will be. The precise weight on a given day is not what I'm interested in. I'm interested in what weight I've been varying around for the last week or so. With that, I can make a ballpark judgement on my progress.
For most people, this is an effective diet plan. Be patient. Pay attention to when you feel full. And try to find something active to do.
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