Hey there! I wanted to take a minute and share some simple weight loss techniques that have worked for me. I’ve gone from 230 pounds to 201 pounds in the last 12 months using these techniques.
I’m going to start by saying I’m not a medical doctor or a fitness instructor. The techniques I’m going to talk about have been safe and effective for me and I assume they will be for you too. Results can vary by individual and if you feel you need to consult a doctor before trying to lose weight then by all means do so.
There are basically two proven methods of losing weight:
- Eat Less
- Exercise More
Weight loss doesn’t have to be rocket science. If you eat less and exercise more you
will lose weight.
Techniques for eating less
- Food Substitution – This is pretty simple. Substitute one food for another food. If you currently drink whole milk substitute the whole milk for 1% milk. If you currently eat a candy bar for a snack, substitute a piece of fruit for the candy bar. Substitute a salad for a burger when you go out for fast food. The goal here is to reduce your caloric intake without feeling deprived. Everything I’ve read says if you cut 500 calories per day you’ll lose 1 pound per week. I don’t count calories. I don’t have the patience. If you eat healthier you will cut calories.
- Watch what you drink – Most people in the US drink soda on a daily basis. Read the calories on the can of soda you’re drinking. I’ve stopped drinking soda and drink black coffee, unsweetened tea and water. You can seriously reduce your caloric intake just with this one step. Drinking large amounts of 0 calorie drinks throughout the day can help stave off hunger. Often when we feel hungry we’re actually thirsty.
- Smaller Portions – Again, this is pretty simple. Your goal is to cut 500 calories per day. If you take smaller portions of foods that are high in fat content you’ll shave calories. A typical meal for me consists of meat, some sort of starchy side and some sort of vegetable. Take smaller portions of meat and the starchy side and a larger portion of veggies. It doesn’t even have to be a noticeably large difference. Work at it consistently and over time it will become natural.
- Chew Slowly – I love food. I was in the military and one thing they taught us was eat fast. If you sit me down in front of a meal I really like I can clear my plate in 5 minutes or less. Guess what? Your brain and body don’t process your food intake as fast as you eat it. If you wolf down a plate of something you love you’ll still feel hungry. If it’s good food you’ll want a second helping. The idea here is to savor every bite. If it’s good food chew slowly. Taste the food that’s in your mouth before you shovel in another bite. Stretch the meal out as long as you can. Turn a 5 minute meal into a 20 minute meal. Once you finish the first plate, wait. Wait for 20-30 minutes before taking a second helping. I find by doing this I typically don’t actually want a second helping.
- Eat less more frequently – This one is a little less intuitive. The theory behind it is twofold. Our ancestors were hunter gatherers. This means as they came across food they often ate it. They didn’t find a lot at once so their meals were actually several per day. Your metabolism is optimized for this style of eating. If you feed your body more often it increases your metabolism. Higher metabolism equals higher calorie burn. If you eat bigger meals further apart your metabolism slows down because it doesn’t know when it will get its next meal. Most of the reading I’ve done recommends 6 small meals per day. I typically average 5. I eat breakfast, a snack, lunch, dinner and then another small snack a few hours after dinner. Eating the two small snacks helps me eat less at lunch and dinner.
- Eat breakfast – Jumping out of bed, taking a quick shower and sprinting off to work isn’t healthy. The time your asleep is probably the longest time your body goes without nourishment. Again, leaving your body without steady nourishment slows your metabolism.
- Break the rules – This is a personal favorite of mine. The reason most people can’t stick to diets is because they are too restrictive. You go from eating whatever you want whenever you want to a very regimented dietary intake. I don’t believe in diets. I believe in lifestyle changes. If you want a lifestyle change to stick you have to break the rules once in a while. If you are seeing positive results from the changes you’ve made don’t be afraid to splurge. Eat a cheeseburger. Eat some pizza. Just remember it’s a periodic treat. Keep it to once a week or so.
I hate gyms and because I was in the military I hate regimented exercise routines. I try to look for anything that amounts to exercise more and take advantage of it.
- Park further from your destination – Instead of grabbing the parking space closest to the door of the location you visiting, pick a spot further away on purpose. At my office I park at the far end of the parking lot. This forces me to walk extra steps to and from the car.
- Take the stairs – If your building has an elevator make it a habit not to use it. If you have the time and the energy use the stairs instead.
- Walk around – I work a desk job and it’s easy to get absorbed in my work. Make it a habit to get up and walk around every couple of hours. Do some stretches. Take a walk down the hall. I find this actually stimulates my brain and I’m more alert and effective after a short break.
- Do outside work – If you own your own house and you hire someone to do things like mow your lawn, stop! Doing work outside is a perfect opportunity to get more exercise and save money at the same time. Take an hour or two on the weekend and mow the lawn. In the summer you can often do it in the evening after work.
- Take a walk – At lunch or in the evening go for a stroll. Spend 30 minutes or so per day walking. It doesn’t have to be extreme but it is a good idea to time it. Walk for at least 15 minutes away from where you start and then walk back.
- Ride a bike – This helped me a lot. I love riding my bike. As a child I would ride my bike all over town. As an overweight adult it made sense to me to pick up a childhood habit and use it for my benefit. I live 6.25 miles from work and when the weather is good I just ride to and from work. One of my office mates lives 10 miles out and he rides daily too. You’ll save gas, save the environment and lose weight. It’s a win all the way around.
These techniques are the ones I’ve used to lose 30 pounds. None of them are extreme or hard to follow. Another thing I do often is take articles like this one and file them away. Pull the article back out once in a while and read it again. Keep looking for ways to lose weight. Anything you find that seems like it might work for you add it to your routine. Remember it’s a lifestyle change. Set weight loss goals and check periodically. I find once a week or once every two weeks works best. That gives enough time to have positive change which keeps me motivated. If you’re not seeing positive change you just need to up your game. Good luck!