Ok, I admit it. I weigh too much.

I want some friendly advice on how to lose weight. I just want to lose approx. 15 pounds but I want to do it rather quickly. What works? What doesn’t work? I’ve heard some say sit-ups are a waste of time, but others testify to stronger stomach muscles. Any truth there?

Also, how soon can 15 lbs. be lost safely?

Well, do you want to get it off, or do you want to keep it off? And do you want to weigh less, or look and feel better?

Many people will recommend dieting, but current research is showing that diets actually cause you to gain weight in the long run - you will lose weight while on the diet, but gain it back and then some when you go off the diet. And that the weight gained is more unhealthy than where you were when you started (follow that?) This is true in my experience. As diets are the only way to lose weight fast, your goal of losing weight fast may backfire. Note: most people lose quite a bit of “water weight” when starting on a diet - this explains all of those diet plans that advertise “I lost 11 pounds the first week”

If you want to look and feel better, exercise (more). Muscle is denser than fat, so exercise may not cause you to lose pounds, but you will still slim down and your body will look nicer. Also, you will feel better.

Another thing to do to lose weight long-term is to change your eating habits. Keep a diary of what you eat for a couple of weeks, then target one unhealthy behavior at a time(cut down on fast food, switch from fried to grilled meats, eat more veggies & fruits…). Once you have changed one behavior, target another one. By changing one behavior at a time, you are more likely to retain that behavior for the long term. In your diary, note when you eat when you aren’t hungry. This is the first bad habit you should kick.

As for how much you should lose? When I was on fen-phen, they recommended I should lose 1 lb. a week.

jenkinsfan, my mom (of whom I am VERY proud) has lost 53 pounds over the last few months. She’s eating controlled portions of regular foods, cutting out junk food, and adding lots of veggies. This is the approach that worked for me a few years ago. I dropped about 10 pounds, which have stayed off. Like Zyada said, it’s more a matter of changing eating habits than dieting.

I lost 40 pounds and 4 inches since Christmas. (woohoo I can wear 30s!!!) I cut down on fast food and do situps and gym class. I think the food made me lose the weight and the sit ups keep it off. My gym teacher said the best way for a flat stomach is running.

Er… changing eating habits is dieting. That’s what a diet is, it’s your eating habits. Technically speaking, you don’t “go on a diet,” so much as “change your diet.”

GuanoLad - I beg to differ. In common usage and in attitude there is a difference between a diet and a change in eating habits.

To wit, a diet is a very restricted (and sometimes unhealthy) eating regimen which a person embarks on for a short term “just until I lose x pounds, then I will just eat sensibly” e.g. the cabbage soup diet, the grapefruit diet, the Jenny Craig diet, etc.

Whereas a change in eating habits is something a person attempts to make a permanent part of their life.

Diet is also used in the broader sense of a person’s (or group’s) normal food intake profile, but this usage will include things like candy bars and potato chips, and is more clinical in usage.

Yeah, true. That’s the widely used definition of the term. But I think the distinction made by folks to ‘not go on a diet but to change their eating regime’ seemed to me to be particularly odd. Seriously, that’s the same thing, and it’s just semantics.

to lose fat…do aerobic exercises (jogging, cycling, etc.)
to build muscle…lift weights, do sit-ups, etc.

remember that muscle has weight too…so you can gain weight by doing some exercises (I’ve heard that muscle weighs more than fat…is this true?)

So, I’d recommend eating better (not necessarily less, but fewer calories will help) and daily aerobic exercise (anything from simple brisk walks to a heavy-duty aerobics program).

Or, go to the moon and you would immediately weigh one-sixth what you do now. Or you could move to a high elevation along the Earth’s equator and immediately lose about 1 pound by distancing yourself from the Earth’s center of mass and by the angular momentum of the Earth’s rotation :smiley:

Guano Lad, I am with you one hundred percent on the semantics issue.

I recently set out to lose some weight. I joined Weight Watchers, got the info, attended 3 meetings. After that I decided the meetings were just not for me. I don’t need a whole lot of motivation, and that’s basically all the meetings were.

The biggest thing to help me in my effort to lose weight was keeping a food log. Also, withthe WW plan, you are allowed so many “points” of food per day. Now, if I wanted to eat a chili cheese hotdog, I could, but it would use up a majority of my points for that day. The point system encourages one to make healthier food choices without actually telling you what you can and cannot eat.

I have also started making a more concerted effort to exercise. I do step aerobics and toning tapes in the privacy of my own home.

I have only lost about 5-6 pounds, and have been at a standstill for a few weeks. It’s a little depressing, but I know I have been a little slack here and there. In any case, I still FEEL better than I did when I had the extra 5-6 pounds on me. I don’t get the bloated-I-Ate-Too-Much-At-One-Sitting-I-Can’t-Eat-Again-For-A-Week feeling. That makes the whole thing worth while right there.

I only have about 10 pounds to lose before I’ll be happy with my weight. It may take several months, but I’m sure I’ll get there.

So…small changes in diet, moderate exercise, maybe some help from a registered dietician…the weight will come off, just be sensible.

And yes, muscle does weigh more than fat but it takes up less space. I’d rather be 120 pounds of lean muscle than 110 pounds of flab.

Jenkins,
Just remember those stronger abs can be covered by fat - strong muscles are good, but don’t always show (Look at NFL linemen).

Phobos - I think what they mean is muscle tissue is DENSER than fat - that stick of butter weighs the same as that small piece of steak, but takes up more room. The extra benefit of muscle is it is metabolically active - it takes calories to maintain, whereas fat just sits.

Oh, and drink plenty of water - at least a half gallon (2L) daily. Flushes system, fills you up, and your bladder adjusts fast.

Sit-ups and other abs work are great, but don’t count on them to reduce weight.

The only thing to do is eat less and/or exercise more.

I think the “diet” distinction bopils down to, whatever you do to lose weight, it has to involve an attitude/lifestyle change to permit you to keep it off. You have to change the way you think about eating, or the way you think about exercising.

One tip, look for ways you can exercise a little bit as a part of your regular daily activities. Walk or ride your bike somewhere you frequently go instead of driving. Use the stairs instead of the escalators/elevators for anything less than 3 flights. Promise yourself that if you have the damn TV on, you’ll be either on the exercise bike, doing sit=ups and pushups, or at least stretching out. That way, if you don’t feel like exercising, you won’t turn on the tube. Win/win!

With eating, try to figure out habits you can either eliminate, reduce, or substitute. If you usually have 2 scoops of ice cream, have only one. Try carrots instead of chips. Instead of soda, drink water.

Yeah, that’s another big one. Drink tons of water, all day long.

Final point, remember, the weight is only a number. You probably consider yourself 15# overweight because you are carrying more fat than you wish to. It may well be that with proper exercise you could carry an extra 15# of muscle, and look and feel pretty damn good. And the great thing about piling on muscle is, that bigger machine needs more fuel, so you can eat, and eat, and eat…

Good luck. Keep us posted.

Thanks for the advice, guys. Btw, I consider myself pretty healthy, but I have wondered if being 15 pounds overweight is a serious health concern. Any Docs out there want to give me the skinny on being 15 lbs too large?

JC, what is your height and weight?
Ever had your BMI calculated?
Are you female?

I think the majority of folk who think they are 10-20# overweight, including women of average height, are comparing themselves to people who are too skinny.

I’ll look up some sources, but I don’t think 15# would have any significant health impact unless you are, say, two feet tall.

A pound a week would be a healthy rate. Question whether any more is sustainable. Of course if you want to lose 15 ugly pounds fast, you can always cut off your head! (Sorry, couldn’t pass it up.)

Repeat after me. Weight is only a number.

Lots of good advise here.

2 words: lifestyle change.

That’s what you need to make in order to keep the weight off because, as Zyada said, diets are temporary at best.

I do agree with Dinsdale; have your doctor (or heck, check out a website -there’s got to be tons of them) give you the weight ranges for your age and height. You might be just right.

15 pounds isn’t alot - maybe just beginning a consistent, sweat inducing exercise program would be just the ticket. I run (3-5 miles, doesn’t take as long to build up to that as you’d think) 4-5x a week, situps and pushups. Works for me.

Good luck!!

If you want to lose some weight jenkinsfan, My mother has been on a diet that is no-fat, minimal sugar, minimal salt, and almost vegan, with a regular excercise regimen. Nothing too stressful, but she now walks about 3 miles a day, and over the last 6 months has lost about 50 pounds.

That’s a little too much to ask for me, as I like my meat. Instead, an alternate to the same diet is to stay minimal sugar, minimal salt, but only limit fat intake to 10 percent of what I eat every day, instead of eliminating it. The biggest bulk of the diet is still made of veggies and fruits, but it allows quite a bit more variety.

Combined with a regular excercise routine, I have lost about 10 lbs in the last month and a half. I probably could stand to lose another 10 pounds before I would consider myself in an ideal condition, but it works quite well without being extreme in any real way.

Sorry, can’t do the head thing: I’ve grown too attached to it.

I’m Five-Eight and 165 lbs. I want 150, and no I’m not female.

Are you sure about the pound a week thing? Couldn’t I lose it faster and not compromise safety?

My advice?

To burn fat, you must burn calories. To burn calories, you need some level of muscle. So, yes, you want to do some weight training activity. IMHO, do sit-ups, push-ups, and a leg activity 3x a week to build a base of muscle. Then, on other days, either run, bike, roller blade, or swim (that’s the best), to get a good cardio-vascular activity. These activities raise your heart rate and metabolism for a period of time. Thus, burning calories.

however, the more muscle one has, the more calories one can burn at one time. You don’t have to be huge, but you need some firm muscle.

Last, and most important, you have to moderate your eating habits. Make sure you eat fairly well–not Big Mac 's every night. Try to eat well when you can. Try to eat smaller portions more times a day.

As a side note, don’t just stop eating. By decreasing calorie intake, it makes your body perserve calories. In other words, as soon as you stop eating, your body will create fat in the “apprehension” that you’ll stop eating again.

That’s my opinion–generally worth . . . . Well, maybe $.0002

Jenkinsfan, your BMI is 25.2. 25 is usually listed as the cutoff for overweight. So technically, you are overweight, but by less than 1%. Losing two pounds would put you back in the normal range. If I were you, I wouldn’t sweat the health aspects.

Frankly, I prefer the Going to the moon Diet myself.

My problem is that I’m on a computer all day, yes all day. what about exercises for the sitting crowd?