It doesn’t work for everyone but ----- take a physical part-time job. Warehouse, UPS sorting, something like that. I eat the same I ever did but I am down about 80 pounds and still losing an inch or so a year and my health has gotten much better. I tried every diet out that and just yo-yo’ed as the years went by until I did this. I never had the discipline to do a gym but call it a job and put a check at the end of the week and I show up; Bad/good habit of mine.
The part I bolded needs to be stressed: don’t drink your calories. The bulk of liquid calories blow right through you, so they’re unsatisfying, yet the calories take their toll on your body. Only drink things with zero calories or close to it. Water is ideal, but unaugmented coffee or tea works too.
Now, a couple pieces of psychological advice:
Never eat anything out of the package it comes in. If you want some chips, go get a little bowl, put some chips in it, close the bag and put it away, then walk away and enjoy your chips. If you eat from a package, there’s no line telling you where to stop.
Stop saying, “I can’t eat that,” and instead say, “I don’t eat that.” “Can’t” says that you want something but you’re denying yourself, and it’s a constant struggle. “Don’t” says “I have made a conscious decision that that is not part of my life anymore.” It sounds silly, but I’ve found it psychologically effective.
As for what I’ve done for myself: I cut carbs out as much as possible, no sugary drinks, bought my own microwave at work and started eating lunch in the office instead of fast food. I bought a fitbit and started walking. Last year at this time I was struggling to make 6K steps a day.
Now, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t make my 10K a day. Every day at work I go out and walk around the building a couple of times (smokers get breaks to shorten their life, I figure I’m entitled). By December of last year my skin was getting flabby in spots, so I connected with a former co-worker of my wife’s who is a personal trainer and powerlifter and paid for some weightlifting guidance. I’ve stopped going to her, because now I do the routines on my own at the gym 4 days a week. Weight training, I feel, is key, because adding muscle is going to improve your overall health and help you lose the extra fat.
So that’s where I’m at. I’m still a fat sack of crap, but progress is being made.
The easiest diet is the one where you eat as much as you want, whatever you want, whenever you want. But you don’t lose much weight on it.
Well, of course. No diet works when you’re not on it. That’s why you want an easy diet, so you can stay on it forever, because that’s the only way they can work.
What works well for my mom, at least, is that she has to eat at least ten servings each day of fruits and vegetables, and whatever else she wants. That’s the only rule. It works, of course, because after that much fruits and veggies, whatever else you want won’t generally be very much. But it still has enough flexibility to accommodate Thanksgiving dinner, or that chocolate cake in the fridge, or whatever your weakness is. Too often, folks will give into a temptation like that once, and then fall into the trap of “well, my diet’s shot, might as well just give up”.
Or even slightly augmented. Coffee or tea with a single spoonful of sugar tastes just fine, but has an order of magnitude less Calories than pop. You don’t need to cut sugar completely to zero to make a difference.
I lost 120 pounds over about two years by eating less and changing what I ate. I ate more fruits and vegetables (I made a rule that I would have to have one or the other with every meal). I cut down on bread and mostly ate whole grain bread when I did. I cut out ground beef and only ate other types of beef very rarely. Mostly ate chicken and pork. I also cut out fried foods. For a snack I would eat nuts. Mostly almonds and walnuts. I had read that the oil in nuts help you feel full and maybe it was a placebo but it helped me.
If I had cravings for things not on the list above, I did indulge in them but rarely, only very little (one slice of pizza and at least had it be covered in veggies). I also made a rule that if I had “bad” food it would be the best version of it. My favorite pizza place, not just a greasy slice from anywhere, for example.
The what to do was easy. It is just math. Doing it is hard, especially at first. I went to bed hungry almost every day. But it did get easier. It also helped that I always liked a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, I just didn’t eat them as much as I should.
It’s been a few years and I am not quite as disciplined as I was so I did gain back a little of what I lost but I have kept almost all of it off and I feel full faster than I ever did when I was at my heaviest. I still am overweight and I need to get back to my routine but you can do it! I did it so that means anyone can
Carbonated water makes an excellent substitution for soda. They come in all sorts of flavored versions, but the plain ones are great too. I would recommend the plain ones because it can help break the cycle of “thirsty->drink something tasty”. Often your brain compels you to drink because it wants the pleasurable feeling of sweetness rather than it needs hydration.
As for food, each person needs to really understand the reasoning behind why they are eating. For some people, they can easily switch to smaller sizes and not suffer from cravings. For other people, eating certain foods creates cravings which can be very hard to resist. This difference is similar to how some people can have a drink every now and then, but alcoholics have one drink and they almost cannot stop themselves from drinking more and more. If someone has irresistible cravings for certain foods or soda, they will likely need to give them up entirely rather than try to limit portions. Similar to how an alcoholic needs to give up alcohol completely rather than trying to drink less. If you allow yourself to cheat a bit, it’s easy for your brain to come up with compelling reasons to cheat frequently.
This is currently the strategy I’m using and it seems to work ok (albeit slowly.) As long as I keep busy I can sail through part of the day on just coffee, have a yogurt late morning and then a very late lunch/early dinner. Basically skipping a meal, but you don’t really notice too much.
That might work for you, but not for me. I am always hungry/I am never hungry. That is to say that I can always eat and I am never really hungry even when I fast, as I do once a year. (Even as an atheist, I insist on fasting on Yom Kippur.)
Nearly 20 years ago, my doctor recommended the zone diet. It basically means to eat a balanced diet and don’t prepare more than a modest meal. So my wife started doing exactly that. We each lost weight on it, though I gained some back. But then I realized that while you can’t go cold turkey on food, you can do cold turkey on noshing between meals. So I did that, while sticking to the zone. I still usually have a piece of fruit in the afternoon and a chocolate truffle after dinner, but that’s it. Over the years I am about 85 lb below by max weight (which was 281) and my wife is about 40 lb below hers (which was around 208). So we have lived on the zone diet basically for 18 years; it is definitely sustainable long term.
By far the “easiest” diet is to get addicted to cocaine or crystal meth, and spend all your money on drugs instead of food. I knew a guy who lost well over 100 pounds this way with almost no effort. Unfortunately, he also lost his house, his job, his truck, and his wife along the way, so you may want to think carefully before starting this one.
The easiest diet is the one you can stick with. Sounds trite, but it’s true. In my case, I just made some tweaks to my normal dialy food intake:
- breakfast = a protein bar, ~200 calories
- lunch = a simple salad - generally lettuce/spinach, cucumber or other raw veggies, 1 boiled egg, 1 oz(ish) cheese, 1-2 tbsp. Ranch dressing - ~350 calories
- mid afternoon snack = an apple or a Fiber One snack bar, ~90 calories.
- supper = pretty much anything I want, in moderation. I make sure it includes fruits and veggies and limit (but don’t absolutely exclude) fried or really fatty foods. Dessert is a treat, not a daily occurrence.
- maybe a handful of mixed nuts between supper and bedtime if I get hungry
Just by doing the above and recognizing that I do not have to eat every single time I get a stomach pang, I have gone from 200 lbs. to 155 at an average rate of about 2 lbs per week. It’s not fast, but it is steady and I don’t feel deprived.
Enthusiastic second to the carbonated water. The free meal I get at work includes a Topo Chico. Almost immediately my two- to three-sodas-per-day habit disappeared with no effort. It’s almost the only cold beverage I have now, except for filtered tap water.
My friend, who’s been on them all, says Atkins gets the quickest results.
Eat less, exercise more, forever. Fat Foods (pizza, ice cream, etc) as special treats to be enjoyed only once in a while.
I’ve been overweight all my adult life, eventually topped out at 235 pounds. I’m 5’7". Genetics not a factor in my case- I’ve always been a fast, compulsive overeater. Simple as that, no excuses for me.
Willpower was never been my strong suit, until four years ago when my doctor finally gave me the ultimatum I’d always kind of hoped for- at age 64 I’d become pre-diabetic. Lose a lot of weight NOW or risk the consequences.
With that gun to my head I finally found the resolve to do it. Ate less than I felt like (much less for the first month or two), started walking 2 miles every other day. Didn’t have to cut fat intake because I’d already done that many years before (my failing had always been in the amounts I routinely shoveled down).
I never crash/starvation/fad dieted, because the changes I made in my eating habits had to be permanent. I still weigh myself first thing every morning.
Eleven months after starting, I’d lost 60 pounds, down to 175. Still a little overweight but acceptable. That was a little over three years ago, and I had no trouble or discomfort keeping it off, until a year ago; my body suddenly decided to become heavier, and I’ve been yo-yo’ing between 180 and 185 ever since.
It’s required constant attention, but has never been “a struggle.” Considering my age I’m satisfied with my results.
Edit: This is the only effort I’ve ever made to lose weight. No experience with any of the diets with names.
I’m guessing “easiest” … and most effective … varies lots per individual.
Okay I’ll take it back. It is not a guess.
So the “easiest” diet is the one that you are a superresponder to. Now just knowing which one, if any, that one is … that’s the hard part.
Ashtura, I have not found any way to lose weight that I would categorize as “easy.” However, I will say that the most effective method I have found for losing weight requires less conscious planning and effort than most diets out there. The method I have used is to stop eating while I still feel hungry. Now of course if you take this too far, it’ll go into dangerous territory, but since you’ve been doing 5:2 for nine months, I imagine you have a very good idea of the difference between hungry and “dangerously, unhealthily” hungry. You’re not skipping meals, you’re just eating half a sandwich when you feel hungry enough to eat a whole one.
For what it’s worth, when I have used this method, I was not an overweight person trying to get down to a healthy weight, I was already at a healthy weight and trying to get skinnier. (Like dropping from 135 lbs. to 125 lbs. or something.)
DSeid, interesting quote. I have sworn that low-carb diets are a bunch of bull even as people around me have sworn that it’s worked wonders for their waistline. Maybe that article (sort of) explains why!
To me, Atkins is easiest. I’ve been on at least some form of an Atkins diet for more than ten years. It’s easier to eliminate all of selected types of foods. Sure, if you go off it you gain the weight back, but that’s true of all diets. If you eat like you used to eat, you’re gonna weigh what you used to weigh. That’s axiomatic.
So I eliminate all sugar, all potatoes, all grains, although I do put wheat bran in my waffle mix, and all fruit with the exception of avocados and tomatoes. I don’t deprive myself, just last month I had 3/16 of a cup of blueberries, so you see there’s room to indulge yourself.