Being someone who has lost a lot of excess weight (over 50 lbs) after having my son, I can tell you that it took me a long time to figure out how to do it and keep it off. I get asked a lot how I did it and kept it off and so I decided to write this for anyone who was interested. I had tried many diets and lost weight only to gain it back again. I spent a great deal of time studying nutrition to understand what the body actually needs to lose weight, and keep it off while not causing it harm such as overdosing on caffeine, Ephedra (Ma Huang) and other types of stimulants that may cause more harm than good.
Being someone who generally dislikes exercise and has a very full schedule I needed to find things that were quick and easy and not a part of some fad diet that would deplete my energy levels during the day. Because of my busy life, I needed all the energy I could get and when trying diets I found I was easily fatigued and actually felt weak. I also found that they were hard to do since I don't like cooking very much and I don't like having to think about a bunch of details about fat, vitamins, points, carbs, etc. Diets that made me write stuff down and spend a lot of time calculating or cooking were not going to work for me because I knew I would not be able to keep it up long term.
Isn't that what we are really are talking about here... long term, because anyone who had lost weight and kept it off knows that it is a lifestyle change not a diet that will be the winning ticket. So, I struggled for a few years until I found something that I could do everyday with little effort. The main thing that I determined was if I just stayed within a caloric range and ate healthy then I would so just fine.
You really cannot get away from counting calories because ultimately you have to know what you are consuming. However, I made it pretty easy for myself by just sitting down and planning a daily routine so that it became a no brainer and I ended up automatically knowing how many calories I had without having to count them. It was only on special occasions when I would go out to eat or make a special recipe that I had to recalculate my caloric intake for the day.
I got into having a Metagenics UltraMeal health shake every morning with water in the morning so that no matter what I made sure to have something (important for not allowing your metabolism to slow down) not to mention that I was able to get in some really good nutrients with it. I found the shakes on Vitacost.com is the best place to get it for the least amount of money and I really loved the vanilla, peach, strawberry and banana flavors... but beware of the raspberry as that was terrible. By doing the shake in the morning, I always started my day off right and then I fell into the habit of having a healthy, high protein meal for lunch, a veggie snack, then a high protein meal for dinner and then a healthy snack.
I greatly reduced by sugar intake but I did allow myself to have some of my favorite health bars from time to time which are a lot like candy bars but without too much of the bad stuff in them. They are the Clif Builder's 20g Protein Bars in Chocolate Peanut Butter. I love them so much I had one instead of a slice of birthday cake.
I will go into more of my weight loss tips in a moment, but let me show you how I determined my caloric intake. Keep in mind that you really need to adhere to this because if you eat too much you will not lose weight and if you do not eat enough your metabolism will slow down and make losing weight very hard. You should average about 10 lbs a month if you eat healthy, stay within your caloric needs and do some exercise at least 3 times per week.
Here are some additional things that I have integrated into my life which have drastically improved my health-
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