We have sifted through all the best tested weight loss strategies and come up with what really works. Try these best practices for losing and sustaining an optimal weight.
Admittedly it is hard to find a sensible weight loss program from a plethora of often idiotic schemes. We looked for studies, evidence from real people, and finally tested it on ourselves. Because we too needed to lose a stubborn belly hump. It wasn't bad but it had crept up. We can tell you it was not easy and took us nearly 8 months, falling off the bandwagon due to social situations.
Exercise will not help you lose weight. The key is to train your body to a new normal in terms of food intake, moderate exercise and making good food choices despite an onslaught of social pressures like family dinners and gatherings with friends.
10 STRATEGIES TO LOSE WEIGHT
- Follow the Keto diet - This is a radical diet involving 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs. Originally used as a Post Cancer treatment, it is now gaining wide popularity. It is very tough to do as you body has to be Keto adapted. Watch this video from Dr. Burg which really explains it very well. Watch all his videos. We are fans. It took us nearly six attempts but it works. You will get Keto flu at the beginning but push past that.
- Avoid the sugar - Did you know that sugar stimulates hunger? This NY times article confirmed our suspicions. That means your sugar has to be zero before you even start to lose weight. There is plenty of residual sugar in your system which might take 2-3 days or even a week to purge from your body as shown on this Dr. Oz show.
- Avoid the fruit - Vegetables will provide all your Vitamins and minerals that fruit will provide without the sugar. Read our blog post on what craving mean to which vegetables can replace fruit. Avoid all forms of sugar, even Honey.
- Get Sleep - Without a doubt proper sleep is essential for weight loss. Which means 7-8 hours of continuous sleep per night. We have tested it and it works. More that 80% of your weight loss is exhaled as carbon dioxide according to this cool video. So maybe that is how good sleep works.
- Watch Your Calorie intake - That means you should aim for a caloric deficit. Start small (say 500 calorie deficit), maintain that for a 2-3 weeks. Then go to a lower level in a step pattern. Remember your weight calories deficit target will decrease as you get slimmer. Use this Calorie counter to calculate your calories target.
- Drink lots of water - Use this water calculator article from Dr. Oz to figure out how much water you need per day. As we get older our thirst receptors become inefficient and we mistake hunger for thirst.
- Organic Apple Cider Vinegar - During our initial weight loss plan we experienced bloating. The best solution we discovered was 2 tsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar with a 1 tsp, of lemon.
- Fasting - Many cultures have one form of fasting or another. Only with American marketing did this valuable tool fade away. They hammered into us that breakfast was essential to sell us gobs of cereal and other quick breakfast ideas. There are many studies that show intermittent fasting is effective for some modest weight loss. While lots of counter research has been done by the food industry, at the end of the day fasting is an effective way to get rid of toxins and reduce weight. Watch this interview with Dr. Fung to understand.
- Maintain Weight - Once you have reached your weight loss goal, maintain it. You can have an occasional cheat meal but you will have to compensate by getting into a caloric deficit equal to the excess you ate, some high intensity exercise and fasting.
- Set Weight and Waist goals - Use this site to calculate your ideal weight. Then calculate your ideal waste size which according to Dr. Oz should be half you height. Print this in big bold letters and paste it to the wall next your bed.
MOTIVATING TRICKS TO LOSE WEIGHT
Everyone tells you what do to lose weight but nobody tells you how overcome all the challenges of weight loss. Like nausea, fatigue, brain fog, lethargy and generally just not feeling well. We all know it is easier said than done. How do you overcome the feeling of hunger, reduce cravings and the pain of wight loss? We think these points will help you. It did for us.
- Take a photo of your body everyday. Strip down to your underwear and take a front and side profile shot everyday. With the advent of cell phone this is easy to do. Watch plenty of before and after weight loss videos on YouTube which are inspiring. These people have done it and show the evidence, unlike those who just preach.
- Measure your belly everyday and write it down. This frustration will be motivating. Then suddenly when you start to see the belly go down, you will get excited. Be warned it will take many weeks before you start to see belly size go down. You will lose the fat every other part of your body first.
- Weight yourself everyday - We know everyone says not to weigh yourself everyday, but that is nonsensical. Although your weight will vary widely from day to day you will start to notice the average weight will start to start to come down. Write it down and track it. Keeps you motivated.
- Avoid social eating - That means you will have to cut off yourself from any social eating situations, be it a family gathering or meeting friends for a meal. This is a huge area where people fall of the bandwagon. The social pressure to eat, often bad quality food is one of the biggest setbacks you can experience.
- Nausea, cravings and carb withdrawal - This hit us pretty hard especially due to lack of carbs. We went zero carbs. It was too much. So we set a target of three months and gradually reduced carbs. First we cut the bread and pasta and just kept the the rice. Gradually we reduced the rice to one cup. That is the best we could do and it was good enough.
- Sugar cravings - This was hard. We discovered that adding to heavy whipping cream to our coffee cut the sugar cravings. We also made some Lime gym hydration recipe with crushed ice which is really tasty and helped cut food cravings.
- Extra salt - The recommendation to cut salt is for people who eat highly processed food. If you eat healthy fresh meals, add sufficient salt to make it tasty maybe even a little extra. This article from the Guardian raises some interesting questions about salt. We found adding lemon and lime as well as Cinnamon made our food very savory and tasty. It compensated for the sugar and carb withdrawal.
- Eat high quality food - This often means organic. It is so expensive you will have to buy less but they also taste far better. Plan you meals. We fell into this trap too. Ran out of healthy meals after 4 days and reached for the sugar. It takes practice.
LOSING THE LAST 5 POUNDS
Virtually everyone comes to a weight loss plateau. That is usually the stubborn belly fat weighing about 5 lbs. It sticks to you like glue. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of weight loss. You must push past this weight loss plateau and to get to a new normal. It involves doing some counter intuitive things.
From our experience these are the best practices to lose the last 5 pounds. This is in addition to regular weight loss activities with a few refinements. And it will take your six months to lose the last 5 lbs around the belly. Don't rush it. Just work at it slowly.
- Exercise on an empty stomach - This is what worked for us. This we believe forces the body to use fat instead of residual food in your system to power your body.
- High intensity interval exercise - A little bit of weight lifting and fast swimming and Tennis is what worked for us. Be warned your speed while playing a sport on a empty stomach will not be as explosive as on a high carb diet, but if the weight loss goal is achieved who cares if you lose a game or not.
- Only Two meals a day - Dr. Burg recommends just two meals a day in this video. We agree although we could not handle the 7-10 cups of vegetables he recommends.
- Reduce Protein intake slightly - We say about 25%. This is because protein also gets converted to sugar although not as fast as carbs.
- Reduce water intake slightly - Counter intuitively we drank about 25% less water and reduced the sodium (salt intake) for this stage. While you need normal healthy doses of salt when you lose weight, the last 5 lbs required a forced intervention. This is because salt makes your body retain water and will fill the empty fat cells with water. Once you lose the last 5 pounds you can revert back to normal amounts of water.
- Sleep - This rule still applies for the last 5 lbs. of weight loss. Remember weight loss is through your mouth.
- Drink tea or coffee - Apparently caffeine is diuretic that will force the body to expel water weight fast. We did and it worked.
- Go slowly on the Belly Fat reduction. If you go too fast you will lose the belly but get belly flab or loose skin like what happened to this guy. Dr. Burg says to use a health approach to weight loss and do reverse sit ups as opposed to crunches. Makes sense. We think adding some creams or coconut oil to your belly might also be useful to prevent stretch marks.
- Try a carb re-feed - Yes actually eat carbs like rice, bread and roti. Not too much. Like a cup of rice, two slices of bread or a roti paratha or two. For a day only and then get back to your normal weight loss diet program.
- Drink Coconut Oil - A study of woman cited here, found a reduction in belly fat. This study of Malay volunteers also found similar results. We would suggest a tablespoon of coconut oil at night just before bed.
- Belly Massage - Some say to massage your belly with Vicks vapour rub, Tiger balm or Coconut oil. Worth a try even if the evidence is not there.