I’m going to keep this simple. This is a brief outline of what I did to lose 34 lbs. in six months without depriving myself of feeling hungry. This is not medical advice, it is what worked for me. Please consult a physician before making major diet or exercise changes.
I eliminated almost all processed foods
No more frozen, processed meals – not even the ones with the word ‘healthy’ in the title. These typically contain more food-like substances and empty calories than real food. When I say almost I mean that I started the routine with the 80/20 rule. I followed my diet 80 percent or more of the time, allowing myself treats or exceptions without feeling like a failure. I later got more strict and improved my conformance to about 90 %.
I reduced my simple carb intake
I started the Paleo Diet at first. I later made modifications that made it work for me. I eliminated wheat from my diet, I typically ate less than 100g of simple carbohydrates per day. ( track using http://myfitnesspal.com ).
I joined a gym and began a simple exercise routine
I started slowly. I was 45 years old and not in good shape. I started by going to the gym three days a week, doing 10-minute routines on the elliptical or treadmill. I added a very basic weightlifting routine after a few weeks and kept the weight light. I wasn’t trying to threaten Arnold.
I increased my protein intake
There is quite a bit of evidence that a high protein diet results in a higher metabolism. It’s complicated and controversial but it worked for me. Protein typically results in a lump of more stable blood sugar and fewer food cravings as well.
I ate more healthy green vegetables
Salad at almost every meal. I varied the homemade dressings to keep it from becoming monotonous. Steamed broccoli and cabbage were also a staple.
I ate more healthy fats
I replaced sugar with healthy fats as treats. Fine cheeses, olives, avocados, small servings of nuts, and dark chocolate all seemed to work. Fats provide a sense of satiety to satisfy cravings and keep you on track.
I used carb cycling and intermittent fasting to shake things up
Your body eventually adjusts to anything that you do. This doesn’t matter once you reach a healthy weight, but when trying to lose weight it does. Extremely low carb diets can result in poor hormone profiles if kept up indefinitely, therefore cycling your carb intake so that you eat more carbs on days of heavy activity and less on lighter days keeps your hormones in balance.
It was that simple. The only pain I felt was during the first few days when my body was transitioning from a sugar-burning to fat-burning mode. You may experience fatigue and mental fogginess. It lasted 3-4 days for me. This is sometimes harder for women. My wife experienced the “low carb flu” for a week or so.
Be committed but give yourself room for occasional treats and indulgences. I often went out to eat or ate ice cream after a week of strict adherence. It made it fun.
I’ve since kept the weight off by adhering to most of the same principles and simply eating healthy, wholesome foods. For me, it’s a lifestyle.