Top Ten Simplest Ways to Lose Weight or, In Pursuit of a Butterfly Waist

So now that you’ve been paying attention to your body with our Home Spa recipes, maybe you’ve been thinking that it’s time for a change.  Maybe you’ve noticed a jiggle or a new curve that wasn’t there before. Maybe that’s a good thing, and maybe it’s not.

One picture I have in my mind of the caterpillar to butterfly transition, is that the caterpillar gets pretty chubby, has no waist and just continues somewhat shapelessly, but when it becomes a butterfly, the body is more defined and it actually looks as if the butterfly has a waist.

There are so many diet books on the market, and so many eating plans and programs. But do they really work?  I have a friend who calls me every month or so with a new diet she’s trying, and it seems like everything works for a little while, but after that initial weight loss, nothing happens.

Just as we are individuals, our bodies have their own individual needs and we have our own individual eating challenges.  Every time I read a diet book, I focus on the things that make sense to me, and discard the rest. Seems obvious, huh?

Recently I read the Belly Fat Cure.  What I gleaned from that book is that I need to decrease sugar (somewhat drastically because I have a sweet tooth) and increase fiber. This book was very valuable to me, because there were parts that spoke specifically to me about some of my eating habits.  I really liked how foods were given a ratio of how much sugar they contained and portion sizes.  My belly is getting flatter.

But there are other things in any diet book that I know are not for me . . . eating foods that don’t agree with me . . . foods that I can’t stop eating once I start . . . foods that my doctor recommended that I don’t eat because of whatever reason . . . I know that I am in charge when I look over a new diet, and if it makes sense and I see the value in changing my food habits, I will incorporate that part and not feel bad about the parts that don’t make sense for me personally.

Below is a list of the things that I think are essential in a quest to lose weight.  For some people, depending on your age or circumstances, these may do the trick simply and quickly.  But for others, as my doctor told me a few days ago, just keep plugging away. Don’t expect a miracle, but you’re on the right track.

1. Drink water — take your weight and divide it by 2.  This is the number of ounces of water you should drink a day.  Try to make it water (no calories) vs. a drink with calories.

2. Walk or exercise —  for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, but know that more exercise burns more calories.

3. Reduce sugar/simple carbs — I stopped putting sugar in my coffee.  Two days ago.  I haven’t really missed it.  The less sugar you eat, the less you are going to want to eat over time. Retrain yourself.

4. Increase fiber — fiber is crucial! Food goes in, waste needs to come out. The quicker food marches through the intestines, the better. Do I need to say any more?

5. Watch fats — get enough beneficial fats, but watch when fats get out of control in the calorie department.

6. Look at portion control — I used to think I was eating 2 cups of salad when really I was eating 4 cups.  Or 1 cup of pasta when I was really eating 3 cups.  Measure out a portion (1 cup) and then pour it in a bowl so that you can really see how much you are eating. In time your stomach will shrink to feel full with smaller portions.

7. Calorie counting — I aim for three to four 350 calorie meals per day, but try for 500 calories less per day than you usually eat if you’re trying to lose weight (to burn 1 pound per week you need a 3500 calorie deficit per week or 500 calories per day). (This may mean that you need to pay attention to what you are eating, write it down, and assign calorie values). If you are gaining weight every week, then decrease calories every week until you start to lose.

8. Chart your progress and be consistent — charting your progress means that it’s harder to slough off and have a sedentary/gluttonous day. Some people use a buddy to check in with.  Checking in with a chart is a good start. Make sure there is a place on your chart to record your weight and your exercise.  You might also want to record calories, how many ounces of water you drank, if you had salty food, etc. Everybody makes mistakes, though, so don’t beat yourself up, and get back on the chart.

9. Check in with your doctor — While I listed this as #9, it is just as important as any of the above steps, and for some people it should be your first step. I know it is for me.  My thyroid is a little out of whack, and needs some TLC.  Your doctor is a wealth of information about what is right for you.  Make sure you consult them before drastically changing your eating/exercising habits.

10. Celebrate your success! or at least give yourself Good Vibes 🙂  Be your own cheerleader/manager and compliment, encourage and cheer yourself to victory.

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