Losing weight most will say looks like it will be simple to do, but in reality is very hard. In all, to lose weight we must change our habits both for the short and the long term. If we are too aggressive in the beginning our bodies will think we are starving them and will begin immediately to slow down metabolism. That will have the effect of balancing out any weight loss effort you might make. Thus, it’s best to look at the problem for the long haul. Go slow and stay away from the scale. Measure your progress over weeks and months, not hours and days.
The general diet plan which works best (in my view) is to eat less 5-6 times a day, and drink plenty of water. Stay away from simple sugar and from backed goods, and desserts to which sugar or high fructose corn sugar is added. Indeed, stay away from junk food and fast food places. It may be a big change initially, but the change will work wonders. In general, you will eat less carbohydrate, and probably less dairy than you are used to. Also, you will eat more protein and fiber, grains, oatmeal or gain cereals and legumes. More fruits and vegetables are a must. They are not cheap, but you can grow some of your own, and buy others on sale and freeze some for later use. Storage of some in a root cellar also works. When you have too many vegetables around, make a soup with chicken, wild rice and miscellaneous vegetables.
When you get up in the morning have your first glass of water. If you need coffee, have 1-2 cups at the most. A simple plan then to get started begins with an oatmeal breakfast over a little fruit (several varieties).The oatmeal can be microwaved if you’re running late, or if you’re not rushed try preparing some from steel cut oats. The latter is most nutritious, and you can even prepare it overnight in a small crockpot on low heat — check the Internet for recipes.
Alternatively you can try a poached egg on steamed spinach. You can also do the latter on some whole grain toast. Keep the bread fresh by freezing it cut up at the right level so that it’s easy to take a piece from the freezer. Have another glass of water also.
An alternative to those two breakfast possibilities is a whey protein supplemented smoothie. This is a good idea when you are in a hurry — you just need a blender into which you can scoop the whey protein, some frozen berries, a scoop of plain yogurt, and maybe a little banana, kiwi, or other fruit and a dash of cherry or grape juice and a little ice. If there’s extra smoothie put it in a glass, cover it and put it in the refrigerator for later. It will separate, but just stir with a spoon before you down it.
Well, I spent a little extra time describing breakfast, but to me it’s the best meal of the day. Make a note that for breakfast you should stay away from bacon, sausage and meats generally. Whether for breakfast or other meals, it’s best to limit meat to chicken, turkey (mostly breast sections with fatty portions and skin cut away and tossed) or fish (wild caught). Tuna from a can packed in water is fine also.
Later in the morning, have a light snack. There are lots of options: 1. A few crackers with peanut or almond butter. A better alternative to the crackers is celery–with the nut butter as well; 2. A piece of fruit; 3. Some plain yogurt into which you can put some granola (high quality), some nuts (almonds, walnuts) or seeds (pumpkin, other). Have another glass of water, also.
For lunch, a salad is great. There are many ways to prepare it. Try for small amounts of at least 6-8 vegetables. Add some nuts, raisins or cut up prunes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. In general, stay away from supermarket dressings — they are full of junk you don’t need. To the salad you can add some cut up chicken, tuna or turkey. Soup & salad is a lunch alternative.
For mid-afternoon or late afternoon snack prepare a small plate of veggies and fruits. A little cheese and crackers is a good alternative as is a nut butter and crackers. You might wish to have a small glass of red wine with this snack. Alternatively, put some pomegranate or grape juice into a wine glass and pretend, or have another glass of water.
Later for dinner have some baked fish (350 degrees for about 40 min). I like it in a baking dish with added lemon pepper, tarragon, dill and a little butter added. Then drip a few lemon drops from a squeezed lemon on top. Later when the fish is half baked (@ 20 minutes) add a few more drops of lemon, repeating after it’s done (40 minutes). You can cook salmon, cod, tilapia and some other fish this way, but times may vary depending on how thick the fish is. You can buy fresh or frozen fish, but it should be wild ocean caught. I don’t trust the fish farm raised fish. I don’t know what the fish are fed or how closely they are located to unlined coal ash pits. With dinner there are many options squash, sweet potato, and wild rice can be cooked along with the fish. Chicken or turkey (baked also) is an alternative to the fish. Also, you should have a green vegetable like green beans, beets & greens, broccoli or cauliflower are all good options. Also, have another glass of water.
Later snack can be a small cup of fruit. A mix of strawberries and blueberries if they are fresh and in season is great, but any one or mixture of fruits is fine as well. A bran or banana walnut muffin is also and option. Stay away from rich ice-cream & chocolate sauce. However, you can have a square of semi-sweet dark chocolate to which very little if any sugar is added. Oh, and have another glass of water.
Overall the idea of this diet is to eat a bit less each time you eat, but eat six times a day or once every three hours or so. Your digestive system will seem like it’s working all day. That and the water will steadily keep your basal metabolic rate up. That adds to the calories you will burn during the day. You’ll generally get plenty of vitamins and minerals this way, and you should not feel hungry. Indeed, you’ll feel like you are constantly eating. Just don’t eat too much. But you may do that in the beginning. Just keep cutting down the portions if you are not dropping a few pounds a month at least. But, don’t be in a hurry. If you have 50 pounds to lose or more it’s going to take a couple of years to do that. The exercise we’ve noted in other blog posts is going to help you as well, but you’ll want to start that slowly and pick it up over time. You’ll find that once you’ve started losing weight it’s easier to exercise and also since your muscles will be gradually more fine-tuned with time the exercise itself will be easier as well. When you’re done you’ll have a new way of looking at the world. You’ll be eating better and feeling better.