This is the healthy weight loss guide for which you have been searching. Seriously. Bookmark this page. It is the ultimate modern reference for healthy weight loss. There are no fads or tricks here, just the facts on what works with healthy weight loss all in one spot.
This guide is meant for people who already have some experience with trying to lose weight. If you are looking for something more suited for beginners, please check out How to Start Losing Weight for Beginners.
Disclaimer and Warning: Check with your doctor before starting any weight loss, fitness, or diet plan. A new diet or exercise program, in some cases, can cause serious and permanent health issues up to and including loss of life.
Healthy Weight Loss – Introduction
I’m Tod, and I’m going to show you how to lose weight.
“Sure Tod”, you think, “you were obviously born with either skinny genes or an iron will”.
Well stop right there because that’s not true at all!
I’m totally an “overweight person” who just happens to know how to create and follow a healthy, long-term plan to stay slim.
Let me make it clear, as it might help to make you feel more encouraged, that I have NOT been able to maintain my weight without lots of SERIOUS slip-ups along the way.
That’s why I compiled as much healthy weight loss information (that actually works) that I could find.
That might be good news for you, actually, because I’m going to sharing this healthy weight loss guide with everyone and it’s totally free. No tricks. Just read on.
Do I REALLY struggle?
Yes, you bet I do. I have often gained 5, 10, and even 20 pounds and have to fight each time to bring it back down.
It drives me crazy. It even makes me depressed at times.
I’m just trying to say I’ve been there, and I “go back there” from time to time when things get away from me.
After years and years and years of emotional diet roller-coasters, extreme failures, fad diets, and other really dumb ideas, I’ve blogged my findings as to what really works (and what really doesn’t).
No single source has been able to tell me how to do it successfully.
THAT is why I made this healthy weight loss guide.
The further I’ve deviated from my findings, the more weight I seem to gain. The more I stick to my healthy weight loss plan, the more I lose.
I did not create this guide for other people, at first, but just for me. I wanted something written down to keep me on track with what works in healthy weight loss.
Now it’s your turn.
Maybe no one has told you how to do really do it.
Well I’m going to tell you how.
If you follow my healthy weight loss guide, I honestly think that you will be able to both drop some pounds and keep them off as well.
Let’s jump right into the healthy weight loss guide. You can read it all or take it step by step – I’m not going to micro-manage how you do this. You might want to bookmark this page to come back and review for when you get off track.
Healthy Weight Loss Rule #1: Drink Lots of Water
I’m sure you have heard this before, but we need to hear this again.
You must drink adequate amounts of water to lose weight, and drinking water has been proven to help you lose weight.
Case studies have CLEARLY PROVEN that drinking water before a meal will help you lose weight. Studies have also demonstrated that water drinkers are much more successful in keeping off the pounds for the long term.
Start with a tall glass of water in the morning and end your day with a full glass as well. Drink a glass of water before every meal. In between, be sure to get in the habit of interrupting your routines to include drinking some water.
Note that drinking too much water can be dangerous, so keep it within reason. To much water, too fast, can lead to water intoxication – which can be fatal.
If you are having trouble losing weight and you are not drinking enough water – then that is one of your reasons right there (and you BETTER not be drinking soda or other junk, oh my goodness).
Did I mention that this has been clearly proven to help people lose and maintain weight?
Why fight what has been proven to help? Are you kidding me? This one is so easy to comply with.
Kickstart Your Healthy Weight Loss with a Mini Fast
When you first launch your diet, skip about a meal and a half. If you normally get up early and eat breakfast and lunch, wait until 2 PM or so and then eat something light. If you get up late, don’t eat a thing until dinner.
If you are a healthy person, this should be no problem, but check with your doctor first anyway just to be sure.
Still, drink lots of water.
Don’t worry about “shocking your metabolism” or “making your body think it’s starving so it stores fat”. I used to believe these things too but these thoughts about losing weight have been debunked. It’s been proven by case studies that fasting helps you lose weight – check it out (opens in a new tab).
When you do finally eat, make it something very healthy and eat it very MINDFULLY. This means that you savoir and think about every bite and as you chew and swallow. Be sure to smell your food and feel each bite as it grinds in your teeth and fills into your stomach.
Look – I’m not one who is into all of this meditation/guru stuff. It kinda bores me. It has been TOTALLY proven to work, however, and all I’m asking for is that you try to do this when you eat.
Yes it works and it’s been proven to work so, again, why fight the case studies?
It fights aging too, by the way.
Anyway, this mini-fast will get your mind in the right spot as you start your weight loss program.
You will notice right away that you don’t need food to feel good. In fact, you will be surprised how good it feels to not be so full all of the time.
You will also see that it’s not so bad being a bit hungry. Finally, you will really appreciate your meal when you eat it – and just how delicious and satisfying healthy food really is.
The idea here is also to kick the bad habit of mindless eating and filling up on junk food. You will suddenly and greatly appreciate the healthy foods that the universe clearly gave us to enjoy. It’s kinda fun.
Wait until you see how good this little “fast-followed-by-mindful-eating-of-healthy-food” makes you feel! It’s like a “dieter’s high”. Please leave a comment if you experience this feeling. It’s awesome.
Use a Weight Loss Calculator to Come Up With Your Target Daily Calorie Intake.
Plan on a pound a month. In practice, you will often overshoot your calorie target, so when it happens don’t stress about that too much about it.
Don’t go too low! I can’t stress this enough.
Yes I said to pick a calorie schedule for “one pound per month”.
What’s your hurry?
Yeah, I know you want to look good in three weeks for that reunion or beach day or whatever. Well I say that’s a load of crockery. If you have been overweight for years, why do you think you can “trick the system” and see great and lasting results in 3 weeks? I’m not judging you, but, well, OK, maybe I’m judging you.
IT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
Don’t be impatient or compulsive. That’s a good way to get sick, and an almost certain way to fail.
But you do need a plan and a target. If you do not have a simple and workable daily calorie plan and you are not losing weight – you are kidding yourself.
This is crucial!
Note that calorie counters are very general and do not take into account those with thyroid and other health issues that might effect weight loss ability. If you are consistently hitting your target calories but you are not losing weight or losing weight very slowly, you might have a glandular or other issue.
Regardless, you will be much healthier, more attractive, and happier if you limit your calories according to a weight loss plan – even if you are not destined to become a swimsuit model. “Moderately” or even “somewhat” tone is still a VERY healthy look and it’s better than being well overweight and unhealthy.
So plan your calories, but not too aggressively, follow your plan, rock what you got, and don’t worry about it.
Write Down Your Diet Plan Every Day as You Go
You must write down what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – either as you eat each meal or before.
Once you get into a routine then you can plan each day a bit more in advance. I will have lots of examples of my typical breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. They are all workable for normal busy people and they are super easy to follow.
If you eat outside of your plan, add it to the list for the day.
Have a second master list where you only list the date and the calories that you ate that day. You will also list your lowest recorded weight that day.
These plans can be on paper or on your smart phone’s notepad. I like to use OneNote Online.
If you skip this step, it is very unlikely that you will be successful in your dieting and weight loss. You might have to do this.
What about the Keto Diet and other low carbohydrate diets?
Whether they are healthy or not is controversial, but limiting your carbs and following these diets will help you lose weight – there is no doubt.
When you control your carb intake, you control your insulin. That, according to many researchers, is the key to controlling weight.
The biggest thing we can learn from these diets is that sugar and other junky and refined carbohydrates are KILLING us and making us fat. Also, these foods make us super hungry and more likely to lose control and binge.
On the other hand, foods high in fat help to curb our appetites and stick to our calorie plans. Low carbohydrate dieters say “you can pretty much eat all you want and still lose weight” and that is partially true as well.
The reasons for this is that if you have a pantry and fridge full of no-carb food (and no sugary and high card foods around), you will not want to binge on them. You just won’t want to. It’s pretty amazing.
The same thing is true at the dinner table.
When I eat a side of mashed potatoes, it’s
hard IMPOSSIBLE for me to stop!
Are you with me on that?
When I eat sides made only of veggies, however, even dripping in some awesome garlic-butter sauce – I can only eat so much of it.
These type of foods, while making me feel less bloated as compared to eating carbs, sit heavily in my stomach, making me feel full. This is an extremely stark contrast to the “bottomless pit from hell” feeling I can’t control when I eat one cookie after another.
Again, it works. Should you do it? Up to you. I hesitate to promote these diets because I’m not sure of how healthy they are – but I admit that when I cut out the carbs personally, the pounds literally fly right off.
For Healthy Weight Loss, Weigh Yourself Many Times During the Day
I know that you may have heard otherwise, but this keeps your head in the game at all times. Plus you will log your lowest reading on your master list next to the calories that you ate that day.
Sure enough, you will thoroughly enjoy watching the lowest daily weight dropping off very slowly but very surely. It will keep you on your diet and your plan.
When you hit the inevitable weight loss plateaus (these really suck), at least you will be very conscious of your weight as a slightly delayed result of your daily average calorie intake.
The best thing is the momentum and strength you eventually generate within yourself. When you see that your weight loss plan is working, slowly but surely, it becomes easier to stick to you plan. This leads to better results and that leads to more strength. It’s a winning cycle.
Finally, it helps you realize that one bad meal or bad day will only set you back a little bit. Typically, as soon as you get back in your good and healthy calorie routine, the scale will quickly become your friend again.
One admittedly big problem with using your weight as feedback to how you are doing is that it’s not the best indicator. I’ll talk more about this in the next section about “the water weight plateau” So please keep this in mind as you watch your weight fluctuate every day.
Healthy Weight Loss and the “Water Weight Plateau”
You must be ready for, learn to ignore, and work through the “water weight plateau”.
It’s pretty easy to lose the first five pounds (or even ten pounds, for some). The scale will be nice to you, and you will feel great about yourself. But then it stops. Why? My parents used to say “it’s just water weight” about the first five easy pounds. Have you ever heard that old dieting phrase?
Well, mom was right. It’s water weight. Though it has nothing to do with how much water you drink. It has to do with glycogen – which is like sugar energy stored in our body.
When you start reducing your calories, your glycogen stores are the first to go. For every part glycogen that goes away, three parts of water goes with it. It’s pretty easy to lose 2 pounds of glycogen in the first week that you reduce your calories. Guess what?
That’s SIX pounds of water stores for a total of eight pounds.
Fat also stores water – but only in about a one to one ratio. So when you run out of excess glycogen and start burning fat, your water weight loss slows down to a third of what it was at first.
A plateau also occurs early on because most dieters increase fitness activity, and muscle weights more than fat, right? Nope. They weight the same. Our parents were wrong about this one.
Or were they? As it turns out, muscle is more “dense” than fat and fat is more “fluffy” than muscle. As you start a workout program, some of the “fluffy” goes away and some of the “dense” is added.
So what happens is that you look better, and you feel better, but you don’t lose any weight on the scale. If you look more healthy, and you actually are more healthy, and other people see you as being more attractive, and you see yourself as being more attractive, who cares what the scale says anyway?
Now that you know about the factors that cause early plateaus, you should be more ready to work through them and not give up.
It WILL happen.
You WILL lose weight, but there is no instant gratification. It’s gonna take a while. Eat for your healthy calorie goals, work out, and be patient.
Take a Day Off Here and There
Don’t pig out or eat unhealthy foods, but go ahead and enjoy your Sunday or maybe even the entire weekend, within reason.
Special occasions are also OK to drift somewhat outside of your plan.
Let me make it clear to you… you can get away with deviating from your plan from time to time, and probably more often than you think.
The whole trick is to get right back on it – making sure that you spend the time and energy to do all of that planning, counting, and your daily record keeping of your calories and lowest weight.
Don’t fall victim to the “what the heck effect”. This is where you think, “well, I already messed up everything so it doesn’t matter if I eat ten cookies now”.
This is a real effect and it has been proven in case studies to be one of the worst diet killers.
We’re so drama.
So we ate some extra calories – shrug it off and get back on your plan. Be very aware of the “what the heck” effect and do not fall victim to it.
Besides, if we look at our calorie calculator targets, we might see that we may have not even exceeded our daily calories that day to evenly MAINTAIN our current weights. One day of going sideways is not going to mess things up for us. Giving up because of an emotional reaction to that event might mess things up for us.
Send the “what the heck” effect down to heck where it belongs.
You MUST Choose Healthy Calories to Lose Weight
All calories are not the same. Plan your meals to include the most healthy and nutrition-packed calories as you possibly can. This includes 100% whole foods like 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, fruits, MASSIVE amounts of vegetables, beans, nuts, etc.
Get away from chemicals, GMO modified foods, processed foods, hormone and antibiotic-ridden food, and any list of ingredients that you can’t understand or pronounce.
If there was any one step that I would consider to be most important, it would be this one. In fact, THIS STEP IS SO CRUCIAL THAT I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT IT IS!
Well, I guess if you are not counting your calories than you are just kidding yourself there too.
OK, fine, they’re all important.
Look, your calories can’t just be limited. They must be healthy.
Healthy Weight Loss and Cravings – How to Handle Them
When you crave eating outside of your plan, picture yourself doing it (but don’t do it).
This has been proven to work. I will write much more about this soon. For now, just give it a try. You will realize that your “WANT” to have a reward (and the anticipation of the pleasure to come) is a hundred times more powerful than your ACTUAL pleasure in enjoying the reward in real time.
Think about that as you fantasize about eating something when you shouldn’t be. It will help to “ruin” these junky mid-day or late-night munchy attacks for you. You won’t even feel the same about them than you used to. It’s very powerful.
You should also replace the bad habits of these crave sessions with healthier habits, like walking from the office to the mail-room or from the house to the mailbox and back.
Soon these habits will actually become more fulfilling. You will love your new self.
Get some exercise, of course. Here is an article about how to design a treadmill workout for maximum weight loss.
If you are not active, become a walker. Research and start walking, as a hobby.
The next step is some light or intermediate weight lifting. This will help you to lose weight on a higher level. I’ll get into more of that later.
Lastly, if you are up to it health-wise, step-up the cardio. More on that later too. For now, there are plenty of guides out there.
Be sure to check with a physician before starting any diet or exercise program. Basically – do not listen to a word I write until you talk to your doctor.
There are some hidden health traps for some groups to where all of my advice can be very dangerous or life threatening.,
The Healthy Weight Loss Guide – Summary
The more you stick 100% to this plan, the more likely you will lose weight. Go at your own pace and if needed, implement one thing at a time. If you fall off of the wagon, get back on and don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that you are doing this for the long term. Do not seek instant gratification as that is a sure way to fail.
I wish the best of luck to you and I look forward to hearing about your weight loss experiences in the comments.
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