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I want some tips on how to lose weight.
Before I start, I have to mention that I'm not a doctor, nor a dietician, nor have I consulted either. If any of my readers ARE qualified health practitioners and take issue with something I've said, please contact me right away at email@example.com (it's my main account, it's just called that because it only points to my main account so when the junk gets to high I can close it up and start firstname.lastname@example.org). As I'm going to mention, take all information with a grain of salt. The only thing I have to say that this works is my own body, and it has.
That said, these days diet is the most important. McDonalds and the food industry want you to think that exercise is the only, most important way to get thin. They're lying, flat out. SJ Zero: I lost my first 50-75 lbs through diet alone because I was too fat to exercise.
For small weight loss/gains, simple substitutions may be enough, really. For instance, instead of pop of whatever kind, drink as much water as you want. Juice generally has a pretty good chunk of calories in it. They're good when you need that energy but when you're trying to cut back, the only difference between juice and pop is that juice is slightly more nutritious. They're like fruit without all the fibre.
Fruit has fibre. Fibre is good. In solid form, fruits tend to have a relatively low amount of calories for the size of them. An apple is like 100 calories. NOTHING is 100 calories. Just thinking about a bag of chips is 100 calories. Running your hands over a chocolate bar still in the wrapper is like 100 calories.
For larger losses, one needs a plan. For the course of this page, I will continue to refer to what many consider a diet as a plan, because from this day onward, you should not ever diet.
Dieting is a fad, it's a temporary state, it's like doing hail Marys after you sin. Eating too much is not a sin in my world, it's eating too much. If you let diet become a morality thing, you will FAIL.
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What is a Calorie?
A calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise one gram of water 1 degree Celsius. In Dietary terms, the unit most often spoken of is a Calorie (big C), which is actually a Kilocalorie, or enough energy to raise one kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. Calories come from any food you metabolize.
A human body generally burns about 1800 Calories per day. For massive derivations of weight, you can usually find a rough number by taking your weight, and multiplying it by ten. For example, a 400lb man will burn roughly 400*10=4000 calories every day just to maintain his or her weight.
The first thing you need to know in terms of losing weight is that one pound of fat contains 3600 calories of energy. The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. This means that you CANNOT GAIN a SINGLE OUNCE of fat without an energy SURPLUS to fuel it. This ALSO means that you CANNOT LOSE a single ounce of fat without a similar energy DEFECIT to get rid of it.
This is absolutely critical to understand. It's why most fad diets simply don't work, because you can't get something out of nothing, and you can't send something into nothingness. This is also why weight is NOT an absolute indicator of progress. Your body stores sugars, water, salts, wastes, all sorts of substances. These are what will vary from day to day.
Unless you're burning over 3600 Calories in excess of what you're consuming, which, as I'll cover in the exercise section, is a difficult thing to obtain; odds are you will NOT see huge differences from day to day from fat reduction, perhaps even week to week. Only a dedication to losing over the larger span of time, and the will to follow through with your plan, will result in any reasonable results.
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What should I NOT eat?
There are two kinds of foods you must NEVER eat, those I will tell you, and those you will discover for yourself. There is no distinction. The most important part of any plan is to realize that you'll have to do a fair amount of work and thinking for yourself in the end. I can help you get started down that road, but in the end, only you can walk it, and the world is far too large and complex for me to tell you every obstacle.
That said; NEVER eat McDonalds or its brethren. If you want a burger and fries, and it's a special occasion, and you can't resist a second longer no matter how loud you try to yell to silence the voice demanding one, there are plenty of mom and pop diners out there willing to give you a real hamburger made of real beef, a thick patty and really nice thick French fries made out of potatoes probably cut that morning, and a quality bun fresh out of the bag, bought that morning, the whole thing made the second you order it, and odds are pretty good that the whole meal will still have fewer calories, fewer preservatives, less fat, and be infinitely more fulfilling for a much longer time than McDonalds.
I can't stress this enough, no matter how hard I try! A Whopper with fries and a milkshake is 1800 Calories! A Big Mac with cheese is 704, with half of those calories coming directly from fat, a large fries is 525 with 44% coming from fat, and the almost prerequisite large coke would be another four hundred!
Compare this to the nutrition information on some pre-made burgers you can buy at the supermarket for next to nothing, along with a few extras:
Hamburger patty: 250
Hamburger bun: 200
No-fat processed cheese: 35
French fries 150
Total 651 Calories
An entire meal, with a real hamburger that's thick so you don't have to put two of them on a bun just to call it a meal, a quality bun, cheese, and catsup with a side of French fries, for less energy than one big Mac! If you go with fries and a coke from McDonalds, you can have TWO hamburgers with two servings off fries for less than the McDonalds meal!
Hopefully that illustrates exactly why nobody should eat McDonalds at any time during a diet. There are treats where you let yourself have something which is more calories than you should eat in a MEAL, and then there are poisons, which have more calories than you should realistically be eating in a DAY.
Chips, sodas, even "healthy snacks" like rice chips or crackers should be rejected completely. It's far too easy to open a bag and find that it's suddenly empty. For information to find the best alternative for the times when you absolutely need a snack (I usually get something for myself when I go shopping for the week), follow the guidelines in "What should I eat?" to find something low energy enough to justify.
As much as common sense should be disregarded when choosing which foods TO eat, you should use it as a common guideline on foods NOT to eat until you have dietary information to base a decision off of. Remember to always have a dietary budget in mind when you're choosing what to eat, and always remember that it's important that some foods are avoided completely because of the temptation they pose, or the danger they pose.
After the first couple weeks, you won't miss the foods you gave up. Someday you'll try them again and find that they don't taste as good as they used to. This day will be a beautiful moment of triumph for you.
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What should I eat?
There are no set “YOU SHALL EAT THESE FOODS” rules. THERE ARE FOODS YOU SHOULD NEVER EAT, and if you've come directly here from the link at the top of the page, I absolutely recommend you read the guidelines on those first. In the right quantities, you could eat nothing but chocolate and still lose weight. Other factors may slow the process, but the law of conservation of energy states that you absolutely will not and cannot gain weight by eating fewer calories than your body uses. If you, anyone you know, or anyone you may have heard of has managed to gain fat by eating less than your body consumes, please contact the nearest research university, because your body doesn't follow fundamental laws of physics.
There are, and will always be, several different categories of food. Trying to have one food and labeling it "good" above all others is a recipe for disaster and will not work over a period of time. Instead of searching for foods you can have, always be wary of foods you can't instead.
I've found that the best foods are those with the highest mass per calorie, and most easily separated into portions. Popcorn, for instance, has a very high mass per calorie, but once you make it, you are stuck with a bag of popcorn and no real way to measure out a reasonable quantity. An apple, on the other hand, is enormous for the numbers of calories in it short of whipping out a scale, and storing popped popcorn isn't really pheasible. Also, as I'll cover in the willpower section, having one portion per package can be a great help because only the food in front of you can be eaten, no more.
You can check the nutrition labels on the box for calorie information. ALWAYS pay close attention to calorie information on labels, and more importantly, serving size. Many things that are NOT 2-3 servings are labeled as 2-3 servings.
If you run into one of these, the way to find out the actual calories in a package is:
(Calories Listed / Grams in recommended serving) * Package size.
Always stay within your plan, even when snacking. If you do, you'll never have a reason to worry, and you'll always lose weight.
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What can I do if I don't have any willpower?
Bread is the perfect way to begin this section. Bread can be good, or it can be dangerous.
Get two slices of bread, some meat, HEY! You have a lunch. 80 calories for a slice of bread, 100 calories for some healthy meat, and you've got a 300 calorie lunch, which is great. The problem is that bread adds up quickly.
How many slices could you eat? I could eat it all day if I wasn't careful and didn't pay attention. Such a tiny thing, but two slices with nothing else, maybe 3 times a day, and you've got a hidden 480 Calorie snack binge marring your Caloric Budget.
Having one portion per package can be a great help because only the food in front of you can be eaten, no more. Also, always drink plenty of water. While there are limits to everything, drinking enough water can increase your metabolism, curb your appetite, and do all sorts of things.
Try to fit protein into your plan. It helps fill you up, and it helps your body anyway. Also, it's the hardest of the 3 energy sources to metabolize, meaning that less energy makes it to you.
If you find that you're still hungry after a meal, wait half an hour. You may find that you're not as hungry as you remember. Similarly, eat slowly. You're not eating as much anymore, you have to convince your brain otherwise.
One thing you are going to need is true will. A brick wall; when you see yourself going for food, it's not just "no, I really shouldn't", it should become "STOP! IDIOT! NO!” A brick wall.
There were a few times you’ll have to throw out a piece of food with one bit taken out of it, but for the most part, being strong with yourself should do the trick. Just remember, there is no middle ground.
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What should I eat at each meal?
There isn't going to be a set "YOU CAN ONLY EAT THIS" in life, but I can make a few suggestions.
For breakfast, get rid of the kid cereal. It's loaded with crap you don't want anymore. Instant oatmeal is a thing of beauty for breakfast, because 1-2 packets will provide 160-320 calories in a good package.
Lunch and dinner are really interchangeable. I really enjoyed pre-made pasta dinners at 200-300 Calories because A) They're not edible until you cook them, and B) they’re decent food with a set serving and package size.
Soups are generally quite good, though some of the thicker soups may be too hearty for your goals. Always check the dietary information in these cases, and remember that many soups have multiple servings in a can. Plan accordingly.
I can wholeheartedly recommend having half a bag of California mix veggies. 500 Calories and enough fibre to kill a small child.
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How much weight will I lose how fast?
The average human needs 1800 Calories per day. Generally speaking:
Calorie intake = Mass in lbs * 10
Though these equations are an approximation, and present a far from complete picture.
Count up the calories you'll consume with your plan, and take them away from your estimated total burned:
Net Calories = Calorie Intake - Calorie Burn
You'll end up with a positive number if you've got an energy surplus and a negative number if you've got an energy deficit. Take that number and divide it by 3600, the number of Calories in a pound of fat, to find your fat loss or gain for the day.
Net Weight = Net Calories/3600
-I'm going to school. Is there anything I should change?
If you're going to school, flip your eating schedule on its head. Dinner in the morning, lunch at lunch, light breakfast like meal for dinner because you need to have a working brain.
Refined sugar in any form is bad. It is the simplest sugar, simple sugars result in the sugar buzz because they don't take any time to metabolize but excess energy is excess energy
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What about exercise?
I'm not going to skirt the issue here; the idea that exercise is the best way to lose weight is FATALLY flawed. Working your ass off for an hour will burn about the equivalent to 250ml of 1% milk.
I know what you're about to say! "But it speeds up your metabolism!"
Yes, but it doesn't significantly change the equation, not to the degree people say it does.
Let's say, for instance, that you're a 180lb man who consumes 1800 calories/day.
Using the equations established in the "how much will I lose?" section, this man will consume his exact equilibrium.
180 * 10 = 1800 calories
Now, the increase to account for a high metabolism is +2 to the multiplier
180 * 12 = 2160 calories
1800 - 2160 = -360
So with this mighty metabolism, he'll be running 360 calories in deficit.
Over the course of a month he'll then lose 3 lbs, working his ass off every day to keep his metabolism high.
Meanwhile, his friend stopped having a bagel with lunch.
Get the picture?
Making matters worse, exercise when you're in deep weight loss can be dangerous and counter-productive. While your body is recieving insufficient energy to keep itself running, it doesn't tend to use energy to build muscle mass. Also, with reduced calories comes an almost inevitable vitamin deficiency. The final result is that exercise can cause muscle wastage, forcing your weight down by killing muscle, lowering your metabolic mass, leading to a more difficult time losing the weight you actually want to lose.
That being said, there are critical benefits to exercise as a tool used alongside diet, but exercise is a very long and painful path for those using it as their only means of weight loss, and it's so much easier and more effective to monitor diet primarily and use exercise to supplement it. Exercise can help suppress appetite, it can get you away from home (and therefore away from opportunities to eat), it can motivate you and get your body used to being strong and active, and as you lose more weight it can help you realize the hidden power of your new body.
That's all I have to say. Good luck, Strong will, and if you want to succeed, you will. There are no tricks with this method, no shortcuts, but no barriers either. I lost 150lbs using this information, I'm sure anyone can.
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