Would you like to lose weight without going on a dangerous diet, restricting your intake of “normal” foods, or becoming an exercise fanatic? The good news is that there are some good, reliable, commonsense ways to drop pounds without changing your entire lifestyle. In fact, if you follow three simple rules it’s possible to enjoy significant weight loss that takes place slowly and naturally. You won’t suffer wild mood swings, lose sleep, or feel as if you’re losing your mind.
There are just three principles you can incorporate over a period of time that suits your needs and schedule. But mind you, there’s no need to do all three steps at once or even altogether. Some people find the best route to success by specializing in one method, namely the one that’s easiest for them.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
This is a super-simple concept that makes losing weight rather easy. The reason? It works because the vast majority of whole foods contain a much higher fiber content than processed ones. Additionally, these tend to be, just by their very nature, much lower in calories. If you’re careful to also consume the correct mix of what are called “macro-nutrients” (i.e. carbohydrates, protein, and fat) you’ll have the added advantage of feeling full and satiated.
Think of it this way: You could make an unwise choice and eat a baked item like a glazed donut, or have a nutritious snack that consists of 300 grams of potatoes, either boiled, baked, or steamed. While the former may taste better and addictive, the latter provides better nutrition, fullness, and satiation.
So if your current lineup of snacks and meals consist primarily of processed junk, you better shift things around to achieve better weight loss.
Calorie-counting gets a bad rap from many food writers and media people. That’s unfair because keeping close track of calories is the centerpiece of most successful, science-based diets. Calories are an accurate, easily measurable metric that can help anyone stay true to their food intake goals. The one drawback is that individuals don’t enjoy all the counting, adding, calculating, and math involved. (The truth is, once you get used to it and become familiar with the numbers of calories you take in, week in and week out, counting becomes extremely easy).
However, if you abhor numbers and simple math, here’s a solution: manage serving sizes and portions instead. For example, if you typically eat two slices of bread, two pieces of fruit, two boiled eggs, and coffee with three teaspoons of sugar for breakfast, change your routine by consuming one slice of bread, one piece of fruit, one egg, and either no sugar or just one teaspoon.
Old way, with large portions for breakfast:
New, smarter way, with smaller portions:
There’s a catch, though. If you want to opt for the “serving/portion” system instead of counting calories, you’ll need to pay close attention to your average amount of daily servings for a week or so before you begin. This is to become aware of your average portion sizes to maintain your weight, and then, adjust accordingly (i.e. decrease serving amount).
For more than a decade, people have been using intermittent fasting, also called “IF”, to lose weight effectively.
The main principle is to designate a fixed time window each day, during which you consume all your day’s food. You only eat the calories that are necessary for that day and avoid eating anything during the “fasting” period. A typical setup that many folks find success with is to eat during an 8-hour window and then fast for the following 16 hours. That 16-hour period includes your sleep, which should be about 8 hours.
Here is a typical arrangement that millions of people use to make it work:
The long fasting period creates a fat-burning effect and the short one makes it difficult to overeat. However, make sure to educate yourself about this strategy before jumping into the system. Too many people make common mistakes when fasting and quit before it has any obvious, beneficial effects.
Remember, dropping excess pounds doesn’t have to be a monotonous, difficult chore. Of course, it’s not always easy, especially at first, to go on a diet of any kind. However, learning to use one, two, or all three of these methods will help you get through the journey safely and happily. And just like anything else in life, if you want to be successful — consistency is key.
Adam L. Tan, M.D.
Adam is a physician, writer, and founder of Medikologia – a site dedicated to helping individuals get in shape and optimize wellbeing through free and evidence-based medical content.
He believes that even though life gets busy and tedious, health is a crucial factor that allows anyone to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Hence, he provides practical tips and advice for anyone who wishes to stay healthy in this busy, modern society.