Losing weight for many is relativelyeasy. What is not so easy is maintaining weight after you've lost it. About a decade ago I put down to paper all the principals and techniques I used to go from a six-foot-tall 255 pound behemoth to a reasonably-sized 205-220 man, 12 years and counting. I wrote theprincipals down in the booklet "The Dieter's Dictionary (Get It Off and Keep It Off - A Guide to Eating for People Who Like to Eat)." These principals constitute a guide to eating for people who like to eat, not for those who unrealistically wish to return to their high school weight (you can't morph back into a tadpole if you're a frog, after all!) Not only that, I hold a Certificate in Nutrition from Shaw Academy (Ireland).

Follow these principles and you'll lose the weight you were supposed to lose (find your optimal weight), and keep it off indefinitely.

Four simple keys

Losing and maintaining weight comes down to four basic principles. It behooves you to write them down and remember them, and above all, practice them daily:

  • Portion Control
  • Low Fat
  • Division of Meals (over time)
  • Walking

Portion control is key, and can be practiced by developing habits such as not eating directly out of a bag -- ever -- and eating off smaller plates. Choosing low fat over high fat is nearly always a good choice. Dividing your meals into three-to-four hour time zones allows for optimal digestion and energy. Walking should be done every day for at least 30minutes (add pushups and light weight-lifting as needed).

Diet is more critical than exercise

The vast amount of calories you burn are burnt simply by youliving and breathing. Approximately 20 percent of calories you burn are burntthrough moving around. So the principle you need to remember is this: it's much easier to lose and maintain weight by right eating than it is by "burning it off."

Watch out for the obstacles that can get in your way: over vigilance of your scale can get in your way because often you hit a plateau when you are trying to lose weight due to your body's metabolism adjustment and the fact that you gain muscle when you exercise.

Gym memberships get in the way if you don't even have the discipline to drop on the floor and give yourself 20 pushups every morning, but expect to "work out" at a gym after work every day.

So it comes down to this: eat a high-fiber\moderate protein breakfast, a small lunch and a tiny dinner (and minimal snacks), walk 30 minutes a day, lift a few weights, do a few push-ups, and put away your scale.

Follow these principles and you will be able to get it off and keep it off.

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