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When I need to lose a few pounds (usually it’s three to five after Christmas or vacation) I follow these steps:
Step 1. PIck three days when it’s easiest for you to cut out any added sugar. That’s anything that has white sugar on it or in it. Donuts and cake come to mind, but make sure you read the labels. Things like spaghetti sauce and canned veggies have added sugar in them too. While you are doing this part of the “diet”, don’t really watch portions or calories. Eat when you are hungry.
Don’t worry about the sugar in fresh veggies, fruits or dairy products. That is natural sugar. If you are eating yogurt, make sure you are eating low fat plain yogurt for 3 days After you’ve done three days with no sugar, it will be a lot easier to leave those sugary treats alone. Three days seem to be the tipping point.
Step 2. Pick the best way for you to watch how much you eat. For some people, this is portion control, for others it’s counting calories. Use a tool like http://www.choosemyplate.gov to calculate how many calories you should be eating according to your height, weight, how much weight you want to lose and how much time you want to take to do it. The safest and most effective timeline is losing 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Step 3. Find a way to accurately calculate calories or portions. A few good mobile apps are 21 day fix, Lose It, my fitness pal or, the calorie counter on your fitness tracker if it has one. To use 21 day fix, you’ll need to get a set of containers. You can order them online from Beachbody. I have also seen cheaper versions at CVS.
Step 4. Do some sort of exercise for at least 30 minutes, at least 3 times a day. If you are a total beginner, you can start with walking or some of the beginner workouts you can find on the internet.
It’s important to stick with it! You may lose quickly at first and then things will slow down. Keep to the plan, even if you only lose a little bit each week. Don’t lose heart and give up if you have a day where you eat more or fall of the wagon. Remember that slow and steady always wins the race.
Here’s the video from “Real LIve Fitness” that explains the plan.