Psst! Want to loose weight? Got a solution for you…

Every year, I start off needing to loose a few kilos.  And every year, by the end of March, I’m at my target weight.  The diet I’m on has only 1 genuine restriction but apart from that one you can eat absolutely anything you like.

The restriction?  No alcohol.

The diet?  (I swear I’m going to patent this…)  Eat Less and Exercise More.

Got that?  Step 1:  Eat Less.

Seriously, that’s all there is to it.  Quit the snacking that plagues the evening and means you’re effectively pouring money into your local supermarket/off-license/Pizza Hut/kebab shop.  Work out just how much a week you’re spending on snacks at the moment and then translate that into a big pot of money to spend when you hit your target weight.  Chances are you’ll need to spend it on clothes that actually fit, but if you don’t then you’ve probably paid for a PS3, a month of your mortgage or that new iPod you’ve been after.

So, tips for eating less:

  • Drink lots of water.  Pints of the stuff.  Yes, you’ve got to return it sometime, but it’s a cheap filler.
  • Swap your usual plate for something smaller.  I’m on a side-plate right now.  And don’t go back for seconds no matter how much you make.  Have some for lunch the next day or put it in the fridge for later in the week.
  • Have meals at regular times.  And do, for the love of Pete, remember to eat lunch.
  • Drink coffee.  5 calories a cup, apparently, and it’s an appetite suppressant.  I’m in IT.  My working days are fuelled by good coffee.  And I heard today that the proper coffee machine is being plumbed back in in our staff canteen!  Happy days!
  • If you want a Mars bar, have one!  But nothing else for that meal.

Step 2: Exercise More.

Every day, do something.  Floor exercises – sit-ups, leg lifts, press-ups.  You don’t have to do many, but 5 minutes spent doing that every day will soon reap benefits.

Get out into the fresh air and walk/jog/run.  If the weather’s up to it.  You can have some great times jogging in a force-10 northerly, but usually only when it’s pushing you up the hill you’d normally struggle to do.  Having to turn round and go home into said wind is not much fun.  If you don’t run, get on a bike.  It’s low-impact, doesn’t damage your knees as much.  Park further from work/the station then walk the rest of the way.  Obviously this last doesn’t work if you work from home but you could always walk around the block a bit.  Get a dog if you need an excuse – the money you’re not paying for snacks should cover food and vet’s bills.

Do both of these steps for a couple of weeks and you’ll really notice a difference.  Do it for a couple of months and you’ll loose a lot of weight.  Once you’re at your target, relax the diet a little – go for that second portion of lasagne, have a beer (but not both seconds and beer).  Go for maintenance rather than loss.

Yes, it’s all common sense and yes, it needs willpower.  But it works.

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