Although there's no easy "one size fits all" weight loss program, there is such a thing as a weight loss program which makes it easier for you personally to lose weight than others.
This is the program which fits your lifestyle so well that you are happy to adopt it and live with it permanently.
1. Decide which foods to include in your diet.
Which healthy foods do you like? Which ones do you tolerate? And which do you hate?
Build your meals around those healthy foods which you enjoy. After all there is no point in eating a meal and hating it.
If you hate a whole food group, and your diet would be unhealthy without it. In that case, adapt your diet to include the elements you need in a palatable way. For example, if you hate vegetables serve them in a way that you can't taste them. Puree them and include them in soups, stews or pasta sauces. If you hate or have an allergy to dairy products, choose other foods to give you alternative rich sources of calcium and protein.
2. Decide which junk foods you'll dump
Which poor food choices can you easily live without?
Dump the junk that doesn't matter to you. Maybe eating some junk foods has just become a habit and you can easily wean yourself away from them. Others are ones you love and would miss a lot so include small amounts in an otherwise balanced healthy diet. In this way you reduce the junk without feeling deprived.
3. Replace the gap left by the junk food you don't care about with healthy food you do like
Best of all replace the junk with healthy food which has a touch of luxury. For example, you dump peanuts and potato snacks and replace them with blinis, low fat cream cheese and caviar or dump donuts for crispbread and smoked salmon or lean prime roast beef.
4. Upgrade the junk food you love
Replace your junk food choices with something even better. For example, instead of treating yourself to your usual cheap chocolate bar, feel like a million dollars by buying yourself a couple of exquisite handmade chocolates. This means you can really indulge yourself now and again without piling on the pounds.
5. Create weekly meal plans around the foods you have decided to include in your diet
Pre-set meal plans in diet books and weight loss programs make life easy but they're unlikely to give you the most satisfaction and enjoyment per calorie. They are not based on the foods you particularly like and many have an aim of allocating foods in particular proportions of fat, carbs and proteins, which makes for some weird meals and combinations.
Forget being too rigid if you want to find a healthy balance you can live with for life.
Also give those meal replacement bars and shakes a wide berth. Who wants to live on those for a week never mind a life time?
Instead, choose a good variety of different healthy foods each day and also vary your choices throughout the week. If planning your own healthy meals sounds like too much hard work, use a ready-made meal plan but substitute some of the things you like least with similar foods you like better.
6. Don't get too hungry
Living with hunger is hard and totally unnecessary to lose weight. The easiest weight loss program matches your individual hunger patterns. Such a ready-made program may not exist, so why not devise your own?
Eat enough at each main meal to satisfy your hunger but not feel stuffed. And eat often enough so that you're not ravenous when it's time for lunch or dinner. Most people need a small snack mid-morning and in the afternoon. As a guideline eat no more than about the size of your two clenched fists for any main meal and, if you feel you need more, fill up on salad or vegetables.
Your aim should be to feel hungry when it's time for a meal but not all the time.
7. Add some easy exercise
If exercise doesn't fit into your life easily you won't do it (at least, not for long). Choose an activity which feels like fun, even if it means trying a few things first to see what you like. Or build your fitness by simply doing more as you go about your day - moving more at work, being more active around the house and garden, choosing to walk instead of taking the car on short journeys etc. Build your level of activity gradually so that you ease into fitness - you don't have to tie yourself to the gym every night - but if you love that, that's OK too!
8. Think about what motivates you
As with the other elements of a weight loss program we are all individuals when it comes to motivation. Why do you want to lose weight? What reason is strong enough to make you stick to your plan? You will have your own combination of reasons and they are the key to your success. Remind yourself daily why you are doing this so that you feel more motivated to change your habits.
9. Celebrate in style
Choose how you will celebrate your success and make it something that drives you to meet your goal. Plan your celebration to reward yourself with whatever means most to you personally and not with what you or others think you should want.
10.It's all about you
We are all different and so there's no one weight loss plan or program that will work best for everyone. Choose your own elements like a pick and mix selection. Go at your own pace and you'll finally find just the right combination that works for you - the easiest possible weight loss program.
Copyright 2005, Janice Elizabeth Small