How to lose weight and keep it off

In a world of reality kitchens, ‘healthy’ chefs and ‘expert trainers people still find it almost impossible to lose weight.

They take a ‘slow and steady’ approach, deciding to approach weight loss the same way they would approach building a thirteen-layer cake- with absolute precision and a glimmer of flare.

Calories are meticulously counted, sugary foods are shown the bin and alcohol is left in the pantry.  Let’s not get too carried away though, you’re only aiming at losing 2 kilos this week and you don’t want to become some food-hating zealot.  Dairy, gluten, some processed sugars and refined oils such as vegetable and canola oils are all still part of the diet, but you’ll be careful about how much you consume.

But it’s your brother/sister/friend/dog’s uncle’s birthday on the weekend- it would be polite not to have a piece of cake.

And you had a hard day today; a drink over dinner will simply help you to relax.  And you do deserve to relax.

Before you know it, you’ve fallen prey to the dieting trap.  You’ve slidden down the slippery slope of diet failures and mishaps and, after two weeks of ‘on again off again’ dieting the only real thing you’ve done is diminish your sense of self-worth.

Seriously, how pathetic are you?  You couldn’t even stick to a stupid, easy diet!  You just HAD to have that cupcake, and now everyone’s looking at how FAT you’ve gotten!

And this type of thinking is exactly what’s wrong with the whole ‘dieting’ philosophy.

When doing something extreme, you never simply dip your toes in.  You shove your entire foot in and pray to the Heavens that nothing will jump out and snack on you for dinner.

Dieting follows the same approach.

Firstly, get your metabolism right.  Eating every 2-3 hours is bull-phoney and you can never have enough dead animal flesh (or *shudder* tofu) on your plate.  What is imperative is that, by the end of the day, you’ve eaten enough calories in total.

You can easily use an online calculator to find out how many calories per day you should eat.

Hypothetically, let’s assume you need 1800 calories per day for your height, weight and age.  Desperate to lose weight, you’ve eaten nothing but salad leaves and grilled chicken breasts for a total of 800 calories per day.

Your metabolism has slowed down, your body is storing fat and your thyroid is crumbling before your eyes.

For some, losing weight may mean eating more to begin with.  For others, it will mean eating less.

Next, go hard for 14 days- two week- and then back off.

14 days without any sugars, gluten, dairy, refined oils or alcohol- think of it as the ultimate paleo detox.  Cut your calories by 10-20% for the first week, and another 10-20% the following week.

Walk every morning, drink green tea like it’s part of your heritage and drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day.

Get your calories from ‘clean’ (an awful word but that’s another story) carbs such as potato, beetroot, pumpkin, and sweet potato and if you are weight training, some jasmine rice on training days.

After the two weeks, start to back off.  Have that sneaky snack that Jane from the office bought in on Tuesday because it was her brother’s birthday yesterday.

Setting the two-week limit will give you a timeframe to look forward to.  Think of the two-week ice cream and pizza binge you’ll go on after the two weeks is done.  Think of the Coke and Fanta you’ll be sculling down by the bottle.

Truth be told though, at the end of the two weeks you’ll notice such a change in your mood, sleeping habits, energy levels and maybe even waist line that, once the two-weeks is over, you’ll realise that the Ben and Jerry’s binge probably isn’t worth it.

And if you do decide to go on the binge, at least you’d have established a new baseline to go back to- the gluten free, dairy free, sugar free pinnacle of awesome you are.

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