My ten dieting secrets for successful weightloss

It finally happened. I have reached and actually fallen slightly under, my goal weight of 140lb (I’m currently 139.9lb). I weighed 155lb in January, when I weighed myself to see if giving up alcohol would make any difference to my weight over Dry January.

plate of salad with tuna
Tuna and egg salad with extra light mayonnaise
Using FatSecret a free diet app, which records calorie (also fat, carbs etc) and sets goals etc I have managed a simple diet since then and now am planning to just stay around this weight.

Several people have asked my my ‘dieting secret’ and sadly I’m not sure there is one. The secret is that well known one, you have to eat less calories than you need…then you lose weight. If you eat more than you need you gain weight, and if you eat the right amount you stay the same.

That said I do have some tips to sticking to your set limit. And some ideas for meals and snacks to keep the calories down.

  1. Don’t ban any food. If there is a food you like and want to eat just include it in your plan. This might mean you have to eat a smaller portion, maybe half a pizza with a green salad rather than a whole pizza! or a small chocolate bar rather than a 1lb one, or it may mean missing out something else, so why not just have dessert for dinner? If you have a sweet tooth and crave lemon meringue just go for it, but you can’t have everything.
  2. You will need willpower. There are lots of foods that taste much much better than skinny feels but if you want to lose weight you may have to say no, not every time (see point 1 above) but some of the time. Be prepared to feel like a holy martyr. Feel good about saying no and if you feel hungry and your stomach grumbles ensure you know how many calories you’ve had that day and then mentally tell your body to ‘suck it up and use some of the fat you have  already!’  (don’t do this out loud though, it’s considered odd)
  3. Plan some snacks. If, like me, you are always hungry and fancying a nibble on something, plan some snacks. I have found that there are great low calorie options such as savoury popcorns, fruit, and even low calorie crisps that can be included in your diet.
  4. To start with just record what you eat and when, I found using a dieting app was great for showing me where I was going wrong! When you see what you are eating and a pattern you can look at how to change it. If you always snack at 10.30 it’s silly to just stop – but you can change what you snack on (see above) Like wise if you tend to eat a larger meal at a certain time of the day, tailor your calories toward that. I like to eat a medium breakfast, snack at 10.30 and then have  a light lunch with a bigger evening meal for example. The FatSecret app is free and available on Android, Apple products and on the web. The website allows you to buddy up with people similar to you too, which can be a great boost.
  5. Top examples of low calorie foods and meals I discovered are : Tuna fish, spookily low in calories and eaten with a salad (eg salad niciose) can be really filling for a tiny percentage of your daily allowance). Quorn, another high protein, low fat, low calorie food, great in a tomato sauce (homemade with no added sugars etc) with rice or green beans. Sushi, I found that a small pack of Yumie sushi at lunch was only 200 calories, perfect with a bottle of water, feels exotic and special full of flavour and very few calories. I’ve already mentioned popcorn, brands like Propercorn are great. 
  6. Bulk up your plate with more vegetables (not root veg) and try to cut down on fat and carbohydrates. Lots of people will swear by a low fat or a low carb diet – in my opinion these work because fat and carbs have the most calories! I’ve used calorie counting only and have found adding extra lower calorie vegetables to meals has worked well.
  7. Drinks are easy to consume and can hide an alarming calorie content. Alcohol really is an empty calorie (add Costa Chai Lattes to that list of hugely calorific drinks too!!) and alcohol is a poison, so I have given it up completely in the week. I now drink non alcoholic beer and wine after work instead, double health gain! Since finding out how many calories are in those yummy flavoured Frappes and Lattes in coffee shops I also tend to avoid them unless it’s a treat. Saving big money and numerous calories.
  8. Be honest with yourself, if you don’t record everything you eat you might gain weight and will feel defeated. Better to see where you are going wrong on food intake so you can change it. It’s not easy to diet. You will need to change habbits. There is no magic trick. You just need to eat less. If you mess up a day, don't panic, just go back to doing it right the next day. I went to a couple of events where food was on offer so I just gave myself a diet holiday! That way I didn't feel bad, I enjoyed myself and went back to the diet afterwards. (oddly you do find as time passes you automatically make better choices anyway) 
  9. I haven’t talked about exercise and that’s deliberate. I don’t exercise much and I didn’t step it up when I started this diet. The extra calories burned via exercise are surprisingly low.(you need an hour of fast cycling to burn off a single donut). Exercise will change some of your shape and convert fat to muscle and muscle is denser than fat and can weigh more. Most scientists agree that diet is much more important to lose weight than exercise (I’m not talking about over all health – exercise is obviously good for health, but losing weight is what I’m focusing on)
  10. Drink more water. Everyone says this, but it's true and it helps. It stops you eating when really you are just thirsty. It fills your stomach if you drink water with a meal. It helps your body work and it's zero calories. And it's something to swallow!
So there they are, my diet secrets, which sadly boil down to eating fewer calories. But it is possible! It’s taken me 6 months at 1600 calories a day (1800 in the first 2 months) but I’ve lost 15 lbs. The FatSecret app allows you to choose how fast or slow you want to lose the weight and I chose slowly and it’s worked perfectly. I would suggest after losing 5lbs or so you reassess the calories you should be consuming, as you get smaller you need fewer to stay the same!
pan of quorn chilli
Homemade Quorn Chilli

Good Luck - let me know how you get on.

(This in not a sponsored post. Nothing to disclose here, move along)