I know you will be bombarded with tons of ‘how to lose weight’ stuff this new year. Many people can’t cope straight off with a whole programme and then don’t do anything at all, or gradually lose the will because it is too much change, confusion or deprivation for them. So, if this is you, I want you to ignore all the programmes please, and do one single thing instead. Just one. This is guaranteed to be the easiest way to lose weight, ever. I promise.
The reason weight programmes don’t work is that they can be just too hard, too depressing, too restrictive and too unsustainable long-term. They will work, of course, as any weight loss programme will, but can you keep it up – and anyway does it really need to be so complex?
Most often, we are told to cut out several foods at once to lower fat, sugar, salt etc and, of course, that is dead right. That’s a healthy way to do it. Problem is: no-one wants to stick to it for long so the weight creeps back on and off we go on a merry go round of yo-yo dieting, which is actually even worse for your health.
So, instead, I want you to cut out just one thing and not worry or think about anything else. This is guaranteed to make you lose weight and be so easy you won’t give up.
How do I know this works?
I learned this myself by accident. I was losing a lot of weight because of my illness and restricted diet a couple of years back. When I started being able to get easily into Next size 6 jeans, I thought I had better do something to put some weight back on. I couldn’t do the usual thing of increasing certain foods or eating more of them to gain weight as I was only able to eat fish and veg with a bit of fruit, so my choice of weight-gain food was very limited and what I did was hardly healthy, but needs must.
I started eating one packet of plaintain crisps a day. Just one. Every day. Within a few short months, I had gained two dress sizes (and a load of cellulite, thanks to the fat, but we won’t dwell on that)! This teaches me, of course, that if you do the opposite, you will lose two dress sizes! If I wanted to lose that same weight, I would have just needed to cut out the daily packet of plantain crisps and dropped back again.
How simple is that? No real thought or deprivation, let’s face it! So, the answer is to simply cut one food out of your diet from today onwards and not to worry about anything else. Don’t get complicated about it.
Which food to cut out?
What do you eat every day? A packet of crisps, some biscuits, a sugary breakfast cereal, a latte, a bacon sarnie, a chocolate or some kind of nutri bar mid-afternoon, a glass of coke, a couple of glasses of wine, sugar in your tea, a handful of salted, roasted nuts? Now choose one and stop it. Just one.
Even if you normally eat two packets of crisps and stop one, that will work. Same goes for if you have four biscuits with your tea usually and drop it down to two, if you can’t face it all going in one go. You can always drop the other two in a month or so and double your efforts. The point is just to start with something. You don’t feel like you have lost out on a treat, but you will still halve the calories and fat you were taking in – which will really help you lose weight. Not that healthy still, obviously, but that is not the point here. Just do something.
Don’t replace your food with more of the others obviously! Either don’t replace it at all or replace it with a fruit or vegetable of some kind. Incidentally, it might be that you are ultra-healthy and still gaining weight, in which case cut the portion size down by a third, although are you really, honestly, truly sure there isn’t a single food you eat regularly that might be an issue; there usually is?? My diet is extremely healthy but I still have too much honey in my smoothies every morning. Could I choose a sweeter fruit and cut out the honey? Of course I could. I have honey on my cooked apples that I use for healing my leaky gut – could I use eating apples which are naturally sweeter instead of cooking apples that need a shed-load of honey to counter their bitterness? Yes of course. If I found that hard, I could even taper it down gradually or, replace it slowly with eg. xylitol, a natural sweetener (please do NOT use artificial sweeteners!)
How many calories would you cut out?
Just by stopping whatever your one thing is, you will lose weight over time without even trying. I’ve asked people to do this a few times now and it works. It’s hardly dieting is it and, of course, I want people to take more healthy steps than just this, but just look at what you would be cutting out by taking this one, single action:
One latte: 190 calories in 1 serving of Starbucks Caffe Latte (Grande). Calorie breakdown: 34% fat, 39% carbs, 26% protein. One per day over 1 month = 5,700 calories, over 12 months = 69,350 calories.
One packet of salted crisps: Calories. 171. 9%*. Fat. 10.4. 15%*. Saturates. 0.8. 4%*. Sugars. 0.1. 1%*. Salt. 0.46. 8%. One per day over a month = 5,130 calories, over 12 months = 61,560 calories.
And I’m not even mentioning the fat here, note!
One small glass of red wine (nowadays that is 175ml) is about 120 calories. That’s one per day for a month = 3,600 calories, over 12 months = 43,200 calories
A 2 finger KitKat is 107 calories. One per day for a month = 3,210, so that’s 38,520 over 12 months.
You get the picture.
It’s amazing how quickly the weight comes off. And, of course your levels of fat, salt, sugar, alcohol etc will also come down so you will be much healthier all round. Just by choosing one thing and stopping it.
OK. So don’t just do nothing if you can’t face a whole programme. Just do this. It will work. In a few months’ time your weight will be substantially lower and you will hardly have even have noticed or missed that one food. Simples 🙂
Incidentally, if you do want more help, especially if your issue is related to blood sugar, diabetes or belly fat, you could just use the what foods to eat and what to avoid checklist in my Belly Fat Plan and try swapping one ‘avoid’ for an ‘eat more of’ food. Again, that is enough to start significant change, but is targeted specifically at the diabetes/belly fat/allergy-fat type issues if you need that. You can also find out more on my Weight Loss factsheet here.
Good luck – let me know below what food you plan to cut out – accountability and all that!