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Weight Loss Programme

We went to the real weight loss experts -- folks who've been there, done that -- to get their tips for taking it off and keeping it off. We wanted to know what really worked for folks who'd not only lost big kgs (more than 12), but who'd kept it off for more than a year.

Not surprisingly, they changed their eating habits and increased their activity levels. But haven't we all tried that? Why did it work for them and not others? What follows are their inspirational, sensible, tough -- yet doable -- tips. We suggest printing out each page and hanging them on your fridge, desk or other prominent place. next Get moving

The tough part with exercise, of course, is getting out there and doing it. Here's how the successful get going:

1. Prioritize. The beds might not get made, but Reema, 36, still makes time for exercise. That's how she's kept off more than 32 kgs for 13 years. "I have to schedule it in and let go of other things -- like a perfectly clean house," she says.

2. Find a passion. "I have a dance background and when I found Aerobics, I said, 'Thank God.' If somebody told me I had to go out and run five days a week, I'd still weigh 74 kgs," says Madhu, 41, who lost 22 kgs and has kept it off for 13 years.

3. Keep an exercise log. It makes you more accountable.Tina from Delhi, who hangs hers on the refrigerator, checks off six workouts a week dutifully. "If I miss one day, I make that my day off for the week."

4. Set a goal. "Try to improve your times.Earlier when i started, i used to be exhausted in 5 minutes doing Aerobics. But gradually, i could do 20 minutes and was getting fitter and losing more weight" says Neeta 34, who lost 22 kgs and now easily does a 45 minutes hectic Aerobics non-stop."

5. Get pumped. "It wasn't until I put on more muscle through resistance training that I was able to keep the weight off -- almost effortlessly," says Madhumati, 37, who went from a size 18 to an 8. The reason? Muscle burns more calories around the clock.

6. Make changes for the long haul. "I learned how to eat and live with it for the rest of my life," says Tina, 42, who lost more than 16 kgs and hasn't seen any come back in three years.

7. Stop dieting. "The best thing I did was quit dieting," says Ritu. On average, weight loss winners eat five times a day.

8. Follow the 90% to 10% rule. "If you watch what you eat 90% of the time, the other 10% is not a problem," says Meeta who learned this tip from a fitness professional.

9. Dine at the dinner table only. If you eat in front of the TV, then every time you nestle in with the remote control, it's a cue to eat. Instead, designate an eating spot for all meals and snacks. "Even when I want potato chips, I set the table just like I was going to sit down for a full course meal," says Keerthi, 47, who took off more than 40 kgs. "It also stopped what I thought were hunger headaches, which were probably due to dehydration. "

10. Do it for yourself. "My doctor told me for years that I had to take the weight off. But you've got to want it yourself," says Jaya. "As long as somebody else is pushing you, no matter what you do or what you try, it'll never work," adds Shaila, 39, who shed 24 kgs and has kept them off for five years.

11. Take it slow. We all want to lose it yesterday, but slow is the way to go if you don't want to see those Kgs again. "It took me a year to lose 20 kgs this time," says Sheela, who's kept it off for eight years. "I had lost 20 kgs twice before, in less than six months each time, but I didn't maintain it."

12. Customize your approach. What worked for your best friend may not work for you. And what works for you today may not work six months from now. You need to decide what you need. Sheela joined a structured program for accountability. "I needed to know that I was going to get weighed each week," she says. But for others that's exactly what they don't need.

13. Learn from the past. Everyone we talked to had tried to lose weight before. Part of their success this time was that they learned from past failures. "Before, the more I focused on weighing, measuring, and preparing food, the more I ate," says Meeta, who finally succeeded with a program that offered prepackaged foods.

14. Set small goals. "My first goal was to lose only 4 kgs," says Rita. "I had very high blood pressure, and my doctor said if I would just lose 4 kgs, he believed that I could get off the pills. Every other doctor before said I had to lose 40 kgs, and I thought 'I can't do that.' But 4 kgs, I thought 'maybe I can do that.' Doing it one bite at a time made it more achievable for me."

15. Make changes you can live with. "Before I'd go to bed I'd ask myself, 'Is what I did today something I could do for the rest of my life?' If I felt deprived, I'd do it differently tomorrow. If I thought, 'Yeah, I could do this tomorrow,' then I was on the right track," says Ritu.

16. Go back to school. Joining a weight loss class or working with a dietitian can help you learn proper portions, even without weighing and measuring. "If you get a half cup of cottage cheese, it should look like a tennis ball, a quarter cup should look like a Ping-Pong ball," says Meeta. "Now, I know what appropriate portions look like."

17. Don't toss those measuring cups, though. "I usually misjudge portions of salad dressing, and ice cream," says Sheela. "They're really high in fat and calories and cause the most damage if overdone. So I still measure them."

18. Cook for your family, not an army. Even for low-fat foods like grilled chicken,Mala stopped overfeeding her family of four. "I stopped making six or seven roasted chicken pieces, thinking that everybody had to have two or three," she says. "Now I make just one for each person."

19. Plan ahead. An empty fridge after a stressful day begs for pizza. The now-slender crew doesn't leave meals to chance. Many of them plan their menus a week or more in advance.

20. A little dab will do it. If you just can't pass on some high-fat favorites, stick to the most flavorful ones. "A single slice of chicken meat is enough to flavor eggs or a potato," says Hena, 61, who lost about 21 kgs. Her husband's lost more than 45 kgs.

21. Fake fry. Try"frying" with calorie-free cooking sprays instead of oil. Spray sliced potatoes and roast them in the oven for french fries that taste fried without the fat, suggests Manu.

22. Stock frozen veggies. With meat or tomato sauces, they are diet saviors. "I've been known to eat a whole bag of vegetables -- and with only a quarter cup of sauce, it's only about 3 grams of fat," says Maithili. "It's saved my butt many times when I was really hungry and had to eat now."

23. Flavor up. Rice, beans, and other cooked grains are the staples of many successful dieters. For variety, cook them in different liquids -- tomato juice, apple juice, beef or chicken stock. "Rice done in pineapple juice is especially good for rice puddings and Chinese dishes," she says.

24. Find the right support person. A nag won't do. Neither will a partner in crime. Look for someone who can empathize and support you in a positive way. When Ritu finally succeeded in losing weight, her fiance was a big help. "We didn't focus all our socializing around food. We went Brisk Walking a lot and played table tennis instead of going for Pav Bhaji."

25. Join a support group. "Hearing someone say she lost 20 kgs would be real motivating," says Rekha. "I'd think, She's just a normal person like me. If she can lose 20 then I can do it too.'"

26. Create your own group. "I started my first women's group when I first started exercising. It was just a bunch of women that got together once a week, and we would compare notes," says Depti, 44, who's 54 kgs slimmer than she was 13 years ago.

27. Be picky. "I'm not afraid to ask for dishes to be prepared differently," says Sheela. "My philosophy is that every restaurant has a grill and an oven. They don't have to fry everything."

28. It's not the Last Supper. This is not your last chance in life to have a particular food. "Those french fries will be there in a half hour if I really have to have them," says Depti. Or they'll be there next week.

29. Don't wait to doggy bag. "As soon as the maid puts the food down in front of me I cut the whole portion in half, put it on my butter plate, and ask her to wrap it," says Sheela. If you wait until the end of your meal, oftentimes you pick at it until the maid returns.

30. Tackle buffets. "I get only one tablespoon of everything," says Ritu. "Usually I don't even fill my plate, but I at least taste everything so I don't feel deprived."

31. Stay busy. Do something that's not conducive to eating. The folks we talked to aren't sitting around thinking of hot chocolate fudge. They're learning BharatNatyam, taking classes, Briskwalking, leading weight loss groups, and more.

32. Keep 'em out of sight. Overwhelmingly, weight loss vets control foods like chocolate, ice cream, and potato chips by not having them around.

33. Moderation is key. But they're not depriving themselves, either. "If I want a piece of cake, I'll have one," says Meeta. "Then I just won't have another one for a week or so. Knowing that I can eat something and no one's going to say 'you can't' works for me."

34. Indulge and enjoy! Go for the best brand of ice cream or the best punjabi dish paneer kofta. "If I'm going to blow 500 or 600 calories, I want to make sure that I'm enjoying it to the max," says Mamata. "Often desserts look much better than they taste. If it tastes like cardboard, forget it. It's not worth it."

35. Limit portions. "When I have to snack,I put my hand in the bag or box and whatever I can grab, that's what I eat -- only a handful," says Rashmi.

36. Buy individually packaged snacks. Cookies, chips, even ice cream come in single serving sizes. "If I want some cookies or chips, I grab one little bag instead of a whole box," says Ritu.

37. Keep reminders around. A note on the refrigerator reading "Stop" kept Ritu from raiding it. Underneath she listed other things to do, like "take a drink of water" and questions such as"Are you really hungry?"

38. Find alternatives. Chocolate is still a favorite even for successful dieters. But they've found ways to enjoy it and still keep their waistlines. Beena makes fat-free eggless cake. For Sitara, who lost 16 kgs and has kept it off for two years, a cup of sugar-free hot coffee topped with a little fat-free whipped cream does the trick.

39. Don't give in to peer pressure. If the cookies, chips, or ice cream you buy for the rest of the family is sabotaging your efforts, stop buying it. "My daughters carried on for about a month, but after that they got used to the change," says Beena.

40. Know your triggers. You have to know which moods send you to the toffee jar before you can do anything about it. Once you know your triggers, have a list of alternate things to do when the mood strikes. "When I get tired or discouraged, I get an 'I don't care attitude,'" says Reena. For those times, taking a walk or reading affirmations can help.

41. Quiz yourself. Determine if you're really hungry or eating for other reasons. "I'll ask myself 'Do you really want this, or is it something else, like boredom or depression?' About 80% of the time it's not hunger," says Girija.

42. Call a friend. Talking about what's eating you can keep you from eating. "I had to be willing to call my support people at 9 o'clock on a Friday night," says Beena, 46, who's kept off 19 kgs for more than 15 years.

43. Stop worrying. Remind yourself that you only have control over you -- not your spouse, boss, parents, or friends. If you can't do anything about it, just let it go, several people suggested.

44. Take an emotional inventory. Ask yourself: "What do you feel guilty about? resent? fear? regret? What are you angry about?" Then deal with it, says Beena. Confront the person involved, talk to others, or write a letter -- even if you don't send it.

45. Get spiritual. If religion isn't for you, try yoga, meditation, or relaxation exercises. These are especially helpful if you tend to eat when you're stressed, says Beena.

46. Challenge the power of food. Ice cream is a poor companion if you're lonely. "If I eat the whole bag of potato chips, am I going to be any happier? Probably not," says Jaya.

47. Look how far you've come. "By keeping a graph of my weight, I could see that the line would go up and down and up and down, but overall it was going down, so there was no reason to throw my progress away," says Ritu.

48. Don't give up. "There are plenty of times when I've wanted to give up, but I didn't," says Meeta. "I realized a long time ago that entrepreneurs fall and rise up every time they lose a venture, but they just keep getting up." The same is true for weight loss.

49. "You can do it." Repeat this to yourself. Many people post affirmations around their homes or offices as constant reminders. One dieter even programmed her computer screen to keep her on the right track.

50. Get inspired. "I read a lot about other people who have come back from obstacles and really made it," says Meeta. Their determination can make you feel like you can succeed too.

51. Envision your svelte self. "If you can actually visualize yourself as the person you want to be, you'll become it," says Meeta. "When I felt like I couldn't do this one more minute, I slipped in a motivational tape. Step by step, it would walk me through a visualization exercise so I could see myself as I wanted to be."

52. Find new measures of success. When she lost some weight, trying on her old, too-big clothes further motivated Sheela. "I also bought myself a size below what I was wearing," she says. "I'd see if I could get the pants on, then if I could zip them, and finally when I could wear them comfortably."

53. Learn to like your trouble spots. Mala, who's lost about 30 kgs, dresses in a salwar and, standing in front of a mirror, she points out everything about herself that she doesn't like. Then she counters that. For instance, "I hate my legs, but they work," she says. "I can walk and dance. I have no control over the way they look, so it's silly to obsess over them. Don't dwell on it."

54. Pamper yourself. Take baths and get massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures. "They make me look good and feel good," says Meeta.

55. Stop negative talk. "If you make positive speech a long-term goal and stop using 'I was bad (or good) today,' you'll begin to feel better about yourself," says Meeta.

56. Don't compare yourself to others. Instead, think "I'm better or just as good as anyone else is. Once you start thinking that about yourself, believe me, you get real cocky," says Meeta.

57. Look in the mirror and say, "I look good." You may not believe it now, but you will. "When I first started this, I avoided mirrors," says Beena. "I never wanted to go into a dressing room, so I'd get various sizes, take them home, and then try them on. If they didn't fit, then I took them back. But now I'll look in every mirror."

58. Stay flexible. Many people who have kept the weight off never reached their initial goal weights. Instead, they've gotten to a realistic weight that they can maintain. "In 13 years, I've never gotten down to my initial goal weight, but I'm very happy and feel very good even though I didn't reach it," says Ritu.

59. Quit the numbers game. Mala is 5' 5 1/2" tall and weighs 68 kgs -- by society's standards she's heavy. However, she can slip into a size 8 thanks to the fact that most of her weight is muscle. "It doesn't matter what the scale says, it matters how I look," she says.

60. Reject others standards. "Thin is whatever you think thin is. Next to Reena, I'm thin. Next to Tina, I'm fat," says Meeta.

61. Stop being a perfectionist. "Look at it like walking a tightrope," suggests Reena. "The goal is not just to stay on without falling off. The goal is to get to the other side, and if you know that you can fall off as many times as you want as long as you get back up again, you're gonna be successful."

62. Start fresh, ASAP. If you have a slip, don't wait until Monday or even tomorrow to get back in line. Reena uses water as a cleansing ritual to end a binge. When she realizes what's happening, she drinks a water to signal that the eating is over, and she's back on track immediately. "It's made my lapses shorter and shorter," she says.

63. Practice early detection. "I weigh myself about once a month," says Rinki. "If I start inching up, I increase my exercise a little bit."

64. Enlist professional help. Many of the people we talked to used dietitians, personal trainers, and even psychologists to help them deal with problems that were hindering their efforts. If you feel like you can't do it on your own, seek help.



Weight Loss Facts:

Low Fat Foods DON'T WORK.  

You cannot lose weight using Low Fat Diets. Low fat foods have been popular for more than 10 years, but yet our society is getting more over-weight as each year passes.  This fact alone should tell you that eating a purely low fat menu is definitely not the answer to losing weight.

Low Calorie Diets DON'T WORK.

You will not lose weight using a Low Calorie Dieting Plan either.  In fact, eating low calories is the worst thing that you can do to your body, since that will only slow down your body's fat burning engine and ruin all chances of losing weight (low calorie diets may allow a few pounds of weight loss for the first few days, but then after that all weight loss comes to a halt --- known as a dieting plateau).  You will never get slim by starving yourself.

Low Carb Plans DON'T WORK.

You will probably find it extremely difficult to get slim using a Low Carb Dieting Plan.  Low carb diets have recently become very popular over the last few years, but the problem with low carb menus is that they are too strict and TOO HARD TO FOLLOW for average people.   Low carb menus tend to rob your body of too much carbohydrates and make it nearly impossible to continue on the program for very long.  This is why so many dieters fail to follow a strict low carbohydrate menu.

What about Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig Dieting Plans?

Weight loss and diet programs such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig usually involve slower dieting progress over a longer period of time, since such programs generally promise only two to three pounds of weight loss per week.  Also, diet programs such as Jenny Craig usually involve buying special meals and/or dietary supplements during the initial phases of the program.  While some people may like these types of dietary programs, we prefer a better dieting plan which focuses on faster weight loss, such as the Accelerated Fat Burning Program shown below... 




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