TRUTH ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS
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
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
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
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.
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.
dieting. "The best thing I did
was quit dieting," says Ritu. On
average, weight loss winners eat five times
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
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."
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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?"
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
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
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
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.
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
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,"
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,"
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.
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
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.
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
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."
yourself. Take baths and get
massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures.
"They make me look good and feel
good," says Meeta.
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,"
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
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.
others standards. "Thin is
whatever you think thin is. Next to Reena,
I'm thin. Next to Tina, I'm fat," says
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
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,"
early detection. "I weigh
myself about once a month," says Rinki.
"If I start inching up, I increase my
exercise a little bit."
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
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