The professional advice regarding weight loss/maintenance of the past 30 years has made a HUGE and GROWING percentage of first-worlders fat and sick. That fact ought to be enough to convince you to ignore much BUT NOT ALL of what has been said in the answers so far…And I read every one of them very carefully.
I repeat: ONLY the advice that recommends not consuming carbohydrates was really spot-on…But a very significant aspect of low-carb dieting was left out…It pains me to be the one to tell you all that those “healthy” complex carbohydrates are just as evil as sugar and white flour…YES this means: “whole grains” oatmeal, potatoes, corn, carrots, sweet potatoes, white AND brown rice, peas, beans, onions…IF you are someone who gains weight easily your body is especially good at converting those “healthy” complex carbohydrates into BLOOD SUGAR. Your body does not know the difference between a bowl of “healthy” oatmeal or potato or rice and a piece of white bread or a cupcake.
And permit me to remind you that all that wonderful fruit and especially fruit juice and skim milk are as as full of sugar as a sugary soda. No, you do not need any of it even though fruit, juice and skim milk have lots of great vitamins and minerals. Take any vitamins and minerals you need in a pill if you don’t think you’re eating enough nutrient-dense foods like meat and salad and LOW-carb veg.
AND it gives me great satisfaction to inform the weight-prone that the advice recommending dividing your calories into many small feedings a day was just as dead-wrong as the advice about low-fat/complex carbohydrate diets. THE OPPOSITE is true. If you want to lose weight or maintain a weight loss you eat once or twice a day; NO snacks. The “wisdom” was that if you had a lot of small meals rather than one or two larger meals, you would not get hungry and you would keep your metabolism running at a higher level. HOWEVER, if you eat anything at all, you body squirts out insulin. And, IT IS NOT METABOLICALLY POSSIBLE TO BURN STORED FAT IN THE PRESENCE OF INSULIN. …So, dammit, all those small feedings spread out over the day actually never allowed insulin levels to drop to the point where stored fat (those jiggling lumps on your butt/belly) to be burned….Learning this pissed me off. Seriously. I had the “frequent small feedings” technique mastered.
The macronutrient (fat, carbohydrate and protein are “macronutrients”) that is least likely to provoke an insulin surge is FAT. That is why “fat fasting” burns weight off so fast nobody who tries it can even believe it.
Fat means: butter, lard, olive oil, coconut oil, nut oils, bacon fat, fatty meat, sour cream, full-fat cheese, cream cheese, whipping cream (not half-and-half). Since fake fats like margarine and Crisco and some seed oils like corn oil are believed to be unhealthy, stay away from them.
SO if you want to lose weight at a decent rate here is what you do:
1. You figure out what your personal caloric need is daily. (This is tricky because a great big tall YOUNG and ACTIVE man who is overweight might really need 3000 calories to maintain his weight and can lose weight efficiently on 2,500 calories per day. ON THE OTHER HAND people like me who are older, female, short, not particularly active can GAIN weight (slowly) on as little as 1,000 cal./day especially if those calories are too high in carbs and divided into many small feedings throughout the day. ) You subtract 500 calories and that’s the number of calories you eat per day but NOT the composition of those calories.
2. The composition of those calories you eat every day should be, if you are fat-prone, 70% FAT. NOT loads of protein and most definitely not any form of carbohydrate. Your salad and low-carb vegetables will probably provide approx. 5–7 grams of carbohydrate. It is almost impossible to eat NO carbohydrates unless your diet is composed of 100% fat.
3. You eat once and at most twice a day. No ‘mini-meals” no “healthy” snacks. None. Zero. Being in a “fasting” state minimizes insulin and permits the burning of stored fat.
AND YET THERE’S MORE: Losing weight slowly is no more likely to be successful in either the short or long term than losing weight more quickly. IMO losing fast helps keep me motivated. Nothing is more depressing and demoralizing than the dreaded weight-loss “plateau” and if you follow the three principals I gave you, you probably won’t hit that plateau.
Even more astonishing, neither aerobic exercise nor strength training or interval training is much help for very weight-prone people to lose weight…HOWEVER, exercise does keep you healthy and DOES help to maintain weight loss and makes you look all sexy.
I have to express my utter shock and not-inconsiderable fury at how every single one of the principals of weight loss/management that I believed for the past 30 years were not just utterly wrong but the OPPOSITE of what is right. I remain somewhat stunned but my own progress and success is testimony.
Google these topics: Intermittent fasting. One Meal A Day. Fat fasting. Ketogenic dieting. …it’s all there.
NOTE: Do not attempt a “fat fast” without researching the concept thoroughly. You must be exquisitely conscientious about replacing electrolytes or you could die. No shit.