I was once thin and pretty. Well, thin, at least, and I suppose I was acceptably well-toned, too. Then, in 2003, I went to serve my year in the army, and my weight skyrocketed. I gained about 15 kg that year, and not much of it was muscle.
I started studying after that. My weight had seemingly stabilized at about 90kg, but this was an illusion. I slowly, very slowly crept up the scale.
It took 3 years, but in the summer of 2007, after discovering that my BMI had crept up above 30 and I was now to be considered unhealthily overweight, I decided I needed to do something. It was time for action, for a diet.
And it worked. Over maybe 5 months, I lost 8 kg (though I gained back one of them over christmas), and I'm confident that I'll be able to reach my goal of 80 kg before the summer. How did I do this? Well, that's what this node is about. And the really nice thing is, it didn't take much effort. It was actually surprisingly easy and fun.
First of all, credit should be put where credit is due. I didn't exactly invent this stuff, I merely fusioned some ideas I got elsewhere with my common sense. I'd like to give credit to my mom for some of those ideas, as well as for instilling that common sense in me, and John Walker's The Hacker's Diet for most of the rest. In fact, I would recommend checking out that diet, it is what I based my weight loss program off of, and I'm sure doing that entire diet would be more effective. Mine, however, is less work.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a healthcare professional. This writeup is about what I have been doing the last half a year to lose weight. I can not vouch for its effectiveness beyond the fact that it has worked for me.
The core of Morkel's Diet is this: Eat less than you use. The stuff you eat is turned into energy (and waste) in your body, which you then use. If you use more energy than you put in, your body will burn away the body fat it has saved for just these occasions.
It matters little, from the weight loss perspective, exactly what you eat, as long as you eat less than you use. I would still recommend eating healthy, for all the other nice benefits it has, but it is not essential to losing weight. You should be aware, though, that eating empty calories could lead to malnutrition. Eating better food should also keep you not hungry for longer periods of time, which is nice.
The next layer of the diet consists of eating often and regularly and in small portions. Try to eat every three hours, and don't eat so that you're full. Do eat until you're no longer hungry, but stop about there. This means that you should eat more slowly, because it takes some time for the food to settle and your body to give feedback about being full.
The effect of eating this often is to keep your metabolism running at a higher level. By eating that often, you don't give your body a chance to turn the metabolism down to energy saving mode, and so you burn more, all the time.
I have found that the way I eat, I tend to get hungry again after about 2,5 hours. This, I suppose, is a pretty good way of doing it. The slight hunger is a sign from my body that it's running out of the energy I've just put in, and so it is starting to burn my body fat. However, I put in new food before it decides it is time to turn down the heat, so to say, to preserve energy.
The last thing I have been doing is to monitor my weight closely. This works both as a motivational factor, and as an adjustment factor. If you're not going down, you know that you're not doing enough. I have recorded my weight every day, and then calculated the trend of my weight. Because day-to-day weight may vary quite a bit (maybe as much as +/- 1 kg, though for me it's usually not more than +/- 0,5 kg) without it meaning much, a trend gives a much better measure of where your weight is actually going.
I use a very simple calculation: every full half kg between yesterday's trend and today's weight modifies the trend by 0,1 kg. So, if yesterday's trend was 89,6, and today's weight was 88,4, the difference between them is 1,2 kg, which is above two full 1/2 kgs, and today's trend will be 89,4. The rest of 0,2 kg is ignored. The starting trend is just your weight at the day you start your diet.
I write my weight and trend down every day, and make a graph out of the data.
Note that the trend is not an accurate measure of your current weight. It is, however, a pretty accurate measure of how fast you're losing weight. Don't fret if it doesn't show an effect immediately, though - it will probably take several days before a large enough effect is showing.
And that's about it, for the diet itself. Keep your daily intake of energy less than your daily expenditure, eat often, but don't eat much at a time, and monitor your weight to see how well it goes.
It's easy, though it takes some time, as the weight loss go slowly, but that means lessening the risk of going straight up again once you're down to a weight you're comfortable with. In fact, after you reach your target weight, you've gained a couple of very good habits, and I would recommend keeping them.
Eating often and only a little at a time is considered to be healthy. Monitoring your weight to make sure you're not gaining it all back is also a good idea. You don't need to monitor it every day anymore, of course, but checking it once a week wouldn't hurt. If you stray too far from the weight you want to keep, start eating less again.
A FEW TIPS
According to my mother, who is fairly knowledgeable but not an expert on this stuff, from a health perspective you should not lose more than about half a kg a week, though we men can lose slightly more.
Exercise regularly. It will help. It will give you more energy. It will make you healthier. While the actual weight loss benefit isn't that big, it might be that little extra you need to get your weight going down.