I’ve kept it off so far for about six months. It’s a good amount and a good time frame, IMHO; it works out to about 1.35 lbs/week. My main motivation for this was that my doctor told me I had high cholesterol; six months and 35 lbs later, and I’m smack in the middle of normal (though, my HDL is a bit low).
Here’s what I did:
1. Cut back on food – take less food at a time, and don’t feel the need to load up on seconds and thirds. Eat slower, to give your body time to realise you’re full. If you’re thinking of getting seconds, wait a few minutes between plates, then ask if you really need more.
2. Cut back on “bad fats”. Replace butter with olive oil whenever possible, and if you must use butter, use less of it. Avoid trans fats, and be careful about your intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. If you can stand it, drink skim milk (I can’t; ugh—I drink 1%). EGGS AREN’T BAD! They raise your HDL, and have lots of stuff in them that is good for you. The butter you’re frying them in is worse for you than the egg, by far, so fry in oil, or boil them. Keep it to four or so a week, though; don’t go overboard. Go for leaner cuts of meat. The fats in fish are very good for you. If you like fish, eat more of it. If you like cheese, eat less of it. The plus of that is that since I only buy cheese now and then, I can afford to try really tasty imported cheeses.
3. Cut back on “bad carbs”. Go for whole-grain breads instead of white bread, and cut back on things like pasta, white rice, and potatoes. I really, REALLY like good bread, and LOVE pasta; I still have them fairly often, but I try to keep it to once a week with either. There is whole-wheat pasta, but I find it is a pretty poor substitute. There are some dishes it works well for, but most, no. Give it a try, and try different brands. Some are better than others.
4. Eat more regularly. Eat breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day. Even if it’s just a bowl of cereal. Speaking of which, oatmeal is great. It has tons of soluble fibre that scrubs out your arteries and tastes great with a bit of brown sugar and some raisins. Try some healthy snacks throughout the day.
5. Drink plenty of water. You should be getting at least half a gallon a day. Easy way to do this: get yourself a 1qt Nalgene bottle. Two of those of water per day and you should be all set.
6. Get all your vitamins and minerals. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and consider a daily multivitamin. Calcium is pretty important, especially for women (osteoporosis); make sure you get plenty of it (not a weight loss thing, but this is as good a time as any to think about it).
7. Do SOMETHING active. I am not motivated enough to workout at a gym or go jogging every day, but I do swing dancing a couple times a week, go hiking with friends now and then, and do some cross-country skiing in the winter. Try to find something to do that is a lot of fun and good exercise at the same time. That was my problem. If I see it as “exercise”, it bores me; if I can do something fun that has the side effect of being good exercise, I’m all for it.