Just as every human is a unique individual, every weight loss journey is a unique voyage fraught with its own problems and possibilities. Although we’ve helped thousands of people learn how to lose weight, we can’t claim to understand your personal situation or your personal obstacles. We can, however, share some of the information we have learned through customer feedback over the years. We hope they help smooth the path to permanent weight loss success.

Don’t Diet in the Dark

You don’t have to wear a sign or make it your sole topic of conversation, but you should tell your friends and family that you’re planning to lose weight and that you want (and need) their support. If you have family at home, this is an essential step. Otherwise, you run the risk of them unintentionally sabotaging your efforts. Having people around to share your happiness at achieving certain goals can reinforce your determination to succeed. With luck, you might even gain a fitness buddy who can join you in the diet and exercise you need to achieve your desired goals.

Share but Don’t Compare

Sharing your diet experience with other people trying to lose weight can be quite rewarding for all parties involved. You each get a chance to remember that none of us are perfect and get a laugh or two about the ups and downs you’ll encounter on the road to a thinner you. One of the major dangers of sharing the world of your diet is secretly becoming discouraged when your results do not measure up to what others are achieving. It is important to remember that every human body is different and everybody who is human loses weight differently. Two people who are doing the exact same things at the exact same time will still lose weight differently. You can only control your own results. Keep your own goals in mind, stick with the plan and results will happen.

Boys and Girls are Different

OK, this might not be front page news but it is an essential fact to remember if you’re on a diet plan at the same time as someone of the opposite gender. Studies have consistently shown that men can lose weight more rapidly than women. It is a physiological thing; it has nothing to do with who is following the diet plan better. Men are usually bigger than women, this fact alone would cause them to burn more calories in their daily routine but, to compound the advantage, they also have lots of testosterone. Testosterone helps make muscles. With this advantage in muscle mass, males tend to burn about 20 percent more calories doing nothing than females of the same height. With these differences in mind, women and men should set separate weight loss goals – particularly if they are working on losing weight at the same time in the same household.

Don’t Skip Meals 

At some point in your diet, that little voice in the back of your head will tell you that you’ll lose weight faster if you start skipping a meal a day. That little voice is wrong. Skipping meals trips the famine switch in your body. Since you are not ingesting food at regular intervals, it assumes there is no food available to ingest so it begins building fat reserves to help you over the impending “hard times.” In reality, the only “hard times” you’ll experience when you starve yourself by skipping breakfast, lunch or dinner is the harder time you’ll have losing weight.

Use Smaller Plates 

Nutritional experts tell us that a healthy dinner should fit on a 9-inch plate. This was the size of the average American dinner plate in the 1950s. By the 1980s, dinner plates had expanded to 11 inches and, these days, the average dinner plate measures about 13 inches across! A reasonable amount of food on a giant plate can look skimpy. Put your meals back into perspective with smaller plates and you won’t be tempted to fill the empty space with extra calories.

Make Your Pounds Real

Investing in two 5 pound weights can help keep you on track. Hold one of the weights in your hand and visualize that weight coming off. You might just be surprised at how heavy even 5 pounds of extra fat can be. Now, do the same exercise with both weights and visualize being that much lighter you’ll be when you lose your first 10 pounds. This will also help you appreciate your weight loss accomplishments as you move closer and closer to your goal.

The Burn You Earn

Since you now own two 5 pound weights, it is now time to consider using them to help lose weight faster. Muscle burns about four times as many calories as fat does. Twenty minutes of strength training two to three times a week works better than any metabolism boosting diet supplement on the market. This small investment of time can pay big weight loss dividends.

Turn Off the Television 

Studies have shown that people who watch three or more hours of television per day are almost twice as likely to be obese than people who watched less than one hour per day. A large amount of time spent motionless, staring at a TV screen is hazardous to your waistline. This inactive activity burns about 85 calories an hour. In contrast, sleeping burns about 95 calories an hour. If you’re trading sleep for staying up late to watch the tube, you are making a serious weight loss mistake.

Sweet Dreams Cut Cravings for Sweet Treats

To understand why getting 8 hours a sleep at night is an important tool to lose weight fast, you have to understand the roles of two important hormones; leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract and is an appetite stimulant. Leptin is produced in your fat cells and is an appetite suppressant.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels drop. With less leptin in your bloodstream, you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. To make matters a bit more interesting, lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to increase. This ghrelin boost stimulates your appetite and increases your cravings. Basically, less sleep leads to more hunger which often translates into fewer pounds lost.

Avoid the Distraction Reaction

Don’t try to do anything else while you are eating. If you eat while watching television, using your computer or reading at the table, you are often eating on auto-pilot. Mindless eating not only leads to a host of bad food decisions but can also keep you eating after your hunger needs have been satisfied. In some cases, people even forget the “little nibbles” they indulge in while distracted. Unfortunately, your body still remembers these “forgotten” calories. Pay attention to your food and you’ll be rewarded with a slimmer, trimmer you.

Eat Slower For Faster Weight Loss

It is an unfortunate physical fact that your brain doesn’t know your stomach is full until about 20 minutes after it actually is. Give your brain a chance to catch up to your fork by eating slower and pausing for a few minutes about half way through your meal. You’ll feel fuller on fewer calories and have the priceless joy of watching unwanted inches vanish sooner.

Get It in Writing

For at least the first week of your diet, carry a palm-sized notebook everywhere you go. Write down everything you consume, including water. This practice will keep you honest and aware. Studies show that people who maintain food diaries eat about 15 percent less food than those who don’t. You might benefit enough from this practice to make it a long-term habit.

Falling Isn’t Failing

Falling off your diet doesn’t mean you are a failure. Diet disasters happen to just about every individual at one time or another. Bounce back from your binge with new determination. Accept the fact that you are human and might have an off-day now and again. Avoid making the same mistake again and you’ll be fine. Yes, you might not make your weight goal this week but the sooner you get back on track, the sooner you will see the weight loss results you want to see.

2,000 Steps of Magic

Sedentary people, on average, take about 2500 steps a day. If you fall into that category, adding an extra 2,000 steps a day will stop your weight gain without any significant change in your diet. If that seems like magic, now imagine what happens if you combine those extra steps with a sensible weight loss diet. To achieve the best results, purchase a pedometer, clip it to your belt and start working your way towards those magic 2,000 steps. Once you’ve seen the results, you’ll be eager to add your next thousand steps and you’ll be on the way to healthier lifestyle.

Diets Don’t Work

Diets are temporary. If you’re just “going on a diet to drop x number of pounds, odds are good that you will gain all the weight back (and possibly more) as soon as you stop the diet. For permanent weight loss and weight maintenance, you need to change your dietary lifestyle. This involves learning new habits regarding eating and exercising. Any sensible weight loss program should also include instructions for weight maintenance after you’ve reached your weight loss goal. Your new lifestyle should not be a life-long diet; it should be a live long diet. Living lighter and living better go hand in hand once you have developed the new habits that make the new you a reality.