Successful long-term weight loss

Woman wearing a yellow top, holding scales and tape measure
Look! Scales and a tape measure!

To really understand how to lose weight you need to learn a little bit about the human body, the mind and nutrition.

Weight loss really is not a complex task – you really do just need to eat less and exercise more. The real challenge is overcoming the mind to control your appetite and combat lethargy.

Here we cover the main topics on weight loss. First we look at dieting and attempt to dispel a few myths and explain that although it is difficult to lose weight by dieting alone, it is certainly possible.

We also look at the role of human biology in weight loss. We also look briefly at “spot reduction”, which is another classic myth of losing weight.

After the information on how to lose weight we review some weight loss books. All of these books have been hand-picked and individually reviewed – they all provide a healthy and sustainable way to lose weight and get fit.

Finally we provide what is hoped to be some motivational advice and then one solution for tackling weight loss, i.e. adopting “SMART” plan.

If you are not sure whether or not you are overweight then you should use our BMI calculator. If you have any questions or need any guidance then please do not hesitate to ask below. There is also a list of resources and references to allow you to learn more on each topic discussed.

Understanding Weight Loss

Combining regular exercise with a healthy diet really is the best way to lose weight, however, often people are unable to exercise on a regular basis for various reasons. So if you are not able to exercise you have to adopt a healthy weight loss diet plan to help you to lose weight and then manage your weight.

Important note: The goal of a weight loss plan is to lose fat and ideally become fitter at the same time. If you are only restricting calories then it is likely that you will lose muscle tissue as well as fat. While this will still record as “weight loss” it is not what you should be aiming for. Muscle is healthy, fat is not.

To lose weight all we need to do is ensure that our daily calorie intake is less than our daily calorie requirements. So why is exercise thought to be so important for weight loss? Regular exercise makes this easier for four main reasons.

How Exercise Helps You To Lose Fat

  1. It increases the amount of calories you burn each day
  2. It increases your metabolism as your body builds new muscle tissue
  3. It helps to manage appetite by releasing hormones that suppress hunger
  4. It helps to use up glycogen reserves which triggers the fat burning hormone called glucagon.

So if you cannot exercise you are missing out on a huge advantage when it comes to weight loss. However, it is still possible to lose weight.

Why Fat Loss Is Your Goal

Everyone asks “how do I lose weight?” but the real question should be “how do I lose body fat while maintaining lean muscle tissue?“. A healthy body is lean and muscular – muscles give us our shape and tone.

Muscles are also vital for good health. Not only do they make us stronger and fitter, they also help keep metabolism raised. Muscle tissue is very “hungry”, it needs proteins and carbohydrates for growth, repair and function, and needs much more energy than fat tissue.

Another way to explain it is that muscles are the body’s engines, fat cells are the fuel tanks. When someone wants to “lose weight”, they actually want to lose fat. Understanding this helps to explain why very low-calorie diets can be counter-productive in the long-term.

The Problem of Very Low Calorie Diets

When people attempt to lose weight with diet alone they generally throw themselves into a low-calorie diet, or sometimes a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) which is defined by being below 1000 calories a day.

Often these diets do not provide the body with enough protein to sustain muscle tissue and so muscle wastage occurs. The body simply breaks downs its own muscle tissue to provide energy for other parts of the body. Fat loss will also occur, but not in isolation.

Biology: The Relationship of Food, Fat Storage and Hormones

To understand why this happens we need to explain a little about how the body stores and then burns fat. There are two hormones at play in the body that control fat storage – insulin and glucagon. Both are triggered by changing levels of glucose in the blood (blood sugar).

When we eat carbohydrates, especially high GI carbs, such as bread, blood sugar levels rise. This increase in blood sugar triggers a release of insulin from the pancreas. The role of insulin is to reduce blood sugar levels, it does this by aiding the uptake of glucose into fat storage (adipose tissue). The glucose is actually converted to glycerol and combined with fatty acids for TAGs (triacylglycerides) and this is what we call “fat”. Prolonged raised levels of sugar in the blood can lead to health problems.

So, in a nutshell, when we consume sugary foods our bodies release insulin that causes that sugar to be stored as fat. Understanding this is key to understanding how diet can help lose weight.

So When Does the Body Decide To Lose Weight?

When glucose levels fall the pancreas then releases glucagon. The role of this hormone is simply the opposite of insulin, it causes blood sugar levels to rise again. Glucose is the prime energy source of the brain which is our prime organ as it controls the functions of all other parts of the body.

So glucagon’s prime objective is to ensure that the brain is supplied with sugar. It does this by breaking down the fat tissue to extract the sugars locked up in the TAGs (glycerol and fatty acids). This is what we call fat burning.

It is not easy to get the body to release glucagon though. You have to allow your blood sugar levels to fall to very low levels. As soon as you eat a sugary food, such as some bread, pasta, high GI vegetable like parsnips and pumpkin, processed breakfast cereals, rice, any junk food (cakes, cookies, donuts), you blood sugar rises and therefore glucagon production stops and insulin takes over, so you quickly go from a fat burning situation back to a fat storing one.

This is why unhealthy diets are so likely to lead to weight gain – most of what is unhealthy is also high on the glycemic index (high GI) which means it causes blood sugar spikes, insulin and fat accumulation. So by limiting high GI foods you can help to lose weight with diet alone.

The Importance of Protein

Protein is important for two reasons:

  1. Without adequate daily protein muscles start to waste away as the amino acids locked within the muscle tissue are used to help with the ongoing repair of vital organs.
  2. When protein is digested the body releases another hormone, PYY, which helps to suppress hunger.

This is another reason why very low-calorie diets are bad – people eating less than 1000 Calories a day to lose weight often fail to consume enough protein, instead just eating their favorite sugary snacks.

This sugar heavy diet not only causes fat to be stored but also the lack of protein causes muscles to waste away and lowers BMR (basal metabolic rate) which determines how much energy is used to maintain the body at rest.

The Role of Exercise

Although it is possible to lose weight through healthy diet alone, as detailed above, it is far easier and quicker to lose weight by combining diet with exercise. But when is the best time to exercise? Is there a best time at all?

One school of thought is that so long as you are active and burn additional calories it does not matter what time you exercise. However, there are other opinions on this, so lets take a look at them.

Many people advocate that the best way to lose weight is to exercise on an empty stomach before a meal. It has long been believed that this fasted exercising will increase metabolism and help lose weight, then eating afterwards will provide the body with essential proteins, carbohydrate and fats to start building healthy new muscle tissue.

However, recent collaborative research carried out by Surrey University and Imperial College London and published in the Journal of Endocrinology suggests that exercise after eating can help people to lose weight more effectively than vice versa.

The research found that exercising after a meal boosts the release of hormones PYY, GLP-1 and PP which then suppress appetite, meaning that you stay full for longer which reduces snacking.

Dr John McAvoy, a GP with a special interest in obesity, said “For exercise to contribute to weight control it should be sustainable over the long-term and enjoyment remains a critical factor to this end.”

As is often the case, the real conclusion is that to lose weight, lifestyle change is required. There really is no quick fix to fitness and health. People that keep healthy remain active throughout their lives and generally socialize with more active people.

One specific hormone that we are currently aware of which affects appetite is the PPY hormone. PPY helps to reduce our appetite when it is in the system. It is created in the body in response to two specific activities; exercise and the digestion of proteins.

Previously it was assumed that the increase of PPY in the body would not last long enough to make exercise after a meal a useful approach to weight loss. However, research has shown that exercise does not result in a reduced calorie consumption. In fact, people who exercise tend to eat more food than the sedentary people!

Ultimately the best advice is to find a healthy sport or pastime that you enjoy and build it into your life so that as time passes exercising becomes part of your daily routine, second nature.

Exercise is Important

Exercise does help you to lose weight and it certainly gets you fit. But you need to ensure you exercise with intensity and do not over eat afterwards. So many people treat themselves to a big dinner or breakfast after exercising in the mistaken belief that they have worked hard enough to deserve it.

This is rarely, if ever, true. Professional swimmers, athletes and bodybuilders consume considerably more calories every day, but they are super-fit and train for several hours each day at a much higher intensity than an overweight and unfit person can manage.

Exercise does have a vital purpose though. Most people who manage to control their weight long-term after losing a lot of weight do so by using exercise. If you are fit and exercise on the regular basis you can get away with a few more eating binges before the weight comes back on.

If you want to lose weight and shed the pounds, then the answer is to eat a healthy well-balanced, portion controlled diet AND do some exercise to get fitter so that you can maintain your healthy weight.

One final point on exercise – it boosts your confidence. Another study recent showed that people feel better about themselves after they exercise. Even when there is no real physical change, self-confidence is improved. This increase in self-esteem caused by exercise leads to more exercise and eventually you become healthier, fitter and slimmer.

Sometimes you have to be really careful how you interpret results of studies. The tabloids reported both of these stories in the most controversial way possible, that is diet does not lead to weight loss, and neither does exercise.

The research is still important as it helps us to understand the dynamics of weight loss, diet and exercise and how our bodies respond to changing conditions. However, as far as the average overweight person is concerned, the same rules apply – exercise more and eat less to lose weight.

The key to losing weight and staying fit and healthy is to make a full lifestyle change which involves eating less, eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise.

Be more active every day, it really will make you fitter and leaner. Combine these weight loss articles with a specialist weight loss plan and you can lose weight even faster!

Weight Loss Depends on You

Female doctor in pink scrubs

“A Weight Loss Plan Is Only Ever As Good As The Person Following It”

Many people spend a long time looking for the “perfect” or “best” weight loss solution. And as there are so many products, plans, regimes and systems on the market it often seems logical to assume that there must be a system that cannot fail.

However, every year people do fail to lose weight and get back in shape. Also every year we hear people saying “I have tried everything to lose weight and nothing works”.

So, are all weight loss plans a waste of time, and money? Well, maybe they are, if you are not prepared to put in the effort.

That is why we always say, “A Weight Loss Plan Is Only Ever As Good As The Person Following It“.

You can hire the world’s top nutritionists and fitness instructors to help you meet your weight loss goals, but if you do not put in the effort, if you are not fully committed, then failure is a real possibility.

Alternatively you could follow the simplest of plans, and if you are dedicated and work hard, you will succeed.

When it comes to losing weight and getting back is shape, the only person that can make that change is you. You have to follow the diets, you have to do the exercise, you have to control your appetite and not give in to your cravings in more difficult times emotionally. Only you can do it!

However, saying that, a good plan does provide a solid foundation on which to work. And being part of a weight loss or fitness group can help provide the support and encouragement that you need to help keep you on target.

successful long-term weight loss maintainers share common behavioral strategies, including eating a diet low in fat, frequent self-monitoring of body weight and food intake, and high levels of regular physical activity” (Wing and Hill, 2001)

So if you do decide to follow a weight loss plan, remember, the plan will only work if you do too. Long term weight loss requires constant vigilance. Never stop monitoring and keep food and exercise journals if need be.

The easiest thing in the world is to give up on the plan and revert to your old, unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle and put all the weight back on again. Do not let this happen. Once on the slippery slope to weight gain it is hard to stop.

All of these plans can be very effective. No weight loss plan will work if you are not committed to follow the rules, read all the guidelines and most importantly do the hard work, that is exercising or following a strict diet.

These plans will in the long-term do more than just help you lose a few pounds though (you can learn more about the health benefits of exercise here).

They will teach you how to live a healthier and more fulfilling life. Regular exercise and a healthy diet will literally add years, maybe even decades, to your life. And it will also make those extra years more rewarding as you will remain more active into old age.

We are living in a society today where more people are growing older each year but many of these people are house bound, obese and very inactive. The quality of life for millions of people is well below average.

Anyone who does not take action and strive to become fitter and healthier when they are young, risks crippling health problems later in life. So do yourself a favor and get active and start changing your life today! Still not sure where to start? Check out our 50 ways to live a healthier life.

References and Further Reading

Exercise after eating diet tip” – BBC News, Monday, 4 June 2007

Effects of exercise on gut peptides, energy intake and appetite” by Catia Martins, Linda M Morgan, Stephen R Bloom1 and M Denise Robertson. J Endocrinol May 1, 2007 193 251-258

The allure of forbidden food: On the role of attention in self-regulation.” by Esther K. Papies, Wolfgang Stroebea and Henk Aartsa. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Volume 44, Issue 5, September 2008, Pages 1283-1292.

Obesity: genes, glands or gluttony?” by D. J. Chisholm, K. Samaras, T. Markovic, D. Carey, N. Lapsys and L. V. Campbell. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 10 (1) 49-54.

Food presentation and energy intake in a feeding laboratory study of subjects with binge eating disorder” by Blake A. Gosnell, James E. Mitchell, Kathryn L. Lancaster, Melissa A. Burgard, Steve A. Wonderlich, Ross D. Crosby. International Journal of Eating Disorders. Volume 30, Issue 4, pages 441–446, December 2001.

Breakdown of dietary restraint following mere exposure to food stimuli: Interrelationships between restraint, hunger, salivation, and food intake” by Peter J. Rogers, and Andrew J. Hill. Addictive Behaviors Volume 14, Issue 4, 1989, Pages 387-397.

Effect of exercise on food intake in human subjects” by FX Pi-Sunyer and R Wood. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 42, 983-990, 1985 by The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc. Abstract.
The Effect of Soup on Satiation” by Abdou Himaya and Jeanine Louis-Sylvestre. Appetite Volume 30, Issue 2, April 1998, Pages 199-210.

Increased Consumption of Dairy Foods and Protein during Diet- and Exercise-Induced Weight Loss Promotes Fat Mass Loss and Lean Mass Gain in Overweight and Obese Premenopausal Women” by Andrea R. Josse, Stephanie A. Atkinson, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, and Stuart M. Phillips. Published in The Journal of Nutrition. September 1, 2011 vol. 141 no. 9 1626-1634. Abstract:

“Successful weight loss maintenance”, by Rena R Wing and James O Hill. Annual Review of Nutrition, Vol. 21: 323-341, July 2001. Abstract:

“Evidence for Success of Exercise in Weight Loss and Control” by Steven N. Blair, Annals of Internal Medicine. October 1, 1993vol. 119 no. 7 Part 2 702-706. Abstract:

“Dietary adherence and weight loss success among overweight women: results from the A TO Z weight loss study” by S Alhassan1, S Kim, A Bersamin, A C King and C D Gardner. International Journal of Obesity (2008) 32, 985–991; doi:10.1038/ijo.2008.8. Abstract:

Influences of age and gender on abdominal muscle and subcutaneous fat thickness –

Reduced physical activity increases intermuscular adipose tissue in healthy young adults –

Are blood flow and lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue influenced by contractions in adjacent muscles in humans? – by B Stallknecht – ‎2007.

Notes on the publication of this article: The first part of article was originally published in March 2009 with updates following. In February 2012 all parts were combined into the article you find today.

458 Comments on “Successful long-term weight loss”

  1. Hi, Thanks for your reply. On the weight scale I’ve lost 1kg. But in terms of clothes fitting etc. its feels like a bit more. That seems to me a very slow pace of weight loss.
    What I cant understand is this: over a year ago I wasn’t able to exercise too much and would have frequent soft drinks, desserts, bread etc. So more exercise and cutting back these things should have made a bigger difference?

  2. MotleyHealth says:

    Yes, cutting back on those should make a difference, and it has. You have lost 1 kg. Now you need to take the next step and completely remove them from your diet, if you have not done so already (I know you said you did, but just checking!). Maybe for lunch swap the bread for a simple salad (watercress, lettuce etc.). Maybe you are having too many snacks too – looks like around 5 snacks a day. Reduce that to just 2 a day.

  3. Thanks — very helpful again. So you are saying cut out bread etc. altogether? I’ll also work on eating less i.e. — the two snacks idea, perhaps I am really eating too much, even if it is relatively healthy food.

  4. MotleyHealth says:

    Certainly reduce bread yes, and it really is easy to eat too much healthy food!

  5. Hi, I am a 15 year old I weigh 168 but it is mainly fat. I am trying to lose weight but seem to have trouble doing it. I would love 6 pack abs but I would like to lose the weight first. I usually eat healthy but every now and then slip and eat a lot. I work out on average four days a week, anything from running 1.5 miles to doing sit ups and squats do you have any advice for minimizing my fat and building more muscle?

  6. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Mitch. You need to exercise more to start with, 1.5 miles is a relatively short run for burning fat. You also need to start doing some regular bodyweight workouts. Most importantly is that you have to control your eating, stop the binging.

  7. HI, iM 22 y/o i weigh 233 lbs. my height is 163cm..
    Im a college student, so I don’t have enough time to exercise everyday.
    AS of now its our summer break so i decided to walk every morning for 1 hour(3-4Km.), and sometimes I play badminton in the afternoon for 45 mins to 1 hour ….

    as for the food i decided to increase my water intake and I only eat junk foods for i think 2 or thrice a month, I eat 3 serving of rice for a day, 2 pieces of bread in the afternoon, 2-3 slices of meat per meal (except for breakfast), for breakfast i always eat an scrambled egg and 1 hotdog…. I dont usually eat fish unless its fried, for vegetables, I eat them for 4 – 5 times a week….

    do you think its okay? or should I change it?

  8. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Marielle. Firstly, why do you have no time for exercise at college? Do you study 16 hours a day? Make time for exercise. Your brain and your results will improve! Walking is good, just keep doing it every day.

    Diet is more of a problem. You do not need to eat rice 3 times a day, and have bread, and a hot dog. Do not fry your fish, bake or steam instead. Sounds like you are eating too much food and a lot of high GI (high sugar) foods too. More vegetables, less rice, no hotdogs, more fish.

  9. Hi, i am a 24 year old girl weighing 117lbs. I exercise on average 6 times a week and believe i eat healtily. I eat a lot of fruit, salads and soups whilst drinking roughly 2 litres of water a day. I have bad days where i may go to a restaurant and have 3 courses or every couple of weeks have a takeaway. I am trying to lose weight, increase muscle and tone up for a holiday in 7 weeks but i seem to be gaining fat rather than losing weight. ANy advise you could give for a quick fat fix would be amazing. Thank you! :)

  10. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Laura, we do not really do quick fat fixes here. How tall are you? At 117 pounds you are already light. Your solution has to be exercise. You have almost 50 days to get yourself in shape before your holiday. Do a workout every single day and continue to eat a healthy and balanced diet and you will do OK. Stop the takeaways and when going out for a meal skip the first or last course and go easy on the wine etc. It does not really matter what sort of exercise you do, so long as you do something everyday, ideally for 30-60 minutes.

  11. free diets that work says:

    being on diet is a stressful part specially your overweight or obese. It was a challenging part that need a strong motivation to succeed on weight loss. With the proper combination of diet and exercise, you on your way to reducing weight. Natural foods with great nutrients are essential in keeping healthy while on a diet.

  12. Hello, I left a reply a short while ago and your tips are helping, what do you think are good snacks to help me lose weight because sometimes I eat chips? Thanks for your help!

  13. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Mitch. Good snacks to lose weight – there are not really any snacks that will help you lose weight as such. A high protein snack can help reduce hunger so that could be considered good. Something like cottage cheese. Or have a healthy fruit snack that will give you more energy for exercising later.

  14. Hey! First off, I’m a 13 year old female, 5’1″ and 107 pounds. My weekly workout schedule consists of 2 hour boxing twice a week (competitive, so we train pretty hard.) and a 1 hour ‘basic workout’ boot camp at 6AM twice a week. ( the days I don’t box.) I also work which requires me to walk a bit.
    My daily food schedule would be Something like breakfast: 1 banana, yogurt / Almond apple crisps cereal / eggs and beans
    snack: 2 oranges
    lunch: soup / sandwich and an orange / mixed veggies and salmon
    dinner: depends on what my mom cooks but shes very healthy and it’s usually salad with some sort of Protien.
    I make it a goal to eat around 1200 calories a day
    So my questions are, I really want a six pack and I work my abs out lots! But I have some fat in my stomach (You know, that stupid inch of fat you cant seem to get rid of?) How do I get rid of it? And sometimes I give in to cravings and get a medium chillate with caramel from second cup (about once a week) is this alright? or is it going straight to my belly!

    Thanks! I’m not even sure if you’ll see this and I’m sorry for all the questions! hope I provided enough information?

  15. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Brittany, it sounds like you are eating healthy and exercising often. You are also at a healthy weight for your age and height with a BMI of 20.2. Just keep up the boxing and bootcamps and in time as your body develops you will get fitter and more toned. Do not try to rush is. Your body needs more energy, not less, so really you should be eating around 2000 Calories a day of nutritious food.

  16. Thank you for providing this forum. I read through all the posts, and felt confident to post my personal situation here.

    I am 34, 5 5” and weigh 200 pounds. I basically have a medium size pear shaped body with a dense bone structure. Sizewise, I am a US 14. I have a LOT of fat on my body.

    It’s very confusing because I eat in an extremely healthy manner. No sweets, cookies, cakes, sugar, icecream, candy, ‘health’bars etc. No fast food, no white rice, no bread or pasta. I eat brown rice, quinoa, barley and sometimes oats, organic eggs, lots of fresh vegetables and green/black tea, and some high quality supplements. Pasta is a rare treat. I even limit fruit and don’t consume the high sugar fruits (like mango). Even my snacks are healthy – veggies with hummus, a piece of cheese on a cracker, almond butter and apple slices, a pure whey shake with no sugar etc. I am a vegetarian, so tofu, pulses, and dairy provide protein. I do not eat out. When I do crave sugar, I sometimes eat some honey or maple syrup on ricotta cheese with lemon juice.

    I stopped exercising out of depression. When I exercise I end up eating more which negates the effect of the exercise and so on. This cycle continued till I just stopped exercising completely. I lost a lot of strength and agility during this time. I never stopped eating healthy though.

    Now I am starting to get back to exercise. I feel very slow, sluggish, fatigued, in a brain fog all the time. What would you recommend for someone like me? Where should I start? Do you think I might be eating too much (of a good thing)? Should I get my metabolism checked? I’m at a loss for ideas.

    Any suggestions would be very welcome.

  17. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Neena, how long have you been exercising for? Give it a little time for your body to get used to eat. Your diet looks pretty healthy, but do remember, too much food causes weight gain (or failure to lose weight) and this includes healthy food. Really it is all about willpower at the end of the day – you have to want to lose that weight.

  18. Hello, My name is Raychael I’m 5″9 and 190 lbs I want to lose 50 pounds, I recently had a baby 3 months ago and gained 60 pounds I lost 30 pounds right after I had my baby and then in the first month i LOST 10 more pounds but I wanted to lose weight before I got pregnant.. I am doing 2 40 minute workouts a day 5 days a week, cardio in the morning and strength training in the evening, also on the weekends I go for 30 minute walks, I’m eating 5 small meals per day every 2-3 hours and I m only drinking water and green tea, will i lose weight with this schedule?

  19. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Raychael, so long as those 5 small meals are not too high in calories then you should lose weight. You will certainly get a lot fitter and that is half the battle (if not the whole battle). Just stick to the plan and monitor your progress.

  20. You Could Check Here says:

    I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with your blog. It seems like some of the written text in your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This may be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Thanks

  21. MotleyHealth says:

    This site has been tested on many browsers and computers and if you are seeing problems on other sites, sounds like your computer is not working quite right. Sounds like you may need to get a new PC.

  22. It is shocking to realize, and I do believe that the products that are labeled low fat are laden with corn syrup and other things that we can’t even pronounce. The food manufacturers have gone too far in trying to sell us cheap almost inedible foods in order to make a buck. We have to take charge of what we consume in order to live long, healthy, happy lives.

  23. Hi I am 5’11 and 215 pounds I really would like to lose at least 30 pounds
    what can I do to reach my goal?

  24. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Gurinder, follow the advice here! Daily exercise and healthy eating.

  25. Hi I have a 11 year old ( going to turn 12 in 3 months ) child who is 5ft and somewhere between 5 to 7in and weighs 116 pounds and keeps gaining weight…she even has a big appetite and gets hungry every hour or 2 ( not night )…she is lazy to exercise and doesn’t have friends her age to be with…even at night she doesn’t sleep well and stays until 11 o’ clock approx. and gets up late like 9 or 10 o’ clock…what should I do… please help me, she wants to lose weight and burn fat in her stomach and thighs…hope you reply soon.

  26. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Shreya, you really need to try to encourage your daughter to eat healthy and get active. Maybe find some activities to do together at the weekends or after school. At 116 pounds and 5 foot 6 her body mass index is 18.7. This means that she is slim, and she does not need to lose any weight. A body mass index of less than 18.5 would indicate that she is actually underweight.

    So, ensure that she is eating well – vegetables, fruits, dairy, lean meats, fish, eggs etc. and encourage her to be more active. As for sleep patterns, these are habits that have to be broken. Send her to bed on time (around 9pm) and get her up earlier for a healthy breakfast and then some activity. I assume she is only getting up at 9 or 10am on weekends?

  27. Naseer Khan says:

    Hi, I’m 5″7, 23 year old male from Pakistan. Currently I’m 150 lbs and my waist is 35 inches. I was physically very active and loved playing cricket and football until I was in my late teens. Until then I was underweight and physically weak. After that, I became physically less active and my sporting activities became rare. I started gaining weight. But I never paid too much attention to it until this year, when I started gaining weight at an alarming rate. I gained 20 lbs in 6 months. And in my five weeks long summer break from school, I gained 11 lbs. Most of this weight has been gained in my belly and hips. I did not gain any mass in my upper limbs. I played football on and off, so I did gain a little mass in my thighs, but that’s not too much. My belly is what worries me. Overall my body is not very muscular. Only my belly makes me look fat and abnormal.

    I should also mention that I’ve been suffering from dysthymia (a chronic form of mild depression) on and off for the last six years. My biological clock has been disturbed. I don’t sleep more than a couple of hours at night. Often I don’t sleep at night at all. I sleep for three to four hours in the afternoon. This has been going on for the last six years. This might also have contributed to my weight gain.

    One week back, I finally decided to lose weight. I resumed physical activities and started playing football for an hour or half five times a weak. Plus I reduced my calorie intake to 1000-1500 calories per day. This made me lose 4 lbs in a week. Which is encouraging. But it did not make me lose a single inch of my waist, which is worrying me. I can not play football regularly because of my studies and specially because this is the month of Ramadan. But I can keep my calorie intake below 1500. I know I can lose weight by monitoring my calorie intake. But I want to know how to reduce my waist size.

    Thank you!

  28. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Naseer, just maintain the exercise. You have already proved that by changing your exercise and diet you can lose weight. 4 pounds in a week is a lot. So more sensible diet and regular exercise should allow you to maintain a healthier weight loss over the long term. In Ramadam try not to eat too much at night, many people actually gain weight in Ramadan because they overcompensate during the night time meal. If you get fit and eat healthy the waist will shrink in time.

  29. Brandon Vreeland says:

    Brandon wanted to lose weight

  30. MotleyHealth says:

    Follow the advice here Brandon, and ask specific questions when you are stuck.

  31. Gordon Youd says:

    With all the helpful information around that people do not stick to or follow a weight loss plan.
    Is it lazyness?

  32. MotleyHealth says:

    It goes deeper than laziness Gordon. There are many reasons why people fail to stick to a weight loss plan. Human psychology is complex, and while laziness may be an issue, self esteem, motivation and willpower to overcome the very natural desire to do nothing must be considered. It is easy for a person who is not “lazy” to call it laziness.

  33. Your site is the most informative I’ve found and I appreciate the invitation for guidance. I sincerely hope you can help me.

    I am female, 36 y/o, 5’3″ and 130-140 lbs. I was diagnosed with HBP 2 years ago and take medication for it. I am a native Arizonan who recently moved to Ireland with my husband. I am usually 120-125 lbs., but have done little exercise due to injuries in my youth that resulted in joint pain and poor posture. I am not legal to work yet, and as such, am quite housebound with much more inactivity. I am facing my first fall/winter and am cold much of the time. I incorporate lean meats, fish, fruit, salads, soups, smaller portions, etc. with respect to my diet. Due to my having a less active lifestyle, I have noticed a larger waistline (visceral fat), fuller face, and have concern about Diabetes like my father has. It is he whom I’m told I may have inherited my HBP from (in accordance with my doctor that can fathom no other reason due to my height, age, weight and lifestyle.) I would very much like to incorporate a daily exercise routine (I have plenty of time to create this new habit) but am fearful of hurting myself (shoulders, hips, neck) or making my posture worse. I would like to lose a few pounds to return to my regular weight, sure, but also want to help tone and strengthen my body. I am alone much of time time and live outside town, meaning I cannot access a gym. I have read through the additional information provided on your site with respect to Michael Mosley and the BBC as well as the SMART Plan. The Action part is where I am lost. I have also read through your 20 min. a day plan. Can you tell me – is that my best bet as a beginner with these circumstances? Should I modify any of the exercises to begin or is it safe enough to attempt as is? I am looking at a new life here halfway across the world and simply want to make the best of it physically – to help correct what’s wrong and live with less pain and controlled weight. Can you please guide me as to my next (first) step in creating this exercise routine? …Thank you so much for having posted all of this invaluable information. And for taking the time to read this. If you can get me off and running in the right direction, it would mean the world to me.

  34. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Renee. Well, the good news is that at 130-140 pounds you are not overweight according to the BMI scale. If you are not doing anything specific about the blood pressure I would get it checked out by a doctor in Ireland. Without knowing the extent of your injuries it is hard to say if you need to modify the 20 minute workout. Just try it, but go at an easy and light pace and see how it feels. Fitness is about building up strength and stamina a little at a time. Always listen your body – stop if your feel pain.

    Type 2 Diabetes is a lifestyle disease – caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. If you are concerned about this, then all the more reason to get active. Strength training has been shown to minimise risk, as has general fitness. Following a lower GI diet that will help you to naturally regulate your blood sugar levels should also reduce risk – look after your pancreas!

    Walking is also a great form of exercise, so if you have the wonderful fresh air of Ireland and plenty of time on your hands, then get kitted out in some nice waterproofs and walking boots and explore your new surroundings. You could start weight training too – if you order a pair of adjustable dumbbells you can slowly increase the weights as you get a feel for what your body can safely do. Start with the “Strength Training For Women” exercises (we will be updating that article with some new photos of the exercises soon).

  35. Graham Bourne says:

    I am 65 and retired My weight ballooned up to 18 stone 2lb, mostly due to comfort eating and drinking due to a severe accident to my left shoulder.
    Since an operation to repair the damage I have decided to really try and lose about six stones and get down to a healthy 12 stones.
    My wife reckons that this is unrealistic and that I would look terrible, so who do you think is right?
    I have been going to my local gym now for a couple of months and with a virtual carb free diet and exercise, generally three to four hors in the gym three times a week doing a combination of cardio and weights I have got down to 16 stone 11b but I seem to have reached a plateau and am losing heart.
    Am I going about it the wrong way or do I carry on/

  36. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Graham, you are certainly making a good start. How long has it been since you lost any weight? Sometimes we do pause for a little. Keep working on getting stronger and fitter, this will aid the fat loss. It is certainly not an unrealistic goal to get down to 12 stones, but it will not be an easy journal. Hopefully by the end of it you will look and feel better – you will also have a more active and fulfilling retirement if you are fitter. You could start eating carbs again (we need carbs) but follow a low GI diet, and maintain smaller portions. Also on the days that you are not in the gym you could go walking to help burn more calories – something you can do with your wife.

  37. Graham Bourne says:

    I weigh myself every Monday morning and it’s been a fortnight since losing anything. I really push myself in the gym both with weights and also I always finish off with a twelve minute pyramid interval session at the end either on the cross trainer or on the excercise bike.
    I have tried to keep right off carbs so I don’t eat bread,biscuits, rice or pasta. I do have a weakness for mixed nuts and the occasional single malt scotch but otherwise I’m fairly focused on trying to lose weight.
    If I was to reintroduce carbs, what would you reccomend?

  38. MotleyHealth says:

    Eat some low GI carbs (salad vegetables etc.). Basically, if you are doing a lot of exercise and not losing any fat, you are still eating too much food. Write down everything that you eat over the next week, then sit down and cross out everything that is bad. Then make a concious effort to avoid the extras. Turn them down when offered with a cup of tea, don’t have dessert with your meal, don’t have that little bag of nuts. There is a huge amount of energy in nuts (good energy with protein) but too much is still going to halt fat loss.

  39. sina tsegazeab says:

    hi am Sina am 24 years old i want to lose weight.i weight 63kgs and a want to be 58kgs i do excercise every morning since last month for about 1hr… but anfortunately i lost only 1kg and the biggest problem is i have a very fat belly so please help me what to do ………feeling very desprately….
    thanks alot

  40. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Sina, sounds like you have made a good start. 1 kg weight loss is not at all bad. Did you make any changes to your diet? In the last month did you get fitter and start exercising to a greater intensity, or carry on with the same workout every day?

  41. Hi there.

    This is a great article on weight loss, well put together and really useful. Thanks so much for taking the time to provide a super resource like this.


  42. hi my name is Jennifer and im 19 years old I currently weigh 80kg and I would love to lose 25kg so than my final weight will be 55kg. is 55 kg an appropriate weight to be for a girl my age? my height is 155cm.

  43. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Jennifer. According to the Body Mass Index your BMI is currently about 33, which means that you are overweight. To be within the right range for your height, you should weigh between 44.5 kg and 60 kg. So your target weight is a sensible goal.

    25 kg weight loss will take about 50 weeks to achieve at a sustainable and manageable 0.5 kg per week. So make it your goal for 2013. Do not expect to lose all that weight in a month, it is just not possible. You need to start eating much healthier and exercise daily.

  44. One if the most useful information on weight loss…thank you for this great information.

    I am 35 and my height is 5;11. My weight is 92 kg which is 20 kg more than the ideal weight according to height-weight index ratio and I m determined to loose the extra weight.

    now I take controlled the breakfast I take a small bowl of skimmed milk with Kellogg plain cornflakes or 1 boiled egg with fruits. Around 11 AM I take a bowl of mix fruits and in the lunch I take 3 wheat chapati with a bowl of seasonal vegetables, dal and salads. In dinner I take bowl of spinach carrot soup with either 2 boiled eggs or a bowl of boiled black chickpeas/kidney beans alternatively. Once in a week I eat chicken. I only drink 2 cup of black tea in a day .

    I do 20 minutes of brisk morning walk with 10 minutes of sit ups and pull ups.

    I haven’t take any guidance from any doctor so plz tell me am i talking right diet and I have a desk job so the current diet with my morning exercise is good enough to loose weight in coming months ?

  45. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Sam, thank you for your nice comment!

    Breakfast: fruits and egg is good, cornflakes are high GI, which means that sugar is released quickly leaving your hungry, and potentially stopped fat loss. Oats are a much better choice for breakfast.
    Snack: make sure the bowl of mixed nuts is small. There is a load of energy in fruits and you can easily consume too much.
    Lunch: Consider stopping the 3 wheat chapati. The vegetables, dal and salad will contain all the carbohydrate that you need.
    Dinner: Looks good, careful of portion size.
    Chicken: eat more protein, eggs and chicken are good, but you could do with a little more. Pulses, nuts and tofu are good vegetable sources.
    Exercise: 30 minutes of walking and exercises is a good start. You need to ensure that you are pushing yourself to do more over the forthcoming weeks though, increase duration and intensity.

  46. Hi

    I am wanting to lose weight but i am diabetic for my breakfast i would usually take a bowl of branflakes for lunch id try eating a salad or something low fat and usually would try to eat low carb meal at dinner. I am working out at the minute 2-3 times per week and havent lost any weight can you advise me on any changes i can make to kick start weight loss and also to continue loosing it.


  47. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Deborah. You could start by trying a different breakfast cereal. Oats are as good as bran. Increase your exercise by adding another session and always strive to beat your personal bests – complete more exercises, go faster, exercise for longer etc. Just keep pushing yourself.

  48. Hello, im nearly 13 years old and weigh about 8 stone. I’m about average height, and have a bulging, fat stomach. I eat 3-4 meals per day; cereal for brekkie, sandwiches,crisps,cereal bar+juice for lunch,and bread,potato,meat etc for dinner. I do PE twice a week, and football club once a week. Can you help me lose my belly, and what should i eat according to what i do? Thanks:)

  49. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Simran, you should stop eating the crisps for a start, have an extra piece of fruit. 4 meals a day is too much too, you should just have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do an additional weekly activity too if you can.

  50. kelly yang says:

    hi there. i hope you are doing great. i am doing good. i just have a couple of questions. im not a milk person im more of a pop juice and mostly water. you can say mixture of fluids. anyways my son drinks 2 percent milk and im wondering will that help me to lose weight too. instead of drinking pop juice i should go for milk and water. yes i know milk is good for your bones. any advice will be great. thanks

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