I lost 28 pounds and 4 inches off my waist in a season, while adding muscle. And I'm 57--not exactly your skinny time of life.
If you're younger, or don't need to lose that much weight, you're in luck. Choose two of these and you'll start losing weight. Choose four and you'll lose at least a pound a week. End up doing six (including the exercise one) and you'll drop to your ideal weight in six months, keeping it off as long as you maintain these good habits. Choose all of them and your friends will pay you to help them.
I've done all of these things and continue to do them. So many people have asked me for help that I signed up as a Beachbody coach to help them. I give the money to charity. And my guinea pigs will be fodder for my book.
1. Exercise on empty.
Working out first thing in the morning before breakfast--drinking just water--helps teach the body to convert fat to energy. It takes a couple weeks to get used to. Now that I've lost all the weight I want, I often take a recovery drink while I work out.
Lack of sleep causes weight gain. I helped drop my weight by getting in a solid 8 hours a night plus a short nap every afternoon. (Got a car? Then you can nap.)
3. No calorie-counting.
Instead of counting calories, I make every calorie count. I try to eat what's ideal for me, and to consider anything else to be a treat. The nutrition makes me less hungry, which makes me eat less.
4. Shakeology for breakfast.
I'm a celiac, so nutrition is a challenge. I haven't found a more efficient and effective way to get what I need. And the chocolate version is surprisingly good, especially if you blend it with fruit.
5. Snacking. Yes, snacking.
I eat every 3 waking hours. Waiting till you're ravenous causes a spike in insulin, which converts body sugars to fat. I snack on fruit and nuts. Eat a little, then wait 20 minutes to see if you've eaten enough. That's how long it takes for your appestat, which controls hunger, to respond.
Exercise that makes you gasp and spray sweat all over the place has been proven more effective for weight loss than longer, slower stuff. Let me know if you want suggestions; you may need to take some months to build up to an intense program.
7. Big Meal Mid-Day.
That's when we humans traditionally ate dinner through most of history. Again, though, I try to make that meal nutritious: big salad with protein, seeds, and guacamole. And dark chocolate for dessert.
8. Smoothie for dinner.
Liquid makes you feel full faster, so you're less likely to pig out. I have mine with popcorn popped in a microwave without oil. Then I spray some olive oil and add popcorn salt.
9. No sodas.
Including diet sodas. They make you fat. Like, crazy fat. One 16-oz soda a day brings you enough calories to add 35 pounds in a year. The good news is, if you're drinking a lot of soda now, you'll drop weight by eliminating soda from your diet. Drink water. That's what humans are supposed to do. Oh, and diet? Forget about it. There's plenty of evidence that artificial sweeteners cause your body to respond as if it's absorbing sugar. If soda is worth your being fat, drink soda.
10. Limited alcohol.
This part is especially hard for me. I can't pass an olive without fantasizing about martinis. I'm crazy about great cabernets. (Used to love beer, but celiacs can't drink beer.) Now I avoid almost all booze during training, and try to limit it the rest of the time. Alcoholic drinks are big in calories, and they help convert sugars to fat in your body.
And one bonus...
11. Celiac disease.
I can't eat gluten, which means no wheat or most other grains. Pretend you're a celiac and avoid baked goods. That includes gluten-free baked goods. They'll actually make you gain weight more than whole-grain gluten foods.