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Several years ago, I decided that my life had to change.  I was very overweight, completely sedentary, and ashamed of what I had allowed myself to become.  I had been on so many diets throughout my life and had always gained the weight back.  This time it was worse than ever.  100 pounds to lose.  I committed to losing the weight and making this the very last time.  I lost 100 pounds and this year makes 3 years of maintaining the weight loss.
In this Instructable, I plan to give you an inside look at what it takes to lose a significant amount of weight (100+ pounds) without gimmicks or nonsense, no shakes or pills required.  I also plan on telling you what it takes (mentally and physically) to maintain that weight for as long as you are willing to put forth the effort! 
Take heart, friends!  Stop reading diet books!  There is NO secret, only science!

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have lost weight in the very healthiest or best manner possible.  I ate processed food, I partook of sugar substitutes, and I indulged from time to time.  This is the way that I lost weight.  It worked for me and has made me into a very healthy person.  I am at the correct BMI for my height and have a great body fat percentage.  That's not to say that it will be the best way for you or that it can't be done in other ways.  This is the experience of just one woman.  I would also like to stress that you should be consulting your doctor before you begin any kind of new diet or exercise routine.

Step 1: Prepare Yourself Mentally for Weight Loss

There are some things you need to consider before you begin any weight loss journey that is as big as ours.

-It will not be comfortable.   You spent at least the last few years being comfortable and if you want to lose weight, you're going to have to switch up your routine.  You will step WAY out of your comfort zone.  You are changing your life and the way you treat your body.

-It will not be an overnight change.   There is a reason that people say "weight loss JOURNEY".  This is something that takes time, like anything else that's worth doing.  It may be years before you reach your ultimate goals.   You will have to remember along the way to celebrate the smaller milestones.  Dropping a pants size, going up a resistance level on the elliptical, having a friend notice a difference, even just feeling better about yourself are all great reasons to celebrate.

-There will be temptation.  The world will not stop because you are losing weight.  Every restaurant you love is still open and the food still tastes amazing.  Work is still stressful.  Lounging is still easier than working out.  The people you hang out with are still not making healthy choices.  The only thing that's changing is you. 

-Your goal needs to be healthy and realistic.  A woman who has 100 or more pounds to lose should not strive to look like their favorite celebrity.  Likewise a man in the same situation should not expect to look like the guy on the cover of a muscle magazine.  Your primary goal should be health.  Any physical changes should be completely secondary.  Make sure to make your goal weight something within the healthy BMI range.  We will talk about realistic time frames in the next step.

You need to ask yourself if you're willing to accept these facts.  if you're not, you may not be ready.  You will have to go into this thing willing to make changes, withstand temptation, and accept any setbacks or mistakes.

If you are going to do this, the first thing I suggest is to make a point of mentioning it to everyone you know.  Tell them what you're doing and what your goal is so that you get asked about your progress constantly.  Post it on your Facebook and Twitter.  Don't give yourself a chance to cop out.  Put it into your head that this is starting and there's no backing down.

Next up, let's talk basics!

Its true that the &quot;you need 8 glasses of water a day&quot; is wrong. That's only half of what the study said which was that you need 8 glasses of water a day but you get most of that from the water in the food you eat, fruit, coffee, vegetables, meat, gravy.<br><br>However water does fill you up, and makes you feel full so there is no harm in drinking a few glasses extra.<br><br>It has also been shown that, if you drink a glass of water with your meal the water quickly exists your stomach, but if you liquidize your meal, along with the same water, your stomach must keep the food and water in longer to process it, which means your stomach is full longer so you feel full for longer.<br><br>Of course you can't be expected to liquidize everything, but you can eat dishes where the water is in the meal, hearty soups, casseroles etc.
<p>You're certainly right, ChrisLewis, that you can't liquidize everything. Who in the world wants liquid steak?! But one thing to remember about actually chewing your food is that part of the satisfaction (especially social satisfaction) of eating a meal is in chewing it (and not talking while doing so!). Chewing food takes longer than drinking it, and provides more taste experience. It also gives your stomach more time to realize that it is full. If you are not eating alone, chewing also provides your mouth time to do other things than monopolize the conversation! Modeling chewing and swallowing with one's mouth closed is good for helping young children learn to do the same, as well as helping them master turn-taking-while-talking, and the social benefits of not interrupting.</p><p>One of our foster children was severely handicapped and could not chew food. I was advised to run her foods through a blender before feeding her, which worked well. During one doctor's visit I was asked about her favorite foods. I replied that she really liked mashed bananas (&quot;Good, good,&quot; I was told), but that her favorites were stewed or roasted moose or caribou blended with cooked carrots and cooked rice. I was told to run her foods through the blender separately and give her a couple small spoonfuls of each food at a time so that she could enjoy the different tastes. I had not thought of that and was glad for the advice. I'm just sharing that the medical advice in this situation was that foods be enjoyed separately, not all blended together for every meal. Smoothies with mixed fruits, etc. are obviously fine for most of us - yum!</p><p>This is a really great Instructable! The photos illustrate and encourage and the narrative is excellently written! Awesome job! Congratulations, miss_alli1984! You've done the world a great service.<br></p>
<p>I &quot;ate&quot; a liquid hot dog one time. It tasted like a hot dog but it was still gross. </p>
<p><strong>tb1 drank a hot dog! x^D</strong></p>
Very well put! I've heard several diet plans talk about eating water-laden foods and it is very sensible. Many fruits and vegetables have a lot of water content and help you to feel full.
Remember to space muscle groups out so you give them a chance to heal between workouts, you list it like that up above I just wanted to elaborate. I've always been told a day is good enough. So working upper body m-w-f and lower body t-th-s so they are properly spaced. I generally lump the core workout in with the upper body since most of those muscles are above the waist with some leg lifts on lower body days.<br><br>If I'm remembering correctly you want to space the workouts because working the muscle causes little tears and ruptures in the muscle tissue and it takes a day to heal itself. Which if you are eating enough protein will result in increased muscle mass. Again this is all if I'm remembering correctly as it has been over a decade since I first learned this all.
<p>They taught us that in PhysEd in school in the fifties. We would get sore and then sore again....but the break was because the muscles need healing.</p>
<p>I agree here...thanks for the input! Muscles do need rest, and VARIATION...doing the same thing all the time does not help to build them properly and one can get hurt and damage muscles when you are older, so be practical, and take some YMCA classes etc to find out what to do to maximize exercies so that you just don't do one thing only with the areas you are working on:)</p>
Many thanks for the clarification! I am curious, did you read Body for Life by Bill Phillips? This reminds me of that book. :-)
I had not though it sounds like an interesting read.
He talks a lot about the strategy you just mentioned and it is the one that I still use to this day despite not using his diet plan. His book is also where I learned a lot of the importance of protein to our diets and about nutritional balance at each meal.
This is awesome and congrats miss_ali! I just want to throw in a quick counter comment to ChrisLewis300, for him and everyone else. 8 glasses of water a day should be your minimum intake of water, and you shouldn't really count the water from the things you are eating, because, in the end, it's really negligible. As for things like coffee and tea, they do count towards that goal, but you have to keep in mind that those are a diuretic. This means that they cause your body to flush out more of the liquid by trips to the bathroom, so too much of those can actually counteract the process/count. If you're drinking less than 8 glasses of water a day, your body will hold onto as much water as possible, which causes &quot;water weight&quot; or bloating. So, at least 8 glasses of water a day, more glasses the more active you are. Unless you're insanely active and working in high heat conditions, don't exceed 2 gallons of water a day because then you have too much water in your system which could cause hyponatrima. Be sensible with your water intake and that won't be an issue. And my last point, liquifying your foods/water together doesn't actually stay in your system longer, keeping you full longer, this is completely opposite of the truth. When you liquify your food you've actually completed most of the digestion process pre-ingestion. Your stomach no longer needs to work as long to break down the food since you've done most of it's job for it, thus it will process out of your stomach quicker than eating a normal meal. On the other hand, if you chronically overeat, liquifying your meals can help your stomach shrink back to normal size so you can sense what true full is, sooner.
<p>A comment on the blended food point ~ when I was counting 'points' in Weight Watchers, most fruits and vegetables had a zero point value. So you always had something to eat, even if you'd used all your points for the day. But as soon as you threw those fruits and vegetables in a blender, they had points. I guess for the same reason you've mentioned - you've done the bodies' job of breaking down and processing that food with a machine. Better to eat it whole and let your body do all the work of digestion.</p><p>Apples were the exception. Unsweetened applesauce was given a zero point value. I don't know why that was, but unsweetened applesauce is still one of my go-to foods when I want something sweet and I'm trying to be good.</p>
One thing to keep in mind for those percentages on nutrition fact sheets; the percentages are based on whats called an 'upper limit' where as if you are trying to lose weight you should shoot for the 'lower limit'.<br><br>Using sodium as an example, the nutrition percentage is based on an intake of 2300mg daily, the upper limit for a healthy diet is around 2500mg and the lower limit is around 1200mg.<br><br>For things like fat and sodium it would be wise to shoot for the lower limit, and on the reverse fibre and protein are two things that you confidently fulfill you daily intake of.
Wonderful point. To be honest I was unaware of that, but certainly it's good to shoot for low fat and sodium! Those things can sabotage an otherwise sound strategy. Thanks!
One thing I've read for weight loss (in the book &quot;&quot;the four hour body&quot;, very good ideas in there.) is to measure inches as well. Measure your arms, thighs, and waist. Then add those 5 numbers up to get your total inches. Then maybe once a week, remeasure yourself so you can see how they have changed. Sometimes you lose inches instead of pounds, and people don't realize that. They just see their weight plateauing.<br><br>As for weighing yourself, do it the same time everyday. I've heard that the best time is in the morning, before you eat breakfast. I know I fluctuate about 2-3 pounds each day, so measuring weight at all different times would be confusing.
This is a great comment and I agree with everything in it. Well written!
<p>&lt;a href=&quot;<a href="http://binuralbeats.com/weightloss/healthy-snacks-to-reduce-overweight/" rel="nofollow">http://binuralbeats.com/weightloss/healthy-snacks-...</a>&quot;&gt; Great! I am in queue. &lt;/a&gt;</p>
<p>Keep in mind to space muscle bunches out so you allow them to mend between workouts.The procedure of <a href="http://ivtechpharma.com/product/buy-phentermine-k25-37-5-mg-online-without-prescription/" rel="nofollow">getting thinner</a> depends a considerable measure on the feelings that accompany shedding pounds. Numerous individuals put on weight since they get exhausted or in view of passionate torment.</p>
<p>I really like your sensible approach to weight loss and maintenance. Thanks for posting this, Miss Ali! </p>
<p>I got my fat loss at home while<br>watching t.v. It was made possible with the invention of blue fat freeze system which freezes the fat cells while you rest at home<br>and dismantles them quickly.</p>
<p>Thank you so much. What really got to me here was &quot;You aren't going to be comfortable.&quot; 10 years ago and through most of my life since I was 15 (43 now) I was a dancer and I did Yoga every day. Than I had an injury and I stopped working out BUT didn't stop eating. Doc recommended pool since I am riddled with arthritis from the dancing and the injury and walking is a no no. I'd refused to go for over a month now but after reading &quot;You aren't going....&quot; it woke me up. First day back at the gym today and I already have that &quot;high&quot; I used to get. So thank you once again.</p>
<p>I used Blue Fat freeze kit and it helps me to lose 2 inches around my waist<br>in 2 months. It&rsquo;s a very simple way of losing weight just by wrap it around<br>your fatty part and gets rid of your fat cells. You don't need to follow such<br>hectic diet plan and worry about its sustainability. But do adopt healthy<br>eating habits as it has no substitute.</p>
Congratulations on the major loss, but especially on the long-term maintenance!&nbsp; I wish more folks who have managed to sustain significant weight loss would stand up and talk about their experiences.&nbsp; <br><br>Motivated by a couple crises of health, I lost 115 lbs and have kept it off with only minor variation for over 15 years.&nbsp; My wife also lost 55 lbs at the time and has also maintained.&nbsp; It was and is a team effort.&nbsp; I suspect that's a big reason we've been able to keep at it so long.&nbsp; <br><br>For us, perhaps no other single thing has more positive impact on our maintenance than cooking and eating for satiety.&nbsp; CICO is great and a skill to be cultivated, but is not sustainable itself until one works out a regimen in which they will be generally satisfied with what they're eating.&nbsp; A person can grit their teeth and tolerate a calorie deficit or even a break-even with poorly satiating food for a time, but I see a lot of folks eventually worn down and relapsing trying to eat like everyone else, only less. That was certainly the case for me in many early attempts.&nbsp; Minimally processed, low-glycemic has worked well for us.&nbsp; Everyone is a little different in what they can tolerate or enjoyably sustain.&nbsp; I've come to believe everyone should map their own responses to food and plan accordingly.&nbsp; <br><br>Only second to the above is some form of honest self-monitoring and regular exercise.&nbsp; There is some evidence to suggest that exercise does not properly scale up for CICO even if it were practical to offset huge amounts of calories.&nbsp; It is certainly my anecdotal experience.&nbsp; Even so, exercise is a critical part of our regimen maintaining muscle mass and burning some calories. Hiking and body weight exercise has served us best. &nbsp; <br><br>Overall, it's a very personal balance to be struck through enormous trial and error.&nbsp; For me it took a very good reason to drive the kind of mindfulness required to stick through all the discomfort and learning.&nbsp; And the observation and correction continues every day.&nbsp; It has been entirely worth it!&nbsp; Our quality of life can't be compared to what it was before.&nbsp; That drives us now. <br><br>Thanks again for getting the word out.&nbsp; It can be done!<br><br><br>
<p>I really hate when people repeat the &quot;8 glasses of water&quot; mantra. Even as a child I asked the question, &quot;how much is a glass?&quot; I know what a cup is (= 8oz.) but a glass? Glasses come in varying sizes. So if you mean 8 cups of water or 64 oz. then why not say that? The reason, there is no scientific proof that 64 oz. or &quot;8 glasses of water&quot; is a magic number for health. The original study included watr from food. Your body size, type and activity all make a difference, too. Just apply a little logic. Does a 100 lbs. person need the exact same amount of water as a 300 lbs. person? Particularly of the 300 lb'der is an NFL lineman and the 100 lbs person in a 17 year old student with no extra curriculars? So from a scientific point of view, first use accurate measurement, then go by what been actually tested (a subject pool of one is not at generalizable study). http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256</p>
<p>Ask any urologist and the bottom line is you need to produce 2 to 3 quarts of urine a day in order to effectively flush out the kidneys. This equates to consuming 2.5 to 3.5 quarts of water per day for the average adult. If a person sweats more through work, activity or sports, then more water is necessary to achieve the 2 to 3 quarts of urine daily. BTW, this is not a good website to harvest good health information from. </p><p>Also, &quot;calorie reduction diets&quot; as the one suggested by the original poster fail in the long run the vast majority of the time. Eliminating &quot;high carb low nutrient processed foods&quot; from the typical American diet will go a long way in helping most people achieve a BMI appropriate weight for the long term.</p>
<p>i agree with you on that mantra, <strong>macH &amp; chrisL300</strong>. thanx for your input; i'm in good company. <strong> x^)</strong></p>
<p>I completely agree with this article, thank you for breaking it down and listing each important part of long-term weight loss. I've managed to lose over 100 lbs myself, and share very similar bullet points as you. I wrote my story here along with pictures http://mealprepweightloss.com/my-weight-loss-story/ but I want to tell people that if I can do it, anyone can, start today :)</p>
<p>I so enjoyed reading your article! I recently had a life event that launched me on a journey exploring weight loss, nutrition, fitness, etc. What an adventure! Weight loss came as a side effect to the improved nutrition, and cooking has become a new thing all over again. Fun! But now and then I do get the munchies - so instead of potato chips, I crunch ice chips. Works great!</p>
<p>my prob is: i'd like to &quot;work out on the plate&quot; {the <strong>dinner</strong> plate}. :^b.... </p>
<p>Great article, thanks!</p>
<p>Well done for writing such a helpful instructable! No gimmicks or fad diets just good old calorie counting, exercise and the right mental attitude! Good on you and I hope the advice here helps many people!</p>
<p>With regards to BMI, the medical community is beginning to reject it.</p><p>The problem with BMI is that it's a one size fits all with no regard to body type.</p><p>As an example my BMI indicates that at 5'11&quot; I could be at 150 or below.</p><p>The problem is, I'm stocky and if I'm below 180 - 170 I look emaciated and ill. This is the problem with BMI that the medical community is seeing.</p><p>Beyond that, good on you!</p>
<p>Thanks miss_ali1984 for writing such a detailed article and many readers' comments and inputs. I read the whole article and most of the comments. I'd like to comment on eric102271's opinion that he/she thinks the author looked better before than after. There are several factors to reason this. The two before pictures were taken carefully, at camera ready moment. All the after pictures were taken while the author was in activities; The before pictures were taken when she was at least several years younger; It seems the author is much busier and more active now, all the running and coaching keep fat off her; Another factor I think has something to do with our perception of predicting a rounder person with well-nourished, happier, easy-going, kinder, steadier, a skinny person with poor-nourished, mean, picky, etc, while deep down they are the same person. The most important factor is only the author knows how better she feels after and all the freedom she gained by loosing 100lbs. I can relate to the last one in a way.</p><p>From 1999-2014, I had perfect health and fitness by eating right alone. I didn't exercise at all except being either a student, or corporate employee or full time mom . I maintained 112lbs(I'm between 5'2 and 5'3) for that 15 years. In 2014, I had a second child. I gained about 45 lbs during pregnancy. Long story short, Two month after the birth, I lost 40 lbs. I was 102 lbs. Again Long story short, I self imposed a complete elimination diet for several months to offer breast milk to my son who was suspected of multiple Food allergies and intolerances. Fish, nuts, soy, egg,,,,you name it, any nutritious food with good protein were eliminated. I was on a mainly carbohydrate diet for too long. I gained about 16 lbs. Still I was not overweight at all. There was't any noticeable change to my body except by myself-a muffin top rising on my belly. I didn't need to lose weight or the muffin top if not for how bad I felt-I felt I was on the road to some life threatening disease. To better myself, Not only I stopped offering my son breast milk, switched to a normal diet, I cut down carbohydrates even more, started to do side plank 3-4 nights a week while listening to audiobooks. After 6 months, I lost 4 lbs although I didn't need to. My muffin top didn't completely go away but it did stop rising. The most importantly, I don't have those diabetic symptoms anymore. The good news is it took only two weeks to feel better. The bad news is those diabetic symptoms might come back and it seems it took at least 3 months to keep them away.</p><p>Sorry for the long comment. My point is it all worth it to lose even a few pounds for a few weeks of work.</p>

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