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8 - Tips for losing weight successfully

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You would probably find the "Easy Guide to Low Carb, Low GI & Low GL Diets" very helpful as it explains the science behind these diets, why they work better for many people, how to choose between them and how to follow them.

Opinions vary on this. All artificial sweeteners, not just Splenda, may have the potential to cause weight gain according to some researchers. One possible reason put forward is that, although artificial sweeteners supply no or very few calories, the sweet taste they provide may still cause an insulin surge. When your body does not get the expected sugar load, you feel hungry and look for something else to eat. In one study, people who used artificial sweeteners ate up to three times the amount of calories as the control group.

Another reason put forward is that as manmade chemicals such as Splenda (and other artificial sweeteners) cannot be digested, they may have wide-ranging effects on your detoxification and endocrine (hormonal) systems which could result in weight gain or weight loss resistance.

The varied and complex factors that can cause weight gain or difficulty in losing weight and how to overcome them are further explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

It depends what you mean by 'sugar free'. Undoubtedly, eating (or drinking) less sucrose (white table sugar) is better for weight loss. But you may not lose any weight if you simply replace the sugar you were eating previously with other equally calorific sweeteners such as honey, concentrated grape juice and fructose, or with foods such as dates, dried apricots and other dried fruits.

Your individual tolerance for carbohydrates also comes into the equation. All carbohydrates are ultimately digested to glucose, whether they entered your body as white sugar, dried fruit or a piece of bread. One individual may find that just cutting out white sugar will be enough to result in weight loss, whilst another more carbohydrate-sensitive individual may find that cutting out all carbohydrate-dense foods such as bread, pasta, rice and cakes is necessary in order to lose weight.

The many factors that can prevent you from losing weight and how to overcome them are further explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

The only way to reduce weight on your waist is to reduce your overall body fat level. Unfortunately many people have certain areas where fat tends to deposit first and go away last. This is controlled by genetics and there is little if anything you can do about it. Your fat deposition profile may also change with age - women typically gain weight around their waist with the menopause.

You can make your waist look slimmer by toning up the underlying muscles with weight training. The best plan is to couple a good weight training program with a good weight loss diet. The weight training will help your diet to work in various ways. These are further explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

The best diets for stomach weight loss are those that reduce your overall body fat. In other words, diets which burn up your fat stores rather than breaking down your lean muscle.

The importance of body composition and how to avoid falling into the trap of losing lean muscle and depressing your metabolic rate is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for your health and experts now believe they also have an important role to play in helping with weight loss. However, there is no evidence as yet that omega-3 can help lose belly fat specifically. Even the best rated weight loss supplements for belly fat are probably a waste of money. The only way to lose belly fat is to reduce your overall body fat level, which omega-3 may well help with.

Learn more about the importance of omega-3 fats for health and weight loss in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

Body composition is extremely important for successful weight loss. If you have a high ratio of muscle, you will burn more calories in your daily activities than would be the case if you had a lower amount of muscle and a higher body fat percentage.

Repeated dieting (yo-yo diets) and low calorie diets with insufficient protein intake can cause your fat percentage to increase over time, even if your overall weight has stayed the same or gone down.

The importance of body composition and how to avoid falling into the trap of losing lean muscle and depressing your metabolic rate as a result is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

Body composition is extremely important for successful weight loss. If you have a high ratio of muscle, you will burn more calories in your daily activities than would be the case if you had a lower amount of muscle and a higher body fat percentage.

So exercise which builds up muscle (such as weight training or resistance exercise) is best for losing weight, although aerobic exercise which gives your heart and lungs a workout, stimulates your circulation and burns calories is good too.

More about how to select the best exercise for losing weight is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

There are various methods for figuring your calories to lose weight. However, calculating your daily calorie allowance is complicated by various factors such as your body composition and whether you are hypothyroid or not.

It is also important not to reduce your calories drastically below the 'maintain weight' point. This is because not eating enough can make you go into 'famine syndrome' or 'starvation mode', and you will stop losing weight however little you eat.

More about avoiding the traps that many dieters fall into when they figure their calories to lose weight is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

It depends on what your individual sensitivity or tolerance to carbohydrates is. Everyone is different. Some people can't lose weight unless they go below 20 g of carbs per day, whilst others can lose on 30 or 40 g, and some very lucky people can get away with higher amounts.

This individual variation in carbohydrate tolerance is one reason why the Atkins Diet is good. With the Atkins Diet, you start at a very low level of carbs and then gradually work your way upwards if you're still losing. When you stop losing weight, you know you have found your personal critical level of carbs for losing weight.

You would probably find the "Easy Guide to Low Carb, Low GI & Low GL Diets" very helpful as it explains the science behind these diets, why they work better for many people, how to choose between them and how to follow them.

It has to be said that not eating at all will make you lose weight eventually. But don't expect to be healthy afterwards, and don't expect to be able to lose weight easily again in future once you've used this method a few times! People who have been on diets frequently in the past may even find that not eating has no effect at all on their weight until they've been fasting for quite some time. (When you stop eating what you usually eat you may well have an initial weight loss, but that is usually only water, not fat).

The 'problem' with not eating as a method of losing weight is that inbuilt survival mechanisms make your metabolism slower when there is no food around, to maximise the chances of you surviving until your next meal.

Not eating at all for any length of time also depletes your stores of vitamins and minerals, and affects your thyroid. This means that your metabolism may not work properly after you start eating again.

Drastic dieting or not eating also forces your body to break down your lean muscle for its protein requirements. When you start eating again you'll probably put on fat rather than replace the muscle, which is bad news because less muscle means a slower metabolism, which means you now need even fewer calories than you did before to maintain your weight.

So if you use not eating as a method of losing weight you're building up big problems for yourself, and will find it harder and harder to control your weight in the future.

More about avoiding the traps that many dieters fall into such as not eating, or not eating enough, is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

Inbuilt survival mechanisms make your metabolism slower when there is no food around, to maximise the chances of you surviving until your next meal. In the same way, if you restrict your intake of food too drastically, your body may think a famine is imminent, and you go into 'starvation mode'. Your body becomes more efficient at using the energy from every last scrap of food, and at the same time becomes better at holding on to the fat stores you've already got.

Clearly, this makes it even more difficult for you to lose weight. Carbohydrate cycling is a method of 'tricking' the body into not going into starvation mode by only restricting carbs to a lower level for a limited length of time, then increasing them again. This principle of 'outwitting' your survival mechanisms to keep your metabolic rate up is also the basis of 'calorie cycling'.

More about how carbohydrate and calorie cycling can help weight loss and how to do it is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

It used to be thought that losing weight was a simple matter of eating less. However, more is now understood about how your body works and what happens when you try to lose weight. It is now becoming recognised that you can only lose weight successfully and on a permanent basis if your body is healthy and all your biochemical and hormonal systems are in balance.

Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients because it is crucial for a very large number of the biochemical processes that go on in your body. Unfortunately many people are low in magnesium, even before they go on weight loss diets. If magnesium is low, then eating more foods containing magnesium or taking magnesium supplements may help weight loss.

However, as with any supplements, supplementing with just one vitamin or mineral may not be successful. Vitamins and minerals do not work alone and many of them need to be in the right ratio. One of the most important pairs of minerals in this respect is the calcium/magnesium ratio.

Successful, permanent weight loss is very much dependent upon resolving all the potential factors which can prevent weight loss. If you eliminate one of the factors, there may still be others which will prevent you from losing weight. It is better to learn about all the factors and deal with them all, rather than to adopt a scatter-gun approach and take an isolated vitamin or mineral supplement.

More about how low magnesium and other factors can prevent successful weight loss and what to do about it is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

It used to be thought that losing weight was a simple matter of eating less. However, more is now understood about how your body works and what happens when you try to lose weight. It is now becoming recognised that you can only lose weight successfully and on a permanent basis if your body is healthy and all your biochemical and hormonal systems are in balance.

Calcium is one of the most important nutrients because it is crucial for a very large number of the biochemical processes that go on in your body. Unfortunately many people are low in calcium, even before they go on weight loss diets. If calcium is low, then eating more foods containing calcium or taking calcium supplements may help weight loss.

However, as with any supplements, supplementing with just one vitamin or mineral may not be successful. Vitamins and minerals do not work alone and many of them need to be in the right ratio. One of the most important pairs of minerals in this respect is the calcium/magnesium ratio.

Successful, permanent weight loss is very much dependent upon resolving all the potential factors which can prevent weight loss. If you eliminate one of the factors, there may still be others which will prevent you from losing weight. It is better to learn about all the factors and deal with them all, rather than to adopt a scatter-gun approach and take an isolated vitamin or mineral supplement.

More about how low calcium and other factors can prevent successful weight loss and what to do about it is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

It used to be thought that losing weight was a simple matter of eating less. However, more is now understood about how your body works and what happens when you try to lose weight. It is now becoming recognised that you can only lose weight successfully and on a permanent basis if your body is healthy and all your biochemical and hormonal systems are in balance.

Chromium is particularly important for the metabolism of carbohydrates. When it is low, glucose intolerance increases and you are at risk of putting on weight more easily when you eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates. Many people are low in chromium because the soils on which our food is grown are depleted in this and other nutrients.

Therefore, supplementing with chromium may help weight loss if you are deficient in it. However, successful, permanent weight loss is very much dependent upon resolving all the potential factors which can prevent weight loss. If you eliminate just one of the factors, there may still be others which will prevent you from losing weight. It is better to learn about all the factors and deal with them all, rather than to adopt a scatter-gun approach and take an isolated vitamin or mineral supplement.

More about how low chromium and other factors can prevent successful weight loss and what to do about it is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

It used to be thought that losing weight was a simple matter of eating less. However, more is now understood about how your body works and what happens when you try to lose weight. It is now becoming recognised that you can only lose weight successfully and on a permanent basis if your body is healthy and all your biochemical and hormonal systems are in balance.

Kelp is a type of seaweed that is rich in iodine. Iodine is important for a healthy thyroid gland, which controls your metabolism. If your thyroid is low or underactive (hypothyroidism) then your metabolic rate may be low, making it difficult for you to lose weight. Many people who live in upload areas far away from the sea would be chronically deficient in iodine, were it not for the fact that in many countries, iodine is added to table salt (iodized salt) to combat this problem.

But iodine deficiency is not the only reason your thyroid may be sluggish, and in fact, your thyroid may be underactive because your intake of iodine is too high.

Therefore, supplementing with kelp may help weight loss if you are deficient in iodine and if this deficiency has caused your thyroid to be sluggish. However, successful, permanent weight loss is very much dependent upon resolving all the potential factors which can prevent weight loss. If you eliminate just one of the factors, there may still be others which will prevent you from losing weight. It is better to learn about all the factors and deal with them all, rather than to adopt a scatter-gun approach and take an isolated vitamin or mineral supplement.

More about how low iodine, low thyroid and other factors can prevent successful weight loss and what to do about it is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

You can find a summary of the foods you can eat on the Atkins Diet in our Atkins Diet Plan.

You would probably also find the "Easy Guide to Low Carb, Low GI & Low GL Diets" very helpful as it explains the science behind the Atkins Diet and why it works better for many people.

If you're looking for recipes suitable for the Atkins Diet, then those in the "Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook" are ideal.

The Atkins Diet is all about recognising that an estimated sixty per cent of people produce too much insulin when they eat a diet high in carbohydrates and therefore need a diet like the Atkins Diet which controls insulin in order to lose weight successfully and permanently.

Ketosis is the state where your body burns fat rather than carbohydrate for energy. Burning fat is good, and exactly what you want to do when you are trying to lose weight. By-products of the ketosis called ketones are excreted in the urine. This enables dieters to easily test whether they are 'in ketosis' or not.

The Atkins Diet usually results in ketosis in the first couple of weeks at least, because carbohydrate intake is so low that your body is forced to move to a fat-burning metabolism.

The Atkins Diet came in for special criticism because of the ketosis, as many people thought it was dangerous. But in actual fact, it's a natural state to be in and is not harmful. The claim that ketosis is dangerous has been shown to be completely false. It arose from people who had not understood the science behind the Atkins Diet mistakenly believing that the 'benign dietary ketosis' of carbohydrate restriction is the same thing as the dangerous ketoacidosis of uncontrolled diabetes.

You would probably find the "Easy Guide to Low Carb, Low GI & Low GL Diets" helpful as it explains the science behind the Atkins Diet and why it works better for many people.

You can find a summary of the foods you can eat on the low glycemic impact diet (usually called low glycemic index diet or low GI diet for short) in our "Low GI & GL Diet Plan".

You would probably also find the "Easy Guide to Low Carb, Low GI & Low GL Diets" very helpful as it explains the science behind these diets, what the differences between them are and how to do them.

If you're looking for recipes suitable for the low glycemic impact (or glycemic index) diet, then those in the "Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook" are ideal.

There is a list of all the most common low GI foods in our "GI & GL Handy Reference Tables". These currently come as a free bonus with the "Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook".

The tuna diet is used by professional bodybuilders to prepare for their competitions.

It consists of eating nothing but tuna and drinking lots of water for three days. During these three days the bodybuilder's usual selection of vitamins and mineral and amino acid supplements are continued, and usually a fiber supplement is added to counter the effects of eating only low-residue tuna.

On this diet you eat as much tuna as you can tolerate in four to six equal portions throughout the day, plus all the water you can drink. Sometimes bodybuilders extend it beyond three days to a week or ten days, whilst others do three days once every month.

The tuna diet is not intended as a long term diet but rather as a way of bringing you back from bad habits and providing a kickstart to weight loss.

The book "Why Can't I Lose Weight" provides more information about why some of the fat burning and muscle building techniques used by bodybuilders are equally relevant to those who just want to lose weight.

The Rice Diet was invented by Walter Kempner at Duke University, USA in the 1930s. Developed as a diet of rice, fruit, juices and sugar plus vitamin and iron supplements to treat obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, it became the basis for a medically-supervised, live-in rapid weight-loss program at the Rice Diet Clinic in Durham, North Carolina, USA.

The name 'Rice Diet' is somewhat misleading, as rice is not the only or even the main component of the diet. The Rice Diet is low calorie, high carb, low fat and low protein and is also low sodium (low in salt). It is based on fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, fish, and legumes (beans).

Dieters start off at between 800 and 1,000 calories per day. This amount gradually increases to 1,200 per day.

The level of calories in the Rice Diet is for many people lower than the recommended level of calories for losing weight without significant risk of falling into the decreased metabolic rate or 'starvation mode' trap. The low amount of protein risks loss of lean muscle tissue, further contributing to a depressed metabolic rate.

Up to 60 per cent of dieters are thought to be unable to deal with large amounts of carbohydrates, whether 'good' carbohydrates or 'bad', highly refined, high glycemic index carbohydrates. These people are unlikely to find the Rice Diet suitable for long term weight loss.

The book "Why Can't I Lose Weight" provides more information about the best diet for the many people who cannot lose weight on a high carbohydrate diet and how to avoid the dangers of losing lean muscle and a depressed metabolic rate.

Don't skip meals, breakfast in particular. Research indicates that what you eat (or don't eat) at breakfast can to a great extent affect your metabolic status and blood sugar levels for the rest of the day. In a trial, those eating a protein and fat based breakfast felt less hungry and had more weight loss than those eating a carbohydrate based breakfast or none at all, even where total calorie intake and exercise for the day was the same.

More about why metabolism and blood sugar levels are important in successful weight loss is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

Snacking between meals or dividing three larger meals into a greater number of smaller meals is good, if this suits your own metabolism better. This is likely to be the case for those who do well on low carb diets.

More about why metabolism and blood sugar levels are important in successful weight loss is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

There is evidence that caffeine can stimulate the production of insulin and promote weight gain. This is one reason why cutting out coffee and cola drinks (even diet cola) is usually recommended on low carb diets.

Citric acid, which is found in many soft drinks, is also thought to hinder ketosis in some people.

More about why controlling insulin is important in successful weight loss is explained in the book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

Celebrities who have lost weight successfully on and/or are still following low carb or low glycemic index (GI) diets are reported to include the following (all these diets are based on the principle of controlling insulin levels):

  • Linda Robson: low carb
  • Rachel Hunter: low carb
  • Oprah Winfrey: Scarsdale Diet (high protein, reduced carb)
  • Catherine Zeta Jones: Atkins Diet (low carb, ketogenic)
  • Victoria Beckham: Atkins Diet (low carb, ketogenic)
  • Madonna: low carb
  • Geri Halliwell: low carb
  • Jennifer Aniston: Zone Diet (high protein, reduced carb 40-30-30 balance)
  • Demi Moore: Zone Diet (high protein, reduced carb 40-30-30 balance)
  • Courteney Cox: Zone Diet (high protein, reduced carb 40-30-30 balance)
  • Cameron Diaz: Zone Diet (high protein, reduced carb 40-30-30 balance)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow: Zone Diet (high protein, reduced carb 40-30-30 balance)
  • Kylie Minogue: Montignac (low GI)
  • Engelbert Humperdinck: Radiant Health Programme (Atkins Diet plus added supplement and education support programme)
  • Sam Torrance, golfer: Radiant Health Programme (Atkins Diet plus added supplement and education support programme)
  • John Parrott, former World Snooker Champion: Radiant Health Programme (Atkins Diet plus added supplement and education support programme)

The Perricone Diet (or Perricone Prescription) emphasises low GI foods, although it is really intended to be a healthy eating programme that rejuvenates the body, the skin in particular, rather than a weight loss diet. The idea that a diet emphasising low carb or low GI foods has an anti-ageing effect is not new - as can be seen from one of Dr Atkins' other books entitled "Dr Atkins' Age-Defying Diet Revolution".