DDH Ultimate Weight Loss Guide for 2021
Introduction and How to Use This Guide
This Ultimate weight loss guide is designed to be a carefully curated list of everything you will need to know about losing weight.
We will uncover every aspect of weight loss that you could possibly imagine and we can find. If something is not there, then please leave a comment or contact us we will look to add it.
Covering diet and nutrition to exercise and fitness. From calculating, counting calories through to burning calories. From supplements and products, and myths we look to cover it all.
So it's all here collated, referenced where appropriate - so jump in use this, bookmark this weight loss reference guide.
How To Lose Weight Guide
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid. To succeed in your weight loss journey keeping it simple helps - focusing on getting the fundamentals right.
The fundamental of weight loss are
- Determine your Calorie intake on a daily basis
- Monitor your calories and do not exceed them
- If you do exercise you can increase your calorie intake. Or if you do not increase your intake, then your weight loss will increase.
However most people can do this for a day or so, but it is hard to keep track of. We will come back to this later.
Other key facets to consider when in a weight reduction program are.
- Focus on keeping or adding muscle, not just burning fat.
- Follow a balanced nutrition system and be consistent with your eating habits.
- Track your calorie and protein intake, at least at first.
- Aim for between 1 to 2 pounds of loss each week, any more you are likely to find it too hard to keep it up long term.
- If you can exercise at least 30 minutes, 3 days per week.
Mind - how to train your mind to lose weight
Your Attitude towards weight loss
First, especially in the beginning you need to realise not every day will be a great day. Also for sure, you'll have some hiccups or down days when it comes keeping to your nutrition and weight reduction plan.
But you have to accept it and get back one target for the next 3-5 days. If you can do this - keeping your attitude to downsizing positive you will win. Eventually (usually 30 days) you will have developed a new habit - hopefully a good one - and that is how you succeed. So keeping positive and on target you'll slowly but surely see those pounds come off.
THe BBC has a short video below on simple brain training that can help you lose weight.
psychological tricks to lose weight
The brain is our control hub. Every part of the body receives signals and instructions sent out by the brain. The brain says why, how and where body fat is stored. The brain controls our metabolism, appetites, food choices, motivation, do we exercise or not. So it is important you get your mind conditioned and ready to go on the weight loss journey.
Self Image for Weight Loss
One of the most important parts of succeeding in mastering healthier habits into your lifestyle is your self-image. If you can develop an improving self image - each time you have a small win - say you lose 2 pounds in one week - see yourself as more handsome or beautiful - or meaningful - or successful - whatever motivates you - it is important to visualize it.
A key point is it is not how you look. What is more important how you feel about yourself - SELF IMAGE.
So maintain your positivity and focus - and you'll see the changes you want to see!
Using a Food Journal for weight loss
Ok- you may not seem keen to start a food journal - writing down what you ate for lunch in front of your friend does not really excite you - you are probably not alone.
But in reality, writing down what you eat really can help you lose weight. Actually it will probably take a lot less time than you may think, according to a new study published in Obesity- just 15 mins[Ref].
But yes writing down what you eat as a snack or a meal will help you lose weight and will also help with your health.
Regularly logging your eating detail helps you recognise what, why and when you’re eating and how hungry or satisfied you feel. Record-keeping once you get in the habit of paying attention to eating too much or the wrong food that may throw you off-track and gives you the necessary information to fix your oops!
So how do you write a food journal?
In the beginning try really hard to be consistent and write down what you had just as soon as you have eaten it. Even better, note it down before you eat - and if it is not good you might just not eat it - how good is that.
You can buy a cheap paper notebook - or use a note taking feature on your phone - you can even take pictures!!
There are also plenty of free apps - e.g MyFitnessPal.
So what do you do - the key is to do it in a timely manner and consistently- and if a food journal helps you keep on track then it is 15 minutes spent well.
The best Diets for losing weight
There are those times when we all think we'd do anything to lose weight, probably when you have just stepped off the scale or maybe when you see your stomach bouncing as you walk- but then 15 minutes later you gobble up another slice of pizza and think nothing of it.
Sometimes if you’re feeling desperate you may stumble onto an extreme diet for weight loss - but do not do it - go back to the section above and read the bit about your mind for weight loss.
Remember to see yourself feeling positive - do not worry about holding onto your love handles and follow a good balanced diet (Top 10 Healthy Diets for Losing Weight below) with exercise and have a healthy lifestyle.
Some people really take dieting that step too far - but they usually bounce back to their previous weight after a few months - plan your weight loss and execute it step by step.
Below we talk about some of the better diets in america, but these are not the only ones. In 2020 these were the best ones we found - if you have another suggestion then we would love to hear from you.
Top 10 Healthy Diets for losing weight and keep it off
With an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, fish, and olive oil this is one of the most popular diets in America. This really a lifestyle choice rather than a structured diet so you will still need to workout your portions and overall calories. It also promotes a good level of activity. The great thing about this diet is that you can also have a glass of red wine.
We recommend this diet because if you can follow it - you can have a great food lifestyle.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is recommended and promoted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood institute.
DASH is designed to fight high blood pressure - but is also highly thought of for its nutritional safety and completeness. It focuses on foods like fruits, whole grains, lean protein and dairy if it is low fat. These foods are high in nutrients which fight high blood pressure. For example - potassium, calcium and fibre. It is no surprise that foods that are high in bad (saturated) fats as well as sugar are not part of this diet.
The Flexitarian Diet
The word Flexitarian comes for the two words - flexible and vegetarian. This diet and name came from the book The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life” by Dawn Jackson Blantner.
Basically this system advocates that you do not need to eliminate meat entirely to enjoy the advantages of being a vegetarian.
Weight Watchers Diet
This program tends to take a holistic approach. It encourages folks not only to eat more healthy but also increase your exercise level.
One of the hallmarks of this diet is that it uses a support system like phone / chat and people to people workshops. This is perhaps helpful for people who often need a little help to succeed.
Mayo Clinic Diet
This diet focuses on weight loss plus a healthier lifestyle. Basically you alter your eating habits. Remove your bad habits and replace them with good ones. This is made easy with the help of the Mayo Clinic's unique food pyramid.
This Mayo Clinic pyramid puts a focus on fruits, veggies and whole grains. These foods largely have low calorie density. This means you can eat a bigger portion but eat less energy. I find the simplest way to think about this is - you could have around 25% or a quarter of a Mars Bar - or approximately 2 cups of Broccoli. Guess which one is better for you and fills you up more.
You get the picture.
Take the DASH and Mediterranean diet and then focus on foods that benefit brain health is the Mind Diet. It is designed to lower your risk of mental deterioration so this diet can be popular with older folks.
Common foods used in this program are leafy greens, nuts and berries. This diet was developed by a special nutritional expert from the Rush Medical Center.
Further studies where undertaken which show that there was a 35% Alzheimer's risk reduction for people who only partially followed the program. So if you want a diet to reduce the risk of Alzeimers and lose weight this is the one for you. There was even greater benefits for those who followed the plan strictly.[REF]
This diet is very ordered and you really need to follow the guide in the book to implement it correctly. There are four different groups of foods.
- Category 1 - e.g Non starchy fruits and vegetables
- Category 2- e.g starchy fruits and vegetables and some other food groups like low fat meat
- Category 3 e.g cheese, pizza and bread for example
- Category 4 e.g Candies, chips and sweet desserts.
This was a number one diet for a long time on the New York Times. See the Book Here
This program has a goal of reducing cholesterol and of course a healthy eating program. The TLS stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and is from the National Institute of Health Cholesterol Program. It has quite a broad range of food choices - but you must read many of the foods nutrition information. You will need the book to start this diet.
This diet was developed with the Denmark University of Copenhagen and a famous restaurant- NOMA. This system focuses on a number of different classes of food. It provides great creations based on Scandinavian culture. You can find full detail in the book “The Nordic Way”
The Ornish Diet
This program has been designed to help folks feel good, live a longer life while losing weight and gaining better health. This diet also supports or includes exercise, management of stress and also a relationship focus. So in some respects it is a holistic approach to more than just losing weight but also improving your life.
Food is sorted into five different groups, for best to worst.
Dr Ornish created this program way back in 1977. This is a very well thought program and if you are serious about a life change this is worth considering.
What is the Sirtfood Diet.
Made famous by Adele Weight Loss the Sirtfood Diet was invented by two now famous celebrity nutritionists.
This diet is based on research on sirtuins (SIRTs), a group of seven proteins found in the body that has been shown to regulate a variety of functions, including metabolism, inflammation and lifespan.
Certain natural plant compounds may be able to increase the level of these proteins in the body, and foods containing them have been dubbed “sirtfoods.”
Noom is also a relatively new diet program and you can see how I used that here.
Lastly we have a guide on how to cut out sugar.
Calories - Understanding them
The amount of energy stored in drinks or food that we consume is measured in calories.[REF]
Speaking simply - we eat as we need energy to power our body. If we eat food that has more energy than we need in one day - then the body must store that energy - the body stores that energy as fat and fat weighs pounds - so our total weight increases. It is very similar, think of a car - we need 10 gallons to go 100 miles - if we put 10 gallons in our car and drive 100 miles - we have used all our gas - or in the body's case energy.
What if we put twice as much gas than we need - 20 gallons - then after 100 miles we will have 10 gallons still left. That 10 gallons left also weighs pounds - so the car is now heavier. So do not eat more than is needed for our day's journey - else you will put one weight. While one day is fine - every other day is a disaster -we gain weight. So take control.
Some other key facts for calories.
You need calories to live - the body needs energy in its cells, these cells power the heart, lungs muscles - all parts of the body.
The trick is not consuming more than you need. If we did not eat more than we need then typically our lives would be healthy.
- Each person needs a different amount of calories each day
- You calorie requirements will also depend on your age, sex, size and energy level.
The Ideal Weight Loss Rate
When you are trying to take off the pounds it is natural to want to lose it rapidly. But to be successful over the long term it is much better to lose it gradually as you have a much better chance of keeping it off long term.
The best weight loss rate is around 1-2 lbs per week.
You need to really understand and adapt the principle that weight loss is not just about a diet - it is about a lifestyle that you are happy with and can therefore make it a long term of permanent lifestyle change.
So while you can drop the pounds quicker - you are less likely to keep it off.
To lose weight is never easy and it does take a commitment- so as you plan your weight loss program - my advice is to make a system that includes
- And a mental plan of what you will do when you feel hungry.
One thing that is also important when you consider how much weight to lose - even a modest weight reduction of even 5 or 10 percent of your body weight can have really good health benefits. In some cases even 10 per cent weight loss can have a massive benefit on your health. For example it will improve your blood pressure, blood cholesterol and also sugars in your blood. So it is totally worth striving for.
How to Stick to your Diet?
The key building block to a successful weight reduction program remains a balanced food plan (reducing your daily calorie intake) and adding some additional physical activity to your day.
So here are the top 5 things you need to consider and answer before you start your weight loss program.
Ask yourself - are you ready for this
To lose weight and keep it off long term - takes effort - it does not just happen by itself. You need to work out how these new eating and exercise patterns are going to become long term habits.
Use this weight loss checklist to determine if you are ready to start.
- Am I willing to add new daily exercises
- Can I change my eating habits
- Do I really want to lose this weight
- Can I stop myself being distracted
- Can learn new new techniques to master these new goals
- Can I cope with the stress
And lastly do I have the time to make this a success.
Become Really Really Motivated
Remember this is really your journey - no one else can make you do it. Sure they can help and encourage you - but ultimately it is you. You need to discover a burning desire to achieve this.
Now while I said it is you alone - having help support and encouragement from others whom you love and respect can be a huge help
So get your motivation keyed up, enlist a support team if that is your style and get started.
Make Sure your Goals are really Achievable
When you are making your goals think about the outcome you want - but importantly think also about the journey and the key milestones you will use to measure your success.
Next you need to measure your goals. If you do not measure it you can not track it!
We have also covered above the ideal amount of weight to lose weekly - so workout how many weeks it will take you to get to your goal.
Learn to appreciate healthy foods
Fundamental to your success is adopting a new food menu, one that has less calories than your previous food intake.
One of the most common ways of achieving this is to add more plant based portions to your daily eating. Examples being fruits, vegetables (cooked and raw) and whole grains. One of my key tips here as you transition into more vegetables is to learn how to make really good, but reasonably low calorie sauces to give you an exciting and vibrant flavor with your vegetables.
Plan and start your exercise routine
Regular exercise, even if it is walking really helps you to lose weight. You can lose weight without exercise, but it becomes so much easier with even a little exercise.
Remember exercises actually burn calories - so this can drastically increase the effectiveness of your weight loss plan.
You must look at your day with a new outlook and with a view to developing a long term habit.
Try to work out where you think your weaknesses are and work out how you will overcome them. If you can do that in advance your chances of success will really increase.
Also realise that you will have setbacks. But do not give up - simply resolve to start the next day as if it has not happened. This means you will keep your motivation and momentum going forward to success with your weight loss plan. Not letting a bad day or ameal put you off your stride and success plan.
Exercise Types for Weight loss
This is one of the most common forms of exercise used and it is often referred to as cardiovascular training, cardio or simply aerobics. Basically you are looking to increase your heart rate and therefore burn or use calories. Aerobic activity is the central theme of balanced workouts if you want to lose weight. The key reason being because aerobics burns fat and calories.
Strength Training for Weight reduction
Strength training is good because it helps to build healthy muscles. If your muscles are strong and in good condition then you are able to move more efficiently and are less prone to injury.
Many people think of lifting weights but there are many others and there are many routines that focus on building body strength that do not involve lifting weights.
Also building muscle in the long term helps you lose and keep fat off.
It is also important to build strength as you get older. However, exercisers who continue to build muscle are not so likely to suffer from a slow metabolism, not to mention stopping you gaining weight.
Flexibility is important as it supports us having a good range of movement possible in our muscles which in turn supports us doing other exercise and helps us achieve our overall weight goals.
You can do these exercises almost anywhere and they typically help you also reduce stress. You can also add a meditation routine and the whole procedure becomes enjoyable and uplifting. There are many benefits to this type of exercise.
The best thing that you can do is to combine all of these exercises throughout your day and not only will your weight loss increase so will your mental well being. And as we already said the mental part in a weight loss program is as important as the physical part.
So you get the picture that there are many many benefits in that drop of 10% body weight.
Top 10 Weight Loss Friendly Foods
Foods are different, different foods are not treated in the same way by the body. In the same way neither are all calories.
Leafy Greens For Weight Loss
This class of vegetable includes spinach and kale. More recently there has been a lot of interest in Moringa leaves also. There are others like Swiss chards - but if we focus on these more common types.
These leafy greens are very high in vitamins and minerals plus some really powerful antioxidants.
Eating leafy greens also allows you to eat more without exceeding your calories. Being high in fibre is another bonus for this class of food.
Eggs For Weight Reduction
Eggs are really high in key nutrients plus protein and fat. They are considered one of the best foods to eat when you are trying to lose weight.
There are many studies that show eggs give you an increased feeling of fullness even up to 24 hours later. There is also a school of thought that they may also help the body to lose weight.
Lean Beef and Chicken Breast can help you lose weight
Meat has often been criticised for diets and also different health problems. However studies have shown the unprocessed lean meat if cooked in a healthy manner does not increase the chances of heart disease.[ref]
Meat because it is high in protein is actually a weight loss friendly food. It is very filling and to most people tastes nice and when combined with green leafy vegetables actually presents as a nice meal.
It is also very effective at reducing late night snacking.
Salmon For Weight Loss
Salmon is just full of high quality protein, nutrients and healthy fats.
These fats are omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to help reduce inflammation and help reduce obesity.
Other fatty fish like trout and herrings are also good.
Beans and Legumes For Weight Loss
This class of food is also beneficial for weight loss. For example black beans, kidney beans to name a few.
They contain a good amount of fibre and are also rich in protein.
Soups The Super Weight Loss Food
Soups - I like to think of these as the magic helper of diets.
Put in many of the foods that we have already mentioned with water and herbs and seasoning and you have nutritious and a very tasteful meal. What’s more you can make them in bulk and freeze them. If you arrive home and want fast food - NO just take out a healthy and tasty soup.
Cottage Cheese Is Good For Weight Loss
Generally dairy products are high in protein - however they can be high in bad fats. But one dairy product that is great is cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is mostly protein and does not contain many carbohydrates and bad fat.
Further it contains calcium which is thought to be a help burning fat.
Also consider low or no sugar plain Greek Yoghurt.
Avocados For Weight Loss
Did you know avocados are classed as a fruit and are quite unique because they are full of healthy fats. Especially monounsaturated which is quite a good one. They also contain fibre and nutrients like potassium.
They are very versatile and work with salads and eggs to help create a tasty meal.
Apple Cider Vinegar
We have a number of articles on Apple Cider Vinegar. Read our post on how it contributes to weight loss
Best Tea for weight Loss
Many teas have a flavonoid called catechins that are said to help increase your metabolism plus help break down fat.
We have an article which you can read more on the best weight loss teas.
Rooibos (Red) Tea
We have a series of articles on Red Tea Detox - see if they are right for you.
A study at two Universities - Arizona College of Nursing and the College and Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine stated that dandelion tea is one of the better herbs that helps maintain optimal weight. [Ref]. We have detail article here.
Sage tea is also a natural caffeine-free tea that is known for its health benefits and really can help with weight loss.
Top Natural Herbs and Remedies to lose weight
Black Cumin Seed Oil
How to lose weight with Black Cumin Seed Oil is talked about a lot.
Research suggests black cumin seed oil benefits for weight loss is to be taken seriously.
In one research paper, people took black cumin seed oil and succeeded. See our article on Black Cumin Seed Oil.
Caffeine is the most eaten stimulating substance in the world [REF].
It is found naturally in foods and drinks like coffee, green tea and even dark chocolate. Caffeine is a well known metabolism booster, and is often added to commercial weight loss supplements.
Fenugreek is a popular and reasonably common spice made from Trigonella foenum-graecum, a plant belonging to the legume family.
Many research studies have shown that fenugreek may help control appetite, thus reducing food intake and supporting weight loss.
One research paper showed in 18 people that adding 8 grams of fenugreek fiber daily increased feelings of fullness and reduced hunger and food intake, compared to a control group (REF).
Ginger is a famous natural weight loss agent and comes from the flowering ginger plant, Zingiber officinale.
It is commonly used in natural medicine as a remedy for a wide variety of conditions, some research indicates that ginger could aid weight loss as well.
One study showed that supplementing with ginger significantly decreased both body weight and belly fat [REF].
Another scientific review of human and animal studies also found that ginger may help lower weight by increasing metabolism and fat burning while simultaneously decreasing fat absorption and appetite [REF].
All the short-term studies have found that eating chia seeds make you feel full, resulting in you eating less
Also Green Detox Juice Recipes for Weight Loss are found here
We have an article on Tejocote Root for Side Effects and weight loss here
Tibetan Herbs for Weight Loss
We have a full article dedicated to this you can read more here.
- This mixture is highly-valued in Ayurveda medicine
Commiphora Mukul for Weight loss
- Read a section on details here on how it lowers cholesterol and helps with weight loss.
Piper Longum for Weight loss
- Helps with Bloating and reduction of the pounds
Garcinia Gambogia for Weight loss
- Well known read about it from a Tibetan perspective here.
Sida Cordofolia for Weight loss
- suppressing the appetite is a real benefit of this herb.
Cinnamon for Weight Loss
- Cinnamon can also be a great help in this process of downing the pounds - see a full article here.
- It is also noted by the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research that cinnamon has the effect of reducing weight, especially in late obese adolescence.
So when is the best time to exercise for weight loss?
There is a lot of contradictory information about when's the best time to exercise if you want to slim down.
Many say that before breakfast is best because you burn more calories at that time of the day and this is largely correct. The other good thing is you do not get disturbed or interrupted when you exercise early in the morning.
Why is early morning better? Your body uses sugars and carbs very fast in the morning and then it continues with burning fat layers.
Research has also concluded that morning workouts improve your mind and mood as well as lifting your physical and mental energy. [REF]
Your metabolism starts in high gear in the morning and it stays active for often up to 12 hours, so it’s easier to burn excess fat.
If you want to get rid of maximum weight, work out in the morning, before breakfast.
And, remember, after your workout you need to have a healthy breakfast , do not blow your exercise gain in the morning by having unhealthy food.
Holistic Weight Loss is also a great way to embrace this - see our article here on tips.