Free ways to get in shape.

Getting fat is expensive. Weight loss shouldn’t have to be. Why spend a lot of money on equipment, gym memberships, and special diets when there are a lot of great free weight loss tips that work wonders.

Weight Loss Paradigms

Burn More Calories Than You Eat

This is a lot like the personal finance tip, spend less than you make, in reverse. If only switching the two could be easier.

Routine Trumps Everything

Routine is the most powerful weight loss tip. The Grand Canyon was carved out of stone by the persistent routine of rivers and streams. The day you make up your mind to lose weight it’s really easy to get excited. In the excitement a lot of goals, equipment, and extreme measures are taken. After about a week or two most people are back in their old routine and all their goals fade into the past. If you make a single weight loss goal forget about how much you want to weigh or anything else. The one goal you should have is to stick with a routine for a very long time.

System Improvement

If you have a broken system, or a system that is doomed to make you fat, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle all the way. What is a system? A system is like routine but it also includes mindsets, friends, and behavior. If you really want to lose weight you have to change the system. In a way it’s much like quitting smoking. There needs to be a system level upgrade for this to work longterm.

Bring a friend

Peer pressure and companionship are very powerful forces in our lives. Sharing a goal to lose weight with a friend can be a source of motivation and support. Even better, involve your friends, join a team, or make it interesting with a bet (the more money the better).

Make changes you can live with forever

If you make a change make it something you can do for a very long time. You shouldn’t dread your diet or workout routine. Try to incorporate changes that will stick. If you make sacrifices, make sacrifices that don’t hurt too bad. An example of this is when I made the goal to run every morning. The first week was no problem. The second week got even harder. There were some mornings I didn’t want to wake up and get ready. Sadly my routine died in the second week. There was one thing that made it die, the challenge was too much for me. The solution to this was easy. Instead of running everyday I made the goal to get out the door everyday. If I felt like running, fine. If I wanted to walk for half an hour that’s fine too. This flexiblity made this much more manageable. I can see myself doing this for a very long time.

Systematic Weight Loss Tips

A recent study found that it doesn’t matter what kind of fad diet you try. The bottom line is calorie intake. It doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you’re eating less.

For people who are trying to lose weight, it does not matter if they are counting carbohydrates, protein or fat. All that matters is that they are counting something.

While the diets were not named, the eating plans were all loosely based on the principles of popular diets like Atkins, which emphasizes low carbohydrates; Dean Ornish, which is low-fat; or the Mediterranean diet, with less animal protein. After two years, every diet group had lost — and regained — about the same amount of weight regardless of what diet had been assigned.

The lesson, researchers say, is that people lose weight if they lower calories, but it does not matter how. Source New York Times and HarvardScience

It’s been shown that those that follow Atkins diets tend to eat 20-30% less calories. This is a result of shortage of acceptable protein in everyday life and due to boredom with an all meat diet. Most diets limit calories by cutting out major portions of available calorie sources. By cutting out all sugars and carbs you’ve cut out 80% of casual calorie consumption for most people. The same idea works with scheduling or portion control. In addition to cutting out boredom and over eating you might also include some type of routine you need to follow before eating. Here are a list a ways to limit calories in a major way.

Pick one of these things.

Leave off the Fats

Make a commitment to avoid butter on things, deep fried foods, junk food, or potato chips. Because fats are so concentrated with calories you have to eat much more to feel full. You could easily eat three to four times more calories because it tastes better than normal food and it takes the same amount of mass to fill you up. Avoiding fats can cut hundreds of calories out of your diet and leave you feeling healthier too.

Cut back on Carbohydrates & Sugars

Soda pop, juices, and alcohol have a lot of hidden calories. Eliminating calories that you drink will have a major impact on your weight. Try to drink water when possible. The relationship is still unknown between diet soda and obesity but there is a connection. Try to avoid all forms of good tasting drinks and stick to old fashioned water.

Another tip that works is cutting out over processed breads and snacks. Avoiding white bread and eating whole grains is more nutritious and helps you feel full longer.

Reduce or Eliminate Meat

There have been a few stories lately of Vegans (more strict vegetarians) killing their babies with non-animal product diets. The babies starve to death because the parents won’t provide the nutrition the babies need. These are extreme cases but it can be argued that animal products can provide important nutritional values.

To lose weight you might consider cutting out red meat, pork, or fast food meat. Another possibility is cutting meat out of every meal except dinner.

Cut out processed foods

One easy test for this is counting they number of steps it takes for the food to get to your mouth. If all you need to do is open a wrapper and eat, the food is highly processed. The more steps required to prepare a food the better it probably is for you.

Another aspect of overly processed food is the amount of nutrients the producers remove in order to preserve texture, flavor, and shelf life.

Avoid Eating Out

Restaurants have one goal in mind and that’s to make sure you enjoy your food. Part of making your taste buds happy means adding extra sugar, salt, & fat to your meal. You might be surprised to know that a Big Mac has 9 grams of sugar in it. When you make food at home you generally use 50% fat than what restaurants think is normal. Packing your own luck can save you a lot of calories and help you slim down. It will also save you a bundle from a personal finance perspective.