In the past, I have tried the Atkins diet. It worked. It was a great way to lose weight. Unfortunately, if you keep eating the same way that you do on Atkins, and add the carbohydrates, you really pack on the weight.
I know that exercise is an important part of life, and it is a great way to lose weight. But I didn't want to spend my life in the gym. I did incorporate exercise into my life, by either walking or swimming a mile every week day (not on weekends) and that has not only helped me to lose weight, but it has given me a measure of fitness that makes me feel good about myself.
My biggest discovery, was about how I eat. I knew from my Atkins dieting days that carbs or carbohydrates really pack on the weight. There are may variants of carbohydrate reduced diets. There is Atkins, the Zone diet, the sugar-free diet, the gluten-free diet etc etc. They all involve cutting back on carbs.
I decided that an integral step of the way that I eat, was to cut out processed carbs for two out of three of my meals. And I made a discovery that helps me feel full, gives me lots of fiber and Omega 3's and makes me lose weight.
My non-diet diet secret is that I have one meal a day of raw oatmeal. Before you say yuck, let my explain. I first make a fruit salad by chopping up together whatever fruits are in season. I toss the fruit with a tablespoon of lemon juice (usually to keep the apples and bananas, if there are any from discoloring). Then I take about half a cup of the fruit salad in a bowl. On top of that, I add a couple of tablespoons of probiotic yogurt. I like Activa, but I buy any probiotic brand that is on sale.
I then dump about a quarter cup of raw oatmeal. I use the "old-fashioned" kind, not the large flake or the quick cook, because it is less processed. I sprinkle oat bran, wheat bran and flax seed on top of that, and mix it all up. The juices from the fruit and the liquid in the yogurt softens the oatmeal and bran. The wheat bran is for dietary fiber, and the oat bran and oatmeal lower cholesterol and is really good for the heart. The raw oatmeal has a very low glycemic index -- it means that it doesn't cause a huge insulin load like breads or sugars. This combination of grains is a delicious, hugely filling meal and I don't feel hungry for hours after eating it.
The way that I integrate this into my eating, is that I usually have the fruit/oatmeal combination for breakfast or lunch. If I have it for breakfast with my coffee, I have a protein and vegetable meal for lunch. The bottom line, is that I do not eat processed carbohydrates for breakfast or lunch. I may have tuna with cucumber, or ham on tomato slices, or an egg with spinach -- but no pasta, bread, rice or any kind of carbs.
Then at the main meal at dinner (or supper as some call it), I allow myself normal foods. However, I still do not eat a lot of carbs at this meal -- just a very small portion. And the big meal is also lower in fat. I do not use a lot of oil or butter to cook the meal.
I eat a ton of raw fruit and/or raw vegetables as snacks (almost every three hours) and I stop eating after 8:30 PM (usually for a night snack, I have a repeat of the oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, bran, flax bowl).
I do not allow myself sugary drinks. I don't particularly like water, so I make a green tea mixed with mint. I have a ton of mint growing in my yard, so I pop a few sprigs of mint into the teapot along with the green tea bags. This drink is very anti-oxidant, and I drink it unsweetened. It has become my beverage of choice.
The weight has been dropping off. I lose about three pounds a week and I never feel hungry. On the weekends, I treat myself, and allow myself a restaurant meal, which may include a few fries or a bit of pizza.
In this way, I am reaching my target weight without trying, and this method is incredibly easy. I like the daily walks, the loose fitting pants, and the increased level of fitness and vitality in my life.