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10 Unconventional Diet Tips: How to lose 50 pounds in three months

10 Unconventional Diet Tips: How to lose 50 pounds in three months
The following are 10 unconventional weight loss tips that worked for me. Between January 4, 2006 and March 31, 2006 I lost fifty pounds. These tips work well because almost every tip is focused around completing a small goal. In my opinion, to stay motivated and lose a significant amount of weight, you should complete many goals in a short period of time. The reason I call these tips unconventional is that I had not seen a majority of them before starting my diet.

I will start by recognizing the typical “calories in, calories out” schpeil. Yes, to lose weight you have to eat well and exercise. But there is much more to it than that, and I don’t want to spend time regurgitating ideas you’ve heard before. That brings me to the first point:

Buy a digital scale
This seems easy enough. I recommend that before starting a diet, buy a scale that is accurate to .2 (two-tenth of a pound). I will explain why below. I also recommend either buying a scale that can record your daily weight, or manually logging your weight everyday. I bought a scale that was accurate to .2 and logged my weight at Sam’s Club for $22. It has been a great investment.

Weigh yourself everyday
You’ll find that almost every other dieter will tell you to weigh yourself only once a week. I recommend the exact opposite. I am very goal oriented and I like to see results everyday. The reason I recommend buying a scale that is accurate to the .2 is that there is a very big difference between weighting 170.8 one day and 170.0 the next day. Losing .8 pounds in one day is excellent. However, if your scale is not accurate enough to report the loss and still shows 170 after a day of healthy eating and working out, you will feel extremely discouraged. A more detailed scale makes it easier to keep a positive outlook. The more successes (days with positive weight loss) the easier it is.

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Drink 8 glasses of water everyday
This one is obvious and broadly recommended, however, the reason I recommend it is slightly different. Drinking eight glasses of water per day helps you “feel less hungry.” I can’t prove this scientifically, however, when I am at work, I drink 4 cups in the morning and 4 cups in the evening. On the days that I don’t drink the water, I feel hungrier, earlier. Also, on the days I don’t drink water I feel sleepier, sooner. Don’t feel intimidated by trying to drink 8 glasses of water. Try doing what I do: I have a pint glass I keep at work, it holds sixteen ounces (as all pint glasses do). All I do is drink two pints of water in the morning and two in the afternoon.

Make your diet public
Tell people you’re on a diet. There’s no reason to be ashamed to be on a diet. I found that trying to keep my diet a secret was harder than just telling people. In fact, telling your coworkers, girlfriend, family, etc. will increase your accountability. It motivated me knowing that my coworkers and family knew that I was dieting because I did not want to fail. I also chose a typical “fat picture” and put it on my fridge, in my cubicle, and on my wall. I wanted to have a continual reminder to lose the weight. I know it’s a cliche, but it was important for me to remind myself of my ultimate goal.

I feel I should also note that although I was 50 pounds over weight, when I told people I was on a diet they often said “you don’t need to diet.” I found this surprising because I was obviously overweight. Beware that you will likely hear similar comments. I found it easier to just accept the “compliment” than to try to justify my diet to them. Remember that you are on a diet for you, and that you do not need to justify yourself.

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Don’t diet on the weekends
This is another unconventional bit of advice. I was able to lose 50 pounds without dieting on the weekends. I found myself tired, depressed, and unmotivated if I tried to continue my diet into the weekend. I felt that Friday and Saturday (my weekend) was a time to celebrate 5 days of dieting. You may not find this necessary, especially in the first few weeks of a diet. However, as many weeks passed, the weekend became a time for me to celebrate my weekly successes and get myself mentally prepared for another five days of dieting. I considered it a mental recharge.

Don’t sacrifice your life for your diet
On occasion, you will find yourself unable to eat healthy. Whether this is because of lunches with your team at work, birthdays, or special occasions, there will be events that you just can’t (or don’t want to) eat healthy. A diet will feel overwhelming if you have to sacrifice special events in your life. The way I combated this was to exchange a day that I was not going to diet on the weekend. In other words, if I didn’t diet on Tuesday, for example, I would diet on Saturday, instead.

Make the small changes
This is a pretty common tip, however, I have a twist to it. Rather than giving up what most diets say you should give up (soda, coffee, beer, caffeine, etc.) just make healthier decisions. I didn’t want to give anything up, so I decided to make some changes instead. The first switch I made was switching to diet soda. Don’t worry, you’ll quickly get used to the flavor. Before I started my diet, I swore I would never drink diet soda. Now thanks to my girlfriend, diet is the only soda I drink. The second switch I made was to drinking black coffee. Cut out the sugar and creme, and you get the benefits of coffee (caffeine) without the calories. The last major switch I made was to “healthy” beer. I’m a Miller Lite drinker, however, by temporarily switching to Beck’s Premier Light (60 calories per serving) I was able to still enjoy a healthy social life while maintaining my diet.

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In addition to making the small changes in your diet, make the small changes in your life: park further away, walk to the end of the train platform and get in the last car, and vow not to take an elevator for an entire week. I also found it advantageous to wear a pedometer and try to compete against myself for how far I could walk in a single day. The furthest I walked in a day was 6.5 miles. I voluntarily walked to work twice a week.

Gain perspective by understanding the fractions
Your diet is an incredibly small fraction of your life. If you live for 80 years, and dieted for four months, that would only be .42% of your life. That’s right, if you diet for four months, it will be less than one half of one percent of your life. On the other hand think of the major benefits you can get from .42% of your life. If it helps you stay motivated, count down the days starting at 120.

Rationalize your workouts
Finding the time to get to the gym can be very difficult. However a 1/2 hour workout is only 2% of your day (assuming 24 hour days). For me, the most motivating thought was comparing my workouts to sitcoms. As a huge Everybody Loves Raymond fan, every time I would sit down to watch an episode, I would remind myself that in the 1/2 hour that I was sitting and doing nothing, I could complete my daily workout.

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You’ve lost the weight, what now?

Have a red flag weight
Once you’ve lost the weight, you need to keep it off. This is where the red flag comes in. You need to pick a weight and vow to never get heavier than it again. It is normal for your body to fluctuate five to ten pounds. I recommend picking a weight that is ten pounds heavier than what you “normally” weigh and never weigh more than it again.  Setting a red flag weight allowed me to keep off every pound for over 1 year.

Lastly, for the curious out there…I followed the Weight Watchers diet. I did not pay for the diet, nor did I go to meetings. I found out all the information about the diet on-line. The first place to look is at their patent.

All well known diets are available via Google Patent Search.  For the several months that I was dieting, I also gave up red meat and made sure to drink a lot of milk.  The preceding tips worked perfectly for me and they will work for you, too. Prior to creating my own diet plan, I tried to diet several times and failed every time. I swear by these weight loss tips.  What do you think of them? Do you have a tip that didn’t make my list?  Let us know in the comments.  I will be glad to answer any questions or defend any point.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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