I've been on a very healthy diet for a month and I lost 2.5 kg! It's more or less 5 pounds I think.
5 pounds a month, for someone who's not obese, is the best way to loose weight.
To do that you just have to change your eating habits. I'm not on a "starvation" diet. I have dessert if I feel like it. It's just a matter of what dessert and when. And exercise.
So here's a list of what I do. It's working for me and for my boyfriend, if you try it out let me know how it goes:
1. Always make sure there's plenty of fruits and vegetables in the house. Better if seasonal. Even better if it's local or at least from neighbor States.
2. Always make sure that the snacks you buy are healthy, organic, low fat.
3. Don't buy any candy bars, sodas, fruit juices loaded up with corn syrup and colorants. If they are in the house, throw them away. Flavored water is junk, just drink water with some lemon in it if you really can't stand the taste of just water. Water down your juices or even better, make fresh fruit juice with seasonal fruits and veggies.
4. Drink at least 2 liters of water per day. If you don't hydrate yourself your body goes into "survival mode" and you start retaining water. Therefore the bloating.
5. Limit salt. I also mean chips and everything that is highly salted and flavored. Because that also makes you retain liquids. Therefore the bloating.
6. Fats are important, but only the good ones: dark chocolate is a great antioxidant, you're recommended 2 and a half spoon of raw extra virgin olive oil per person per day (I measure it). Avocados and Bananas have essential fats, very important for digestive health, but only eat them once a week. Nuts and almonds are also a great source of essential fats. They are great eaten 2 hours before working out or right after.
7. It is good habit to have a certain amount of carbs in your diet (rice, pasta, bread, fruit, nuts) but don't overdo it. Try to find a good balance between how much you work out and your carb intake.
8. Always buy organic meats. I know it costs more, but you'll save on future doctor's appointments, I swear. Plus is very cool to support your local butcher instead of corporations that exploit and full out TORTURE animals. I haven't bought a piece of meat from the grocery store in one month and my skin looks better, i don't feel bloated all the time, and I'm SURE that's because I'm not ingesting any hormones and antibiotics through meat.
9. Try to eat fish twice a week. Tilapia is really cheap for example, almost as cheap as chicken, and there are some very yummy recipes online!
10. Red meat only every 10 days, so put down that hamburger. I said PUT IT DOWN!
11. Stay away from fried food or if you really must have it, eat only fish or vegetarian the day after, so you can give your liver a break. Same thing goes for alcohol. Vegetables that detox your liver are: zucchini, artichokes, dandelion, spinach.
12. Exercise. Anything goes. A longer walk to get to work. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Do it once and it won't bring any results, but if you do it every day for a month you'll start noticing abs and a waste line. Don't do too much anaerobic work (weight lifting and co) because it adds weight and makes you retain water. What really makes you loose weight and burn calories is cardio work (running, biking, walking, jumping, dancing, sex...).
13. Keep a log of what you eat (I'm not talking about calorie counting, I hate that bullsh**. I can never keep track of it and it's extremely time consuming). You'll notice that certain foods give you more energy, others make you sleepy or too full, that an apple in the middle of the afternoon makes you feel like you've had a large meal. Some foods put you in a good mood others make you grumpy. Take all the negative stuff out of your diet, nobody can tell you what it is because it is different for each person, so you'll have to do some experiments and a little bit of homework. I can't have a lot of sugars for example, it really makes me depressed, gives me cramps makes me swell up like a balloon. So I cut doughnuts, cookies, cakes, frosting, sodas from my diet entirely. I'd rather have a good frozen yogurt with some fresh fruit for dessert then something extremely sugary that I'm gonna love for 15 minutes and hate for 48 hours.
14. Get a good night of sleep. Wake up early, go to bed early. Some studies show that everything you eat before 9am is burned right before lunch time. In the evening some say no carbs after 6pm, I just eat something light and easy to digest for dinner, fish or vegetables, some fruit. No midnight snacking. If the midnight snacking is necessary refer back to point number 11.
I'm not a dietician but I've studied food properties and I'm well informed about how food can affect your weight, your life, your mood. This isn't a diet, it's a life style. To be specific is the "average italian's life style". It took me a while to be able to find ways of keeping it up over in the States but I finally think I found my balance. I eat what I want within these limits and the weight keeps coming off.
So good luck to everybody, I'll let you know in another month if I was able to reach my goal weight!