questionswhat weight loss programs have worked best for…

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Your friend might want to check with her doctor's office and see if they have a nutritionist on staff - I had much better luck going this route and only had to pay my normal co-pay amount.

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I'm a fan of the un-branded exercise and diet plan. You just exercise (pretty much any way to get the heart rate up works) and eat smaller portions of healthier food. Not really trying sarcastic but this is what they all do and you don't have to pay anyone for this.

edit: No clue why all the downvotes... it is a valid question. I upvoted!

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@benyust2: Ditto. My gut belly has shrunken, not because of some named plan, but from a sensible diet and exercise. It's all in the mindset - change that, and the rest follows.

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Write down everything you eat and count the calories. You don't need to pay for Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers because this is all they do (portion control). Maybe it works better for people who feel if they spend the money they will be more likely to follow the plan but it's really all in your brain.

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I agree with those who said you don't need a brand name to lose weight. It's portion control, eating healthier foods, and exercising. That said, it's also helpful to have a buddy (-ies) to share the journey with. Companions in the weight loss journey help you get back on track if you fall off and acknowledge your success as you reach your goals, both of which help in the long run.

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I carefully watch carbs. And I exercise. I lost 110 pounds 7 years ago and have kept it off.

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I have known several people who write down everything that they put in their mouths. They stick to the 1800-2000 calories a day limit and added a little exercise (mostly just walking). One lost about 50 pounds and another lost 75 pounds. Writing it down makes you very conscious of what you eat.

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there are several on-line free calorie counter programs:
http://caloriecount.about.com/
http://www.my-calorie-counter.com/calorie_counter.asp
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

for those that prefer something more structured where they are held accountable, i would say weight watchers is probably the best as you are not eating prepackaged food but learning how to eat to lose weight and keep it off.

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I agree that a name brand plan isn't required. The thing is, the hard part is different for everyone. Some people have no trouble eating better, but exercise kills them. Other people, the exercise isn't the issue, but the eating better is the hard part (that's my issue). Accountability has helped me a lot in the past.

Other than that, it's a matter of eating less (and better) and moving more. Figure out the foods you enjoy (turns out I do like green beans. Who knew?) and the activities you enjoy and will stick with (and toss in some weight training, cause more muscle helps with weight loss). Drink some extra water and get enough sleep and the weight will come off. It really is that easy...it's just that it's not that easy to actually do that.

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low-carb and exercise are what work for me and my husband.

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I generally use the "stop being a lazy ---- and get 30 minutes of activity into your life a day" routine. I lost 40 lbs over a 7 month period by eating a sub for lunch, then spending the remaining 35 minutes of my lunchbreak going for a walk, listening to my iPod.

Other methods that have worked are:

-15 minutes before you want to eat something, down 24 ounces of water.
-eat slower, and stop when you feel full.
-avoid fast food like the plague it is.
-get the proper amount of sleep (8 to 10 hours a night, no more no less)
-Follow the dietary food guide pyramids.
-completely cut soda out of your diet. replace it with cold Water. (not juice, or anything else made completely out of sugar)

My mom is a Dietition, and was chairman of the ADA Board of Nutritional health for AIDS and Cancer patients. It doesn't take some fancy name brand diet to lose weight, it takes a very small change in lifestyle, and activity to see a change.

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@benyust2: Thanks for the upvote. I do not understand why all of the negatives.

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My 'secret' was smaller portions (not restrictive -- just smaller) and regular exercise. For me, one begot the other. I simply did not feel like snacking after a run or swim, so I took in even less calories.

Dropped 15 pounds in 3 months. Eventually dropped another 5 and I have kept it off using the same techniques above for about 6 years now.

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I completely agree with portion size. You go with a fist sized portion of a veggie, protein, and a carb - you can't go wrong. I also switched to lower fat foods in a sort of "eat this, not that" fashion.

I also think that increasing fiber and making sure to have a moderate amount of caffeine (not sugar) in the morning will keep things moving better!

When I was at my peak shape, I also went with the 6 meals a day thing. That gave me a TON of energy throughout the day and my metabolism was off the charts!

As far as exercise, ANYTHING helps - just get into a routine time-wise. If you can't sustain a 30-minute workout, keep that time booked out. Do what you can at first.

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14 questions asked in 4 days will usually garner downvotes. :)

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I lost about a hundred pounds in 18 months following this simple plan:
Eat less. Exercise more.

The detail of the plan is this:
1200-1400 calories a day, 1/3rd each from quality protein, carbs and fat
walk 20 miles a week at 4mph
climb 10 floors of stairs twice a day 4 days a week

I used Livestrong.com to track my food intake, but there are dozens of sites that will do this. Nutritiondata.com has more reliable food data and I will probably use them this summer (misbehaved a lot this holiday season).

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I've actually had good success with weight watchers. Not into meetings, so i just do the online program.

I've averaged about 1-.2.5 lbs a week - healthy pace, but enough progress to stick to it.

My geeky brain seems to like having an iphone app to keep me accountable - and i am someone who desperately needs stricture, but doesn't like being told that I can't have what I want, so it's a good fit for me.

I agree with the other comments about not needing to pay for a name brand ... some people can pull that off. Wish I was one of them! Since I'm not, Weight Watchers gets my money now :)

My boyfriend had good results with Tim Ferris's 4hour body.