3 Simple rules for weight loss

Losing weight is not the hard part. The challenge is keeping it off.

Story: Cristy “Code Red” Nickel

It’s one thing to grit your way through a few weeks of the latest fad diet or grueling exercise program, but what happens when you stop? More often than not, the weight piles right back on. Yet some people manage to keep their weight under control for the rest of their lives. What’s their secret? I’ve found that by creating just a few simple, nonnegotiable rules, you can lose the weight once and for all. I tell all my clients, “This is the last time you have to go around this mountain!”

Here are the top three rules to start shedding those pounds right away


People, I can’t stress this enough: we don’t drink enough water! How many times have you made it to lunch, or even dinner, without drinking any water? Coffee, tea, juice, and soda don’t hydrate your body. People complain about joint pain and feeling groggy all the time. Well, water is a big part of the answer.

Now, if you’re trying to lose weight, your need for water is even greater. Your first step should be to drink a gallon every day. That might sound like a lot if you’re not in the habit of drinking much water. But consider this: what would that volume have been filled with instead of water? Soda? Snacks? Drinking enough water will help you feel full and prevent you from snacking.

It works like this: you’re working hard, and your body is working hard right along with you. Eventually, it sends you a message:

“Hey, I’m thirsty.”

Unfortunately, people often mistake that message for “I’m hungry.” We get that message and we eat a snack. However, 90 percent of the time, your body isn’t really hungry. It’s dehydrated. And those snacks you eat only increase the need for water. So it will keep sending that message, and you will keep snacking. It goes on and on.

Break the cycle. Drink a gallon of water every day.


Like water, sleep is a vital piece of health and well-being. Think about it: if you go too long without water, you’ll die. The same is true with sleep. You would think that would be enough to get people’s attention, but it’s not. You need the right amount of sleep just to feel normal. If you’re trying to lose weight or improve your health, your need for sleep will increase.

The fact is, if you don’t sleep enough, you won’t lose weight. When you deprive your body of sleep by staying up late or getting up too early, that registers as stress. When your body is stressed, it will decide it needs to protect you. How? By retaining water and not burning fat.

Your body doesn’t know that you’ve been out shopping for hours or you just need to get a last-minute report done. For all it knows, you’re being chased by lions. All of our unconscious functions are very primitive, and we register stress the same way no matter what the source. The bottom line is this: if you don’t get enough sleep, your body will hold on to water and store fat. They’re reserves for when you escape from those lions and have nothing to eat.

The solution is to get, at the very least, 7.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. I know your life is busy; mine is too. Just as you need to make room in your meals for a gallon of water, you need to make room in your day for 7.5 hours of sleep every night. If you want to lose weight, look your best, or perform at your peak, sleep is nonnegotiable.


Here’s where you get to make it easy on yourself. If you’re drinking a gallon of water every day and you’re getting plenty of sleep every night, there’s one more change you want to make to unlock your true weight-loss potential. Cut the grains out of your diet.

But wait a minute, grains are supposed to be healthy, right? Well, some are not unhealthy, but if you’re trying to lose weight, you will want to skip grains altogether. All of them. That includes wheat, corn, oats, rye, barley—all of it.

If you have excess fat on your body, you need to burn that fat to get rid of it. The good news is you don’t have to exercise that fat off. All you have to do is stop eating the foods that your body turns into fat. Simple carbohydrates, like sugar and grains, get turned into glucose when you eat them, and anything that your body doesn’t burn then gets stored as fat.

You want to burn all that fat, right? So, stop storing it up!

That leaves you with plenty of delicious food to eat: proteins, healthy fats like butter, avocadoes, and olive oil, and all the vegetables you could want. By eating more fats with your protein and veggies instead of carbs, you will train your body to burn fat instead, and then you’ll start to get rid of that excess weight.

It really is that simple. When these three rules are followed consistently, they become a habit that results in long-term sustainable weight loss. I’ve seen it thousands of times with my clients. And if they can do it, you can, too.


Cristy “Code Red” Nickel is the author of “The Code Red Revolution,” which details all seven simple rules for losing all the weight you want without pills, shakes, diet foods, or exercise. Since 1994, she has helped thousands lose weight by eating real food. She also is a speaker and nutritionist. Learn more at coderedrevolution.com.

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Healthy Living

Healthy Living is unique in a sea of health magazines that only present information on nutrition and exercise. Published by Akers Media Group, Healthy Living goes much farther by focusing on the four pillars of a true wellness — physical, mental, spiritual and financial health.

Healthy Living promotes a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle with easy-to-read features, try-it-at-home exercise programs, and expert advice from financial planners, mental health professionals, and a variety of other leaders in their respective fields.

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