From May to September, 1995 I lost 28 pounds (13 kg), on purpose.
Genetics has always been on my side where weight was concerned. Thin by nature, I have a pretty high rate of metabolism, and losing 4-5 pounds was seldom more than a few days of salads and fruit juices. But I was also gearing up for a major new physical activity -- regular aerobic exercise and weight training -- for which a very proper, very solid diet would be essential.
I suppose I should make it clear that I'm not an expert on nutrition or dieting. I have followed certain principles because they seemed to work for me.
When I decided to lose weight, I didn't have a real plan. I knew that I was going to quit putting half-and-half on my breakfast cereal, mayo on my sandwiches, and so forth. My first step was to reduce fat intake in a lot of obvious ways. Skim milk instead of 2% to drink. Skim milk on my breakfast cereal. No mayo. No high-fat cheeses. No peanut butter. No ice cream. No deep-fried food. No eggs. No butter. Hardest of all, no bread.
Sounds draconian, but it was remarkably easy, and very effective. My weight just plummeted, a pound every few days. I also paid attention to my carbohydrates, eliminating as much simple sugars as I could, trying to get most of my carbs in complex form (whole-grain bread and pasta) or from low-fat dairy foods. I don't use sugar substitutes (aspartame), though, because I think there are possible health deficits.
The received wisdom in bodybuilding circles is to have at least five meals a day, count calories and grams assiduously, and aim for 35% complete protein, 55% carbs, and 10% fat (by grams). I'm a grazer by nature, so this was an easy regime for me.
Counting calories and grams, I became aware of the foods at each of the four or file meals and four or five snacks I eat every day. I also use vitamin and mineral supplements quite regularly. I usually have a pre-workout high-protein (25-30 gm) meal and always another one soon after the workout.
Perhaps it would be good to note here that dieting (or almost any other personal make-over one undertakes) can become an obsession sufficient to cause social dislocations. I think that's a very bad thing to allow unless you just can't achieve your goals otherwise. If I am invited somewhere for food, I eat whatever is put in front of me (maybe not a lot of it, if it's really fattening).
If a person is serious about weight control, and especially if they're serious about bodybuilding, they must learn to prepare their own food at home. Besides, everybody should know how to cook good food, right?