Trying to lose weight is a lot like cleaning out the basement: It’s overwhelming and near impossible to know where to start—even when you don’t have a ton of weight to lose. But getting the body you’ve always wanted doesn’t have to be a source of stress. If the scale won’t budge and you’re looking to shed the last 10 pounds, there are plenty of ways to reach your goal. To help you get there, we spoke with a handful of celebs that have successfully slimmed down (and kept it off) and dozens of the fitness and diet industries top experts.
In addition to being nutritious, low-cal and full of fiber, cabbage is also a top source of sulfur, a mineral our bodies use to produce the natural hair-and-nail strengthener keratin, says Rey. To stay slim and enjoy more beautiful hair and nails, whip up some vinegar-based coleslaw. Just stay away from creamy coleslaw; it can contain a whopping 19 grams of fat per cup!
Fruit gets a bad rap sometimes because it naturally contains sugar. But eating fruit can help you lose weight, especially when you swap in fresh fruit for processed foods or other unhealthy snacks. You'll get a naturally sweet treat, plus reap the benefits of fiber and antioxidants. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that higher fruit consumption was associated with lower risk of becoming overweight or obese, independent of vegetable or fiber intake—though including fruit as part of a healthy diet overall is always the best strategy.
Steady-state cardio (referred to as simply “cardio” on the weight loss plan below) means you’ll be exercising (e.g. power walking, jogging, running, cycling) at about the same level of intensity for the duration of the workout. Steady-state cardio workouts tend to be longer. Cardiovascular interval training (IT) and high intensity interval training (HIIT), on the other hand, are a shorter workout, but alternate between higher levels of intensity and recovery intervals. Interval training is a proven technique to massively boost metabolism and torch body fat. HIIT (short bursts of all out exercise e.g. sprinting) is a more intense form of interval training, so beginners should start with regular interval training.
Also some research shows that the human body is primed to consume most of its calories during daylight hours. But the lifestyle is problematic for many: Because family meals and dinners with friends often are scheduled for after sunset, “people who try to stop eating after 7pm can’t do it every day for the rest of their lives,” says Dr. Seltzer, who supports an alternative strategy: Eating a hearty meal at your regular dinnertime.
Everyone’s body is different when it comes to digesting some gas-forming foods, but there are a few you should be wary of: It’s best to avoid beans and cruciferous veggies (think cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli) for a couple of days if you want to look slimmer. Choose lean proteins like chicken and fish or, if you’re vegetarian, go for small amounts of nuts and seeds for protein. Pair with non-gassy vegetables like asparagus, spinach, and cucumber to help prevent bloat.
“It’s far more difficult to eat a healthier diet and fit in exercise if you don’t plan ahead. Plan out your meals for the week ahead and go grocery shopping over the weekend to ensure you have the ingredients you need on hand. If you can, do some meal prep in your down time—cut fresh veggies, marinate your protein, cook up a batch of whole grains in advance. When you’re prepared you’re far less likely to order takeout. — Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, culinary-nutrition consultant and founder of Nutritioulicious
Whatever you choose for lunch—a salad, sandwich, grain bowl—top it with some avocado (or guac!). The creamy green 'cado offers some serious health perks. In a review published in 2017 in Phytotherapy Research, researchers looked at the effect avocado-eating can have on reducing metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. They concluded that eating avocado daily can play a role in reducing blood pressure, lessening diabetes risk, keeping arteries clear and, yes, helping with weight loss. Avocados contain antioxidants like carotenoids, vitamins and fatty acids, as well as other plant compounds that may affect the hunger hormone leptin to help keep you satiated and help curb your appetite to sidestep over-snacking.
Green tea is widely consumed and associated with a number of health benefits, including decreasing risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. It's also used to help reduce inflammation for those with inflammatory bowel disease and may aid in blood sugar control in people who suffer from diabetes. And when consumed as a beverage, green tea is considered safe.
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Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, primarily uses sugar as its fuel. This doesn’t mean that it’s not good for weight loss, though. Anaerobic exercise helps build muscle, and as we explained above, this will help you burn calories even when you’re resting. Anaerobic exercises are generally high intensity, for example sprinting and weight lifting.
I was always a little overweight my whole life. I come from a family of heavy people, and when I was growing up, all of our family get-togethers were based on food. It didn't matter if it was a happy gathering or sad, people were always offering each other something to eat (and you don't want to insult anyone by not eating—it's a part of my Cuban culture). Plus, with five siblings and my mom working a lot, fast food was one of our go-tos.
Is there anything avocados can't do? This creamy superfood (loaded with monounsaturated fats, potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins C and E) has been linked to improved vision, good heart health, and a reduced risk of certain cancers. And avocados can also help whittle your middle: according to one study, people who regularly consume them weigh less and have smaller waists than those who do not. Another study found that women who eat half an avocado at lunchtime might experience reduced food cravings later in the day.
This workout plan has a lot of variety and gets progressively harder. Why? Not just to make you stronger and more fit, but to make sure you keep losing weight. When you do a workout over and over again, it eventually gets easier, which means your body doesn’t have to work as hard and therefore burns fewer calories. So your motto is always better. Every week you want to be better than the previous week.
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Ultimately, weight loss for the long-term requires some short-term behavior change and healthier habit formation. That's why we created our Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem, which exists to help turn smart food choices into healthier eating habits. All GHNA foods and drinks make it easier to find — and eat — good-for-you foods without additional time, effort, and cost. We target the lifestyle-related factors that make healthier eating hard, and find simple but creative solutions that actually work! Look for the emblem on labels wherever you shop for food!
Still, when it comes to losing weight, working a few cups of brewed green tea into your diet isn’t necessarily a bad idea. “Like coffee, green tea may give you a mild boost, and if you don’t add sugar, it has no calories,” notes Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, Marvin M. Lipman, M.D. “So drinking it in place of sugary drinks such as soda can help you cut calories.”
Low blood sugar is often the cause of between-meal cravings, especially for sweets. Eating meals and small snacks that contain lean protein and fiber every few hours helps keep blood sugar levels steady. When sweets cravings strike, try to satisfy them with naturally sweet foods such as fruit (accompany it with a little low-fat yogurt for protein).
Catechins are also credited for green tea’s cancer-fighting potential. These antioxidants have the ability to block the action of molecules called free radicals, which can cause changes in healthy cells that sometimes lead to cancer. But there’s no solid proof yet that the catechins in green tea help to prevent cancer in humans, despite some promising studies in test tubes and animals.
“When clients come to me, many of them have been through the diet wringer. They’ve tried every fad and gimmick and, of course, they’ve failed to maintain long-term success. The key to weight loss is to never feel like you’re on a diet, because diets don’t work. If you feel deprived, you will never make it past a few weeks. The only way to achieve long-term weight loss is to learn to appreciate food as fuel and slowly replaced processed food that cannot properly energize the body with real food that can. After a while this will become second nature and won’t feel like a daily struggle.” — Laura Burak, MS, RD, CDN
Many diet plans cut out entire food groups, which can create nutrient deficiencies as well as health problems. For instance, if the diet is very low in carbohydrates and you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, it’s probably not a good fit. And if it’s too restrictive and you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, then it’s not a good idea, either. Keep in mind that pregnancy is not a time for weight loss. Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Yogurt is protein-packed and full of probiotics, which are good for gut health and may help your weight-loss efforts. Your gut health can impact your weight, and eating more fiber and probiotics helps keep your gut bacteria happy, which can be good for your metabolism (read more about your gut-weight connection). Go Greek for more protein; plus, research from Appetite found that consumption of Greek yogurt was associated with reduced appetite and increased satiety. Just keep an eye on added sugars in flavored yogurts, which only add calories. Instead, use fresh fruit to sweeten plain yogurt.