Can’t carve out a full 30 minutes or an hour of exercise time in one go? Opt for shorter bouts of exercise throughout the day instead. The latest science suggests that several short exercise bursts provide the same health and fitness benefits as a similar amount of exercise done in one longer workout — and, in some cases, reap even more rewards. (1)
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.
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
Once again, a popular weight loss myth has been exploded. It has been widely believed that weight loss, which is nearly always difficult to maintain, is even less likely to stay lost if it is the product of a rapid weight loss. The belief is even enshrined in current guidelines. Now a study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology provides no support for this belief. Instead, the study suggests that although long-term weight loss remains elusive regardless of the diet, short-term weight loss is actually more likely with rapid weight loss.
“Across the world, guidelines recommend gradual weight loss for the treatment of obesity, reflecting the widely held belief that fast weight loss is more quickly regained," said the first author of the paper, Katrina Purcell, of the University of Melbourne, in a press release. "However, our results show that achieving a weight loss target of 12.5% is more likely, and drop-out is lower, if losing weight is done quickly.”
One easy trick if you're a pasta fan is to swap out white pasta for the wonderfully named courgetti (spaghetti made from spiralizing courgette). You’ll hardly notice the difference when you’re eating it, but you’ll be fuller for longer despite consuming fewer calories. When you consume fewer calories, your body can go to your fat reserves for energy, rather than just burning off the food you’ve eaten.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 40 foods that have been proven to jumpstart weight loss and will help you get to your ideal physique. To jumpstart your weight loss, we’ve selected some nutritious eats, like salsa, that are lower-calorie substitutes for less healthy choices (we’re looking at you, ketchup). And others, such as watermelon, contain certain compounds that have been scientifically proven to reduce the size of your waist and help reduce body fat. Scroll down below for a list of a few dozen weight-loss wonders, and get even more health-conscious inspiration from this list of the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen!
Like a marathoner stretching before the big run, eating half a grapefruit before a meal can enhance your body’s fat-burning performance. A study published in the journal Metabolism found that this “warm-up” tactic can help whittle your middle—by up to an inch—in just six weeks! The scientists attribute the powerful effects to the grapefruits’ fat-zapping phytochemicals. The fruit can interact negatively with certain medications, so as long as you get the green-light from your M.D, plan to have half of a grapefruit before your morning meal and add a few segments your starter salads to reap the benefits.
Not to be outdone, oolong tea—a Chinese beverage—can help those who drink it shed up to a pound per week. According to a study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost six pounds over the course of six weeks. What’s more? The tea’s antioxidants are thought to remove harmful free radicals and improve bone health.
Think of each almond as a natural weight-loss pill. A study of overweight and obese adults found that, combined with a calorie-restricted diet, consuming a little more than a quarter cup of the nuts can decrease weight more effectively than a snack comprised of complex carbohydrates and safflower oil—after just two weeks! (And after 24 weeks, those who ate the nuts experienced a 62% greater reduction in weight and BMI!) For optimal results, eat your daily serving before you hit the gym. A study printed in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that almonds, rich in the amino acid L-arginine, can actually help you burn more fat and carbs during workouts. Fill up, but don’t fill out: Use these Eat This, Not That!-recommended 10 Daily Habits That Blast Belly Fat.
Kale gets all the love (and it's a fantastic option, too), but if you prefer milder romaine lettuce as your salad base and it helps you eat more of it, go for it. When fruits and veggies were examined for their weight-loss potential, one that came out on top was leafy greens, per 2015 research in PLOS Medicine. Over a four-year period, eating a serving per day (that's two cups) was linked to about a half pound of additional weight lost. The veggies that helped with weight loss, like lettuce, tended to offer fiber and have a low glycemic load, which aids fullness, controls blood sugar and discourages your body to store fat, the study points out. Spinach, kale or head lettuce are other good options.
“I tell all of my celebrity and professional-athlete clients to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Everyone is overly focused on food, water and exercise, all of which are extremely imperative to weight loss and optimal health. However, without proper sleep, all of these the other factors are null and void. When you don’t get enough sleep, levels of the hormone leptin drop, which increases appetite. This surge in appetite makes comfort food more appealing, which can derail weight loss efforts.” — Jay Cardiello, celebrity fitness and nutrition expert
Invest in a pedometer and track your steps each day. The goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps -- the equivalent of 5 miles -- daily to thwart weight gain (and promote weight loss). Challenge yourself to increase your steps each day, even if you can't get up to 10,000. Every step counts; remember that your goal is simply to improve your fitness level.
Green tea has many health benefits. “It contains many nutrients, including antioxidants and anti-cancer and brain-healthy compounds,” Smith reminds us. One thing is for sure: regardless of whether or not you’ll shed pounds with green tea, drink it anyway. “All teas contain many healthful nutrients; it’s one of the healthier choices for a beverage!” Smith says.
Studies led by Dr. Barbara Rolls at Pennsylvania State University as well as those of Drs. James Barnard and Christian Roberts at UCLA, who are following people attending the Pritikin Longevity Center, are particularly enlightening. They have documented that one of the best ways of reducing calorie intake without triggering increased hunger is to reduce the calorie density of the foods consumed. Put simply, a bowl of pasta with veggies and marinara can fill us up just as well as a bowl of pasta with cheesy Alfredo, but for less than half the calorie cost.
Apples contain pectin, an ingredient that naturally slows digestion and encourages feelings of fullness. Studies show that eating a whole apple with your meal (as opposed to apple juice or applesauce) is a natural appetite suppressant, helping you consume fewer overall calories without feeling deprived. Sass likes using shredded apple in slaws and stir-fry, or mixing them into burger patties to add moisture.
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Changing every part of your lifestyle at once is overwhelming and sets you up for failure. Decide on making just one healthy change a week to allow yourself time to adapt. Whether it’s cooking your own meals four nights a week, adding just 20 minutes of fitness to your routine a day or swapping out that sugary coffee for green tea, all these changes will add up.
Even green tea’s caffeine level contributes to weight loss. Drinking green tea every day makes weight loss simple because the caffeine it contains acts as a stimulant that improves exercise performance and aids fat burning in the process. While each cup contains just a quarter of the caffeine of a cup of coffee, it is still enough to give you a boost. It does not take much to begin feeling the benefits, as most people start noticing results after about three cups a day.
“This is a great way of eating that I highly recommend to many clients, and I even model in my own life,” says Elizabeth Shaw, RDN, who is in private practice in San Diego and is the co-author of Fertility Foods Cookbook. “Since the premise of the diet is designed to help people who have high blood pressure, low-sodium foods are recommended. However, considering that most Americans exceed their daily sodium levels anyway, it’s not surprising that dietitians recommend this style of eating for treating many different conditions, such as heart disease and obesity.”
When it comes to cravings, protein drinks and bars may also help cure your need for sugar, says Juge. He recommends mixing a flavored protein powder in a blender with as much ice as possible, so it'll taste more like a milkshake. Day Five's protein shake includes a cup of berries, which will also help with sugar cravings. Once or twice per week, Juge adds, you can have a low-sugar, high-protein bar. The newest varieties taste more like candy bars, with state-of-the-art sweetening techniques.
Creamy, foamy drinks might taste delicious, but they can have enough calories to serve as an entire meal — and that’s not even taking into account the amount of sugar and preservatives they contain. Make your own healthier versions instead. From pumpkin spice lattes to spiced hot apple cider, there’s a nutritious alternative for most high-calorie beverages
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.
Squeezing in some refreshing lemon will not only help you drink more water; it also has detox benefits which are sure to help you lose weight fast. Lemons are rich in polyphenols, which are compounds that contain antioxidants. A study in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry found that mice who were fed lemon polyphenols were less likely to gain weight and accumulate body fat.
Many diets, including Atkins and the keto diet, fit into this umbrella. A typical low-carb diet limits carbs to less than 60 g daily, but this can vary, according to the Mayo Clinic. (15) In a September 2015 review published in PLOS One, people following low-carb diets saw modest weight loss — although study authors note that long-term effects of the diet require further research. (16)
If you've seen the TV show, you get the idea: Six weeks of healthy food and regular exercise is celebrated as a great start to a weight-loss journey – as well as a way prevent or reverse various diseases. Fair enough. Experts determined that the Biggest Loser Diet is very likely to help you shed pounds, thanks to calorie restriction and exercise. To reap the other benefits of weight loss, however, you have to stick with it – something that's a lot harder for average Joes than for TV stars-in-the-making.
A lot of the lost weight you experience on crash diets is actually the loss of water weight. You're not only losing the fat that you want to lose, it also means your body isn’t getting the water that it needs. Dehydration doesn’t just cause discomfort from fatigue, headaches, and constipation; if prolonged, it can lead to more-serious issues, like the formation of kidney stones or even impaired kidney function.
You may not think of them as a weight-loss food, but eggs are packed with protein, which helps curb your appetite. One study found that overweight women who ate eggs for breakfast were able to lose twice as much weight as women who started their days with bagels. And egg whites in particular are a good source of branched-chain amino acids, which help keep your metabolism running smoothly.
Body weight and body composition were measured using the direct segmental multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance method (Inbody 230, Biospace, Korea) (22). The measurements presented were fasting state, shortly after waking in the morning, and at a dehydrated state. Standing height without shoes was measured using a stadiometer. Body Mass Index was calculated with the following formula: weight (kg) / height2 (m2). Waist circumference was obtained at the level of the noticeable waist narrowing, located approximately half way between the costal border and the iliac crest and the level of the greatest posterior protuberance. Hip circumference was also measured in the region of the greatest posterior protuberance and at approximately the symphysion pubis level, anteriorly. Blood pressure was measured using an automatic blood pressure monitor (BM65, Beurer, Germany) after subjects rested for more than 10 minutes. All anthropometric and blood pressure measurements were done in triplicates and the mean was calculated for each subject. Resting metabolic rate was measured at baseline and following the dietary intervention by indirect calorimetry (FitMate, Cosmed, Rome, Italy), using resting oxygen uptake (VO2).
A myriad of different teas have been shown to aid weight loss, and green tea is no exception. In fact, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that after just two weeks, those who sipped four to five cups of the green brew each day, in addition to working out for 25 minutes, lost more belly fat than those who didn’t imbibe. Scientists attribute green tea’s ability to shrink waists to the beverages catechins, a type of antioxidant that hinders the storage of belly fat and facilitates rapid weight loss.
Set (and write down) reasonable expectations for what you plan to achieve during your challenge. “You can absolutely make a difference in 10 days,” says Brooke Alpert, RD, a dietitian in New York City and the author of The Diet Detox, but don’t expect to shed 20 pounds a la The Biggest Loser. “While actual weight loss will be around three to four pounds, you can really notice the difference in the way your body feels in about a week.”
Sleeping for more than five hours a night might seem like a luxury for some, but it can have a serious impact on your overall health. Not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of shut-eye a night puts you at risk for fatigue the next day, which means you’re more likely to crave and snack on high-calorie comfort food. Try to go to bed sooner so you can get a little more sleep, which will help you eat less. And to blast fat even faster, don’t miss these essential 55 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism.
Bonus: Save money by choosing meals that use in-season produce and combining your meals with your local grocery store’s sales flyer. And don’t forget about leftovers! Use them to create new meals (for instance, make a stir-fry with leftover cooked meats and veggies) or have a weekly night where all the leftovers get put out and everyone in the family can eat their favorites again.
Most importantly, these findings defy the myth that gradual weight loss is more effective in the long run compared to fast-track weight loss programs. Not only did more individuals achieve their weight loss goals on the rapid vs. gradual diets, researchers found that adults were less likely to drop out when seeing weight loss results faster. Rather than promoting only slow and steady weight loss to patients, authors encourage clinicians to determine which type of weight loss is most appropriate for different patients. Rapid weight loss over three months may work for some individuals, but not for others. The key is finding the right kind of diet for each individual and providing the support needed to achieve long-term weight loss goals.
The upgrade is a touch steeper than it is for other tracking app upgrades — most run $4–5 per month. But we found that those inexpensive alternatives were chaotically organized and slow to respond, elements that had us avoiding opening them at all. SparkPeople and Lose It! both came with lots of lag time and finicky search bars that made us hesitant to launch the apps, let alone log in three or more times a day.
This popular plan recently underwent a rebranding to create a more balanced program, changing its four-phase approach with the help of a science advisory board. The Atkins Diet is still low-carb, but you won't be chowing down on steak and eggs all the time to promote weight loss. Lean protein is still key, but there's more of a spotlight on fiber, fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats.
To prep his patients for success, Dr. Seltzer tells them to plan around a large evening meal by eating a lighter breakfast and lunch—NBD since most people who eat a meal before bed tend to wake up feeling relatively full, he says. Research suggests balanced bedtime meals may also promote steady next-day blood sugar levels, which also helps with appetite regulation.
I think the fact that I made gradual changes was part of my success. I didn't dive in head-first and get overwhelmed with my new habits. And now that I've hit my goal weight and I'm super active, I do eat out with friends occasionally. It's not realistic to cut going to dinner with friends and family out of my life altogether. Today, I'm so proud to say that I've successfully maintained my weight for five years!
"Researchers around the world say what really works is not just cutting calories but satisfying your hunger with the right kinds of foods," says Health’s Frances Largeman-Roth, RD. In fact, women following a low-fat diet who were allowed to fill up on all the fruit and vegetables they wanted lost 23% more weight than women on a low-fat diet alone, a new study from the United Kingdom reports.