Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”
There's a pretty dizzying amount of research backing up this regime as a solid option to enhance your health, lower cholesterol, and encourage healthy, lasting weight loss. DASH (the acronym stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has you loading up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (surprise!) and removing foods high in saturated fat from your diet. Research also shows that this diet may even ward off the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Women who got the largest amount of calcium from dairy foods lost the most weight and body fat over two years, even if they didn’t change their exercise habits, according to a study in the December 2000 Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Although the recommended calcium level for young women is 1,200-1,500 milligrams daily, the study showed that the average woman's daily intake of calcium was under 800 milligrams per day.
Also, men tend to lose weight where they need it most (read: belly), so it's often more immediately noticeable when overweight men start trimming down than when women do, as ladies' fat stores are typically more spread out, which is partly why they tend to lose weight at a slower pace than guys. Even basic, regular exercise -- ideally 30 to 60 minutes a day -- tends to reduce abdominal obesity, even if guys don’t technically lose weight.
It’s just as important and beneficial (if not more so) to focus on diet quality rather than quantity, says a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Focus on real foods rather than a strict number of calories and you’re more likely to stay slim over the long term. Shapiro recommends these shedding superfoods, in particular:
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)
“Eat vegetables before or with meals. Whether you are hungry on your way home or right when you walk in the door, snacking on veggies can help you keep your portions in check once you sit down to a meal. I also recommend starting your dinner with a vegetable salad or vegetable soup to fill you up and prevent overeating. — Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, author of Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?
The concentration of EGCG—the superpotent nutrient found in green tea—may be as much as 137 times greater in powdered matcha tea. EGCG can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of new fat cells). One study found that men who drank green tea containing 136 milligrams of EGCG—what you’d find in a single 4-gram serving of matcha—lost twice as much weight than a placebo group and four times as much belly fat over the course of three months
One more scoop, one more cookie, one more glass of wine -- "just one more" can add lots of extra calories. Controlling portions is fundamental to weight loss success. You don't need to give up your favorite foods, but you do need to keep track of your portions. At home, use smaller plates and keep food at the stove instead of on the table at mealtime. When you go out to eat, order a soup and a salad instead of an entrée, or take home half your meal in a doggie bag.
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.
Make sure that the diet has been studied extensively for safety — and discuss any changes with your physician or registered dietitian before beginning a new diet. (If you don’t have a dietitian, find one in your area at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.) And do a self-check to ensure the diet fits with your own values and preferences.
It’s time to focus on your lentil health. In one four-week Spanish study, researchers found that eating a calorie-restricted diet that includes four weekly servings of legumes aids weight loss more effectively than an equivalent diet that doesn’t include beans. Those who consumed the legume-rich diet also saw improvements in their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood-pressure. To reap the benefits at home, work lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans into your diet throughout the week.
To stay motivated and deal with cravings, Juge has a couple of great recommendations. First, schedule a cheat meal on every seventh day. "Many of my clients have their cheat meal on Sunday, so then they're ready for Monday and the week to come," he says. If you feel deprived during the week, concentrate on the cheat meal to come, knowing you can eat absolutely anything you want to—pizza, lasagna, doughnuts, beer, chips, you name it. Remember, though, it's just one cheat meal, not an entire day of cheating. Afterward, get right back on the wagon with your next scheduled meal.
Salmon boasts significant anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its rich omega-3 fatty acid content, meaning it’s an excellent source of protein for those looking to jumpstart their weight loss. In fact, one study that examined the effects of weight loss and seafood consumption showed wild salmon to be the most effective at reducing inflammation—better than lean white fish and a fish-free diet. According to a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, fishy fatty acids may also signal thyroid cells in the liver to burn more fat.
A sprinkling of cinnamon could be all that’s standing in the way of you and those washboard abs. The sweet spice helps to regulate soaring blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin production. There is some evidence to suggest that cinnamon extract also makes fat cells more responsive to insulin, which means they’re much less likely to hold on to excess energy, and far more likely to burn existing fat stores instead.