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.
Look for breads that say 100% whole wheat to make sure you getting the real deal. Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C., author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet, A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality, also recommends incorporating beans such as soy, lentil, chickpeas, and black beans into your diet. “They are high in fiber and protein so they’ll keep you full longer,” Kulze says.
Second, take a few photos of yourself to keep your motivation up. "Most of the people who come to me are doing it for a reason," he explains. "They're going on vacation, competing in a bodybuilding show, or maybe going to a reunion. I always have them strive for that goal. I take front, side, and back pictures of them at the beginning and have them post the photos on their mirror at home. I tell them, just keep looking at that picture and think of what you're going to look like in a few weeks."
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.
Blueberries are lousy with antioxidants, satiating fiber, potassium, and more, and according to researchers at the University of Michigan, the colorful fruits may also encourage weight loss. In a study of laboratory rats, scientists found that after 90 days the rats who received blueberry-enriched powder as 2 percent of their diet had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity, than the rats who weren’t given any blueberry-enriched powder.
Kamut is an ancient grain native to the Middle East that is an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber, while simultaneously being low in calories. In fact, a half-cup serving of the stuff has 30 percent more protein than regular wheat and just 140 calories. What’s more? A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating Kamut reduces cholesterol, blood sugar, and cytokines (which cause inflammation throughout the body). Kamut’s ability to stabilize blood sugar and reduce inflammation make it a great weight loss staple, especially if it is used in place of nutritionally lacking refined grains.
Milk may be the perfect drink to pair with your meal if you're looking to get leaner, according to a study out of Ireland in 2017. Eating a greater amount of dairy was found to be associated with a lower BMI, less body fat and a smaller waistline—particularly when it came to milk and yogurt. Beyond weight loss, researchers uncovered some surprising health benefits. Milk drinking was associated with improved blood pressure, lower biomarkers of inflammation, better insulin sensitivity and higher levels of a protein called adiponectin, which helps regulate blood sugar and break down fats. What's more, if you're running low on calcium, consuming more of the bone-strengthening mineral may also help you burn belly fat. Skip the chocolate milk and flavored lattes to cut back on added sugars.
“Bananas contain a small amount of fiber and resistant starch, which have received recent attention for their potential role in boosting weight loss,” says Ellis. Snacking on bananas is easy, convenient, and low cal. They’re also a great source of potassium, which can be lost in sweat during tough workouts or on hot summer days. Plus they make for nice drinks, like the Jamba Juice Triple Revitalizer with carrot and orange juice.
“Whether you have ten pounds to lose or 100, the first thing you should do is create an environment for success. That requires removing all temptation from your kitchen. “Collect all of the processed, sugary and fatty foods from your house, and bring them to a local food bank for donation. Then restock your kitchen with healthy groceries—real, natural, whole foods—like fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds and lean proteins like turkey, chicken, fish and eggs.” — Chris Powell, the trainer who has helped hundreds of overweight people lose up to half their body weight on ABC’s reality series Extreme Weight Loss
We know that shedding unwanted pounds used to mean giving up your favorite foods, logging hours at the gym, and being hungry (and hangry) all the time. Fortunately, dropping a dress size (or two) doesn’t have to be that complicated or torturous. Sure, losing any significant amount of weight requires lifestyle changes and some hard work, but it all boils down to simple choices.
“Oolong, or ‘black dragon,’ is a kind of Chinese tea that’s packed with catechins, nutrients that help promote weight loss by boosting your body’s ability to metabolize fat. A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine found that participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost a pound a week, without doing anything else to change their diet or exercise habits.” — Kelly Choi, author of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse
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.
Speaking of standout breakfast foods, Greek yogurt is another option worthy of the spotlight thanks to its high-protein content. Per study in the journal Appetite, researchers from the University of Missouri compared the satiety effects of high-, moderate-, and low-protein yogurts on women aged 24-28, and found Greek yogurt, with the highest protein content, to have the greatest effect. What’s more? Probiotics in items such as yogurt and fermented foods, like pickles and sauerkraut, help good bacteria in the gut process food more efficiently. Hello, weight loss! If you want to get even more protein in your yogurt, check out Icelandic yogurts, which can have two to three more grams of protein per serving compared to Greek.
It’s true that green tea can raise your metabolic rate, so you burn more calories, says David Nieman, Dr.PH., director of the human performance laboratory at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. Nieman, who has studied green tea extensively, says this effect is probably due to a combination of its caffeine and catechins—antioxidants that are plentiful in green tea and present in smaller amounts in some fruits, dark chocolate, and red wine.
It sounds silly, but switching which hand you eat with can save you calories, and help boost weight loss. “It takes 15 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full,” celebrity personal trainer Jay Cardiello told us in our article 40 Weight Loss Tips for Over 40. “To give your mind time to catch up to your mouth, simply switch your fork to non-dominate hand. It may be frustrating, but it’s a simple and unnoticeable way to curb overeating and lose weight.”
Good news for java lovers: The caffeine in coffee could speed up your metabolism and help your body burn slightly more calories (about 26 per cup). A study in Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16% higher than those who drank only decaf. Just be mindful of how much cream and sugar you add to your cup, which could offset any health benefits the beverage provides.
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.
Drinking enough water can help you stay slim, too. Research from the American Chemical Society in Boston found that having two 8-ounce glasses of water before a meal while also reducing portion sizes could help you lose weight and keep it off. Not to mention, water fills you up, curbing your appetite: "In addition to slightly boosting your metabolism, drinking water before meals has been shown to help you eat less without trying," says Sass.
Also known as yam or yambean, this Mexican turnip is a great source of fiber, says Dr. Jaime Schehr, a registered dietitian in New York City. “This plant is great for weight loss due to its high fiber to sugar ratio (a whopping 32g of fiber per medium jimaca—that’s almost an entire day’s worth). They are also a good source of potassium, an essential mineral in maintaining water balance in our body.”