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!
It's a one-time investment you'll never regret. Here's why: Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories — at work or at rest — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The more lean muscle you have, the faster you'll slim down. How do you start strength training? Try some push-ups or a few squats or lunges. Use your free weights to perform simple bicep curls or tricep pulls right in your home or office. Do these exercises three to four times per week, and you'll soon see a rapid improvement in your physique.
Though we singled out quinoa above, whole grains in general (we’re talking cereal, rice, pasta, and more) are conducive to weight loss, especially when they’re used in place of refined—white—grains. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that substituting whole grains for refined grains in the diet increases calorie loss by reducing calories retained during digestion and speeding up metabolism. Unlike refined grains, whole grains are packed with satiating, heart-healthy fiber.
The other part of this plan is resistance exercise. This is important because it’s the part that focuses on building muscle. During weight loss, not all the weight lost is fat, some of it is muscle. Resistance training will ensure that you avoid the loss of muscle that usually occurs and will actually help you build muscle. You’ll be doing 3 resistance workouts per week:
As funny as it sounds, sleep deprivation may make you fat — and not just because you're susceptible to cases of the late-night munchies (although there's that too). There's tons of research that demonstrates getting less than the desired amount — about 7 hours — of sleep per night can slow down your metabolism. Plus, when you're awake for longer, you're naturally more likely to nosh. So don't skimp on your ZZZs, and you'll be rewarded with an extra edge when it comes to shedding pounds quickly.
To reach your get-lean goal, you must also follow a get-lean diet, filled with the best foods to burn fat. Why? Even if you work out hard for an hour every day, that still leaves 23 more hours for you to wreck all your hard work in the gym with just one slip-up: a measly handful of chips, a beer with the guys, or a burger at lunch. Diet is a huge, so to speak, part of the fat-loss equation. It's the backbone of your entire plan, the foundation of a hard body.
All calories count when you're trying to lose weight. And while the weight-loss benefits of green tea aren't that great, if you're drinking it to give yourself a little extra boost, you don't want to negate any benefits by adding extra calories from sweeteners such as honey or milk or cream. A cup of plain green tea has only 2 calories, making it a healthy addition to your weight loss diet. Adding 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of cream bumps up the calories in your very low-calorie tea to 86 calories. That may not sound like much, but drinking 3 cups a day adds an extra 258 calories, which may add a little more than 2 pounds a month if you drink them in addition to your regular meal plan.
Compared to other nut varieties, pine nuts tend to be on the pricier side, but adding them to your shopping cart could be a good investment for your health. Research suggests that the fatty acids in these little nuts could increase satiety hormones, helping you feel full. They're also packed with vitamin B1 and manganese, a mineral that helps your body metabolize carbohydrates and protein.
Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries (and more varieties) are an ideal weight-loss food because they’re relatively low in calories, pack a nutrient-dense punch, and add tons of flavor to otherwise lackluster meals. “Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, these little fruits are great on cereal, yogurt, smoothies, salads, or alone as a snack,” Zeratsky adds. Fruit gets a bad rap when it comes to weight loss because of their natural sugar, but this actually helps relieve the monotony of a diet program. Berries satisfy your sugar cravings without destroying your progress because they’re filling, and can effectively curb your overal calorie intake by slowing digestion and the absorption of fructose.
Both Weight Watchers and Noom provide lots of guidance. If you’re more of a self-starter — someone who just needs to be pointed in the right direction — The Mayo Clinic Diet provides pure resources. Picking up the entertaining, densely informative book is the only associated cost. You can also get the app for about half the cost of WW Mobile, but we didn’t find it as useful.
One of the easiest ways to burn some extra calories is to get up from your chair at work; standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting, according to a British study. If you are lucky enough to have a standing desk, make sure you utilize it. If not, you can easily make your own by stacking books or boxes on your desk and standing up to work. At the very least, make sure you’re taking a break every hour to stand up and stretch, and possibly go for a walk around the office. Every bit of movement counts!
“A pound of carrots will fill you up, with only a smattering of calories -- or you can have a pound of cheeseburger, and you’ll gain weight faster than you can jump on a scale,” says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet and Age-Proof Your Body. “People don’t gain weight on carrots and blueberries; it would be almost impossible to eat enough of them,” Somers says. “We fill up on the volume of food.”
Another weight-loss-friendly substitute to keep in mind is favoring salsa over ketchup. While ketchup typically has around 19 calories and 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon, fresh tomato salsa has about 5 calories per tablespoon, no added sugar, and is packed with nutritious veggies. Tomatoes, for example, are loaded with fat-blasting fiber and vitamin C, a deficiency of which has been associated with increased body fat and larger waists. If you can handle spice, toss some jalapenos in your salsa to rev up your metabolism. For more on how you can switch your metabolism into overdrive, check out The 55 Best Ways to Boost Your Metabolism!
EXcuses should be excised. Do you really want to lose weight and improve your health once and for all? Then stop making excuses and just do it! Sure, that's easier said than done. But you need to stop finding reasons why you can't start moving a healthier lifestyle, and start listing all the reasons why you should. Don't put it off until tomorrow. Start today, by doing something positive -- just one small thing -- toward your health and weight loss.
Starchy veggies (like potatoes) and processed whole grains (like whole-wheat bread) are foods I’d normally recommend eating in moderation, since they provide plenty of nutrients, fiber, and healthy carbs. However, high-carb foods aren’t your best friend when you’re looking to drop water weight. Essentially, when your body stores excess carbs, it stores them with water. So replacing carb-heavy foods with non-starchy veggies that still provide filling fiber without as much water retention is the way to go. For a week before your event, you can swap out the starchy carbs for more non-starchy vegetables to lose some water weight. (These are 10 things experts wish you knew about water weight.)
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.
Want to lose weight? Grab a bottle of V8! According to a study published in Nutrition Journal, tomato juice consumption can aid weight loss because it increases resting energy expenditure (REE)—the amount of energy expended by a person at rest. After eight weeks of drinking unsalted tomato juice twice daily, the 95 women in the study (who were each exhibiting some menopausal symptoms) increased their REE by an average of over 100 calories per day.
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.
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.”
A is for attitude. A can-do attitude will help you get over the inevitable hurdles of weight loss. Anticipate slip-ups -- they happen. But instead of letting them derail your weight loss efforts, learn from them and get right back on track. You don't have to be perfect to lose weight and be healthy. Just keep your eye on the target and keep moving forward, one step at a time.