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.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: fat is your friend! To be more specific, healthy fats will be your weight loss friends. Consider adding extra virgin olive oil to your diet and you might see the scale start to tip in your favor. One Journal of Women’s Health study discovered that an EVOO-enriched diet helped participants lose more weight than those on a low-fat diet. Like peanuts and avocados, extra virgin olive oil’s belly-blasting abilities are thought to be a result of the monounsaturated fats it contains.
This dark, leafy green has a long list of benefits: it's a rich source of iron, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, and powerful antioxidants that can help fight diseases like ovarian and breast cancer. Spinach is also loaded with magnesium, which can lower blood sugar and insulin levels (aiding your body in weight loss as a result), according to a 2013 study.
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.
“Diet and exercise are a marriage that should never divorce,” said Giancoli, noting that the benefits of exercise aren’t restricted to the sheer number of calories you burn during thirty minutes on a treadmill. (Need one of those, by the way? We have some favorites.) Instead, research shows that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, proving that “muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.”
According to a 2013 New England Journal of Medicine article, many weight-loss trials show that losing a lot of weight initially is linked to lower body weight over time. One of the trials is a study of 43 obese adults; it found that those who dropped weight rapidly (3.5 pounds per week) were more successful at maintaining that loss than those who dropped 1.8 pounds per week.
While 1,200 may be the right number for some, it can be super restrictive for others, says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Try basing your meals and snacks off this plan and double up on veggies at any opportunity — more fruit at snack time works too! You can also add an extra ounce or two of protein at all meals if you find yourself feeling hungry. The combo of fiber from produce and lean protein makes this an adaptable strategy that’ll help you lose weight safely — one meal (and snack) at a time!
Listen up: Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash an energy bar or a piece of fruit in your car or tote, keep snacks in your office desk drawer, and make a point of getting up to grab a nosh — anything that will keep you from going hungry! Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for another binge later in the day. (Think: You've skipped breakfast and lunch, so you're ready to takedown a whole turkey by dinner!) Make it your mission to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don't wait longer than three to four hours without eating. Set a "snack alarm" on your phone if needed.
To lose weight, you need to create a specific calorie deficit. For example, you might want to reach a 500-calorie deficit each day to lose one pound per week. Or you might set a goal to reach a 1000-calorie daily deficit to lose 2 pounds per week. Either way, you need to control the number of calories you eat and burn more calories with movement to reach your target.
If your goal is to lose weight, I would recommend consuming half your body weight in grams of protein a day (at the very least). For those seeking to burn fat and build muscle, aim to consume 0.7 to 1 gram per pound of body weight. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, you should be getting 75 to 150 grams of protein a day (depending on your goals). Checkout this list of these top protein foods.
Research demonstrates that eating later can actually lead to slower weight loss, while eating a larger meal at breakfast and smaller meals throughout the day can help you lose more weight! And while we’re not going to tell you to restrict yourself to no food after 6 p.m, it’s important to consider what time of day you struggle most with temptation.
There are so many protein powders on the market, and sometimes it can be hard to decide which one is best for your weight-loss goals. But by swapping out a whey or creatine powder for something plant-based, you could cut down on belly fat. Although whey powder is chock-full of muscle-boosting protein, it can also cause a belly bloat. Instead, try one of the 100+ recipes in Zero Belly Smoothies, made with vegan protein that will still have the same muscle-building, fat-burning, and satiating effects, just without the bloat.
Becky Duffett is a contributing nutrition editor for Fitbit and a lifestyle writer with a passion for eating well. A former Williams-Sonoma cookbook editor and graduate of San Francisco Cooking School, she’s edited dozens of cookbooks and countless recipes. City living has turned her into a spin addict—but she’d still rather be riding a horse. She lives in the cutest neighborhood in San Francisco, spending weekends at the farmers’ market, trying to read at the bakery, and roasting big dinners for friends.
The number of calories you need on a daily basis to lose weight depends on an array of factors, including age, gender, height, genetics, and level of physical activity. Generally, your daily calorie intake shouldn’t fall below 1,200 calories; any less than that threshold can be dangerous in the long-term. Plus, since we get about 20 percent of our fluids from food, this can also increase your risk for dehydration.
Red tea, also known as rooibos, is a great choice for when you’re struggling with midday stress. What makes rooibos particularly good for soothing your mind is the unique flavanoid called Aspalathin. Research shows this compound can reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage and are linked to hypertension, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
If you’re constantly sleeping less than seven or eight hours a night, your health — and waistline — will suffer. In fact, in a 2013 study, researchers found that sleep-deprived subjects were much more likely to choose larger portions of snacks than those who slept at least eight hours at night. The lack of sleep also affected their food choices. (8)
I just read your piece on weight loss rated rapid vs slow and steady. I am a veteran with decades of experience. I have successfully lost 143 pounds in 2001 with what is known as the vlcd program. I spent from March 31,2001 until November of 2001 with 700 calories average daily intake. I came out at a healthy weight but not mentally prepared to deal with the aftermath of a completely morphed body image. I could not wrap my brain around what had transpired in 6 short months. I still saw the 333 pound woman when I looked in the mirror. I still caught myself looking in the plus sized clothing section. There are as many factors that cause morbid obesity as there are programs offering the “cure”
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.
Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
Eating regular meals is essential. Experts agree that you should go no longer than 4 to 5 hours between meals. Otherwise, intense hunger can trigger a binge. Some experts believe dieters have better control if they eat several mini-meals throughout the day. Choose the meal pattern that works best in your lifestyle, but make sure to eat at least three meals per day.
“Don't like eating meat?” says Ginger Hultin, RDN, a dietitian in private practice in Seattle and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Then don't be paleo! Travel a lot and rely on eating out? The DASH diet may end in frustration for you.” The bottom line: The diet that you choose needs to be safe and effective, while taking into account your lifestyle.
In what is perhaps the biggest buzzkill of all time, sex doesn’t quite count as cardio or burn a significant amount of calories: Women burn about 3.6 per minute. “It’s still a good idea,” Dr. Seltzer says, citing the activity’s other benefits, like increasing the output of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which naturally reduce food cravings.
Ready to step it up with your Fitbit tracker and set some new health and fitness goals? That’s awesome! Cue the fireworks! But if your ultimate goal is to lose weight, unfortunately, activity alone isn’t going to get you there—you also have to change what you eat. That does not mean you need to do a cleanse or detox. But it is possible to get a jump on weight loss, the smart and healthy way. Fitbit Dietitian Tracy Morris developed this kickstart one-week meal plan to help her clients see results, fast. Disclaimers: Please don’t try to lose more than 2 pounds per week, or dip below 1200 calories per day, which can compromise your metabolism. This is not a long-term plan, so you definitely don’t want to eat this way every week. But it’s a great way to kick off a weight loss goal, with specific meal and snack ideas, so you’ll see an initial drop—and be extra motivated to keep the momentum going this year.
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help to serve as a counter-balance for sodium. Foods that are rich in potassium include leafy greens, most "orange" foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon) bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies — especially cauliflower. Low-fat dairy, plus nuts, and seeds can also help give you a bloat-busting boost. They've also been linked to a whole host of additional health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and reducing risk of chronic disease overall.
14. Jazet IM, Schaart G, Gastaldelli A, Ferrannini E, Hesselink MK, Schrauwen P, et al. Loss of 50% of excess weight using a very low energy diet improves insulin-stimulated glucose disposal and skeletal muscle insulin signalling in obese insulin-treated type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetologia. 2008;51(2):309–19. doi: 10.1007/s00125-007-0862-2. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
When I was in the sixth grade, I first realized that I was heavier than the other girls. I thought, "Oh, I'm going into junior high school—I should try to lose weight so boys will like me, like me." From then on, my mom and I tried pretty much any popular diet from the early 2000s you could think of. She was always encouraging me to lose weight whenever she did. I would usually lose between 30 and 40 pounds on those diets, but I always put it back on—and then some.
Weight loss (WL) in obese patients, in addition to improving clinical conditions, will increase the recognition and quality of life (6, 7). In order to lose weight, various methods, such as diet, physical activity, drug therapy, and surgery have been suggested. Given the potential side effects of drug therapy and surgery, dietary interventions for WL have always been the first priority for the subjects (8). However, a variety of diets for WL have been suggested.