Trying to lose weight is a lot like cleaning out the basement: It’s overwhelming and near impossible to know where to start—even when you don’t have a ton of weight to lose. But getting the body you’ve always wanted doesn’t have to be a source of stress. If the scale won’t budge and you’re looking to shed the last 10 pounds, there are plenty of ways to reach your goal. To help you get there, we spoke with a handful of celebs that have successfully slimmed down (and kept it off) and dozens of the fitness and diet industries top experts.
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.
However, this approach has had limited long-term success. First of all, few people can continue for weeks, let alone months and years, using will power to limit calorie intake when they are hungry much of the time. Indeed, it is clear this strategy usually fails because while more Americans are going on diet and exercise programs, there has been a steady rise in the average American’s body mass index (BMI). Today, roughly two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years, and adolescent obesity has tripled.
“Burpees are such a great way to activate multiple muscles, get the heart rate up and burn mega calories. In one single burpee, you work your legs, arms and abs and you also elevate the heart rate to increase cardiopulmonary strength. If you’re looking to lose weight, incorporating them into your workout routine is a must.”—Kit Rich, celebrity trainer and co-owner of SHIFT by Dana Perri
“Mushrooms’ meaty flavor and texture make them great additions to ground meat dishes such as hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs, and the like,” Zeratsky says. Because they hold up to cooking, mushrooms can even serve as beef substitutes for vegans and vegetarians. Research has even found subbing out meat with mushrooms for one meal a day can prompt significant weight loss because you’re consuming less fat and fewer calories. “They add flavor and moisture as well as fiber—stretching recipes to make them more economic, lower in calories, and more nutritious,” she adds.
If you're trying to shed pounds, consider this the ultimate guide to what you should be putting on your plate and the foods you should always keep in your kitchen. These good-for-you foods contain powerful nutrients and antioxidants that have been shown to help your body lose weight, feel full for longer periods of time, and have more energy. As a bonus, many have added benefits, too, such as preventing various diseases or reversing the signs of aging.
Studies on green tea’s impact on cancer have been mixed. But green tea is known to aid healthy cells in all stages of growth. There are some clues that green tea may help destroy cancer cells, but that research is still in its early stages, so you shouldn’t count on green tea to prevent cancer. In fact, the National Cancer Institute's web site says it "does not recommend for or against the use of tea to reduce the risk of any type of cancer."
Face it, if you want to lose weight over the long haul, your best bet is to make sustainable, long-term lifestyle changes like the nine simple ones this woman made to shed 45 pounds and keep them off. But sometimes life comes at you fast and you need a fast solution. One smart lifestyle change is to eat plenty of veggies—especially for someone looking to lose weight. Vegetables are nutrient-packed and provide plenty of filling fiber with hardly any calories. Plus, non-starchy veggies have a high water content, so they hydrate you while filling you up—the perfect combination for weight loss.
“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.”
It seems counterintuitive to drink lots of water when you’re looking to lose weight fast—especially water weight—but staying hydrated is one of the most important steps you can take to lose weight. People often mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated allows you to be more in touch with the times when you are actually hungry, rather than just thirsty. Plus, a lot of good things happen to your body when you drink enough fluids.
Beans can help boost feelings of fullness and manage blood sugar levels, making them an excellent ally in your weight loss battle. In fact, a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found eating one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils could contribute to modest weight loss. And if you need another reason to bulk up on beans, remember that the fiber and protein-rich legumes are other excellent sources of genistein—the same compound found in peanuts and lentils that aids weight loss.
If you want to make a simple switch that can make all the difference in weight-loss success, trade out refined grains (white bread) for whole grains (100% whole-wheat bread) on your sandwich. Choosing whole over refined grains can help turn up your resting metabolism and prompt your body to absorb fewer calories, helping you burn nearly 100 extra calories per day, suggests a new study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It may be the fiber in whole grains that affects digestion and metabolism, researchers point out. Other great sources of whole grain include oatmeal, brown rice, barley, farro and even popcorn. Try grain bowls for an easy, packable work lunch.
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.
Like peanuts, avocados contain metabolism-enhancing monounsaturated fats that have been shown to reduce hunger. In fact, a study in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterwards. What’s more? The trendy toast topping is also loaded with unsaturated fats, which seem to prevent the storage of belly fat, as well as satiating fiber and free-radical-killing antioxidants.
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
If you need a pick-me-up, brew some green tea. The low-calorie drink is packed with antioxidants called catechins, which may help you burn more calories and fat. One study suggested that drinking 4 cups of green tea every day may lead to decreases in weight and blood pressure. To make it even healthier, add a squeeze of lemon -- it helps your body absorb them.
Cheese isn’t traditionally thought of as something you consume to encourage weight management, but calcium-rich Parmesan, when eaten in moderation, can help stave off sugar cravings that can easily lead to weight gain. How does that work, you ask? The native Italian cheese contains the amino acid tyrosine (a building block of protein) which has been shown to encourage the brain to release dopamine without any unhealthy insulin spikes. What’s more? The combination of calcium and protein found in dairy products such as Parmesan has been found to increase thermogenesis—the body’s core temperature—and thus boost your metabolism.
While Samantha seems to attribute much of her success to the healthy drink, Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.N., L.D., an instructor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic, says that lowering her calorie intake was probably the biggest factor in Samantha's weight loss journey. Although caffeine in green tea can jump-start your metabolism, it wouldn't be enough to produce significant weight loss results, says Zeratsky.
I was always a little overweight my whole life. I come from a family of heavy people, and when I was growing up, all of our family get-togethers were based on food. It didn't matter if it was a happy gathering or sad, people were always offering each other something to eat (and you don't want to insult anyone by not eating—it's a part of my Cuban culture). Plus, with five siblings and my mom working a lot, fast food was one of our go-tos.
Made of mostly vegetables and spices, gazpacho is full of water, fiber, and antioxidants, making it a low-calorie, filling option that can replace more caloric and fattening foods in your diet, says Maleeff. Plus, a recent Penn State study found that eating a low-calorie soup (like Gazpacho) before a meal could help you consume 20 percent fewer calories at mealtimes.
Many diet plans cut out entire food groups, which can create nutrient deficiencies as well as health problems. For instance, if the diet is very low in carbohydrates and you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, it’s probably not a good fit. And if it’s too restrictive and you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, then it’s not a good idea, either. Keep in mind that pregnancy is not a time for weight loss. Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
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.
Red wine can actually be good for your health, thanks to the antioxidant resveratrol, which studies have shown is good for your health and could help you lose weight. But any more than one glass, and you’re opening yourself up to extra sugar, empty calories, and a boozy buzz, which may inhibit your ability to make healthy food choices. If you’re out to happy hour, stop at one glass and opt for club soda (which is calorie free) or water with lemon instead.
“There are many diet plans on the market today that promote good health,” says Emily Kyle, RDN, who is in private practice in Rochester, New York. “The key is finding one that does not cause you stress or agony.” Ask yourself questions such as: Would the diet guidelines make you happy? Anxious? Stressed? Are you able to follow them long term? “Factors such as enjoyment, flexibility, and longevity should be strongly considered,” adds Kyle.
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.
More than a few people comment on my daily trek at 5 am to the health club. They say they wish they could, or they just don’t have the time. I hate mornings, I don’t have time. I just do it. I look forward to it, it has become a solo rendezvous with the person who wakes up everyday in a strange new body that feels comfortable and gives me a sense of immeasurable satisfaction. She communes with the woman who nearly died under 170 pounds of dysfunctional living. They give each other mutual love and respect. I was morbidly obese not out of laziness, or lack of willpower; I was surviving in the only way I knew how.
Now we go into diet myths, and start off with myths about exercise. Wait, what? I thought we were talking about diet, meaning food here. Also, why does the author keep talking about exercise when the Amazon description said lose weight without working out. Well, this book is just filled with a whole bunch of broken promises and sales pitches. I'm not impressed. With that said though, I do appreciate this chapter on myths. The heading may be misleading, but the myths are all real myths and worth a review.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, potassium and phytochemicals. People who eat avocados tend to have lower BMI, body weight and waist circumference than people who skip this green superfood, per a study in Nutrition Journal. While avocados are higher in calories than other fruits and vegetables, their satisfying fat and fiber combo may help you slim down. Add some to your salad, sandwich or taco night for a burst of creaminess and flavor.
Another win for your morning cup of joe: Caffeinated coffee keeps things moving through the digestive tract. Since staying regular is key to a tighter-looking tummy, drinking about 8 to 16 ounces of java at the same time every day can help you stay on schedule. Remember: Sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, so skip fancy flavorings and synthetic sweeteners containing sugar alcohols, which can cause bloating.
In the section on why people become obese it mentions eating too much, sedentary lifestyle, and not sleeping enough. While I won't deny these are all reasons for an increase in weight, it fails to also mention medical conditions and medications. These are both areas that should not be left out and it seems this book was only targeted at people to try to make them feel bad about their weight gain so they'll want to lose weight. (which by the way is not a good technique of motivation, which is one of the things the book promises to provide). The thing is, while yes many factors leading up to obesity are based on our own habits and behaviors and if we want to lose weight we have to take responsibility for those. That's absolutely true. But I feel like this book is so caught up in that area that it's forgetting to share the entire story.
The video promises a surprise at the end. I can buy the program for only $47….No, now I can get the $27 he charges his good friends and his family. It got as low as $7 but they will charge me $40 after a week. I decided to go back to reading the book. After learning all this neat stuff about fast weight loss is better the book is now telling me that the video they wanted me to watch is all wrong. Further reading is telling me that I must exercise and diet. I wish it would make up its mind.