Set (and write down) reasonable expectations for what you plan to achieve during your challenge. “You can absolutely make a difference in 10 days,” says Brooke Alpert, RD, a dietitian in New York City and the author of The Diet Detox, but don’t expect to shed 20 pounds a la The Biggest Loser. “While actual weight loss will be around three to four pounds, you can really notice the difference in the way your body feels in about a week.”
If your favorite foods fall into the list of forbidden fruit, you’re even more likely to fall off the wagon. Giancoli gives the example of diets that cut out coffee: “It’s ridiculous. There’s a lot of research that coffee is fine. Coffee’s been redeemed.” The Mayo Clinic goes even further, saying: “Caffeine may slightly boost weight loss or prevent weight gain.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AKA the top nutrition authority in America) released a revised paper this year saying that both vegetarian and vegan diets are best for people's health as well as the environment. If you're not ready to make a complete shift to meatless and cheese-less, consider "part-time" vegan and vegetarian plans, where you eat mostly plant-based at breakfast and lunch or on weekdays, and then eat fish, meat, dairy, and eggs only during designated times.
Morbid obesity is associated with a series of diseases, or comorbidities, including coronary heart disease (CHD), high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, abnormal blood fats, metabolic syndrome, cancer, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS), reproductive problems, and gallstones. In order to reduce the risk of developing or aggravating one of these conditions and improving the patients’ quality of life, rapid weight loss may be medically advised.
“Salsa is low in calories and tastes great on all kinds of healthy foods (vegetables, salads, poultry, and fish). It has antioxidants, such as lycopene, which aid in cellular health. Use salsa in place of other high-calorie dips such as hummus, onion dips, and cheese dips and you’re guaranteed to cut calories,” says Ellis. Make your own at home with this easy recipe for roasted corn salsa.
You may think hand sanitizer will zap germs and prevent you from getting sick, but it could also be making you fat. Hand sanitizer contains triclosan, which researchers have found to be an “obesogen,” meaning it could cause weight gain by disrupting your body’s hormones. A study published in the journal PLOS One found that people who had detectable levels of triclosan in their bodies were associated with a 0.9-point increase in body mass index (BMI). If you’re really worried about germs, it’s best to rely on good ol’ soap and water.
As an additional benefit, L-Theanine may help memory and learning and ability all the while inhibiting any possible side-effects from caffeine, a natural component of green tea. Therefore, a bowl of matcha promotes concentration and clarity of mind without any of the nervous energy found in coffee. Try matcha as a pick-me-up for the afternoon or anytime you need extra focus.
Giancoli also recommends finding a diet that fits in with how you really live. She notes that if you enjoy going out to eat but try to commit to a diet that forbids you from ever going to a restaurant, you’re just going to cheat. “It’s not sustainable… You’re most likely going to have a healthier meal if you’re going to cook yourself, but you’re depriving yourself of that social interaction if you never go out.” To put it another way: Your eating practices shouldn’t isolate you or keep you from having fun.
“You can’t just say, ‘I want to lose weight…someday.’ It’s that kind of loose talk, without a fence or guideline, that discourages you from getting started and prevents you from succeeding. The way I did it was by tying it to an upcoming event in my life. I never focused on a number and I didn’t set out to lose a certain number of pounds per week or overall. I merely found a target date a year away and I proclaimed to myself that I’d be in better shape by then. — Maria Menounos, author of The Everygirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness, on how she lost 40 pounds