“Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food,” Dr. Seltzer says. (Have we met?!) That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods. No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.
At first, Samantha says she hated the bitter taste and had to force herself to drink it. But soon, Samantha was sipping on green tea and lemon every morning. She then began drinking one cup each hour at work and finished off the day with one while watching TV—a total of nine cups of green tea every day. After just one month of this regimen, Samantha dropped nearly 15 pounds.
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.
“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
Avoid getting bored. Your taste buds may get tired of drinking just one type of tea. Would you want to eat only one food for every meal? In order to stick to your routine, mix it up and try different teas, flavors and enhancements. It can be a lot of fun making a tea selection in your home or office cupboard, allowing you to choose a tea flavor according to the mood you're in.
Even if you manage to meet your goal, it probably won’t be sustainable: “The amount of restriction required will make you so hungry that you’ll eat everything in sight—it’s survival instinct,” Dr. Seltzer says. What’s more, your body will be less prepared to burn the foods you binge on, since calorie restriction gradually slows your metabolism, he adds.
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Before you head out to dinner, pour yourself a cup of green tea. The active ingredient in green tea, EGCG, boosts levels of cholecystokinin, or CCK, a hunger-quelling hormone. In a Swedish study that looked at green tea’s effect on hunger, researchers divided up participants into two groups: One group sipped water with their meal and the other group drank green tea. Not only did tea-sippers report less of a desire to eat their favorite foods (even two hours after sipping the brew), they found those foods to be less satisfying.
Quinoa is a unique whole grain because it’s a complete protein (about 7g per serving) and high in fiber (6g). Dietary fiber actually binds to fat and cholesterol, helping your body absorb less of the two. The ancient grain is also rich in eight essential amino acids, and vitamins and minerals like magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron and B12—both of which are crucial to energy levels. “Quinoa is great eaten alone, mixed with raw veggies as a cold salad, or warm like a pilaf,” Zeratsky says. It’s a high-quality carb that scores low on the glycemic index, so you won’t experience a sharp rise and fall of blood sugar.
“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.
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.