When you need a little something sweet after lunch, grab an apple. These crisp fruits contain nondigestible fiber and plant compounds called polyphenols that help buoy good bacteria in the gut, possibly protecting against obesity, animal research in Food Chemistry discovered. If you're choosing between apple varieties, you may want to grab a Granny Smith, which was found to have more of these obesity-fighting qualities. Besides, eating a daily apple or pear was linked to a 1.25-pound weight loss over a four-year period, according to the PLOS Medicine study previously mentioned. Adding to the evidence: previous research indicated that eating an apple three times a day over a 12-week period prompted a 2.7-pound weight loss. Thinly sliced apples also make great salad toppings and add a naturally sweet crunch to wraps and sandwiches.
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.
Real talk: It could take weeks or months to see the metabolic effects of exercise on the scale, and even then, building muscle, which is denser than body fat, could lead to weight gain. “Do what you like because it’s good for you,” Dr. Seltzer says, noting the way exercise is awesome for your heart, mental health, and more—and that not all measure of progress can be seen on the scale.
You already know that a perfect diet doesn't exist, but many of us still can't resist the urge to kick ourselves when we indulge, eat too much, or get thrown off course from restrictive diets. The problem: This only makes it more difficult, stressful, and downright impossible to lose weight. So rather than beating yourself up for eating foods you think you shouldn't, let it go. Treating yourself to about 200 calories worth of deliciousness each day — something that feels indulgent to you — can help you stay on track for the long-haul, so allow yourself to eat, breathe, and indulge. Food should be joyful, not agonizing!
A myriad of different teas have been shown to aid weight loss, and green tea is no exception. In fact, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that after just two weeks, those who sipped four to five cups of the green brew each day, in addition to working out for 25 minutes, lost more belly fat than those who didn’t imbibe. Scientists attribute green tea’s ability to shrink waists to the beverages catechins, a type of antioxidant that hinders the storage of belly fat and facilitates rapid weight loss.
A cup of this herbal brew each day isn't likely to get you back into your skinny jeans. But some research suggests tea may help you lose a very small amount of weight when you pair it with a sensible diet and exercise. And consider this: If you swap out your morning mocha latte for a cup of tea with lemon, you'll trim almost 300 calories from your daily total.
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.
“One of the keys to long-term and sustainable weight loss is to cut total calorie intake, and there’s no better way to do that than by eating just a little bit less of what you currently eat. Once you get into a habit of reducing portions—especially of sugary, fatty and other nutrient-poor foods—you can fine tune your diet to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods. But paring portions is still the best first step.” — Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of Younger Next Week
“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.
Consequently, researchers have widely discredited the hCG diet, which involves using hCG injections, pellets, sprays, or drops, and consuming as few as 500 calories daily. The diet is problematic not only because there’s a lack of research on hCG supplements, but also because the calorie requirement is dangerously low, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, hormone imbalances, blood clots, and other issues. Thus, most experts agree the hCG Diet is not safe for anyone, the Mayo Clinic notes. (35)
Cabbage is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C but extremely low in calories (just 22 per cup), so you can fill your plate with the leafy green guilt-free. And while you're probably familiar with the infamous Cabbage Soup Diet, there are plenty of alternate ways to eat this veggie that won't leave you feeling hungry. It's delicious in a variety of slaws or salads, and makes a crunchy garnish atop tacos or burgers.
Apples contain pectin, an ingredient that naturally slows digestion and encourages feelings of fullness. Studies show that eating a whole apple with your meal (as opposed to apple juice or applesauce) is a natural appetite suppressant, helping you consume fewer overall calories without feeling deprived. Sass likes using shredded apple in slaws and stir-fry, or mixing them into burger patties to add moisture.
Whatever you choose for lunch—a salad, sandwich, grain bowl—top it with some avocado (or guac!). The creamy green 'cado offers some serious health perks. In a review published in 2017 in Phytotherapy Research, researchers looked at the effect avocado-eating can have on reducing metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. They concluded that eating avocado daily can play a role in reducing blood pressure, lessening diabetes risk, keeping arteries clear and, yes, helping with weight loss. Avocados contain antioxidants like carotenoids, vitamins and fatty acids, as well as other plant compounds that may affect the hunger hormone leptin to help keep you satiated and help curb your appetite to sidestep over-snacking.
Both lemons and limes are excellent sources of Vitamin C, says Ellis, but it’s their flavor that aids in weight loss the most. “We’ve all been told to drink lots of water, but sometimes water’s lackluster taste causes us to turn to other beverages. Add lemon or lime juice to boost your water’s flavor and can help you drink more—staying hydrated may help suppress appetite, says Ellis.
Kimchi is a spicy Korean condiment that's made with fermented cabbage and is a great source of vitamins A, B, and C. Because it's fermented (like sauerkraut), kimchi contains tons of those good probiotics that aid the body in digestion. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that maintaining healthy bacteria in your gut can improve gut lining, which in turn could help reduce fat mass and inflammation.
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Changing every part of your lifestyle at once is overwhelming and sets you up for failure. Decide on making just one healthy change a week to allow yourself time to adapt. Whether it’s cooking your own meals four nights a week, adding just 20 minutes of fitness to your routine a day or swapping out that sugary coffee for green tea, all these changes will add up.
You can incorporate green tea into your diet at any time you would typically reach for a calorie-filled drink. Green tea makes a great substitute for sugary sodas and sweetened coffee drinks, and it only takes a few weeks for your taste buds to acclimate to the subtle natural sweetness it contains. In this way, you will make a difference for your weight loss routine by consuming fewer calories throughout the day, enjoy higher energy levels, and even boost your metabolism to burn the calories you do eat.
The fad military diet consists of low-calorie, odd food pairings such as bun-less hot dogs with banana, carrots, and broccoli. “Any diet like the military diet that severely limits the amount of calories you consume or eliminates one or more entire food groups puts any individual at risk for nutrient deficiencies,” says Kyle. “This can be more harmful than holding onto those 10 extra lbs you’re trying to lose.” (32)
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