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.
What's more trustworthy than a diet built by experts from the Mayo Clinic? Created by doctors, nutritionists, and all-star chefs, the plan has a few phases: In the first, you should lose 6 to 10 pounds in two weeks. After that, you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week until you reach your goal weight. You're also given plenty of resources and advice to help you keep the weight off.
“Stop focusing on calories and start focusing on the quality of the foods you eat. High-quality diet options are natural, whole, minimally processed foods, like vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds that offer a lot more nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. These foods help tame hunger naturally and nourish our cells at the deepest level so that we aren’t left with constant cravings. — Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, CSSD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Go Wellness in Orange County, California
Like protein, fiber slows the rate at which your body plows through carb calories so you feel full for longer and maintain steadier blood sugar levels, one reason why research consistently links fiber intake to weight loss. That means fibrous whole grain bread tends to be a better choice than white bread and also explains why fruits, which contain fiber and valuable vitamins in addition to sugar, beat straight-up candy every time.
The plan is simple: Commit to two weeks of restricted dieting, then transfer to a sustainable regime. Phase one: Cut out restaurant food, added sugar, eating while watching TV, snacking on anything other than fruits and veggies, and limit meat and dairy. You’re also asked to add four healthy habits, simple tweaks like having a good breakfast every morning.
Peppermint is known for its potent healing and calming digestive properties, so if you’re looking to slim down your stomach, it makes sense to start including it in your diet. The easiest way to do this is to drink it in tea form, so pick up a box from your local supermarket (organic if possible) and try drinking three cups a day. Great for clearing the skin, too!
Here’s the full shopping list for exactly what to buy, and check to make sure you have a few pantry staples on hand. Morris recommends starting on a weekend, so you can make a big pot of veggie soup, and give your body a chance to adjust before diving into a busy week. Her plan cuts carbs for the first couple of days, before slowly reintroducing whole grains. And if you want to mix it up, there are lots more options for healthy snacks, just make sure to get a serving of fruit or vegetables, along with protein.
“It’s far more difficult to eat a healthier diet and fit in exercise if you don’t plan ahead. Plan out your meals for the week ahead and go grocery shopping over the weekend to ensure you have the ingredients you need on hand. If you can, do some meal prep in your down time—cut fresh veggies, marinate your protein, cook up a batch of whole grains in advance. When you’re prepared you’re far less likely to order takeout. — Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, culinary-nutrition consultant and founder of Nutritioulicious
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.
“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.”
Electrolytes play a major role in keeping us alive since they provide the electrical current that allows our muscles, particularly the heart, to contract at the right speed. When there is a sudden decrease of food intake, there is also a sudden decrease in the electrolytes that our bodies are used to getting, particularly potassium and magnesium. If the body can’t handle the deficit, this can lead to impaired cardiovascular function and irregularities such as heart arrhythmias.
Whether you track how many inches you’ve lost, keep a food diary or maintain a journal about the healthy changes you’ve made, it’s encouraging to see what a great job you’re doing! Bonus: Keeping an exercise or food diary can help you see weaknesses in your routine, push yourself out of a fitness plateau or notice what situations drive you to eat more or exercise less.
Need a midday snack? This combo offers protein, healthy fats, and fiber to fend off hunger. With about 160 calories for 50 of them, pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie nuts. Plus, they’re usually packaged in their shells, which can slow you down and keep you from munching mindlessly. The apple adds sweetness and crunch to your treat, along with 4 grams of fiber.
If you want to lose weight fast, your best bets are Weight Watchers and the HMR Program, according to the health experts who rated the diets below for U.S. News. While these diets enable quick weight loss for those with a short-term goal – there's a strong chance you'll drop significant weight within the first 12 months – keep in mind that this is markedly different from long-term weight loss, which is more important for your health.
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.
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.
When it comes to weight loss, there is no substitute for healthy eating, reduced calories and increased exercise. Replace sugary beverages with unsweetened green tea to reduce calories, and enjoy drinking it for its possible cardiovascular benefits, but avoid costly and possibly dangerous supplements. Green tea can be enjoyed hot or iced and can be brewed with herbal or fruit teas for interesting alternatives to plain water and healthy alternatives to sugary beverages.
A sprinkling of cinnamon could be all that’s standing in the way of you and those washboard abs. The sweet spice helps to regulate soaring blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin production. There is some evidence to suggest that cinnamon extract also makes fat cells more responsive to insulin, which means they’re much less likely to hold on to excess energy, and far more likely to burn existing fat stores instead.