“Whether you have ten pounds to lose or 100, the first thing you should do is create an environment for success. That requires removing all temptation from your kitchen. “Collect all of the processed, sugary and fatty foods from your house, and bring them to a local food bank for donation. Then restock your kitchen with healthy groceries—real, natural, whole foods—like fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds and lean proteins like turkey, chicken, fish and eggs.” — Chris Powell, the trainer who has helped hundreds of overweight people lose up to half their body weight on ABC’s reality series Extreme Weight Loss
Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios — at GH, we're nuts about nuts! People who snack on nuts may have lower abdominal fat than those who munch on carb-based treats, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, a heart-healthy (and more satisfying) pick than their grain-based counterparts.
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.
Coconut oil may be high in saturated fat, but that doesn’t mean you should write it off completely, especially when it comes to weight loss. In fact, a study of 30 men published in Pharmacology found that just two tablespoons per day reduced waist circumference by an average of 1.1 inches over the course of a month. What’s more? At roughly 117 calories per tablespoon, coconut oil (which has a versatile high smoke point) is an ideal cooking companion so long as you don’t use it every day and rotate in other cooking oils such as heart-healthy EVOO.
“I tell all of my celebrity and professional-athlete clients to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Everyone is overly focused on food, water and exercise, all of which are extremely imperative to weight loss and optimal health. However, without proper sleep, all of these the other factors are null and void. When you don’t get enough sleep, levels of the hormone leptin drop, which increases appetite. This surge in appetite makes comfort food more appealing, which can derail weight loss efforts.” — Jay Cardiello, celebrity fitness and nutrition expert
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.
Yes, nuts are high in calories, but they are also a great source of protein, fiber, and the “good” (monounsaturated) fat -- all of which can help in weight loss. A small handful (10-to-12 nuts) of walnuts or almonds can actually help you “lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes,” says Somer. Try some in your salad, with a piece of fruit, or sprinkled in your cereal – oatmeal, of course.
Simply popping a few almonds in your mouth could help you shed pounds, and not just because almonds are better for you than, say, candy. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating 1.5 ounces of almonds a day reduced belly and leg fat. And another study of overweight adults found that people who ate ¼ cup of almonds for 6 months had a 62 percent greater reduction in weight and BMI.
HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the placenta after implantation, and doctors sometimes prescribe it for fertility issues. But this hormone has also gained popularity as a weight-loss supplement — and using it as such can be dangerous. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against purchasing over-the-counter hCG, as these supplement products are illegal. (34)
Brazilian scientists found that participants who consumed three cups of the beverage every day for a week had fewer markers of the cell damage caused by resistance to exercise. That means that green tea can also help you recover faster after an intense workout. In another study—this one on people—participants who combined a daily habit of four to five cups of green tea each day with a 25-minute workout for 12 weeks lost an average of two more pounds than the non-tea-drinking exercisers.
It sounds silly, but switching which hand you eat with can save you calories, and help boost weight loss. “It takes 15 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full,” celebrity personal trainer Jay Cardiello told us in our article 40 Weight Loss Tips for Over 40. “To give your mind time to catch up to your mouth, simply switch your fork to non-dominate hand. It may be frustrating, but it’s a simple and unnoticeable way to curb overeating and lose weight.”
If you dislike cooking, abhor making food choices, or simply want low-calorie options shipped to your door, Nutrisystem might slot into your life. But it can get expensive, and food selection and flavor are hit-or-miss. Mostly miss. “It’s enough substance to call it a meal, but the texture of every ingredient was lacking,” our tester reported without enthusiasm.
“Before you begin to change your diet, spend a week recording everything you eat—and I mean everything. Before I made any changes to my diet, I journaled everything I ate each day for a week, including little things like gum or breath mints. If you have a piece of candy from your coworker’s desk, snag a few spoonfuls of your boyfriend’s ice cream, or finish the few bits of grilled cheese your kid left on her plate, write it down! It all adds up, and you just don’t realize how much you’re eating until you actually see it all on paper in front of you. I, for one, was stunned.” — Maria Menounos, author of The Everygirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness, on how she lost 40 pounds
Stopping eating after dinner is an easy way to easily cut back on mindless munching and extra calories, and can help boost weight loss, White says. One way to prevent that post-dinner grazing is to brush your teeth almost immediately after your last meal of the day. The minty flavor in your mouth will make all your favorite foods taste gross anyway, and you won’t want to go back and brush your teeth all over again.
This popular plan recently underwent a rebranding to create a more balanced program, changing its four-phase approach with the help of a science advisory board. The Atkins Diet is still low-carb, but you won't be chowing down on steak and eggs all the time to promote weight loss. Lean protein is still key, but there's more of a spotlight on fiber, fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats.
When it comes to condiments, mustard is about as healthy and low cal as it gets, and the pungent yellow stuff that contains about 5 calories per teaspoon has also been found to stimulate weight loss. Scientists at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that eating just one teaspoon of mustard can boost the metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours after it’s been consumed. Researchers attribute this to capsaicin and allyl isothiocyanates, phytochemicals that give the mustard its characteristic flavor. So instead of reaching for the sickeningly sweet ketchup, make sure you have mustard on hand at your next BBQ.
“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
You don’t need to bust out the measuring cups to properly portion out your food: A serving size of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards or the size of the palm of your hand. Your entire fist should be the size of a serving of veggies (although the more, the better!). A serving of fat, such as butter or coconut oil, should be the size of your thumb. Your carb serving should be no bigger than what can fit in your cupped hand. For other ways to eyeball your proper serving sizes, check out What the Perfect Food Portion Sizes Actually Look Like.
A number of studies have been conducted to test the theory that green tea can help with weight loss. It's important to note that most of these studies used green tea extract, not the actual tea. Drinking regular green tea may not help you lose any weight, according to a 2012 clinical study published in Obesity, which compared the effects of drinking regular green tea and a catechin-rich green tea on weight loss in a group of men and women with type 2 diabetes. While the group drinking catechin-rich tea lost a half-pound over the 12-week study period, the group drank a lower-catechin green tea gained half a pound.
Before you start the meal plan, make a pot of the Veggie Soup. Make 2 servings of Overnight Oats, so they can soak in the fridge. It’s also super helpful to prep your veggie snacks—make 4 bags filled with baby carrots and sugar snap peas, and 3 bags filled with broccoli and cauliflower, for alternate days. And if you really want to get ahead, you could also grill the chicken breasts and cook the quinoa and brown rice in advance.
The other part of this plan is resistance exercise. This is important because it’s the part that focuses on building muscle. During weight loss, not all the weight lost is fat, some of it is muscle. Resistance training will ensure that you avoid the loss of muscle that usually occurs and will actually help you build muscle. You’ll be doing 3 resistance workouts per week:
“The alkaline diet often has a focus on eating lots of fresh produce and unprocessed foods, which could be a good thing,” says Hultin. “However, keep in mind that this is not an evidence-based therapeutic diet. When people take it too far — for instance, drinking baking soda — or become too restrictive or obsessive over food choices, it can definitely turn negative.”
All calories count when you're trying to lose weight. And while the weight-loss benefits of green tea aren't that great, if you're drinking it to give yourself a little extra boost, you don't want to negate any benefits by adding extra calories from sweeteners such as honey or milk or cream. A cup of plain green tea has only 2 calories, making it a healthy addition to your weight loss diet. Adding 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of cream bumps up the calories in your very low-calorie tea to 86 calories. That may not sound like much, but drinking 3 cups a day adds an extra 258 calories, which may add a little more than 2 pounds a month if you drink them in addition to your regular meal plan.
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 not every researcher believes that green (or other) tea drinking is a “magic bullet” for weight loss, every weight loss expert would agree that flooding your system with water or drinking tea versus eating a candy bar or drinking soda can help move the digestion process along quickly and perhaps distract you from munching snacks that aren't healthy. Regardless of whether it's magical or not, it's a good idea.
Modern randomized trials are just now demonstrating the benefits of tea for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Green tea is particularly beneficial due to it’s high concentration of EGCG, a type of catechin (50–80% of total catechins in green tea). Catechins are absorbed in the intestine, but the presence of food significantly decreases absorption. Studies often use green tea extracts due to the dose needed, but also because the bio-availability in extracts is much higher than brewed tea. Typically a cup of brewed tea may have 70–100 g of catechins. Using a cold brew crystal process such as Pique Tea have about triple that amount per cup.
Electrolyte imbalances can also be a side effect associated with rapid weight loss, and despite it being rare, it can also be deadly. In addition, other problems associated with rapid weight loss that are not so frequent but can occur include headaches, irritability, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, menstrual irregularities in women, hair loss and muscle loss.