If you’re a guy, you can thank the testosterone you have -- and the extra estrogen you don’t -- for your weight-loss edge. On average, women have between six and 11 percent more body fat than men, an assumed evolutionary adaptation to help during pregnancy. From puberty to menopause, women maintain more average body fat than men -- even when they take in fewer calories.
All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day. Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you're including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (e.g., eggs, beans, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains). Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
Still, when it comes to losing weight, working a few cups of brewed green tea into your diet isn’t necessarily a bad idea. “Like coffee, green tea may give you a mild boost, and if you don’t add sugar, it has no calories,” notes Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, Marvin M. Lipman, M.D. “So drinking it in place of sugary drinks such as soda can help you cut calories.”
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.
Buy an iced tea maker. During warmer months, drinking hot tea may not sound like fun; however, you can still consume just as much tea by using an iced tea maker. Like the electric teakettle, simply fill the machine with water; add ice (according to the manufacturer’s directions) and teabags. Turn it on and begin drinking fresh iced tea in a matter of minutes.
Invest in a pedometer and track your steps each day. The goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps -- the equivalent of 5 miles -- daily to thwart weight gain (and promote weight loss). Challenge yourself to increase your steps each day, even if you can't get up to 10,000. Every step counts; remember that your goal is simply to improve your fitness level.
“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
To stay motivated and deal with cravings, Juge has a couple of great recommendations. First, schedule a cheat meal on every seventh day. "Many of my clients have their cheat meal on Sunday, so then they're ready for Monday and the week to come," he says. If you feel deprived during the week, concentrate on the cheat meal to come, knowing you can eat absolutely anything you want to—pizza, lasagna, doughnuts, beer, chips, you name it. Remember, though, it's just one cheat meal, not an entire day of cheating. Afterward, get right back on the wagon with your next scheduled meal.
“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.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
Do you mindlessly sprinkle salt on your food without even tasting it first? Stop it! Seriously. Extra sodium can lead to water weight gain and bloating, which will make your pants fit tighter (and the number on the scale tick up). Be sure to read your labels, too; sodium is typically lurking in in processed foods, even “healthy” ones like frozen dinners and canned soups.
This high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carb fad diet sends the body into a state of ketosis, in which the body uses stored fat for energy. Research published in Clinical Cardiology suggests the ketogenic, or “keto,” diet can be an effective weight-loss method, but to be successful, you must follow the plan consistently with no cheat days — otherwise, you’re just eating a high-fat diet that may be high in unhealthy fats for no reason. (1)
We know that shedding unwanted pounds used to mean giving up your favorite foods, logging hours at the gym, and being hungry (and hangry) all the time. Fortunately, dropping a dress size (or two) doesn’t have to be that complicated or torturous. Sure, losing any significant amount of weight requires lifestyle changes and some hard work, but it all boils down to simple choices.
Already nearly calorie free, matcha is a great addition to a weight loss program by tackling the problem from both sides. It boosts metabolism and burns fat. One recent study even suggested that matcha may help burn calories by four times. At the same time, matcha does not put any stress on the body. It doesn’t raise blood pressure or heart rate, making it a safe alternative to questionable quick fixes or pharmaceuticals ridden with side effects.
More than a few people comment on my daily trek at 5 am to the health club. They say they wish they could, or they just don’t have the time. I hate mornings, I don’t have time. I just do it. I look forward to it, it has become a solo rendezvous with the person who wakes up everyday in a strange new body that feels comfortable and gives me a sense of immeasurable satisfaction. She communes with the woman who nearly died under 170 pounds of dysfunctional living. They give each other mutual love and respect. I was morbidly obese not out of laziness, or lack of willpower; I was surviving in the only way I knew how.