Know your stuff. According to a study by Abdul Dulloo, from the Institute of Physiology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, the plant compound EGCG found in green tea, plus caffeine, increases thermogenesis by 84 percent. Thermogenesis is the generation of body heat that occurs as a result of normal digestion, absorption, and metabolization of food. Green tea also increases your levels of norepinephrine, which prepares your body to burn fat for the "fight or flight" response. Knowledge is power, people! It's also motivation!
Kale gets all the love (and it's a fantastic option, too), but if you prefer milder romaine lettuce as your salad base and it helps you eat more of it, go for it. When fruits and veggies were examined for their weight-loss potential, one that came out on top was leafy greens, per 2015 research in PLOS Medicine. Over a four-year period, eating a serving per day (that's two cups) was linked to about a half pound of additional weight lost. The veggies that helped with weight loss, like lettuce, tended to offer fiber and have a low glycemic load, which aids fullness, controls blood sugar and discourages your body to store fat, the study points out. Spinach, kale or head lettuce are other good options.
Sure, you certainly need to drink plenty of water to help expedite the process of ridding your body of excess sodium, you can (and should!) also consume high-water content foods. Reach for cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, grapes, celery, artichokes, pineapple, and cranberries — all of which contain diuretic properties that will also help you stay full due to their higher fiber content.
Diets don't work. There are hundreds of diets that will help you lose weight, but what good is losing weight if you gain it right back? Eating crazy food combinations or eliminating food groups is not the way to keep weight off. Instead, choose a nutritionally balanced plan with enough calories to keep you from feeling famished (like the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic eating plans).
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.
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.
Ancient traditional Chinese medicine believes tea to have weight loss effects, and these beliefs are increasing found since the 1990s in westernized world as natural herbs that may increase energy expenditure. The stimulatory effects of the catechin-caffeine combination is greater than caffeine alone. Fat oxidation (the burning of fat for energy) increases with the catechin+caffeine but not so much with the caffeine alone group, except perhaps at very high doses.
“Research continues to support the role of a high-protein diet and weight loss, however, we don’t want to reach those protein needs exclusively with animal proteins. Plant proteins found in beans not only help us feel full and stabilize blood sugar but beans are associated with longevity. Who cares about being skinny if you die young?” —Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, food and nutrition expert
Another healthy change that will help you look better is to cut back on salt. Sodium causes your body to hold onto excess water, so eating a high-salt diet means you’re likely storing more water weight than necessary. Check to see if you have any of the seven clear signs you’re eating too much salt. If you’re in a rush to lose weight fast, cut out added salt as much as possible. That means keep ditching the salt shaker and avoiding processed and packaged foods, where added salt is pretty much inevitable.
One of the easiest ways to burn some extra calories is to get up from your chair at work; standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting, according to a British study. If you are lucky enough to have a standing desk, make sure you utilize it. If not, you can easily make your own by stacking books or boxes on your desk and standing up to work. At the very least, make sure you’re taking a break every hour to stand up and stretch, and possibly go for a walk around the office. Every bit of movement counts!
You may not think of them as a weight-loss food, but eggs are packed with protein, which helps curb your appetite. One study found that overweight women who ate eggs for breakfast were able to lose twice as much weight as women who started their days with bagels. And egg whites in particular are a good source of branched-chain amino acids, which help keep your metabolism running smoothly.
Ladies, don't despair: Women have weight-related advantages, too. They tend to carry more body fat on their thighs and backsides (the so-called “pear” shape), which are much healthier places to hold weight than around the middle. Plus, while women are better at storing fat, they also tend to burn more body fat during exercise than men do. "The fat women find it hardest to lose is generally the least harmful to health," Katz says.
Sesame seeds likely aren’t one of those foods you pay any mind to, but the crunchy little buggers have been shown to play a crucial role in weight maintenance and deserve to be tossed into a salad or whole wheat noodle dish. Researchers suspect its the lignans—plant compounds—found in sesame seeds (and flax seeds) that makes them so special. In a 2015 study, women who consumed high levels of lignans tended to weigh less and gain less weight over time when compared to women who didn’t consume these compounds in high amounts.