The next time you’re making a salad, why not throw some watercress in there? The green veggie is an excellent source of folate, which has been shown to stimulate weight loss. In fact, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those with the highest folate levels lose about 8.5 times more weight when dieting than those with the lowest levels of folate. What’s more? A separate study in the British Journal of Cancer found that higher dietary folate intake reduces the breast cancer risk. In addition to watercress, other good sources of folate include spinach, asparagus, and papaya.
Make lunch at home and bring it to work. That way, you know of every single ingredient that's going into your meal. Not to mention it'll save you the cost of buying a lunch. Cleveland Clinic recommends making sure one half of your plate is filled with leafy greens, one quarter is lean meat, and the other quarter is whole grains like brown rice or barley.
Just as big-box stores can be a psychologically tricky terrain for dieters, so to can healthy-sounding labels on the food that we eat. A Cornell University study printed in the Journal of Marketing Research suggests people eat more of a snack that’s marketed as “low fat.” Participants in the study ate a whopping 28 percent more M&Ms that were labeled “low fat” than when the colorful candies didn’t have the label. As we suggested earlier, avoid being fooled by simply opting for full-fat foods.
SNACKS: Fresh vegetables with fat-free dip are a healthy snack food. Fat-free rice cakes and rye crackers contain fiber and starch which helps you feel full. Avoid foods high in sugar, such as candy, cookies, and pastries. Also, avoid high fat snacks, such as nuts, regular chips, and chocolate foods. Instead try baked or fat-free chips, air-popped popcorn, or fresh fruit between meals.
Even if you’re trying to reduce your eating window, you shouldn’t go to sleep starved. In fact, going to bed with a rumbling stomach can make it more difficult to fall asleep and subsequently leave you feeling ravenous the next day. And get this: Eating the right type of bedtime snack can actually boost your metabolism and aid weight loss, registered dietitian Cassie Bjork explained. “The right snack can help keep blood sugar stable so the fat-burning hormone glucagon can do its job. I suggest pairing a natural carb with a healthy fat. Apple slices and almond butter, berries with heavy cream and carrots with guacamole all fit the bill.”
Not only is this the “best” way, but the bonus here is that it’s literally the only way. Literally literally. There is no other (non-surgical) way of losing body fat. A caloric deficit is a requirement and every single smart, sane, evidence-based person agrees. That’s my nice way of saying that everyone who disagrees is either misinformed, stupid or crazy. Or all of the above. Or maybe just trying to sell you something useless (so misinformed, stupid, crazy or an asshole).
How much your close friends weigh, plays a major role in how much you’ll weigh, say Harvard School of Public Health researchers. In fact, their findings suggest that a person’s chance of becoming obese increases by 57% if a close friend is obese—and it makes sense: If your buddies all love meeting up for burgers and beers on the reg, it will be really hard to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle. Our advice? From time to time suggest getting into other types of activities like yoga or a healthy cooking class. You could also consider hosting get-togethers at your house so you can control the menu. Another tip: Try to meet new people who enjoy living the healthy lifestyle you now lead. (A gym class or hiking group is a great place to introduce yourself!) This will help add a healthy balance to your life, without kicking your long-time besties to the curb. For more ways to maintain your newfound flat abs, check out these 25 Best Foods for a Toned Body!
On paper, it seems like weight loss should be so simple: Calories in through food; calories out through activity. It doesn't take a Ph.D. in nutrition or exercise science to understand this basic equation—and for some people, weight loss follows this tried-and-true path. But many dieters find themselves hitting a wall, unable to achieve their weight-loss goals through this strategy, and research increasingly shows that a one-size-fits-all approach may set us up for failure.
Most people think of their protein or meat as their meal’s main event, but that shouldn’t be the case. “Place flavorful vegetables front and center on lunch and dinner plates, accompanied by sides of protein and whole grains,” registered dietitian Cheryl Forberg said. By simply rearranging your plate, you’ll automatically consume fewer calories and take in more health-protective vitamins and nutrients.
Seriously: Your flab can help you shed pounds. How? Just as there's more than one kind of fat in food, there's more than one type in your body. White fat is the bad stuff you want to zap. But a second kind, brown fat, actually torches calories. "Up to 80 percent of adults have brown fat deposits in their bodies," says Aaron M. Cypess, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School. This good fat is powerful because it's packed with mitochondria, the parts of cells that generate heat. When activated, as little as two ounces of brown fat can gobble up as much as 20 percent of your body's calories.
The degree to which exercise aids weight loss is open to debate, but the benefits go way beyond burning calories. Exercise can increase your metabolism and improve your outlook—and it’s something you can benefit from right now. Go for a walk, stretch, move around and you’ll have more energy and motivation to tackle the other steps in your weight-loss program.
Big-box stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club are great money-savers, but frequenting them to buy groceries can be bad news for your fitness goals. That’s because a 2015 study in the journal Appetite found that the larger the bottle, bag, or box the food comes in, the larger we think the serving size should be. To come to that conclusion, researchers surveyed more than thirteen thousand people and found that when confronted with larger packages of cola, chips, chocolate, or lasagna, the shoppers tended to want to serve themselves larger portions.
Mounting research suggests that eating the majority of your daily calories earlier in the day makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight and tempers blood sugar and inflammation. “To help with weight loss, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper,” recommends Courtney Peterson, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center. One study reported that dieters who ate a 700-calorie breakfast, 500-calorie lunch and 200-calorie dinner lost nearly 18 pounds in 12 weeks, compared to seven pounds lost among subjects who ate a 200-calorie breakfast, 500-calorie lunch and 700-calorie dinner.
To lose weight, you'll need to consume fewer calories than you burn. The exact number will depend on your current weight and activity level, but generally, people should aim to cut 250 to 1,000 calories from their diet per day in order to lose 0.5 to 2 lbs. (0.2 to 0.9 kilograms) per week. There are calculators available to help you determine how many calories you should consume per day.
Find ways to stay motivated. It’s not always easy to do the things listed above, and it’s important to find ways to keep going when you are flagging. This could involve other people – for example, trying to lose weight at the same time as someone else or telling other people about your weight loss plans. You could also reward yourself when you meet your targets (with something other than food), and keep a note to remind yourself of the reasons you want to lose weight.
It might sound like slashing calories is the easiest way to ensure you will keep weight off. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, cutting too many calories from your diet, or working out too much, may do the opposite. “Hormonal mechanisms will actually increase your appetite and slow down your metabolism to compensate for the large calorie deficit,” says Dr. Adams. Counting fiber instead of calories may be your key to keep the weight off. “Foods high in fiber are very filling. [They are] often time-consuming to eat and have fewer calories per bite than most other foods,” he says. Try incorporating high-fiber foods, such as the skins of apples, pears, and plums; as well as non-starchy vegetables like peas, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, into your diet. You will feel more satisfied while consuming less food overall.
Having a healthy option at your fingertips when you’re starving can make all the difference between sticking to your goals and giving in to temptation. “I keep little containers of hummus and carrots, pickles, nuts and dried apricots, salsa and rice crackers, and other healthy combos in the front of my fridge and pantry so they are literally the first thing I see when I open the door,” says Lita Moreno. “I don’t even give myself a choice to cheat.” This one little change has helped her drop almost 80 pounds.
“For busy people, [planning ahead] is the most efficient way to get done what you need to get done — whether it’s your job, your workout, meal planning ... It’s not easy and we have so many things going on. Putting things down on paper clears your brain. Now you don’t have everything in your head; it frees up the space to focus on what you need to do. “
Everyone knows that smell plays a huge part of how we taste our food—remember your fourth grade science experiment where you ate an onion and an apple with your nose pinched and couldn't tell the difference? So while it may seem a little extreme (and get you some weird looks at restaurants) clipping your nose shut during meals will help you only eat until you're full. Although it does make your favorite foods a lot less enjoyable.
You’ve probably already heard that drinking water helps you keep weight off. There’s some serious truth to this. “Research suggests that drinking eight to ten glasses of water (eight fluid-ounces each) a day can boost metabolism by 24-30 percent and suppress appetite,” explains Dr. Petre. If you’re not thirsty enough for this amount of H2O, chances are that you’re consuming too many other beverages, such as sugary sodas, juices, and alcohol. “Replacing those fluids with water helps your body stay hydrated. [And] it can save calories, money, and even help protect and clean your teeth,” notes Dr. Petre. Not a fan of the plain water taste? Add a slice of lime or lemon. “A glass of water with lemon is a recipe for successful weight loss because of pectin fiber, which can help reduce hunger,” Dr. Petre adds.
Reach for natural mint gum (avoid sorbitol, which makes you bloat), or even brush your teeth with mint-flavored toothpaste. The mint flavors send signals to your brain that it's time to stop eating. They also tweak your taste buds so second helpings and dessert aren't quite so tasty. Bonus: One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month!