Every time you chug a bottle of soda, you get hundreds of empty calories. Switching to diet soft drinks is an obvious way to cut calories, but the research is mixed on whether this switch leads to weight loss. Some studies show a short-term benefit. Others find diet soda drinkers gain weight. If you eat or drink more calories than you burn, just switching to diet soda may not do the trick.
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.
Souping is the new juice cleanse, and for good reason: "Soup is a fabulous food. It's hydrating and fills up your stomach, so eating it before a meal can curb your appetite," says Taub-Dix. In fact, research shows that a soup appetizer can reduce the number of calories you eat at a meal by 20 percent. That said, there's no reason to consume only soup. (You're not going to eat only soup for the rest of your life, right?) Instead, make it an addition to your diet and you'll reap the benefits. This recipe may even help you live to 100.
If you like the taste of apple cider vinegar, then by all means, drink up! But if you are a normal human being who prefers not to chug pure acid, then you should know there's zero evidence that drinking the nasty stuff can actually help you drop pounds (or impart the laundry list of health benefits the Internet seems to associate with it, for that matter).
Beans are an excellent source of slow-release carbohydrates, as well as a good source of protein and fiber, which slow the digestive process to help you stay fuller, longer. “Research finds that eating just three-quarters of a cup of beans a day for six weeks can help you lose close to six pounds. And if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, it’s a double win as the soluble fiber in beans helps whisk cholesterol out of your body,” says Ansel. She also says you don’t necessarily need to cook dry beans from scratch. Canned beans are one of the most underrated convenience foods, so keep a rotation of all kinds - like black, pinto, chickpea and cannellini - in your pantry. Try adding beans to your soups and salads, add them minced to meat dishes, enjoy a bean dip like hummus, or toss them in a salad.
Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else," suggests Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers.
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)
The French and Italians have something right: fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, fish, and lots of olive oil is a tasty—and slimming—way of noshing. Oh, and wine. Did we forget to mention wine? In a meta-analysis on 16 studies, researchers realized the plan helped dieters lose an average of 8.5 pounds. But it's not magic—you have to cut calories, exercise, and stick with it for more than six months for the best results, the research found. So if you're going to go for it, put away the entire bottle of vino and pour yourself a sensible glass instead.
The results from these three studies suggest that there may be some benefits to a macronutrient-based dietary approach, but research also shows that while a particular diet may result in weight loss for one person, it may not be effective for another person due to individual differences in genes and lifestyle. For those seeking the “perfect” one-size-fits-all diet, then, there isn’t one! The great news is that everyone can follow The Healthy Eating Plate guidelines and choose healthy, flavorful foods to create a diet that works best for you.
Before a workout, turbocharge the fat-blasting effects by sipping a cup of green tea. In a recent 12-week study, participants who combined a daily habit of 4-5 cups of green tea each day with a 25-minute sweat session lost an average of two more pounds than the non tea-drinking exercisers. Thank the compounds in green tea called catechins, flat belly crusaders that blast adipose tissue by triggering the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), and then speeding up the liver’s capacity for turning that fat into energy. See how tea can help you lose up to 10 pounds in one week on THE 17-DAY GREEN TEA DIET.
Drinking a combination of carbohydrates and protein after a hard workout can help restore your energy and aid in building lean, metabolism-boosting muscle, but it turns out that you don’t need a fancy recovery beverage to reap these benefits. After participating in a vigorous cycling session, cyclists who drank chocolate milk were able to ride 51 percent longer in a subsequent workout than those who drank a standard recovery beverage, a 2009 article in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found. Plus, chocolate milk is cheaper (and tastier) than anything you’ll find in a sports nutrition store.
Finally, in a notable blow to some interpretations of the Paleo diet, Katz and Meller wrote, "if Paleolithic eating is loosely interpreted to mean a diet based mostly on meat, no meaningful interpretation of health effects is possible." They note that the composition of most meat in today's food supply is not similar to that of mammoth meat, and that most plants available during the Stone Age are today extinct. (Though it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Paleo extremists are crowd-funding a Jurassic Park style experiment to bring them back.)
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So, in the midst of this unexpected positivity, I got an email from Pamela Peeke, M.D. She wanted to have a call and give me some advice. In a very unlike-me move, I did not get to the email. I'm very good about responding to email, which has to be one of the lamest brags of all time, but in a world full of ghosting, I'm proud of my prompt replies. But I messed up, and a week and a half later, I got another email. Dr. Peeke wanted to make sure I got her message.
Don't banish certain foods. Don't tell yourself you'll never again eat your absolutely favorite peanut butter chocolate ice cream. Making all treats forbidden is sure to make you want them even more. The key to long-term success is making healthy choices most of the time. If you want a piece of cake at a party, go for it! But munch on the carrots rather than the chips to balance it out.
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The best low-cal diet plan isn't a diet so much as it is a method. CICO stands for "calories in, calories out" and is based on the mathematically sensible principle that as long as you're burning more calories than you're eating, you'll lose weight. All you need to get started is a way to track your calories—there are plenty of apps on the market although a pen and paper works great too—and a food scale to keep you honest about your portion sizes. (Also read this guide on how to safely cut calories to lose weight.) People love the simplicity and straightforwardness of the plan. And while it may not be the fastest way to lose weight, you're guaranteed to have success long term. (Just know that some weight-loss experts actually don't recommend calorie counting.)