At a work party last week, an old business buddy came up to me scratching his head.
“Dave, I’m all confused,” Danny said. “I just started reading the 4-Hour Body. But then somebody told me about the 3-Hour Diet. What do you think? Do these work? And can I cut it down to maybe 90 minutes?”
Could Danny—or you—lose weight in 3 hours? Well, maybe. The fact is, any sort of severe change in how you eat is going to yield results. But what diet peddlers won’t tell you is that the true measure of a diet isn’t how you look hours or days later. It’s how you look months and years later. A smart diet plan will teach you the skills you need to manage your weight forever.
What really works are making little lifestyle tweaks—simple moves that help you slash calories, boost nutrition and build a healthy foundation. To help, the Eat This, Not That! team and I gathered up some of the easiest, most effective new tricks and tactics we came across in the past year. Put these plan into play and I promise you won’t need any goofy new fads—just new pants. 44 Ways to Lose 4 Inches of Body Fat.
BLEND A PLANT-BASED SMOOTHIE
Zero Belly Diet test panelist Bryan Wilson, a 29-year-old accountant, lost 19 pounds and an astounding 6 inches from his waist in just six weeks on the diet, and he attributes his success to the Zero Belly shake recipes in the program. “I love the shakes. I added them to my diet, and almost immediately I lost the bloat,” Bryan said. “I’m a sweet craver, and the shakes were an awesome alternative to bowls and bowls of ice cream I would have had.” That’s why, this year, I wrote Zero Belly Smoothies. Protein drinks are great ways to get a monster dose of belly-busting nutrition into a delicious, simple snack. But most commercial drinks are filled with unpronounceable chemicals that can upset our gut health and cause inflammation and bloat. And the high doses of whey used to boost protein levels can amplify the belly-bloating effect. The Zero Belly solution: Try vegan protein, which will give you the same fat-burning, hunger-squelching, muscle-building benefits, without the bloat. Lose weight in less than 30 seconds, with the 100+ proven recipes in Zero Belly Smoothies!
EAT MORE CONSCIOUSLY
We know you love your Jessica Jones marathons, but it’s important you enjoy your meals sitting at your kitchen table—not in front of the television. Why? Carolyn Brown, MS RD of Foodtrainers told us that not only do the commercials for unhealthy food and drink increase our craving for junk but because TV is so distracting, it also makes it harder to notice how full we’re becoming until we’ve scarfed down too much. Science agrees with Brown: A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that paying attention while eating can aid weight loss efforts while distracted eating can lead to a long-term increase in food consumption.
SWITCH TO TEA
Dieters and ETNT staffers alike fell head over heels for green tea this year—and it’s easy to see why: The brew, the cornerstone of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, is packed with compounds called catechins, belly-fat crusaders that blast belly fat by revving the metabolism, increasing the release of fat from fat cells, and then speeding up the liver’s fat burning capacity. In a recent study, participants who combined a daily habit of 4-5 cups of green tea with a 25-minute sweat session (or 180 minutes a week), lost 2 more pounds than the non tea-drinking exercisers. Meanwhile, a research team in Washington found that the same amount of coffee (5+ cups/day) doubled belly fat. Make the most of the benefits from tea with The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, by food journalist Kelly Choi and the editors of Eat This, Not That! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!
TOSS OUT THE TOP
Making your sandwich with two slices of bread is so 2014. Aid your slim down efforts by opting for whole-grain bread over white and preparing your sandwich “open-faced” style—the fancy name for kicking the top piece of bread to the curb. Doing so keeps about 70 to 90 calories off your plate. If losing some bread leaves your tummy rumbling, beef up your meal by munching on a cup of baby carrots or sugar snap peas. These pop-in-your mouth veggies are loaded with fiber and water, which can help aid satiety and weight loss efforts. For even more amazing weight loss tips, check out these 50 Best-Ever Weight-Loss Secrets From Skinny People.
GET SMALLER PLATES
According to Carolyn Brown, MS RD of Foodtrainers, the bigger your plate, the bigger your meal. Why? While smaller plates make food servings appear significantly larger, larger plates make food appear smaller, which can lead to overeating. In one study, campers who were given larger bowls served themselves and consumed 16 percent more cereal than those given smaller bowls. Swapping dinner for salad plates will help you eat more reasonable portions, which can help the pounds fly off your frame! To kick even more calories to the curb, use small red plates. Although the vibrant hue may not go with your dining room decor, the color can help you eat less, and in turn shrink those pesky love handles. In a study published in the journal Appetite, subjects consumed less snack food and soda when their plates and cups were red. Researchers suggest the color red reduces the amount we’re likely to eat by subtly telling the mind to stop noshing.
NEVER DO A SIT-UP
There’s a reason Eat This, Not That! hired celebrity trainer Mark Langowski to develop Eat This, Not That! for Abs, our e-book system for getting a six-pack in six weeks—he said it wouldn’t include a single sit-up. “I have been a personal trainer for over 13 years—during this time, I have learned a lot about a lot, but the most important topic that I discovered was 10 years ago when I found out how damaging sit-ups are to the discs in my spine,” he told us. “It was after listening to genius professor Stuart McGill, who is head of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, that I realized I had been doing more harm to myself and my clients by having them do traditional sit-ups.” Instead, “throughout the workout section of the Eat This, Not That! For Abs, I explain how to train the entire body in a way that is activating the core muscles in every exercise you do. A squat may look like a leg exercise, but did you know you are also working your core muscles when done properly?”
BUY A FRUIT BOWL
You know that hitting the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruits and veggies can make it easier to slim down, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accomplish. A simple way to make it happen? Buy a fruit bowl. You’re more likely to grab fruits and veggies over less healthy options if they’re ready to eat and in plain site. Katie Cavuto MS, RD, the dietitian for the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers, suggests keeping washed and prepared family-friendly veggies like cucumbers, peppers, sugar snap peas and carrots in the front of the fridge so they aren’t overlooked. Bananas, apples, pears and oranges fare well as sweet snacks and should be kept on the counter where everyone can see them.
“Repetition builds rhythm. Be boring. Most successful losers have just a couple of go-to breakfasts or snacks, says registered dietitian Lauren Slayton. “Make an effort to pinpoint these for yourself. ‘Hmm, I’m starving what should I have?’ doesn’t often end well. You can change the rotation every few weeks, but pre-set meals or workouts on certain days will help tremendously.” Check out these 50 Best Breakfast Foods for Weight Loss—Ranked for some inspriation!
BEWARE OF HEALTH HALOS
Do you consider products from specialty supermarkets to be healthier than those from other grocery stores? Or do you think that dishes from organic restaurants are all waistline friendly? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you could be derailing your weight loss efforts. When people guess the number of calories in a sandwich coming from a “healthy” restaurant, they estimate that it has, on average, 35 percent fewer calories than they do when it comes from an “unhealthy” restaurant, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. Remember that the next time you reach for that package of Whole Foods’ Organic Fruit & Nut Granola. One cup of this “healthy” product contains almost 500 calories. Yikes! To stay on track at the grocery store, check out these 50 Best Supermarket Shopping Tips Ever.
EAT THE YOLK
This year’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee dropped their longstanding recommendation that we should limit dietary cholesterol. Decades of research have shown that it has little effect on blood cholesterol levels, and the government’s outdated recommendations have done little more than send scrambled messages about the pros and cons of eating eggs and shrimp. So go ahead and scramble up an omelet—with the yolk—it’s not going to hurt you. In fact, eating the entire egg is beneficial to your metabolism. The yolk contains many metabolism-stoking nutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and — most significantly — choline, a powerful compound that attacks the gene mechanism that triggers your body to store fat around your liver. To learn more about the flat-belly benefits of eggs, check out these What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Eggs.
USE THE HALF-PLATE RULE
Fill at least half of your lunch and dinner plate with vegetables. Vegetables are nutrient-dense, high in satiating fiber, and low in calories, making then ideal weight loss tools, says registered dietitian Danielle Omar. “By eating the veggie half of your plate before anything else, you will take the edge off your hunger, eat less overall calories, and still feel full and satisfied. Keep eating this way and the pounds will painlessly melt away.” For more stupid-easy weight loss hacks, check out these
55 Best-Ever Ways to Boost Your Metabolism!
MAKE DINNER A BUFFET
When you place heaping bowls of food on the table, over-eating is inevitable. Don’t believe it? A study in the journal Obesity found that when food is served family-style, people consume 35 percent more over the course of their meal. Instead, keep food on the stove or counter and spoon it out onto plates from there. When going back for seconds requires leaving the table, people tend consider their hunger levels more carefully. And serving healthier dishes can, of course, help too. These 20 Best-Ever Recipes for Zero Belly are all weight loss-friendly options we love.
BLEND VEGGIES INTO YOUR OATS
Oatmeal made a splash in a big way in 2015—especially overnight oats. But there’s one healthy oatmeal trend that was better than all the rest: Zoats! The funny sounding name actually describes a very straightforward (but delicious) dish made from shredded fiber-filled zucchini, oatmeal, milk, spices and nutrient-packed add-ins like nuts and fruit. We love how the dish makes it easy to add veggies to your morning meal—somewhere it’s rarely found. Another win: Adding zucchini to your oatmeal adds bulk to your breakfast bowl without the need for extra cereal, ultimately saving you calories.
HIDE YOUR VICES
Out of sight, out of mouth? Simply reorganizing your pantry’s “top hits” could translate into serious calorie savings. A study published in the Journal of Marketing found that people are more likely to overeat small treats from transparent packages than from opaque ones. For this reason, many nutritionists we work with suggest keeping indulgent foods in the pantry on a high shelf so you’re less apt to mindlessly grab them.
RISE & SHINE
Rise and shine, sleeping beauty! You’re already a stunner–you don’t need extra beauty sleep–and the extra hours can make it difficult to get rid of that fat belly. According to researchers, late sleepers—those who wake up around 10:45 a.m.—consume 248 more calories a day, half as many fruits and vegetables and twice the amount fast food than those who set their alarm earlier. If these findings sound troubling but you’re so not a morning person, set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier each day until you’re getting out of bed at a more reasonable hour.
DON’T ORDER THE SALMON
We’ve all been told that salmon, packed with heart-healthy omega-3s and belly-flattening protein, is a great way to get strong, lean and healthy. That’s why you’d better sit down before you read the next sentence. Salmon makes you fat. Farmed salmon, that is, which is what winds up on most of our plates. In fact, more than 90 percent of the fresh salmon eaten in this country comes from giant fish farms, not from nature. And unlike the proteins and fats that truly do help us lose weight, farmed salmon can have the opposite effect on your waistlines.To zap away those pesky love handles, go wild, everytime!
LET IN THE COLD
Simply blasting the air conditioner or turning down the heat in winter may help attack belly fat while we sleep, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes. How? Colder temperatures subtly enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat—fat keeps you warm by helping you burn through the fat stored in your belly. Participants spent a few weeks sleeping in bedrooms with varying
temperatures: a neutral 75 degrees, a cool 66 degrees, and a balmy 81 degrees. After four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, the subjects had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat. (And yes, that means they lost belly fat.)
EAT MORE OFTEN
Are frequent meals your ticket to a better body? Experts say yes! In a recent Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study of 2,385 adults, research participants who ate less than four times a day consumed more calories and had a higher BMI than those who sat down to eat at least six times. The scientists noticed that those who ate fewer meals consumed most of their calories at night and were more apt to drink alcohol with their meals while their ever-grazing counterparts tended to eat healthier, less calorically-dense foods. To keep the weight flying off your frame, nosh on these high protein snacks between meals.
DON’T SLEEP WITH THE TV ON
Exposure to light at night doesn’t just interrupt your chances of a great night’s sleep, it may also result in weight gain, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. As crazy as it may seem, study subjects who slept in the darkest rooms were 21 percent less likely to be obese than those sleeping in the lightest rooms. The takeaway here is a simple one: Turn off the TV and toss your nightlight.
TAP INTO YOUR EMOTIONS
In a 2015 Orlando Health survey of more than a thousand respondents, the majority cited their inability to stay consistent with a diet or exercise plan as their primary barriers to weight loss success. Sounds normal, but here’s the kicker: Only 1 in 10 of the survey respondents noted their psychological well-being as part of the equation—and it’s likely why nearly two out of three people who lose five percent of their total weight gain it all back. Yikes! To unlock the door to weight loss success and stop emotional eating, try keeping a journal that tracks your food choices and current mood. Then look for unhealthy patterns, which can help you recognize specific emotional connections you have with food. Once you’re more aware of these connections, it will be easier to adopt healthier eating patterns. Do you always reach for something sugary when you’re stressed or devour fries when you’re sad? Instead, try more productive ways to cope, like going for a quick 5-minute walk or texting a friend.
SPREAD OUT YOUR PROTEIN
Diet experts say we need about one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight to aid muscle growth and weight loss, so if that’s what you’re eating each day, you’re bound to get the body of your dreams, right? Unfortunately, there’s more to it than that. According to University of Texas researchers, when you consume your protein can make or break how much lean muscle mass you’re able to pack on. If you’re like most Americans, you likely consume little to no protein for breakfast, a bit of protein at lunch and the bulk of your daily intake during dinner—which the researchers discovered isn’t ideal for muscle synthesis. Luckily, fitness-minded friends, the fix is a simple one: Just distribute your protein intake evenly throughout the day. The scientists found that those who followed this simple trick had 25 percent higher protein synthesis than those who ate the majority of the nutrient after the sun went down. To hit the mark and start leaning out some vegan protein powder into your morning oats, spread some hummus on your sandwich at lunch and try one of these 35 Best-Ever Chicken Recipes for Weight Loss!
DELAY YOUR DRINK
Dining out can kill your hard earned weight loss wins—and so can boozing too hard. To stay on track with your better-body goals, kill two birds with one stone by ordering your glass of wine or cocktail near the end of your meal. That way, the sweetness can go with dinner, but also act as a low-cal dessert.
MAKE A LIST
Think writing a grocery list before heading to the store is a waste of time? Think again! As it turns out, it may be the key to finally losing weight. This year, a Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior study of more than more than 1,300 people discovered that shoppers who regularly made grocery lists also purchased healthier foods and had lower BMIs than those who didn’t put pen to paper before heading to the store. Researchers hypothesize that shopping lists keep us organized, which in turn helps us fend off diet-derailing impulse buys (hello, snack aisle). Before heading to the store to stock up, spend a few minutes taking an inventory of your kitchen and then write a list. Be sure to organize it by category so you’re not zigzagging all over the place; that ups the odds you’ll walk by—and purchase—tempting treats that could derail your weight loss success.
SCHEDULE A WORKOUT DATE
A recent JAMA Internal Medicine study of nearly 4,000 couples found that people are more likely to stick to healthy habits like exercise when they team up with their partner. Invite your honey to go on a Saturday morning run and then hit the showers together—knowing you have something steamy to look forward to afterward should serve as some additional motivation. And speaking of getting frisky, be sure to check out these 30 Best Proteins for Your Penis.
CLEANSE YOUR PALATE
Are you portion control issues making it hard for you to shrink your man boobs? Stop yourself from going back for seconds by picking up a box of mints. People often yearn for that second cookie or that second helping of mac and cheese because the taste of the first is still lingering. To cleanse your palate, keep mints or breath strips on hand and pop them when it’s time to quit noshing. Not only will this rid the alluring taste from your tongue, it will also keep your mouth busy and act as a distraction. Drinking water or tea can also be helpful tactics for the same reason.
GO FOR FULL-FAT
A new report from the Credit Suisse Research Institute found that more and more of us are choosing whole-fat foods over skim, lite, fat-free or other modern monikers of leanness. And while many health organizations like the American Heart Association still want us to cut down on fat—particularly saturated fat—this full-fat trend may be a healthy rebellion against those decades-old credos, according to recent studies. In fact, people who eat a lot of high-fat dairy products actually have the lowest incidence of diabetes, according to a 2015 study of 26,930 people in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Those who ate a lot of low-fat dairy products, on the other hand, had the highest incidence. So what’s the best way to join the full-fat revolution? Eat This, Not That! polled some of the country’s top nutrition experts and asked for their favorite full-fat fat burners. Check out what they said in our exclusive report The 20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Weight Loss.
…AND ELIMINATE EMPTY CARBS
And speaking of eating full-fat fare, a cutting-edge review published this year in PLOS One discovered that when to comes to reducing cardiovascular risk and promoting rapid weight loss, low-carb diets are superior to low-fat diets. Can’t imagine fully committing to a low-carb lifestyle? Start by eliminating empty sources of carbs from your diet like white bread, cookies and sugary drinks. You’ll be able to reap some of the health benefits without fully committing to the cause.
GO TO BED EARLY
Looking for the easiest possible way to lose weight? Grab your pjs early and log some extra Zzz’s! According to researchers, getting eight and a half hours of shut-eye each night can drop cravings for junk food a whopping 62 percent and decrease overall appetite by 14 percent! Mayo Clinic researchers note similar findings: In their study, adults who slept an hour and twenty minutes less than a control group consumed an average of 549 additional calories daily. That’s more calories than you’ll find in a Big Mac!
OPEN THE BLINDS
Instead of dragging yourself through the dark to the coffee pot when your alarm goes off, open all the blinds! Studies show that people who get direct exposure to sunlight in the mornings between 8 am and noon reduce their risk of weight gain, regardless of how much they eat. Researchers think it’s because the morning sun helps to synchronize your metabolism so you burn fat more efficiently. For more easy ways to burn more calories, check out these 55 Best-Ever Ways to Boost Your Metabolism.
USE SELF CHECK OUT
Is your obsession with Reese’s and Pringles derailing your weight loss efforts? It might be if you’re not using the self-checkout kiosks at the grocery store. Let us explain: According to a study by IHL Consulting Group, impulse purchases dipped 32.1 percent for women—and 16.7 percent for men—when they were the ones to scan their items and swipe their credit card. Although not all impulse buys are bad for your belly, a whopping 80 percent of candy and 61 percent of salty-snack purchases are unplanned.
PUSH BACK BREAKFAST
Instead of eating breakfast at home, eat at your desk a few hours later than you typically do. Pushing back your first meal of the day naturally reduces your “eating window”—the number of hours you spend each day grazing. Why’s that beneficial? Sticking to a smaller eating window may help you lose weight, even if you eat more food throughout the day, a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found. To come to this finding, researchers put groups of mice on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 100 days. Half of them were allowed to nibble throughout the night and day on a healthy, controlled diet while the others only had access to food for eight hours–but could eat whatever they wanted. Oddly enough, the fasting mice stayed lean while the mice who noshed ‘round the clock became obese—even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories! For more amazing weight loss insight, check out these 25 Best Foods for a Toned Body.
SWAP YOUR NOODLE
The average American consumes 20 pounds of pasta each year—and most of it is the refined white stuff. What’s the trouble with that? This type of noodle is almost completely void of fiber and protein, two vital nutrients for weight loss. To boost the belly-filling fiber and hunger-busting protein in your meal, opt for a bean-based noodle like Banza Chickpea Shells (2 oz, 190 calories, 8 g fiber, 14 g protein) or Explore Asian Black Bean Low-Carb Pasta (2 oz 180 calories, 12 g fiber, 25 g protein). Alternatively, whip up a batch of zoodles, or spiralized veggie noodles with the help of these Three Exclusive Spiralizer Recipes.
ADD COCONUT OIL TO RICE
Good news carb lovers, this year scientists discovered an easy way to slim down any bowl of rice by as much as 60 percent! The best part is, you don’t need a fancy lab or a Ph.D. to make the slimmed-down dish. Here’s how to whip it up: Add a teaspoon of coconut oil and a half cup of non-fortified white rice to a pot of boiling water. Cook it for about 40 minutes, stick it in the refrigerator for 12 hours and enjoy the rice either cold or reheated. How does such a simple cooking hack—that adds fat, no less—slash calories? When the rice begins to cool, its glucose molecules form tight bonds called resistant starch. This type of starch, as the name implies, is resistant to digestion, meaning the body is not able to absorb as many calories or as much of the glucose (a nutrient that’s stored as fat if it’s not burned off) from each molecule. While you may be hesitant to add the oft-vilified oil to your pot, it actually plays an integral role in the process. As the rice cooks, the fat molecules find their way into the rice and act as an additional digestion barrier. Best of all, the research team found that reheating the rice didn’t change the levels of resistant starch (as it does with pasta and potatoes), so this calorie-slashing cooking hack is safe for leftovers, too.
DINE WITH A GUY
Want to stay on track with your diet while dining out? Leave your lady at home, guys. Strange but true: When men dine with women, they eat up to 93 percent more, according to researchers at Cornell University. To come to this discovery the scientists observed the eating habits of 133 adults who were recruited at an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet. “These findings suggest that men tend to overeat to show off,” said lead author of the study Kevin Kniffin. “Instead of a feat of strength, it’s a feat of eating.” Women, on the other hand, ate the same amount food no matter who they broke bread with.
GET A WORKOUT BUDDY
People exercise for an average of 34 minutes longer with a friend than they do when they hit the gym solo, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. And the longer you sweat, the more quickly you’ll reach your goals! Looking for a healthy way to refuel after your weight room session? Check out these easy recipes for delicious protein shakes.
2015 was the year of extra protein-packed everything—breads, nut butter, milk, you name it. While you don’t need to load up on weird frankenfoods to amp up your intake of the nutrient, if you’re trying to drop a few pounds it’s wise to keep some high protein snacks on hand so you don’t eat something high-calorie everytime hunger strikes. Super simple yet extremely effective.
EAT MORE FIBER
Instead of depriving yourself of all your favorite indulgences or meticulously counting calories to drop a size, simply consume at least 30 grams of fiber daily. This simple, no-fuss method fuels weight loss and improves health just as effectively as more complex diet approaches, University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers discovered this year. “Very few people reach the goals that are recommended,” said lead study author Yunsheng Ma, M.D., Ph.D., adding, “Telling people to reduce this or reduce that is just too hard to do.” However, asking people to focus on eating more of a certain nutrient—rather than eliminating things from their diet–can help people reach their weight loss goals, he explains. Interested in giving the diet strategy a try? Check out these 11 Best High-Fiber Foods for Weight Loss and start slimming down!
HAVE A MIDNIGHT SNACK
We know we already told you to reduce your eating window, but that doesn’t change the fact that you should snack on something before bed if you happen to get hungry. In fact, going to bed with a rumbling stomach can 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 boosts metabolism and aid weight loss, registered dietitian Cassie Bjork explained earlier this year. “The right snack can help keep blood sugars 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.”
SWAP COOKING OILS FOR COCONUT OIL
What smells like an exotic vacation and can shrink your waist faster than your favorite Zumba class? You got it: coconut oil. A study of 30 men in the journal Pharmacology found that just 2 tablespoons per day reduced waist circumference by an average of 1.1 inches over the course of a month. What makes coconut oil superior to other fats is its medium chain triglycerides. Unlike the long-chain fatty acids found in animal sources of saturated fat, coconut oil doesn’t seem to raise your cholesterol and is more likely to be burned as energy than stored as blubber. At roughly 117 calories per tablespoon, it’s a near identical caloric swap for olive oil. Plus, its high smoke point makes coconut oil great for just about every dish, from eggs to stir-frys. And for more fat-melting dinners—and easy, automatic weight loss—don’t miss the all-new Zero Belly Cookbook!
SNUGGLE UP WITH YOUR SWEETIE
Not like you needed another reason to fall in love, snuggle up with your sweetie, kiss or get it on, but earlier this year, Harvard Medical School researchers said that all of those things can aid weight loss. How? Lovey-dovey feelings cause levels of the hormone oxytocin to increase, which in turn, decreases appetite. And for even more weight loss hacks, check out these 20 Weight Loss Tricks You Haven’t Tried.
HEALTHIFY YOUR KITCHEN
Though you may think that strong willpower is a necessary trait to overcome down-time grazing, experts say that your success is more dependent on your food environment than anything else. “If you happen to get bored and there is nothing but healthy food available in your house, you likely won’t choose to eat it unless you’re actually hungry,” says Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN of Neily on Nutrition. Most people don’t have the urge to eat celery sticks because they have nothing else going on. Cookies, however, are a different story. Heather Mangieri, RDN agrees, adding, “You can’t eat what’s not there, so make sure when you open the pantry you aren’t tempted with the sugary, salty, fatty foods that most people choose when eating ‘just to eat.’ Instead, stock your refrigerator with fresh vegetable slices and healthy whole foods that will be easier to pass on if you’re not really hungry.”
DIM THE LIGHTS
Have trouble eating reasonable-sized portions? Try dimming the lights and cueing up some soft music. According to a study published in Psychological Reports, soft lighting and music leads noshers to eat less and enjoy their food more. That’s what we call a win-win. Looking for the perfect date night dish? Check out these 35 Healthy Crock Pot Recipes.
REARRANGE YOUR PLATE
Most people think of their protein or meat, as their meal’s main event, but it’s time to change the way you think. “Place flavorful vegetables front and center on lunch and dinner plates, accompanied by sides of protein and whole grains,” registered dietitian Cheryl Forberg said earlier this year. By simply rearranging your plate you’ll automatically consume fewer calories and take in more health-protective vitamins and nutrients.
TAKE OUT YOUR IPHONE
Sure, you eat produce, proteins and whole grains but, according to British Journal of Nutrition findings, when you think about the quality of your diet, you’re likely forgetting about all the unhealthy food that also finds its way to your mouth, too. People tend to exaggerate the good foods they eat and underestimate the bad stuff, says study author, Kentaro Murakami, Ph.D. of Japan’s University of Shiga Prefecture. While it’s not necessarily intentional, it’s likely one of the reasons why it’s so hard for people to lose weight. For example, you might grab a handful of candy at a co-worker’s desk or a sample at the mall and then forget about it altogether. Our advice: To get a more accurate overview of your diet, keep a detailed food journal on your phone—yes, that means you should include that food court sample, too. Whether you snap photos or keep a written log is totally up to you—both tactics will work. The more food records dieters kept over the course of 30 months, the more weight they lost, a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found.
SCORE MORE D’S AND C’S
How would you like to take all the great weight-loss results you’ve just read about—and double them? That’s what happens when you supplement your diet with a combination of vitamin D and calcium, according to a recent Nutrition Journal study. Just four weeks into the 12-week experiment, subjects who had taken these two nutrients—found in abundance in some greek yogurt—lost two times more fat than the other group!
INDULGE IN DARK CHOCOLATE
It’s every chocoholic’s dream: Research now shows that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate can reduce overall body fat and shrink the waist. A study among women with normal weight obesity (skinny fat syndrome) who ate a Mediterranean diet that included two servings of dark chocolate each day showed a significant reduction in waist size than when on a cocoa-free meal plan. Researchers say it has to do with the flavonoids, heart-healthy compounds in chocolate that have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Just be sure you’re reaching for a bar with at least 70 percent cacao, and stay away from the “alkalized” stuff, which has a significantly reduced flavonoid content.
Recent research published in the journal PLOS ONE found that getting direct sunlight exposure between the hours of 8:00 am and noon reduced your risk of weight gain regardless of activity level, caloric intake, or even age. Researchers believe that the sunlight synchronizes your metabolism and undercuts your fat-storage genes.
STOP THE SHAME GAME
“Body shame” was a big issue in 2015, with videos from Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Carroway Robertson and “Dear Fat People”’s Nicole Arbour going viral. And it turns out, a lot of us are bullying ourselves. Google “body shame” and you get 22 million results. Try “guilty after eating” and you get 19 million. And enter “bad food day” and up comes 358 million links! That’s 300 million more than Leonardo DiCaprio! In her upcoming book The Naughty Diet, author Melissa Milne—whose own essay, “I Eat Slim-Shamers for Breakfast” also went viral this year—interviewed thousands of women about the subject and they all said the same thing: “They were sick and tired of feeling bad while trying to be good,” she writes in The Naughty Diet. “And here’s the secret of all secrets: You don’t feel bad about yourself when you get fat. You get fat when you feel bad about yourself.”
KNOW THE SKINNY TRUTH
“Thank you, Kim Kardashian, for exposing the ‘skinny’ truth—guys like a girl with curves!,” says Maria Menounos, author of 2015’s best-seller The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness. “As my husband Kev always says, having curves is what makes us girls. He fell for me when I was forty pounds heavier and often says that he misses those extra pounds. My former Extra co-host, Mario Lopez, concurs that girls with curves catch his eye more often, too. I’m sure there are guys who dig skinny girls, but for the most part the ‘waif look’ is a creation of the media—not real men and women.”
Eat This, Not That! Tip: “I used to weigh about 40 pounds more than I do today, and I would try to stick to diets and fall off them all the time, the way most of us do,” Menounos tells Eat This, Not That! “Then I developed the plan that I outline in The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness. It’s based on a 75/25 idea: 75 percent of the foods you eat should be healthy and really good for you. And 25 percent can be splurges. You have to earn your cupcake!”
GET INSANELY INTO YOUR FOOD
Bad diet decisions are often made when you’re starving and have nothing healthy to eat in your kitchen. Ward off diet-derailing decisions by stocking up on frozen, deveined shrimp—one of Insanity trainer Shaun T’s go-to proteins. Once you throw it on the stove, it’s ready to eat in just a minute or two, and it’s a great source of lean, low-cal protein. Organic, low-sodium turkey breasts, pre-grilled chicken and hard-boiled eggs are also smart meal-starters to keep on hand. And click here for 25 Weight-Loss Secrets from Shaun T!