Until now, you would actually have to read words if you wanted to know why sugar was bad for you or if you could still drink wine on a diet. Rolling eyes emoji. We don't have time for that. So until scientists invent an information chip we can insert into our human hard drives to automatically download knowledge, we'll stick with the next easiest way to absorb information—through simple smiley faces and tiny pictures. And for those of you not quite up to speed with the meaning of this or that emoji, we've also provided some good old English letters to put it all in context. And when you're done, continue the emoji fun with our 12 Amazing, Healthy Emoji Recipes—they're simple, delicious, and will keep you slim.
What's an Easy Way to Eat Less?
The saying is true: we certainly eat with our eyes. Research has shown that the bigger your plate, the bigger your meal. Why? Eating off larger plates can make servings appear smaller, which may trick your brain into thinking it's consuming fewer calories, and thus lead to overeating. In fact, a study found that campers who were given larger bowls served themselves and consumed 16 percent more cereal than those given smaller bowls. Shrinking your dinner plates is one of our 50 Best-Ever Weight-Loss Tips that can help you eat more reasonable portions, which can help the pounds fly off your frame!
I Stopped Losing Weight. What Am I Doing Wrong?
If the number on the scale won't go any lower, look to "shuffle" your workouts. When you only do one workout routine, your muscles become familiar with these same exercises. As a result, your body adapts and learns to perform these workouts using fewer calories, which could make your routine ineffective for weight loss. Instead, switch up your cardio activity—running, swimming, or indoor cycling are all great options—regularly. Or stick to one activity, but incorporate interval training and high-intensity exercises so you can finally overcome your weight-loss plateau.
How Can I Stop Indulging in Junk Food?
If you want to get those cookies out of your mouth, you first have to get them out of your sight! Keeping your vices visible on kitchen counters or in prime storage space is an easy way to set yourself up for failure. Instead, hide your stash in opaque containers or in the back of your cabinet. When tech-giant Google placed M&Ms in opaque containers—as opposed to glass ones—and gave healthier snacks more prominent shelf space in their offices, the company was able to curb candy consumption by 3.1 million calories in just seven weeks!
How Can I Diet Without Constantly Feeling Ravenous?
This might surprise you: Feeling full doesn't just depend on the food you eat; it also depends on how you take care of your body, which includes getting the proper amount of shut-eye. When you don't get enough quality sleep, your body struggles to regulate its hunger hormones, increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreasing the satiety hormone leptin—resulting in unignorable hunger pangs. Besides out-of-whack hormones, University of Chicago researchers found that sleep deprivation also increases your body's levels of endocannabinoids. (And yes, these are the same chemicals that cause "munchies" after smoking cannabis.) Because endocannabinoids are responsible for the desire to indulge in something sweet, salty, or fatty, your sleep-deprived self may continue to crave foods—even when you aren't physically hungry.
I Lost 5 Pounds! What Can I Do to Reward Myself?
Congratulations! Shedding weight is certainly cause for celebration. But that doesn't mean your rewards should include big portions of your favorite, fat- and sugar-laden treats—that's just a recipe for gaining back the weight you just lost. Instead, make an effort to reward yourself in non-food ways, like getting a manicure, seeing a play, or splurging on a fitness class.
Diets May Be About Eating Less, but is There Anything I Should Eat More Of?
Meat and fish are two high-protein foods that should be on every dieter's weight loss menu. Consuming enough protein throughout your slim-down is important for two reasons. For starters, this macronutrient digests slowly, helping contribute to its satiating properties which stave off overeating. It also helps maintain lean muscle mass and keep your metabolism running, helping to torch fat in the process. (Plus the body burns more calories breaking down protein compared to carbs and fat.)
Why is Sugar So Bad for You?
Not only does sugar contribute to weight gain, but the sweet ingredient also plays a role in accelerating the aging process—both inside and out. "When simple sugar is consumed in excess, the sugar molecules combine with proteins in the body and form compounds known as advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) that can damage the skin's collagen. This, in turn, has an aging effect," explains Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LDN, a Nashville-based nutritionist. This doesn't just affect your skin's appearance, AGEs cause general inflammation and free radicals, which have been implicated in age-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and Alzheimer's disease.
I'm Getting Bored of My Workouts. How Can I Change Things Up?
If you spend your elliptical or cycling time leisurely flipping through a magazine, it's no wonder you're getting bored. While we live in an era of multitasking, your cardio session will be more effective if you focus on the workout—not reading about what Kim Kardashian wore to dinner last night. Instead, put your headphones in and turn up the volume. According to various studies, listening to fast-paced, motivational music that includes phrases like "I believe," "push it," or "work it" can help you move faster and subconsciously motivate you to keep working hard, which can maximize your weight loss progress—it's just one of the 30 Weight Loss Tricks You Haven't Tried.
How Can I Lose Weight on a Budget?
One of the easiest ways to trim down may actually save you money! A striking study published in the journal Diabetes suggested that simply turning down the heat in your home may help you attack belly fat while we sleep. Researchers speculate that colder temperatures can subtly enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat—a type of fat that keeps you warm by helping you burn the fat stored in your belly.
Since Soda is Bad for Me, What Can I Drink Instead?
Start your day by whipping up a bottle of detox water, made with citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, limes, or grapefruit. These fruits contain an antioxidant known as d-limonene in their peels. This powerful compound stimulates liver enzymes to help flush fat-accumulating toxins from the body and gives sluggish bowels a kick. Plus, keeping your body hydrated will ensure your metabolism is running properly, giving you the energy to take on the day the natural way.
Is All Fat Bad?
Not at all! There are many types of healthy fats. But one of the best for your health is a group of polyunsaturated fats known as omega-3s, which can be found in grass-fed beef and dairy, fish, nuts, and seeds. These fats help fight off inflammation that causes weight gain, skin issues, and cellular damage, and research has even shown they can offset the brain-damaging effects of sugar and protect your heart!
How Can I Drink Alcohol and Still Lose Weight?
Not everyone can stay as trim as Sex and The City's Carrie Bradshaw with the amount of alcohol she downs. That's because, in real life, cocktails have calories—especially mixed drinks that are full of added sugars like frozen margaritas. If you're looking to keep your flat belly intact, opt for these healthy alcoholic drinks that are typically just alcohol, a hint of lime or lemon, and some sparkling water or ginger.
What Can I Eat Before Bed to Help Me Sleep Better?
Because they're an excellent source of two muscle-relaxing minerals, potassium and magnesium, bananas can help put your body into a sleepy state. In fact, a study in the Journal of Research and Medical Sciences found that ingesting magnesium before bed had a positive effect on the quality of sleep in adults with insomnia by extending the time they spent sleeping and making it easier to wake up. Bananas also contain the amino acid, tryptophan, which is a precursor to the calming and sleep-regulating hormones serotonin and melatonin.
What's the Best Sweetener?
If you couldn't guess, that leaf is from a maple tree! In our ranking of Every Popular Added Sweetener, maple syrup won top honors for its relatively low glycemic index, low levels of liver-burdening fructose, and bonus content of minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
What's the Easiest Way I Can Start Losing Weight?
No, that's not pea soup, it's green tea! Swapping your coffee for a freshly brewed cup of green tea can save you hundreds of calories every morning from all that sugar and cream added to specialty coffee drinks. Not only will the calorie cut help you lose weight, but this brew—and the cornerstone of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse—is full of belly-fat-fighting catechins, antioxidant compounds which blast adipose tissue by revving up your metabolism, increasing the release of stored fat from fat cells, and speeding up your liver's fat-burning capacity. In a recent study, participants who combined a daily habit of four cups of green tea with a 25-minute sweat session lost two more pounds than exercisers who didn't drink the belly-melting elixir.
What Can I Have as a Treat on My Diet?
We saw that smirk. Yes, chocolate can be a part of a healthy diet—but only the dark stuff. Dark chocolate is full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants known as flavanoids, which an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study discovered can help prevent and repair the cellular damage caused by inflammation. Plus, dark chocolate contains pure cocoa butter, a source of digestion-slowing stearic acid, a healthy saturated fat. Because your body takes more time to digest dark chocolate, it can stave off hunger, which plays a huge role in helping you lose weight. Make sure your dark chocolate is minimally processed and contains 70% cacao or higher, as these will have the highest levels of antioxidants.
I Eat a Lot, So Why Do I Always Feel Hungry?
You're eating the wrong foods! These junky foods are all sources of nutritionally-deficient refined carbs. Lacking all the satiating fiber of their original form, simple carbs burn up quickly in your body, spiking your blood sugar and causing it to crash. It's low glucose levels that trigger your hunger hormones, and leave you constantly craving more carbs! It's just one of the 20 Reasons Why You're Always Hungry.
Can I Eat Meat on a Diet?
Yes! Meat is a great source of muscle-building protein. But when you're out shopping, be sure to pick up cuts from organic, grass-fed beef—not the conventional corn-fed beef. Cows evolved to eat grass, so when they're fed corn and grains in feedlots, they can become very sick. As a result, they're loaded up with antibiotics, which can be passed to the consumer and cause inflammation and antibiotic resistance. On the other hand, organic grass-fed cattle are free of antibiotics and have higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and two to five times more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than their conventional counterparts. CLA is a group of fatty acids which have been found to boost your immune and inflammatory systems, improve blood sugar regulation, reduce body fat, and maintain lean body mass.
What's an Easy Way to Stick to My Diet?
You know you make an effort to eat healthy, but according to British Journal of Nutrition findings, you might be forgetting about all the unhealthy foods that find their way to your mouth. The study author, Dr. Kentaro Murakami explains that people tend to exaggerate the good foods they eat and underestimate the bad stuff—like that cupcake you nabbed during your coworker's birthday party. To get an accurate reading of your diet, keep a food journal either on paper or on your phone. Feel free to snap a photo or write it down—both tactics will work. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the more records dieters kept over the course of 30 months, the more weight they were able to lose.
Is Fresh Fruit Healthier Than Frozen?
Surprisingly not! Frozen fruits are usually chilled at their peak of ripeness, which can preserve their fat-fighting nutrients. On the other hand, "fresh" fruits may take weeks to make it from the farm to your shopping cart. What's more, the actual process of freezing creates ice crystals, which puncture cell walls and may make more antioxidants available to us! Definitely go ahead and use frozen fruit in your next smoothie.