Though it’s hardly realistic to keep people from moving north, there’s evidence to suggest that those living in northern latitudes may need to be a bit more careful about their gut health than the rest of us. A study in the journal Biology Letters found that living in northern latitudes encourages the growth of Firmicutes microbes, which have been linked to weight gain while decreasing the number of microbes linked with slim body types called Bacteroidetes. Generally speaking, the research showed that the number of Firmicutes increases with latitude and the number of Bacteroidetes decreases with latitude. To help ensure a healthy gut no matter where you reside, make sure your diet includes fermented and probiotic-rich foods, both of which encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
I have a few tricky questions to make, but first a disclaimer of sorts: I am 5’10” and weigh 138 pounds, which means: I’m slim, verging on skinny. I have no interest whatsoever in losing weight. I only read article this because I find your articles funny, clear, and informative. And I’ve always thought that the best way to lose wait is simply eat less. (That’s what I did the only time in my life I was slightly overweight, ten years ago.) That being said…
3. Be realistic about which habits need to go. "When I was heavy, I'd eat French fries every single day, plus carbs at almost every meal—like a sandwich for lunch or bread with pasta for dinner. A diet so heavy in fried food and carbs just isn't conducive to weight loss. To lose the weight, I went from three large meals a day to six small meals, mostly made of fresh vegetable salads with lean meats and nuts. And no more bread!"

While ketchup and BBQ sauce are frequently used to help flavor beef, chicken, and the like, the tasty condiments are no friend to your waistline. Ketchup, for example, typically contains around 19 calories and 4 grams of belly-bloating sugar per tablespoon, and BBQ sauce is just as unhealthy, if not worse. To avoid consuming empty calories and unhealthy added sugar, have condiments such as mustard and sauerkraut on hand. While mustard has been linked to revving your metabolism, fermented sauerkraut will help balance the bacteria in your gut.
The diets in Group 2 don’t do this. What they do instead is ignore calories while placing various rules and restrictions on the way that you eat (e.g. special foods/food groups you can eat, special foods/food groups you must avoid, special times you can eat, special times you must avoid eating, special combinations of foods must eat or avoid, and on and on and on), thus indirectly causing you to eat less… thus indirectly causing a deficit to exist.
"When you have a deep and emotional 'why' — mine was my daughter — you have something much stronger than willpower: You have commitment," he said. "My daughter, Bekah, was getting into CrossFit and mud runs, and I was getting less and less fit (I was around 40% body fat and getting fatter). I realized I was going to miss out if I didn't do something, plus, I didn't want to watch her from the sidelines — I wanted to be in it with her."
You may have convinced yourself that you can overhaul your diet and start exercising every single day, but that's kind of like hopping on a plane to Antarctica with no itinerary. "You need a plan," says John Norcross, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Scranton, who has studied New Year's resolutions. "What, specifically, are you going to do differently?" Experts recommend doing a brain dump of all the changes you want to make, then starting with one tiny, doable tweak—packing a healthy lunch or walking 20 minutes a day. Once that's a comfortable part of your routine, put a bold checkmark on your list, then add another small change. Sure, baby steps take longer, but they work: a recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicinefound that people who made one small change a week lost nearly twice as much weight as those who followed broader "eat less, move more" guidelines. And imagine how gratifying it will feel to see those checkmarks add up as the pounds fall off.

Step far away from the TV — particularly during commercials. All the ads for high-calorie foods and snacks might not seem like they’re doing any harm, but researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute found that they can activate your brain, making you crave the sweet or fatty foods you see on your screen. And, those signals could end up making you put unhealthy foods on your own plate.
The next time you eat bread, swap the butter for olive oil. A 2003 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found those who made the switch ate 23 percent less bread — and less calories — overall. So if you’re going eat bread during your next restaurant outing, this little hack can help you lose some weight. But don’t use this as an excuse to go overboard. Tempting, we know.

This one may be surprising, considering the popular concept of eating five or six mini-meals throughout the day. But according to scientists who study the hunger hormones leptin and gherlin, eating too often can mess with your body's natural signals. Plus, if you are constantly snacking, you might not realize how many calories you're really taking in and/or feel deprived from not having a "real meal."


Tell your family, friends, and coworkers about your weight-loss goals and ask for their support. Then check in on Facebook each time you go to the gym, and let your support system know each time you hit a goal. It'll make you feel accountable to someone aside from yourself. A 2014 study found that being accountable to someone else and receiving support is a great motivator for women who are trying to lose or maintain weight. Makes sense! 

Hypothyroidism, in which the pituitary gland produces too little of a key hormone that regulates metabolism, is one of the key reasons for weight gain that stubbornly refuses to reverse itself. And it's surprisingly common; endocrinologists say as many as one out of five adults over age 40 suffer from an under active thyroid. If you think this might be you, get a thyroid test. But beware: The first-line thyroid blood test, known as the TSH, is controversial and the cut-off for "normal" used by most labs may be too high. In 2003, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists began recommending that the cutoff for normal TSH should be 3.0 versus the older standard of 5.5, but this news hasn't reached many labs or doctors. So check your results yourself and if they're between 3 and 5 and your doctor notes them as normal, make sure she's aware of the new recommendation. Pay attention to other signs as well; if you feel tired and lethargic and notice that you're cold all the time, or have poor circulation in your hands and feet, or hair loss (including eyebrows and eyelashes), these are all symptoms of hypothyroidism. Not to mention uncharacteristic weight gain that stubbornly refuses to respond to typical weight loss strategies such as making dietary changes, increasing exercise, and trying the strategies outlined here. You can also ask for further testing; there a number of additional tests that many experts believe give more accurate readings of thyroid function. And lots of endocrinologists think having a TSH between 1 and 2 is ideal for maintaining normal body weight and function, so if your doctor isn't sympathetic, get a referral to an endocrinologist known to treat thyroid disorders aggressively.
It doesn’t take much convincing to wake up to a plate of over-easy eggs and whole-grain toast. In fact, munching in the morning—rather than saving your appetite for lunch time—can help you fight off weight gain for good. A study published in the journal Obesity Research discovered that out of participants who lost an average of 70 pounds and kept it off for six years, 78 percent ate breakfast daily.
Though many believe chewing gum keeps you from mindlessly eating, the minty treat has its own drawbacks that can lead to a bigger belly. Not only does chewing gum cause you to swallow tummy-bloating air, many gums also contain sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol that can cause bloat. If you have to have something to chomp on, go for an organic variety like Glee gum or Simply gum instead. They’re still low-cal, but they don’t use those sweeteners that’ll make you puff up.
I just want to say something about cardio for the few female readers. I think for smaller women, sometimes it’s really necessary, and not just 20 minutes twice a week. Not that anything you said is wrong, but if you’re a small woman, you might literally starve if the deficit comes from the diet entirely… I am just saying that because I see so many women “bragging” about not doing any cardio, and losing fat at a normal pace while eating a decent amount of food, which usually sets unrealistic expectations…
Make an effort to fill your fridge with healthy produce and proteins. And when the crisper is empty, make sure the freezer is stocked with frozen veggie mixes or berries (and don’t forget to grab the bags that are sans added sauces or sugar). You may be less apt to order out when you’ve got the makings of a healthy dinner right at home. More good news: Healthy food doesn’t always have to be pricey.
Ilana Muhlstein, M.S., R.D.N., is the co-creator of Beachbody’s 2B Mindset program. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Maryland, sits on the executive leadership team for the American Heart Association, and leads the Bruin Health Improvement Program at UCLA. Ilana acts as a nutrition consultant for several companies, including Beachbody and Whole Foods Market. At home, she is a wife and mother of two.
When the going gets tough (and it likely will from time to time along any weight loss journey), it’s important to realize that a host of non-food factors can make losing weight difficult, explains board-certified obesity medicine specialist Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and author of The Fat Loss Prescription. Hormones, genetics, and, ultimately, metabolism are three big ones, he says.
It’s every chocoholic’s dream: Research now shows that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate can reduce overall body fat and shrink your waist. A study among women with normal weight obesity (or 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.
I've learned that if I am around food for long enough, I will eat it. It doesn’t matter if I am hungry or if the food even looks good; I'll just start nibbling out of habit. When my husband would get home late from work, I would typically eat a dinner by myself and then eat more with him when he got home. I tried to sit with him at the table and not eat, but eventually, I would start picking at his plate. Over time, I realized that I needed to sit either across the table or on a nearby couch to avoid the thoughtless habit. He didn’t mind either way and moving away from the food actually allowed me to focus more on him.
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Take time to toss the junk. If you’ve got favorite not-so-great items you’d like to save as a treat, tuck them in the back of the pantry with healthier items, like whole grain pasta, rice, beans and nuts up front. We know that just because the bag of lentils are right in front doesn’t mean you’ll forget about the brownie mix, but it can help. Just seeing or smelling food can stimulate cravings, and increase hunger (especially for junk food).

Langer adds that when when people have good vs. bad, perfectionistic expectations for themselves, they tend to handle supposed misdeeds (like eating something they “shouldn’t”) one of two ways: languishing in their failure or compensating by restricting subsequent meals. People who do make sustainable weight loss work, however, can enjoy that piece of cake and then, in their next meal, eat just like they had before digging into that slice of cake.
Good news for carb lovers: Scientists discovered an easy way to slim down any bowl of rice by as much as 60 percent! And the best part is that you don’t need a fancy lab or a PhD. 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 that 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), deeming this calorie-slashing cooking hack safe for leftovers, too.
A recent JAMA Internal Medicine study of nearly 4,000 couples found that people are more likely to stick to healthy habits when they team up with a partner. Invite your honey to 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.
A recent JAMA Internal Medicine study of nearly 4,000 couples found that people are more likely to stick to healthy habits when they team up with a partner. Invite your honey to 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.
If you used a very low-energy diet to help you slim down (think shakes and soups), you’ll be widening that waist in no time if you jump right back into normal food. While no one’s saying you have to live off of this strict regimen forever, you do need to ease your way back into the good stuff. And by ease back into it, we mean you should take six weeks to slowly incorporate your favorite foods back onto your plate. Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that people who were eating normally within a week gained back twice as much weight in ten months as those who took six weeks to reintroduce regular food. So it must be true; slow and steady does win the race.
For even more impressive effects on body composition: aim for exercise forms which elicit a positive hormonal response. This means lifting really heavy things (strength training), or interval training. Such exercise increases levels of the sex hormone testosterone (primarily in men) as well as growth hormone. Not only do greater levels of these hormones increase your muscle mass, but they also decrease your visceral fat (belly fat) in the long term.
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