If the bathroom scale is an instrument of torture to you, it's time to make peace! Studies show that people who successfully lose weight and keep it off long-term weigh themselves regularly. Otherwise you're at risk of mindlessly regaining. In one study, a third of women didn't realize they'd put on five pounds over the course of six months—and a quarter had no clue they'd gained nine. To get over your scale dread, remind yourself that the number isn't an indictment of you as a person, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.N. "Think of it as objective data—like the temperature on an outdoor thermometer—that can give you helpful information about whether you're on track with your diet," she says. And daily weighing might be best. "It demystifies the scale and takes away some of its power," explains Carly Pacanowski, Ph.D., R.D., who has conducted weighing-frequency studies at Cornell University.
Don't get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you. But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people's metabolism slows down toward the end of the day. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you've stopped moving. What that means for you: You're less likely to go back for seconds or thirds. Plus, it'll help you relax post meal so you won't be tempted by stress-induced grazing that can rack up calories, quickly.
When you're at your heaviest, it can be intimidating to step into a gym and begin running or lifting among the spandex-clad. Working out in your own space is also simply easier to schedule—you can lift weights while the baby naps or first thing in the morning without dragging yourself out the door. "I bought an exercise bike so I can work out whenever I want," says Sarah DeArmond, who lost 100 pounds.
The benefits of chowing down on whole fruits are clear, and eating an apple each day can help prevent metabolic syndrome, a disorder associated with abdominal fat, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. The red or green fruits are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense source of fiber, which research has proven to be integral to reducing visceral fat. A study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years.
Not only is pomegranate packed with fiber (which is found in its edible seeds) but it also contains anthocyanins, tannins, and high levels of antioxidants, which research published in the International Journal of Obesity says can help fight weight gain. A half-cup of the colorful fruit gives you 12 grams of fiber and more than half a day’s vitamin C. Snack on these fruits raw or toss ’em into a smoothie and you’re good to go!
"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 have a workout station and a driving station, so why not a dieting station? Background sound, research has shown, doesn't just set a mood, it can actually affect our perception of flavors. In a 2012 study by Unilever and the University of Manchester in England, blind-folded participants were fed an assortment of sweet and savory foods while listening to white noise and, at different times, background music they liked. The participants then rated the intensity of the flavors and how much they enjoyed them. The white noise appeared to dull the participants' perception of flavors—they tasted both salt and sugar less intensely. Whereas appealing background music enhanced their perception of flavors. And when you can actually taste your food you tend to savor and enjoy it more, and your brain registers that you have eaten, ultimately making you feel fuller quicker and eat less.
Obviously, it’s still possible to lose weight on any diet – just eat fewer calories than you burn, right? The problem with this simplistic advice is that it ignores the elephant in the room: Hunger. Most people don’t like to “just eat less”, i.e. being hungry forever. That’s dieting for masochists. Sooner or later, a normal person will give up and eat, hence the prevalence of “yo-yo dieting”.
I do dumbell (17kg each) presses (so I don’t end up strangled by the barbell like many fools do on youtube), barbell (26kg) curls (because I can use the barbell for the squats as well), dumbbell one arm rows (because I have scoliosis and the doctor’s recommendation of swimming to strengthen my back muscles is not an option at the moment) and front barbell squats (just so my legs don’t fall behind – in the veeery long run; also, I switched from dumbbell squats to barbell squats because the dumbbell ones were constantly injuring my left shoulder).
In November 2017, she said, she discovered an app called Aaptiv and purchased a one-year subscription. "As I began to move more, I started making healthier eating options," she said. "I eliminated all inflammatory-causing foods and stopped all supplements and pain medications with the goal of allowing my body's systems to heal and restore themselves."
Last, and most importantly: don’t get discouraged if the scale swings upwards a bit. Vacations, holidays, and stressful life situations happen, and not to mention, weight fluctuations are totally normal. If you feel your pants getting tighter, take it with a grain of salt but don’t forget about it. Examine what you’re doing differently and commit to getting back on the bandwagon—it’s as simple as that! And always remember, maintenance is a marathon, not a sprint; you’re in this for life!
"When I graduated college in 2012, I was at my highest weight ever. I was embarrassed about my weight and what I looked like, and I was terrified of being the person in the gym who didn't know what they were doing. I sat in my doctor's office and remember deciding that I was going to do whatever it took, however long it took, to change my life. I tried a variety of different diets that worked, but I felt like I was losing my mind not being able to eat certain foods, and I hated that even though I was 'losing weight', I still had a really disordered relationship with food. Food is supposed to bring joy and happiness.
When researchers compared women on two different diet plans—one that gave dieters a list of foods they could eat and a few easy-to-follow rules, and another more-complicated diet that allowed dieters more food choices, but required them to carefully track all of their eating and exercise—they discovered that those who found the latter plan difficult were the most likely to give up. "Complex diets can be burdensome, so opt for one that seems manageable," says study coauthor Peter Todd, Ph.D., a professor of cognitive science and psychology at Indiana University in Bloomington and director of the IU Food Institute. "Everyone has a different tolerance, so the diet that works for your best friend might feel challenging to you. And if you're feeling overwhelmed by a diet, switch to a simpler approach. That's far better than quitting altogether."
There's one piece of advice every weight loss guru now agrees on: getting plenty of sleep is one of the biggest secrets to losing weight and keeping it off. (Try these effective sleep-boosting strategies if insomnia is responsible for your lack of sleep.) Research now shows that the body is most metabolically active during sleep, so the longer we sleep, the more we rev up our fat-burning engines. Lack of sleep also plays havoc with two key metabolic hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control hunger and satiety. Deprive yourself of sleep, and ghrelin levels increase while leptin levels decrease. The result: more craving, less feeling full. Even worse, when you're weary you crave "energy" foods, which usually means chips, sweets, baked goods, or soda. Put the two together and you can see how the typical type-A lifestyle gradually puts on the pounds.
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.
“Family and friend support is so critical to staying accountable," says Delaney. "People may have a sincere interest to work out and eat healthy, but [it's hard if] their family is not on the same page. They buy junk food. They aren’t active. They sit in front of the TV instead of taking a walk.” But getting your family on board with your health goals is another one of those things that’s easier in theory than practice. Delaney offers up three strategies she uses in her own household:
The American Heart Association recommends that the amount of added sugar consumed in a day shouldn’t exceed 25 grams for women and 37.5 grams for men, but since the sweet stuff is in everything from bread to tomato sauce, most Americans aren’t adhering to those guidelines and they’re fatter for it. In a review of 68 clinical trials and studies, New Zealand researchers reported in the British Medical Journal that increasing sugar intake meant increasing body weight while reducing sugar meant reducing body weight. Additional research has shown that cutting back on the granular stuff is one of the fastest ways to lose weight.
While you might not think there’s a huge difference between eating a whole piece of fruit and drinking fruit juice, nutritionally speaking, the two entities are most definitely not one and the same. Whereas whole fruit contains naturally occuring sugars and fiber that can help counteract the bad effects of too much sweet stuff, fruit juice is often loaded with added sugar (such as high-fructose corn syrup) and no fiber to speak of. According to a study led by Harvard School of Public Health researchers, eating more whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, a greater consumption of fruit juices was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. To get the fruit flavor without all the bad stuff, try stirring up a batch of fruity detox water instead.
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.
Calcium and vitamin C team up well to boost metabolism, and broccoli is just one of several healthy foods that contains both nutrients. What sets broccoli apart from the others, however, is that the green veggie also contains kind of fiber that’s been shown to increase the digestion, absorption and storage of food, also known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). A revved up metabolism combined with an increased TEF is a match made in weight loss heaven, so consider incorporating broccoli into a tasty stir-fry, or serving it as its own side dish.