To help combat the negative impact of artificial light, try working close to a window. Researchers have discovered that those who sit near a window tend to be healthier than those who don’t. Per a study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, workers near a window got 46 more minutes of sleep a night on average, which is beneficial to weight loss, while workers who weren’t near a window had more sleep disturbances. Additional research has shown that those exposed to natural light during the workweek tended to be more inspired to get outside and exercise.
Typically, Americans eat a small breakfast, medium-sized lunch, and big dinner, but one study of 50,000 adults published in the Journal of Nutrition found you should be doing the opposite, if you want to lose weight. By eating your most calorie-heavy meal at breakfast, you’ll be able to better decrease your BMI — and, you know, enjoy more of your favorite foods right away in the morning. Healthy pancakes, anyone?
One thing restaurants (and individuals) typically overdo it on when cooking is salt, and that can easily cause unhealthy bloating and weight gain. In fact, one British study found that for every additional 1,000 milligrams of sodium you eat a day, your risk of obesity spikes by 25 percent, so ditch the salt and stick to metabolism-boosting spices such as cayenne and mustard instead.
YES, 60 IS THE NEW 40 and 50 may be the new 30, but your scale has yet to receive the memo. Many middle-aged and older adults complain of expanding waistlines, along with the fact that weight loss becomes increasingly difficult as the years go by. But there’s good reason to stop only complaining about not fitting into your favorite pair of jeans and start doing something about it: New research shows avoiding weight gain with age is one of the best ways to help you live a longer and healthier life.
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.
The recent study of more than 100,000 people, which was recently published in JAMA, reported that gaining as little as 11 pounds from early adulthood to age 55 was linked to a 30 percent increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, which is also associated with a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, cataracts and osteoarthritis. And suffering from any of these conditions can ultimately lead to an early death.
One thing restaurants (and individuals) typically overdo it on when cooking is salt, and that can easily cause unhealthy bloating and weight gain. In fact, one British study found that for every additional 1,000 milligrams of sodium you eat a day, your risk of obesity spikes by 25 percent, so ditch the salt and stick to metabolism-boosting spices such as cayenne and mustard instead.
But if navigating these choices seems confusing, that’s where Eat This, Not That! comes in. What really works are making little lifestyle tweaks, simple moves that help you slash calories, boost nutrition and build a healthy foundation. We’ve gathered up some of the easiest, most effective new tricks and tactics to help you shed those unwanted pounds and slim down for good.
I know it's cliché, but let me get specific: When I arrive at a party, I don’t go immediately to the food. I first think about how many hours I plan on being there and try to pace myself accordingly. If I know it’s a three-hour buffet dinner, I may not start eating until an hour into being there. I’ll focus on drinking lots of water first and talk to people, so I don’t stuff my face too early and overdo it.
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.
Maintenance is hard, but we’ve got good news! You don’t have to do it alone. A study in Annals of Internal Medicine found that low-intensity interventions could help obese outpatients who had just lost 16 pounds hold onto the progress they’d made. For 56 weeks, participants spoke to intervention contacts in group visits at first, then over the telephone with less and less frequency. By the end of the study, they weren’t in contact with anybody at all but still managed to only regain an average of 1.5 pounds. Those who hadn’t had any intervention contacts regained over three times as much weight. So whether you participate in a program or phone a friend, find people who can hold you accountable as you work to maintain your success.
When I go to big meals at family-style restaurants or people’s homes, I keep my appetizer or salad plate for the entrée course. I load up on a lot of food during both courses but using the slightly smaller plate helps. I've also learned to fill my plates with mostly veggies. I will still gladly take a spoonful of mac and cheese, but I'm careful not to take more than that because I know that if it’s on the plate, it will end up in my mouth.
While you may think you’re doing yourself and your waistline a favor by stocking up on sugar-free goodies, the well-meaning habit is likely doing more harm than good. In a 2012 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that those who drank diet beverages had higher fasting glucose, thicker waists, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, higher triglycerides, and higher blood pressure. In other words, sugar-free cookies, soda, and the like may seem like the healthier option, but they contribute to a bulging belly and negatively impact your health in multiple ways.
Make lunch at home and bring it to work. That way, you know of every single ingredient that's going into your meal. Not to mention it'll save you the cost of buying a lunch. Cleveland Clinic recommends making sure one half of your plate is filled with leafy greens, one quarter is lean meat, and the other quarter is whole grains like brown rice or barley.
Do-overs: They’re what your parents use to give you when you missed an easy hole on the mini golf course. But sadly, with adulthood, comes “grown-up” responsibilities, leaving little to no time for second shots—especially when it comes to your long-term happy weight. Shedding pounds takes countless hours of dedication, so if you’ve already gone through the grind to reach your goal weight, do you really want to do it again? We didn’t think so.
An impressive 90 percent of NWCR members report exercising for about an hour per day. Whether you enjoy going for a jog outdoors, signing up to different boutique fitness classes every week, or lifting free weights at the gym, getting up and moving is your key to burning some major calories and keeping belly fat at bay. Even if you prefer taking a brisk walk after dinner, you’ll still see long-term results; the registry’s most frequently reported form of activity is actually walking.

Think of sweet potatoes as nature’s dessert. Not only do they satisfy your sweet tooth, these taters digest slowly and keep you feeling fuller for longer thanks to their satiating fiber. They’re also brimming with carotenoids, antioxidants that stabilize blood-sugar levels and lower insulin resistance—which prevent calories from being converted into fat.
Since tomatoes can be grown indoors, they never really go out of season, making them a reliable weight loss staple to add to your diet. The tasty fruits have a high water content that will help keep you hydrated, and they’re also low in calories. What’s more? A study published in Nutrition Journal found that eight weeks of tomato juice consumption helps the body burn about an additional 100 calories per day—that adds up to around 3,000 calories a month!
Cheese isn’t traditionally thought of as something you consume to encourage weight management, but calcium-rich Parmesan, when eaten in moderation, can help stave off sugar cravings that can easily lead to weight gain. How does that work, you ask? The native Italian cheese contains the amino acid tyrosine (remember that?) which has been shown to encourage the brain to release dopamine without any unhealthy insulin spikes. What’s more? The combination of calcium and protein present in dairy products such as Parmesan has been found to increase thermogenesis—the body’s core temperature—and thus boost your metabolism.

Health (both physical and mental… my breakdown of “starvation mode” and eating “1200 calories day” covers some of the lovely effects of very low calorie diets), the potential for nutrient deficiencies, the potential for disordered eating habits to develop, the potential for food and body image issues to develop, strength, performance, recovery, muscle maintenance, hunger, mood, metabolic issues, etc. etc. etc. and just your overall ability to consistently stick to your diet in the short term and then sustain it in the long term are all factors that need to be taken into consideration as well.
Rather than relying on the drive-thru when hunger strikes, prep your meals in advance so that you have healthy grub on hand. “Identity three meals you can prepare with pantry staples and start cooking. Store the meals in your freezer so you always have something healthy on hand when hunger strikes,” Dietitian Christine M. Palumbo, RD, explains in 20 Ways to Lose Weight Forever. “For example, my go-to meals include risotto with frozen shrimp and asparagus, vegetable barley and a red lentil soup. Your goal should be to replace the meals whenever your stash starts running low.”
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