A calorie isn’t always a calorie. Eating 100 calories of high fructose corn syrup, for example, can have a different effect on your body than eating 100 calories of broccoli. The trick for sustained weight loss is to ditch the foods that are packed with calories but don’t make you feel full (like candy) and replace them with foods that fill you up without being loaded with calories (like vegetables).
Friends are helpful not only because they can double as workout buddies or help hold you accountable for appropriate diet and exercise, but also because they’re a surefire way to combat gut-growing feelings of loneliness. A study in the journal Hormones and Behavior found that those who feel lonely experience greater circulating levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin after they eat, causing them to feel hungrier sooner. Over time, folks who are perennially lonely simply take in more calories than those with stronger social support networks, so be sure to fit time with pals into your busy schedule.
Of all the activities you can do in an effort to shed a few pounds, gardening is one of the most beneficial and relaxing options. Research conducted by the University of Utah shows that people who garden are about 11 to 16 pounds lighter than those who don’t, so throw on some gardening gloves and get to planting. For added weight loss benefits, consider planting herbs such as cilantro and mint, which combat bloating and suppress your appetite, respectively.
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."
For anyone trying to lose weight, you’ll know that lots of people have advice on what to do. There are websites, TV shows, books, apps, friends, and friends of friends who will all give different advice. There is also research, but a lot of it is done on people who receive a lot of support to lose weight. This doesn’t necessarily translate to the real world where most people trying to lose weight are doing so on their own.
“Oolong, or ‘black dragon,’ is a kind of Chinese tea that’s packed with catechins, nutrients that help promote weight loss by boosting your body’s ability to metabolize fat. A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine found that participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost a pound a week, without doing anything else to change their diet or exercise habits,” Kelly Choi, author of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse tells us in How To Lose 10 Pounds Fast.
Even if you fill up on produce, lean proteins, and whole grains, 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. People tend to exaggerate the good foods they eat and underestimate the bad stuff, says study author, Kentaro Murakami, PhD 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.
Sure, you certainly need to drink plenty of water to help expedite the process of ridding your body of excess sodium, you can (and should!) also consume high-water content foods. Reach for cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, grapes, celery, artichokes, pineapple, and cranberries — all of which contain diuretic properties that will also help you stay full due to their higher fiber content.
In addition to researching avocado oil, the folks over at Penn State University conducted some research involving canola oil as well and discovered it can also stimulate weight loss. More specifically, researchers found that after one month of adhering to diets that included canola oil, participants had a quarter-pound less belly fat than they did before the diet. They also found that the weight lost from the mid-section did not redistribute elsewhere in the body. Like peanuts and avocados, canola oil’s belly-blasting abilities are thought to be a result of the monounsaturated fats it contains.
Schedule "cheat meals" and gym breaks into your routine. “It’s hard to be consistently motivated and always be on your game. Give yourself a little bit of a reprieve," says Delaney. "Mentally, it’s not normal to constantly be on all the time, we need to unwind and relax. By doing something that’s not perfect, were allowing ourselves to revel in the moment and celebrate our success; it gives us a renewed energy to move on.” To do this, Delaney says to schedule one cheat meal a week, and to pick 1-2 days where you let your body rest. "Go out and have a slice of pizza and a glass of red wine. Your body needs that, not just physically, but mentally. Same with the gym. You don’t need to work out every day. Give your body that recoup time; physically and mentally it needs it. Give yourself a break so you can sustain that motivation. It’s an allowance instead of creating the ‘I messed up syndrome’ which causes you to get off track.”
To drop serious lbs, you need the one-two punch of aerobic exercise plus strength training. Resistance helps build and preserve metabolism-boosting lean muscle while burning fat and is especially key when you hit a plateau. Amanda Green lost 15 pounds in two months doing hour-long cardio DVDs, but it wasn't until she started running outside and lifting weights three times a week that she was able to ditch the last 15 of her 30-pound goal.
“I have one heck of a sweet tooth, and so I have to refuse to bring candy, cake, or sweets into the house, period,” say Lin Williams, who’s lost 105 pounds. Instead, if she wants a treat she has to want it bad enough to get up, get in the car, leave her home, and go to the store—a process that rarely feels worth it. And on the rare occasion she does indulge? “I get exactly what I want and enjoy every bite of it!” she says.
Ideally, it’s best to clean out your fridge and cupboards so there aren’t any junk options, but maybe that would start a civil war in your house. If you live with someone—or several someones—who don’t share your enthusiasm for healthy choices, that’s okay, just be sure to put your food where you see it first, suggests Dubost. That might be eye-level shelves, or one dedicated cupboard for you, as well as the top shelf of the fridge.
We already told you that sticking to a fitness routine is an absolute must for weight maintenance but that doesn’t make finding the time—or motivation— after a busy work day any easier. The solution to the problem: Wake up an hour and a half early and fit in your workout before heading to the office. If you’re up at 5 a.m. with nothing else to do but break a sweat, odds are pretty low that you’ll skip out on your boot camp or spin class. For more creative ways to stay motivated in the morning, check out these 35 Fun Ways to Lose Weight.
“Every morning I drink a cup of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and a dash of cayenne pepper,” says Michelle Keough. This helps her start her day off on a healthy note while getting her hydrated after a long night. This trick, combined with eating meals built around protein and veggies, helped her lose 20 pounds and keep it off.
Obsessing over the numbers on the scale is not your standard weight-loss advice for women. But new research out of Finland shows that it may be a spot-on suggestion, since the more often dieters weighed themselves in the study, the more weight they lost. In fact, dieters who went more than a week without weighing themselves actually gained weight. These findings, of course, aren't necessarily causal: The less frequent weighers may have been less serious about their diets to begin with. Or maybe they became less dedicated (and less interested in weighing themselves) only after they'd begun to gain weight. Regardless, according to Wansink, co-author of the study: "If you want to be skinny, do what skinny people do." And skinny people, within the context of this study, weighed themselves regularly—anywhere from every day to once a week. A previous study by the same research team found that body weight naturally fluctuates throughout the week and that most people weigh the least on Wednesdays. So if you can't commit to weighing yourself daily, at least hop on the scale every Wednesday. Seeing low numbers will keep you motivated.
The average American consumes 15.5 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 grams of fiber, 14 grams of protein) or Explore Asian Black Bean Low-Carb Pasta (2 oz., 180 calories, 12 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of protein). Alternatively, whip up a batch of zoodles, or spiralized veggie noodles with the help of these 21 Mouthwatering Spiralizer Recipes.