"It's really not about weight loss—it's about health gain," says Lisa, who followed Haylie Pomroy's Fast Metabolism Diet in order to slim down. "I eliminated sugar, dairy, and 100 percent of all processed foods from my diet," instead choosing the organic, clean foods Pomroy recommends. (She currently swears by jicama with lime juice as a replacement for chips.) Surprisingly, because of her major diet shift, Lisa was able to reduce the number of workouts she was doing. "Now, instead of obsessing over every calorie I'm burning, I just do whatever feels good: Zumba, Buti, Spinning—I love my fitness classes!"
If anyone's proof that you don't have to go through weight loss alone, it's Brittany. Rather than play a guessing game, she used MyFitnessPal to track the protein and complex carbs that made up her new diet—a far cry from the "full-sized ham and cheese sub on white bread with extra mayo, soda, and a massive chocolate chip cookie" that she used to eat for lunch. Then she hired a personal trainer to teach her the ways of the gym. "I learned so much about my body," she says. "How to challenge it, get the most out of my time at the gym, and avoid injury." And her boyfriend got on board, too. "We transformed our dining room into a yoga space, exploring that form of exercise." Support system: Nailed it.
Love chocolate but have no self control with it? Try slowly savoring a piece or two of dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa the next time you crave it. Just a little dark chocolate helps to lower your cravings because the bitter taste signals the body to decrease your appetite. Not to mention that the steric acid in dark chocolate helps slow digestion to help you feel fuller longer. If dark chocolate is too bitter for you, try having a piece with a cup of black coffee—it'll bring out the sweetness!
There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, however, you should eat plenty of whole-grain breads and brown rice. One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff. Eating whole grains is not only one of many great ways to lose weight; it can also make you smarter.
You can eat twice as much pasta salad loaded with veggies like broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for the same calories as a pasta salad sporting just mayonnaise. Same goes for stir-fries, omelets, and other veggie-friendly dishes. If you eat a 1:1 ratio of grains to veggies, the high-fiber veggies will help satisfy your hunger before you overeat the grains. Bonus: Fiber is highly beneficial for preventing constipation, which can make you look bloated.
Keep hunger levels steady. Hard workouts often increase hunger levels. And sometimes they even increase your sense of entitlement to food. For example, you might feel that you deserve a high-calorie meal or treat after hard exercise because you earned it with your effort. But easy workouts are less likely to leave you starving. The result is that you may eat less with an easy fitness program.
Whether or not you’re specifically aiming to cut carbs, most of us consume unhealthy amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, and sweetened breakfast cereals. Replacing refined carbs with their whole-grain counterparts and eliminating candy and desserts is only part of the solution, though. Sugar is hidden in foods as diverse as canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, and many reduced fat foods. Since your body gets all it needs from sugar naturally occurring in food, all this added sugar amounts to nothing but a lot of empty calories and unhealthy spikes in your blood glucose.
This kind of eating pattern can also affect your general health – just one cycle of weight loss and weight gain can contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, regardless of body fat levels. That's why it's important to maintain the weight loss. It is considered weight loss of about 1/2–1 kilograms per week is reasonable and more likely to be maintained.
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According to Kristin, "There is no 'place' to start. There's no right day, no right time, or right situation," she says. "You just have to start." And since she was 125 pounds overweight, she knew she needed to take the challenge of "eat less, move more" head on. So she bet on it. "I made a bet at HealthyWage.com that I would be able to lose 100 pounds in 12 months. Knowing that I stood to lose or gain money every single month definitely kept me going," says Kristin. "In the end, I won $4,000 on my $1,200 bet!" Giving herself a long-term goal—the promise of one thousand dollars—helped her power through inevitable and often frustrating weight loss plateaus.
Nuts, the second food to watch, contain a fair amount of carbohydrate, and it’s very easy to unwittingly scarf down large quantities. Cashew nuts are among the worst carb-wise – you’ll find that they contain around 20% carbohydrate by weight. For someone following a strict keto diet with a 20 grams of carbs per day allowance, this means that consuming 100 grams (which happens in a flash!) will have filled their daily quota. Peanuts tend to be around 10-15% carbohydrate – not putting them in the clear either.
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Just a handful of almonds is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin E, and magnesium. Almonds have also been shown to increase feelings of fullness in people and help with weight management, according to a study presented at The 2006 Obesity Society Annual Scientific Meeting. So what are you waiting for? Nosh on almonds for your next healthy snack! [Click to Tweet this!]