Skimp on fluids, and your body will release an antidiuretic hormone that leads to water retention that could affect the scale, Dr. Setlzer says. While this sneaky effect is one reason why the scale is a poor measure of body mass loss, you can outsmart it by drinking more—particularly if you fill your glass with water or non-calorie alternatives like unsweetened coffee and tea.
Wait about 10 minutes for the body to start processing the almonds and grapefruit. Then eat your high protein meal. Protein takes longer to digest and absorb and will therefore keep you fuller for longer. Include green, fibrous vegetables in you meal, like broccoli, spinach or green beans as well. These vegetables contain lots of fiber, which also takes longer to digest and consequently will also make you feel fuller for longer. You could also make use of a fiber supplement to boost the amount of fiber you get per meal.
Instead of piling everything on one plate, bring food to the table in individual courses. For the first two courses, bring out soup or veggies such as a green salad or the most filling fruits and vegetables. By the time you get to the more calorie-dense foods, like meat and dessert, you’ll be eating less or may already be full. Nothing wrong with leftovers!
Conversely, the more food in front of you, the more you’ll eat—regardless of how hungry you are. So instead of using regular dinner plates that range these days from 10 to 14 inches (making them look empty if they’re not heaped with food), serve your main course on salad plates (about 7 to 9 inches wide). Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, return to the old days of 8-ounce glasses and 6-ounce coffee cups.
Here’s the bottom line on using natural appetite suppressants compared to other appetite suppressants: While weight loss pills, teas or other products may possibly give you a lift in energy, dulled appetite or temporarily elevated mood, they’re unlikely to result in any long-term weight loss, especially when you don’t make other healthy lifestyle changes. Focus on eating a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet, preventing deficiencies in key vitamins or minerals, and staying active. Then you shouldn’t need to turn to weight loss products in the first place.
Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much. Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others. Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.
Even if you do meet your goal, it's nearly impossible to keep off the weight over the long term: "The amount of restriction required [to maintain that number] will make you so hungry that you’ll eat everything in sight—it’s survival instinct," Dr. Seltzer says. And since calorie restriction gradually slows your metabolism, your body will be less prepared to burn the foods you binge on, he adds. That could mean gaining more pounds than you lost in the first place.
Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”
The scale is not necessarily your friend. You may want to lose fat – but the scale measures muscles, bone and internal organs as well. Gaining muscle is a good thing. Thus weight or BMI are imperfect ways to measure your progress. This is especially true if you’re just coming off a long period of semi-starvation (calorie counting), as your body may want to restore lost muscles etc. Starting weight training and gaining muscle can also hide your fat loss.
After reaching 250 pounds, Stephanie hit her breaking point—but thankfully found DietBet.com, a weight loss challenge site that allows you to set up or join a monetized challenge over a four-week period—and whomever's lost four percent of their body weight (or more) in the 28 days split the pot. It gave Stephanie a concrete goal to focus on (winning $$$), while meeting others who were facing the same obstacles. "The friendship and camaraderie is what keeps me coming back," she says. "And making it a game makes it more fun and motivating." At the end of the challenge, Stephanie had lost 82 pounds—and cashed in on a pretty $1,600. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.
Why this easy fitness plan works: It's common for people who exercise regularly to do the same routine week after week. If you do the same exercises at the same intensity all the time you'll get the same results. Your body hits a plateau. This plan increases your activity level without added stress or strain to your joints. So you burn more calories without taxing your body.