Toss the remaining candycanes and enjoy a zero-calorie peppermint-scented candle instead. The essential oil found in mint leaves has analgesic properties that studies show serve as a muscle-relaxant and natural remedy for headaches. Relax into your recovery by lighting a minty candle or sniffing some peppermint oil; you may actually get the added benefit of losing a bit of the weight. One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month! Let a minty candle burn for a couple hours before you go to bed (blow it out before bedtime, though). And to lose even more weight, don’t miss these 42 Ways to Lose 5 Inches of Belly Fat.
Ginger and peppers are thermogenic; they increase the metabolic rate while honey helps in dissolving the fat and soothing the abdomen. Ginger also helps calm your GI tract and you’ve got an awesome detox. Black pepper contains piperine, a compound that inhibits your body from creating new fat cells. Cayenne also shrinks fat cells and lowers blood fat levels.
There is no long-term fasting research yet, but the benefits are promising and the risks low: You can always just quit. A limited-time fast might bump you off a plateau or out of a rut, says Keri Glassman, R.D., who advised our fasters during their diets, though she says that for some, fasting, even short-term, may be too rigid. That hints at the larger takeaway: Perhaps more than for traditional diets, these plans won't work for everyone.
Drinking green tea regularly may not only boost your fat fighting metabolism, but may also play a key role in weight maintenance and hunger suppression. One study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that in just two months, green tea drinkers lost an average of six pounds more than those who drank plain water. Green tea is also brimming with antioxidants and flavonoids that are good for overall health. Drink freshly brewed tea with no added sugar or cream — bottled store-bought varieties have fewer antioxidants (the concentration decreases the longer tea sits after brewing) and are often pumped full of honey or sugar.
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Also some research shows that the human body is primed to consume most of its calories during daylight hours. But the lifestyle is problematic for many: Because family meals and dinners with friends often are scheduled for after sunset, “people who try to stop eating after 7pm can’t do it every day for the rest of their lives,” says Dr. Seltzer, who supports an alternative strategy: Eating a hearty meal at your regular dinnertime.
That’s in part because when you restrict calories, you restrict nutrients. As a result, you lose weight on a crash diet, but much of it is lean, healthy muscle tissue. With less muscle, your body’s metabolism is set at a lower point. So when you go off the diet, even if you eat the exact same number of daily calories as you ate before, you’ll actually gain more fat than you originally carried.
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If you pay any attention to diet news or celebrity gossip, you’ve probably heard about the Lemonade Master Cleanse diet. Beyonce, Jared Leto, and other celebrities have, in the past several years, used this diet fad to lose weight for particular roles in movies; and since then, dietitians and doctors have weighed in on the pros and cons. If you’re unfamiliar with this diet, let me introduce you to the basics of the Master Cleanse.
I ended up following a very rigorous intermittent fasting program for a little over two months (April 6 through June 10), in which I not only fasted every other day, but, aside from that first non-fasting day, tried to be careful about my eating on non-fasting days in the way I had become used to being (and that had resulted in weight loss for the first few months of 2013). And I also kept up my exercise, doing a solid hour of aerobic exercise (usually on an elliptical machine, or, about once per week, running), working very hard for that hour, about 6 times per week. The results are shown in this chart:
Born from leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant, this South American weight-loss tea is rife with stimulating chemicals like caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. In a study in animals that ate a high-fat diet, those that consumed yerba mate had lower blood sugar levels and didn’t gain as much weight as those that didn’t consume the drink. Plus, obese people taking an yerba mate supplement for 12 weeks lost more fat compared to a placebo group, in a 2015 study in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Yerba mate is considered a substitute for coffee—without the bitterness—so try it in place of your morning Joe tomorrow. (Consider these fat-releasing habits to help you slim down.)
When you decide to “go on a diet,” you’re making the conscious decision that this is a temporary choice. You’re going to go on it, but that means that you’re going to one day—probably sooner than you expect—go off it. That’s the concept of weight cycling (also known as yo-yo dieting), and it’s extremely unhealthy. A 2014 study in the journal Diabetes Care found that a pattern of weight cycling—losing at least five pounds and then gaining it back within two years—resulted in as much as a 33 percent higher risk of diabetes and higher blood pressure.