Now you know that your dinnertime TV show and dishware affect how much you eat—but did you know that your environment has an even greater impact on your noshing habits? The typical American buys and eats more than 80 percent of their food within five miles of their homes—a.k.a. your food radius—according to Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab. In his book, Slim By Design: Mindless Eating Solutions, Wansink talks about various studies he's done over the course of his research career that show how your food environment dictates your eating habits.

“When clients come to me, many of them have been through the diet wringer. They’ve tried every fad and gimmick and, of course, they’ve failed to maintain long-term success. The key to weight loss is to never feel like you’re on a diet, because diets don’t work. If you feel deprived, you will never make it past a few weeks. The only way to achieve long-term weight loss is to learn to appreciate food as fuel and slowly replaced processed food that cannot properly energize the body with real food that can. After a while this will become second nature and won’t feel like a daily struggle.” — Laura Burak, MS, RD, CDN

“Nuts are a superior weight loss food in my book. They offer plenty of protein, healthy fat, and fiber that can really take the edge off hunger at any meal or snack. Nuts are also so versatile and convenient. They can be mixed into oatmeal or yogurt at breakfast, paired with fruit as a snack, or tossed into a hearty salad for a little satisfying crunch at lunch. — Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, CSSD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Go Wellness in Orange County, California
Don't get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you. But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people's metabolism slows down toward the end of the day. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you've stopped moving. What that means for you: You're less likely to go back for seconds or thirds. Plus, it'll help you relax post meal so you won't be tempted by stress-induced grazing that can rack up calories, quickly.
Americans are busy, especially during the holiday season. Many people head out for fast food while shopping at the mall or while taking a break from decorating. Matt says we need to make wise choices when eating out. While one in every four meals is eaten on the road at a restaurant or drive-thru, we can still enjoy our favorite foods without suffering the consequences. The economics of the restaurant business are so different than any other business. Restaurants don’t abide by the same rules that grocery stores do, because there are no labels that indicate fat, calories, sodium, etc. Matt says many Americans eat like they shop. We are “shopping for calories to stuff into” our bodies’ closets. “What we are buying when we eat at a restaurant is fat, calories and sodium. More is not a bargain, not by a long shot,” says Matt. Portions are oversized, fattier and more unhealthy than ever. Even though there are calorie-dense items on the menus of America’s restaurants, Matt says there are tons of delicious ways to cut hundreds, even thousands, of calories from your daily diet. BEST OF THE BEST AND WORST OF THE WORST The top 5 worst foods: * Worst Food Invention, pg. 39, Domino’s Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl Pastae, 1,480 calories, 56 g fat (24 saturated, 1 g trans), 2,280 mg sodium, 188 g carbs * Worst Salad, pg. 49, California Pizza Kitchen Thai Crunch Salad with Fresh Avocado, 1,399 calories, 10 g saturated fat, 1,712 mg. sodium, 123 g carbs * Worst Drink, pg. 45, Cold Stone PB&C Shake (Gotta Have It size), 2010 calories, 131 g fat (68 g saturated, 2.5 g trans), 880 mg sodium, 153 g sugars * Worst Kids’ Meal, pg. 42, Cheesecake Factory Kids’ Pasta with Alfredo Sauce, 1,803 calories, 87 g saturated fat, 876 mg sodium, 70 g carbohydrates * Worst Food in America, pg. 53, Outback Steakhouse Baby Back Ribs, 2,310 calories, 177 g fat (67 g saturated), 3,027 g sodium, 58 g carbs The top 5 best foods: * Best Side, pg. 24, Wendy’s Chili, small, 190 calories, 6 g fat, 830 mg sodium, 14 g protein * Best Drive-Thru Mexican, pg. 30, Taco Bell Grilled Steak Soft Tacos fresco style (2), 310 calories, 9 g fat, 1,210 mg sodium, 18 g protein * Best Sandwich, pg. 24, Quiznos Roadhouse Steak Sammie, 250 calories, 7 g fat, 980 mg sodium * Best Pasta, pg. 32, Olive Garden Linguine alla Marinara, 430 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 900 mg sodium * Best Ice Cream, pg. 84, Ben & Jerry’s, Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, 240 calories, 14 g fat (9 g saturated), 22 g sugars EAT THIS, NOT THAT * Chicken Sandwich: Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Club, pg. xviii, (410 calories, 12 g fat – 5 g saturated, 1,460 g sodium) vs. Panera Chipotle Chicken (990 calories, 56 g fat -15 g saturated, 1 g trans, 2,370 mg sodium) * Coffee Starbucks Venti Espresso Frappuccino Blended Coffee, pg. xxiii, (290 calories, 3.5 g fat – 2.5 g saturated, 57 g sugars) vs. Dunkin Donuts Large Frozen Cappuccino with Skim Milk (550 calories, 0 g fat, 105 g sugar) * Breakfast: McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, pg. 29, (300 calories, 12 g fat – 5 g saturated, 820 mg sodium, 18 g protein) vs. Panera Bacon, Egg and Cheese Grilled Breakfast Sandwich, (510 calories, 24 g fat - 10 g saturated, .5 trans, 1,060 mg sodium) * Fast Food Burger: Wendy’s ¼ Pound Single, pg. 34, (470 calories, 21 g fat, - 8 g saturated, 1 g trans, 940 mg sodium, 27 g protein) vs. TGI Friday’s Cheddar Burger, (1,310 calories) * Pizza: Dominoe’s Thin Crust Ham and Pineapple Pizza (2 slices), pg. 30 (294 calories, 14 g fat – 5 g saturated, 690 mg sodium) vs. Sbarro Stuffed Pepperoni (1 slice), pg 38, (960 calories)
It is possible to do more in less time — at least when it comes to your workouts. By incorporating interval training — that means bursts of high-intensity moves — you’ll give your metabolism a huge boost, says Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., director of the Kinesiology Program at the University of Virginia and author of The Spark. If you usually jog at a consistent pace, try adding a 30-second to one-minute sprint every five minutes, or, if you’re on a treadmill, change up the incline for one-minute intervals.
Fancy coffee drinks from trendy coffee joints often pack several hundred calories, thanks to whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, and sugary syrups. A cup of regular coffee with skim milk has just a small fraction of those calories. And when brewed with good beans, it tastes just as great. You can also try nonfat powdered milk in coffee. You’ll get the nutritional benefits of skim milk, which is high in calcium and low in calories. And, because the water has been removed, powdered milk doesn’t dilute the coffee the way skim milk does. Here are 11 metabolism myths you have to stop believing.
It seems counterintuitive to drink lots of water when you’re looking to lose weight fast—especially water weight—but staying hydrated is one of the most important steps you can take to lose weight. People often mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated allows you to be more in touch with the times when you are actually hungry, rather than just thirsty. Plus, a lot of good things happen to your body when you drink enough fluids.
If you’ve been eating fast food for years, get real about your approach: You’re probably not going to stick to an organic, gluten-free, paleo overhaul for very long. “You want to change as little as possible to create calorie deficit,” says Dr. Seltzer, who insists the best way to support sustainable weight loss is to incorporate small changes into existing habits. So instead of giving up your daily BLT bagels in favor of an egg-white wrap, try ordering your sandwich on a lighter English muffin. Or say you eat a snack bar every afternoon: Swap your 300-calorie bar for a 150-calorie alternative. “Your brain will feel the same way about it, so you won’t feel deprived,” he says.
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