We know, you've probably heard these a thousand times. But if you can make these small swaps day-to-day, you'll spare enough calories for the treat foods you really want or to go into a calorie deficit (a.k.a. the key to weight loss). (And this is just the tip of the iceberg. We have 50 more easy ways to cut calories.) Making these simple swaps is the way to health-ify your eating style and lose weight without actually dieting.
Diet “dictocrats” have been pointing out the evils of fat for so long that many of us can’t indulge in anything beyond low-fat yogurt without guilt. But avoiding fat is a huge mistake, says journalist Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise. In fact, taking in an adequate supply of healthy fats is essential to proper body composition, whole-body health, and long-term weight management.
To splurge or not to splurge? That is the perennial weight-loss question. Should you allow for occasional indulgences in your healthy-eating program, or say a firm “no” out of fear they will sabotage your results? Once you start a new regimen, it can be scary to stray from it. So how can you navigate the path of progress without veering into perfectionism? Here’s some professional counsel.
Eggs are a fantastic source of protein, and if you're worried about cholesterol, nix the yolks. Other great breakfast foods include whole-grain oatmeal, grapefruit, wheat germ, yogurt, bananas, and tea. Coffee is fine, too, as long as you don't load it up with cream and sugar. If you're a bacon and sausage lover, try substituting turkey bacon or turkey sausage.
Realizing that eating unhealthy food is a bad habit, like smoking or biting your nails, will help you break the cycle. Going cold turkey on favorite snack foods isn't possible for everyone, and if you relapse and chow down on some chocolate, the first step is to forgive yourself for the lapse. Identify the times of day or the activities you engage in that tempt you to reach for the junk food. Being aware that it's going to happen will help you stave off the cravings and gives you the chance to substitute in a healthier option. Don't be afraid to let your friends and family know what you're doing so they can support and cheer you on, and so they can help you avoid cravings.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AKA the top nutrition authority in America) released a revised paper this year saying that both vegetarian and vegan diets are best for people's health as well as the environment. If you're not ready to make a complete shift to meatless and cheese-less, consider "part-time" vegan and vegetarian plans, where you eat mostly plant-based at breakfast and lunch or on weekdays, and then eat fish, meat, dairy, and eggs only during designated times.
As the studies are inconclusive, it seems necessary to plan programs in order to facilitate weight maintenance for long periods. Although there are some review studies regarding the effects of different foods and diets on weight reduction, we are not aware of any review article regarding the effects of foods and diets on preventing weight regain after weight loss. It seems that weight maintenance is as important as weight reduction nowadays. Therefore, we conducted a review of the available evidence to assess the effect of different diets on weight maintenance after weight loss.
“The one trick I use now, which I should have been using all along, is the make dinner a no-carb meal. I’ll do a vegan protein and vegetables, and no bread. I think carbs are important and good energy, but when I don’t eat them at night, I wake up and I feel like my belly’s flat first thing in the morning.” — Carrie Underwood, who lost 30 pounds of baby weight in less than a year
Fathi, Y., Faghih, S., Zibaeenezhad, M. J., & Tabatabaei, S. H. (2016, February). Kefir drink leads to a similar weight loss, compared with milk, in a dairy-rich non-energy-restricted diet in overweight or obese premenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(1), 295–304. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-015-0846-9
"Inadequate intake of calories, especially protein, causes the body to breakdown muscle tissue to meet the needs for amino acids," says Cederquist. "I have my patients focus on obtaining adequate lean protein and spreading it throughout the day." Her recommendation: focus on 100 grams per day, which breaks down into three to four ounces of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a few ounces for snacks.
“I always start [my day] with ginger tea, which is black tea with milk, honey, ginger, and cardamom. Then I’ll have a green juice with kale, beets, mint, apple, carrots, and ginger or a three-egg-white, one-yolk scramble. If I’m hungry, I’ll add half a cup of 1 percent cottage cheese to the eggs.” — Padma Lakshmi, who drops 10 to 15 pounds after every season of Top Chef
The best plan for you is dependent on your overall health and preference, as determined by such factors as BMI (Body Mass Index), slowing metabolism, menopause, hormone imbalance, blood pressure and other medical conditions. Additional factors include personal life, such as eating habits, exercise routines, cooking styles and stress. Professional life also plays a role and is inclusive of hours worked and travel requirements.
“If I had to pick one food for weight loss, I would choose oatmeal. It’s a whole grain, high-fiber carbohydrate that sticks to your ribs, so it keeps you full and satisfied. Eating it also leads to a slow rise in blood sugar, which has been shown to keep insulin levels from spiking, leading to less fat storage. The key with oatmeal is how to make it so it’s not a calorie bomb. I recommend making it with nonfat milk in place of water, stirring in chopped raw nuts or natural nut butter, and topping with fresh or frozen fruits. If you need some added sweetness, a drizzle of maple syrup should do it. — Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, culinary-nutrition consultant and founder of Nutritioulicious
The number of calories required by one’s body throughout the day to perform involuntary, vital tasks such as breathing, producing body heat, maintaining heart function, and sending messages to and from the brain, is called the basal metabolic rate or BMR. A person’s BMR actually represents about 60% of the body’s daily energy needs. Approximately 30% of the body’s daily energy needs is used for movement, and can include simple tasks such as walking to get the mail, folding laundry, or washing the dishes. The remaining 10% of the body’s energy requirement is used to digest food and absorb the nutrients from food. To estimate your daily calorie requirements, visit the website ChooseMyPlate.
A sedentary activity means little or no exercise in your daily routine. A person living a sedentary lifestyle is often sitting or lying down while engaged in an activity like working at a desk, reading, watching television and more. If this sounds like you and you get little to no exercises in your typical day, then select sedentary in the weight loss calculator.
The weight loss calculator will then compute your daily Calorie consumption required to achieve approximately 1lb to 2lbs of fat loss a week. Many consider it unhealthy to adopt a calorie consumption of less than 1200 Calories a day and as such, if you can not lose weight at a recommended speed without dropping your calories below this level you may consider increasing your activity as an alternative.
LeCheminant and his colleagues used a liquid form of very low energy diet (VLED) for weight loss. Subsequently, they randomized participants to receive a structured meal plan combined with either two-meal replacements or orlistat and physical activity. There was no significant difference in weight change between the groups during weight maintenance.
However, many people lead busy lifestyles, and if you don't have time to prepare every meal at home, start reading ingredient labels. Don't just stop at the calorie count because harmful additives may be hiding in ingredient lists. One of the worst culprits for weight gain is trans fat, and you have to be diligent when looking out for it. The nutrition information may say 0 grams trans fat, but if a food contains 0.49 grams or less, the company is allowed to list it as 0 grams. Look for partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients, and put the food back if you see that ingredient. Look for hidden sugar as well. Fructose, Dextrose, and Sucrose are all sugar ingredients that add up quickly.
Some studies have assessed the effects of special foods on weight maintenance. For example, weight regain did not occur in individuals who had consumed green tea and caffeine mixture with an adequate or high-protein diet. Only, in the group with an adequate protein intake, a higher hunger score and lower satiety was seen. Based on a recent meta-analysis, green tea has no significant effect on the weight loss maintenance. It may have some consequences in habitual low caffeine consumers.
Many people seek to lose weight, and often the easiest way to do this is to consume fewer calories each day. But how many calories does the body actually need in order to be healthy? This largely depends on the amount of physical activity a person performs each day, and regardless of this, is different for all people – there are many different factors involved, not all of which are well-understood or known.
Tracking calories also puts exercise in a quantifiable perspective, increasing a person's awareness regarding how much exercise is really required to counteract a 220-calorie bag of M&M's. Once a link is made between the amount of exercise that some snack equates to, many people find abstaining from that bag of chips to be the preferred option rather than performing an equivalent amount of exercise – which can lead to healthier eating habits.
Studies found that people who keep food diaries wind up eating about 15 percent less food than those who don’t. Watch out for weekends: A University of North Carolina study found people tend to consume an extra 115 calories per weekend day, primarily from alcohol and fat. Then cut out or down calories from spreads, dressings, sauces, condiments, drinks, and snacks; they could make the difference between weight gain and loss. Here are 50 easy ways to lose weight naturally.
“If you’re feeling deprived by your diet, build in a cheat meal at least once a week in which you can indulge guilt-free. Doing this will help you avoid viewing certain foods as ‘off limits,’ which will help you crave them less.” — David Zinczenko, author of Zero Belly Cookbook: 150+ Delicious Recipes to Flatten Your Belly, Turn Off Your Fat Genes, and Help Keep You Lean for Life!
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.
Weight-loss products may be sold in prescription or over-the-counter form- and may include pills, supplements, beverages, or medication. Many of these substances may have serious side-effects and often do not work for long-term weight-loss. In the past decade, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned many weight-loss products including the appetite suppressant PPA (phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride), which can increase the risk of stroke. Additionally, over-the-counter pills that contain the drug ephedra have been banned and are now illegal due to serious side-effects that include dizziness, increased blood pressure and heart rate, chest pain, heart attack, stroke, seizure, and even death. Essentially, many weight-loss products contain drugs and other ingredients that could potentially to lead to adverse sideeffects that ultimately place the consumer at risk for serious health consequences.
“One of the keys to long-term and sustainable weight loss is to cut total calorie intake, and there’s no better way to do that than by eating just a little bit less of what you currently eat. Once you get into a habit of reducing portions—especially of sugary, fatty and other nutrient-poor foods—you can fine tune your diet to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods. But paring portions is still the best first step.” — Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of Younger Next Week
Keep in mind that a number on a scale won't give you the full picture. The scale does not discriminate between fat and muscle, nor will it tell you about the health of your heart or your increased endurance. If you are burning fat while gaining muscle, your weight may not change. Instead of giving up, consider non-weight-related goals, such as how many laps you can swim in one go.
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.”