Face it, if you want to lose weight over the long haul, your best bet is to make sustainable, long-term lifestyle changes like the nine simple ones this woman made to shed 45 pounds and keep them off. But sometimes life comes at you fast and you need a fast solution. One smart lifestyle change is to eat plenty of veggies—especially for someone looking to lose weight. Vegetables are nutrient-packed and provide plenty of filling fiber with hardly any calories. Plus, non-starchy veggies have a high water content, so they hydrate you while filling you up—the perfect combination for weight loss.
Characteristics: Group meetings for education and support. Individual counseling available. Integrates food, behavior, social support, and exercise. Emphasis on meal planning. Calories not counted daily. Lifestyle fit and convenience is paramount. Weight Watchers food available, not required. Points plan gives points to food based on calories, fat, and fiber. Each person receives a daily point allotment based on current weight. Plan to stay within daily allotment.
Cereal: This was an interesting one. Finding healthy cereal is a constant battle in my household — I like Special K; my boyfriend prefers the sugary kids stuff. I started scanning. The app couldn’t find Special K, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Reese’s Puffs. Aren’t those classics? It finally found Froot Loops and suggested some other fruity, circular puff-type alternatives.
Northwestern Medicine has joined the mix with FoodSwitch, which dubs itself “a nutritionist whispering in your ear.” As you grocery shop, the app allows you to scan an item’s bar code, pull up nutrition facts such as saturated fat, sugar, sodium and energy, and get its health rating based on a five-star scale. Finally, FoodSwitch will suggest healthier alternatives from its database of more than 268,000 products.
Characteristics: Focuses on controlling waistline, rather than weight. Claims the relationship between chemicals and hormones that influence hunger, and those signaling satiety, are the keys to ending yo-yo dieting. Lists foods and supplements that fight fat, decrease appetite, and combat inflammation. Also discusses current options for drugs and weight-loss surgery.
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.