10 Proven Ways to Lose Weight
Losing weight--especially if your goal is more than five or 10 pounds--is one of the hardest things to do. Sometimes doing things the easy way is the best way. Making small, simple lifestyle changes in how and what we eat can result in big losses on the bathroom scale.
Too often, dieters jump into a diet plan that completely changes everything they eat--and then they don't stick with it because it's just too hard. Eating healthy is the issue. Willpower is NOT the issue here. "Willpower is about depriving yourself, and nobody gets excited about that," Cynthia Sass, a nutritionist with the University of South Florida in Tampa and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, told WebMD. "Besides, depriving yourself is depressing and leads to bingeing. Focus on the positives--you feel better, have more energy when you eat healthy."
The following list of 10 easy ways to lose weight, culled from WebMD, Reuters, HealthScoutNews, and iVillage, targets small easy-to-make changes in your diet. Do one at a time. Do each for three weeks and it will become a habit. Then move on to the next change. Small, simple steps. Big results?
1. Eat breakfast.
The majority of dieters who are actually successful at losing weight AND keeping it off have one thing in common: They eat breakfast every day. How can adding calories be good? "My guess is that eating breakfast helps you spread out your hunger and manage your food intake better throughout the day," Dr. James O. Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, told Reuters. "If you start out the day by eating something, you don't get this burning hunger later that causes you to overeat." When you skip breakfast it also slows down your metabolism. Best menu: yogurt, fruit, whole-grain cereal, and low-fat milk.
2. Don't skip any meals.
Lose weight by eating! Cool diet plan! If you're serious about losing weight, never go more than five hours without eating. Eat three meals a day and choose a healthy snack between lunch and dinner.
3. Be active or exercise for 30 minutes a day.
This isn't as painful as it sounds. Walking to the bus stop, taking the steps at work, or actually sweating on a treadmill all count for this half-hour of activity.
4. Drink water instead of soda.
Sweetened drinks--juices, iced tea, and soda--can pack a wallop of 300 calories! Drink water instead. Load up a glass or sipper bottle with crushed ice, fill with water, and add a twist of lemon or lime. Refill all day long.
5. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Not only are fruits and veggies low in calories, they'll fill you up and help prevent all kinds of awful illnesses--cancer and heart disease included. Make it easy! Buy the pre-cut kind so you can just grab and chew.
6. Pack your own snacks.
Instead of raiding the vending machine when hunger strikes at 3 p.m., eat the healthy snack you brought with you from home. Ideas: Pretzels, fruit, carrot sticks, yogurt.
7. Eat dinner at home.
Restaurant food is always good--because someone else does the work! But it's usually high in fat and calories and comes in much larger portions than we need. Eat out only as a treat. Idea for a great home-cooked meal: Pasta dish with veggies. Add shrimp, tuna, chicken breast, or soy crumbles for protein. It's fast and easy--and delicious.
8. Buy small amounts of different fruits.
Fruit is a tasty breakfast and snack food, but it's easy to get bored of the same old thing. Instead of buying a large bag of apples to last a week, buy just two apples. Add a few bananas, nectarines, and some strawberries to your grocery cart as well. "After the third or fourth day of apples, you'll likely be sick of them," says Sass. "Mixing up a few different types of apples, one pear, one banana will keep you from getting bored."
9. Eat the "heavy" foods first.
HealthScoutNews reports a cool trick from the journal Appetite that may help you eat less at meals: When you start eating a meal, eat the heavy foods first. If you eat the lighter foods, such as pasta and vegetables first, you won't fill up as fast. That means you'll still have lots of room for everything else. So do the opposite. Begin with soup, which is very filling, or the meat entree. By filling up soon after you sit down, you may not eat everything on your plate--and you'll cut down on calories. Hey, it's worth a try!
10. Five foods to eat. Five to avoid.
Weight loss coach Jonny Bowden, the author of "Jonny Bowden's Shape Up! The Eight-Week Plan to Transform Your Body, Your Health, and Your Life" and the creator of what we'll call "The Fives Diet," says you should add these five foods to your diet: fiber, raw vegetables, berries, nuts, and protein. You also should eliminate from your diet these five foods: Pasta, most bread, commercial cereals, sodas, and packaged goodies, including cookies, cakes, pies, crackers, and desserts.