Your best ever weight-loss tips - Tried and proven to be quite effective
With weight-loss and adopting a fit and healthy lifestyle, the buzzwords these days, more and more persons are researching the best ways to lose the weight, keep it off, tone up and stay the healthy course in a consistent, sustainable way.
The trick is how to do it effectively and not revert to old ways and regain all the weight.
So, here, experts and individuals reveal the top strategies for success - tested and proven by real persons and backed by science.
GET RID OF TRIGGER FOODS
Whether it's chocolate, ice cream, chips, pastries - you name it - get rid of anything that's a weak spot, especially foods you've binged on in the past. "If you know you'll break into the leftover birthday cake at midnight, toss it immediately," stated accountant Brandy Thele, who lost 130 pounds after she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Instead, swap the "forbidden" foods for healthier replacements. Rather than swearing off dessert entirely, for instance, indulge in fresh fruit after meals. And if members of your household want the 'forbidden' treats in the house, let them hide it where you can't find it.
KEEP THE KITCHEN
NEAT AND TIDY
Studies suggest that simply being in a messy space contributes to overeating. Be particularly aware of what's in plain view: Research at Cornell University shows that people who displayed junk food on the counter (for example, in a glass cookie jar) weighed an average of 20 pounds more than people who put food away immediately.
KEEP A FOOD DIARY
Keep a food diary and include everything (even that little bite of cake you tasted) so you can see where the calories come from. Research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that food diaries can double a dieter's weight loss. Day-care manager DJ Gray wrote down what she ate and tracked her calories with the SparkPeople app on her way to losing 115 pounds.
4. JOURNEY WITH FRIENDS
A support group, friends, persons on the same journey as you and social media can be a powerful motivator to stick with your plan and make progress. For instance, Christina Donatella, now a personal trainer, set up a Facebook page about her diet and exercise regimen and dropped 180 pounds.
CONTROL YOUR PORTIONS
Too many dieters underestimate how much they're eating. Tools, apps and gadgets can help. Teacher Jen Punda downloaded the MyFitnessPal app to help her gauge serving sizes and shed 91 lbs. And stay-at-home mom Krystal Sanders bought a portion-control plate, which taught her to eyeball healthy servings of protein, veggies, and starches.
6. THREE SQUARES MEALS ARE ESSENTIAL
Despite the barrage of advice about eating five or six times throughout the day instead of three larger meals, research shows this strategy doesn't always work for weight loss. Noshing often can make it way too easy to overeat and keeps you focused on food all day long (when all you want to do is stop thinking about it).
7. DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST
While the scientific verdict is still mixed on whether eating a morning meal aids weight loss, our panel of experts was of one mind about it: Almost all of them started the day with healthy options like cottage cheese and berries, or Greek yogurt with granola. Eating soon after waking jump-starts your metabolism and also helps you avoid the 11 a.m. munchies that make a muffin or doughnut so tempting.
8. COOK YOUR OWN MEALS
Research shows that people who prepare most of their own meals consume fewer calories, carbs, sugar, and fat than those who cook rarely. If you insist you're too swamped, try this trick from paralegal Jessie Foss, who lost 100 pounds: On Sunday, whip up a big batch of something healthy, like soup from a slow cooker, and eat it throughout the week.
Or pick up the packs of pre-washed, pre-shredded callaloo or mix veg, with pre-packed chicken chunks. This takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.
9. ADD FIBRE - AND FAT
Fibre expands in your stomach and also takes time to digest, both of which help keep you feeling full for longer. Good sources include whole grains, veggies, and whole fruit (not juiced). Healthy fats like olive and nut oils - in moderation - improve flavour, give you energy, and help your body use certain nutrients. Alexandra Shipper added healthy fats, such as avocado, to protein sources like eggs and fish on her way to dropping 55 pounds.
WORKOUT AT HOME
When you're at your heaviest, it can be intimidating to step into a gym and begin running or lifting among the spandex-clad. Working out in your own space is also simply easier to schedule - you can lift weights while the baby naps or first thing in the morning without dragging yourself out the door. "I bought an exercise bike so I can work out whenever I want," stated 100-pound-loser Sarah DeArmond.
11. ADD WEIGHTS TO CARDIO
To drop serious pounds, you need the one-two punch of aerobic exercise plus strength training. Resistance helps build and preserve metabolism-boosting lean muscle while burning fat and is especially key when you hit a plateau. Amanda Green lost 15 pounds in two months doing hour-long cardio DVDs, but it wasn't until she started running outside and lifting weights three times a week that she was able to ditch the last 15.
12. HIIT IT
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) works wonders. Studies comparing steady-state exercise with routines that combine eight-second all-out sprints and 12-second recovery periods have found that people doing HIIT lost significantly more body fat. That's because going at near-max effort can help switch on fat-burning hormones. Fast-paced strength circuits that include moves like burpees, walking lunges, and deadlifts, done with limited rest between sets, can trigger a similar hormone reaction.
13. TEST YOUR FITNESS
Many of our biggest winners ended up signing on for 5Ks, 10Ks, and half- or full marathons - one even became a competitive boxer. The takeaway: Testing your fitness against others is great for motivation and accountability, not to mention confidence.
14. INDULGE WISELY
Little treats keep you from feeling deprived, so now and then allow yourself a bit of something you love (aim for 150 calories each). This kind of moderation is the difference between a "diet" and a lifestyle you can stick with forever. For salon owner Caitlin Gallagher, who lost 125 pounds, that meant replacing her nightly bowl of ice cream with a square of chocolate. And social worker Brittany Hicks, a 110-pound-loser, started baking mini versions of her favourite pies.
When going out to dinner, follow the lead of police officer Larissa Reggetto, who dropped 105, and look up the menu beforehand to avoid impulse ordering. At home, map meals in advance: studies show that people who visualise their food ahead of time take in fewer calories when they eat.
16. INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN
This crucial nutrient helps build and repair muscle, makes your bones stronger, and forces your body to burn more calories. To hit the right target in your maintenance phase, multiply your new weight by 0.5 - you should eat at least that many grams per day, spread over meals and snacks.
17. KEEP COUNTING CALORIES
Even after reaching your target, calories are still your best gauge of whether you're staying on track. Calculate your optimal daily intake based on your new weight, and continue adding up each food's content until it becomes automatic.
18. BE A CREATURE OF HABIT
Too much variety in your diet can mess with your satiety cues and make you overeat, so add some (tasty) monotony to your routine. One easy way: eat the same healthy breakfast and/or lunch each day during the week, and savour new tastes on the weekend. The best thing about that plan, noted 69-pound-loser Melanie Kitchen: "I didn't have to keep coming up with new recipes!"