Got a few pounds to drop? While there’s an endless supply of weight-loss schemes to take a crack at, some are unrealistic, most don’t truly work in the long run and a handful can be downright dangerous. We’re committed to helping you find a solution.
Nope, the “hot dog diet” and the “cookie diet” didn’t make the cut. Luckily, there are 13 other strategies that really do work. Some are amusing, and not one of them requires you to give up deliciousness. So meander your way through these tips one by one. Get your doctor’s or dietitian’s advice too.
1 Burn Calories Doing Everyday Activities
“NEAT” — which stands for nonexercise activity thermogenesis — is a simple concept that can lead to weight loss. It refers to the energy expended during typical daily activities like walking, standing and even fidgeting. This type of movement may help you burn up to 2,000 additional daily calories above baseline metabolic level. This doesn’t mean you can fidget instead or doing your sweaty workouts. It does mean to find ways to boost movement during times you might normally be sitting, lying about or just exercising your thumbs on a smart device. So opt for a standing desk, take the stairs when they’re right next to the escalator or just skip about when you’re happy. That might look more than a little bit silly, but it’s really “NEAT!”
2 Substitute Mushrooms for Red Meat
Want to lose seven pounds? One of the most logical ways to lose that weight is to simply eat fewer calories than your body needs. But just eating less is not necessarily the answer to long-term weight loss. However, one of the most intriguing, delicious and effective ways to cut calories without actually eating less is to swap mushrooms in place of red meat. The results may lead to a reduction of calories, body weight, body fat, body mass index, waist circumference and more. A 7-pound loss is definitely possible. What’s more, weight loss seems to be well maintained while following this strategy. So fire up the grill and toss on a portobello for a delicious, sizzling mushroom “steak.”
3 Slow Your Dinner Roll With Chopsticks
Reserve your need for speed for sprints rather than your dining habits. Racing to finish everything on your plate can result in overindulging — especially if you overserved your portions to begin with. Need proof? The facts are that a slower eating pace was associated with lower calorie intake. In other words, eating more slowly may lead to weight loss. But, for many, that’s easier in theory than in practice. So here’s a tip: Use chopsticks. It won’t hurt, and it may just help; I observed that diners with higher body mass indexes (BMI) were less likely to use chopsticks than forks at Chinese all-you-can-eat restaurants.
4 Banish the Munchies With Chewing Gum
Do you have a hankering for an afternoon snack? If properly planned, between-meal noshing can be helpful for managing weight; unmanaged, however, it might just lead to excess calorie intake. Luckily, there’s a fun way to curb excess carb cravings: Chew gum. A new crossover in healthy-weight and obese women found that chewing gum after lunch (15 minutes per hour over a three-hour period) can boost satiety as well as help reduce high-carbohydrate snacking in the afternoon. If you tend to overdo it on salty or sweet munchie snacks like pretzels or cookies, unwrap a few sticks of gum and chew.
5 Fool Yourself Full With Pistachios
Here’s some nutty advice for you: You can actually fool yourself full by enjoying in-shell pistachios as a snack. Research finds that the leftover shells may provide a visual cue for portions, potentially helping to curb intake and resulting in reduced calorie consumption. That’s called the “pistachio principle.” Plus, pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie nuts, at 160 calories per serving, and they offer the most nuts per serving (about 49 kernels). So go get counting — and cracking!
6 Wear Shapewear While Exercising
Exercising regularly is one surefire way to boost weight-management efforts, of course. But could undergarments worn while working out create a more significant impact? Women wearing shaping tights while walking on a treadmill burned as much as 16 percent more calories than when not wearing the shapewear. Seamless resistance bands in the garment make muscles work more. While toning shapewear is not appropriate attire during vigorous physical activity, it could be your double-duty secret to svelteness during low to moderate activity!
7 Downsize Your Dinner Plate
We’ve supersized our dinner plates over the past century. The typical American dish used to be around 9.6 inches in diameter compared to today’s 11.8-inch dinner plate. So if you use a 10-inch rather than a nearly foot-wide plate, will you lose weight? Seems like a no-brainer: Based on size alone, the switch should result in serving the equivalent of up to 23 percent fewer calories, right? Not exactly, however, that using a larger plate may actually help you increase vegetable intake. So if you plan to indulge in mac ’n’ cheese, use a small plate or bowl. But if a veggie-loaded meal awaits, go big.
8 Color Your Plate Healthy
Contrast may be key to consuming fewer calories. People tend to serve themselves less when there is greater color contrast between their plate and food. So if you’re cooking pasta with white sauce for dinner, don’t serve it on a white plate. Instead, choose a contrasting plate color like a red, and you’ll likely serve yourself significantly less. The calorie difference could certainly add up over time, so consider managing your weight by avoiding being too matchy-matchy with your food and plate. Yes, sometimes the answer can be simple.
9 Simplify Your Dish
KISS it! Don’t literally kiss your food (unless you really, really want to). Rather, keep it super simple (KISS). Better yet, keep it superfood simple!
Meal variety can contribute to a higher calorie intake, potentially boosting calorie consumption by 29 percent. There doesn’t seem to be a simple reason why this happens, but perceived volume and prior experience with the food can possibly impact your portion-size decisions. So resist the sensory overload of colors, textures and aromas on every plate and in every bowl. When meal planning, prep for this “variety effect” by getting back to basics and selecting foods exceptionally rich in nutrients as well as taste.
10 Track Your Weight Loss With an App
Losing weight? There’s an app for that! Your smartphone is a smart tool for your health if you download and use a weight-loss app. Weight-loss apps that showed that using a mobile app results in significant changes in weight and body mass index (BMI). How much weight might you lose? According to this meta-analysis, an average of 2.3 pounds over a six-month period.
11 Drink Two Cups of Water 30 Minutes Before Meals
While it’s not the “fountain of youth,” enjoying a 16-ounce glass of plain water 30 minutes before most or all of your meals may help you lose three pounds over the next three months. Consider it more like the “fountain of helping you eat fewer calories!” One potential reason why this happens is that the volume of the water may help you feel fuller. Losing weight doesn’t get much simpler than that. Hint: Add citrus slices and fresh mint to make plain water extra enticing.
12 Fill Half Your Plate With Healthy Vegetables
One of the most creative and effective ways to lose weight may be the most logical: Filling 50 percent of your plate with nonstarchy veggies like asparagus, cauliflower, tomatoes, kale or peapods is an evidence-based strategy for weight loss. Of course, you won’t want those veggies laden with grease or swimming in heavy cream. Many companies sell pre-portioned plates to help you out. Pick one and test this “nondiet” trick out for yourself.
13 Develop a Custom DIY Strategy
There is no one-size-fits-all diet or approach for managing a healthy weight. Losing weight is best when individualized. If one strategy doesn’t seem to be personally effective, try another. Or try a unique combination. Remember to stay physically active, of course. And if you’re already active, you may need to consider boosting exercise to see additional results; for instance, doing more than 10,000 steps per day, not a maximum of 10,000 steps, might be right for you. A Fitbit, Misfit or other wearable activity tracker can indeed help. I have found that these trackers have led to increased physical activity in older adults. Young folks can benefit too. And don’t forget there are useful free tools available online, such as mapmywalk app.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you currently trying to lose weight or maintain your new, healthier weight? Have you had success using any of these tips? If so, please share your experience. Do you have another creative weight-management tip to share? Please leave a comment below and let me know.
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