Tip #6 Pay attention to portion sizes. If you’re totally new to calorie counting, pull out your measuring cups and spoons, and invest in a kitchen scale. You only need to measure a few times before you’ll get the gist of how much you should be eating. Plus, check out Fitbit’s visual guide to portion sizes! When you have a rough idea of what 3 ounces of steak looks like (a deck of cards), or a cup of pasta (a tennis ball), entering your servings will be quicker, easier, and more accurate.
Clean eating and lifestyle approaches, like Whole 30, the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet, are also a way to eliminate calories by cutting out processed foods and convenience options. When you are eating more home cooked meals and choosing fresh foods to snack on, you are removing a lot of quick energy sources from your day - like vending machine options, fast foods and restaurant take-out. And if you're not overeating, this can help you drop pounds.
When you want something sweet, all those fat-free, sugar-free options seem like a smart choice for weight loss. But researchers at Cornell University found that overweight people who choose low-fat versions of snack foods rather than the regular kinds consume, on average, twice as many calories. "The terms 'fat-free' or 'sugar-free' can create a green light effect, triggering people to eat more," says dietitian Cynthia Sass, RD. But many fat-free foods have about the same number of calories (or more) as their full-fat counterparts.
In August of 2010, one of my members of Getting in Shape 2010 group recommended I joined Sparks People. I thought what the heck, since my virtual trainer was giving me issues. Well I set up my profile, entered how much exercise I do a week, and what my goal was and guess what? It calculated how many calories I needed to lose 1.5 lbs a week. Don’t forget I was eating only 1200 calories a day. Sparks told me I needed to eat 1550 at the low end and 1700 on the high end. I was so happy, I could eat!!!! It was like a new world opened up for me.
However, if you’re already on medication and think it could be hampering weight loss efforts, speak with your doctor about your options. It may be possible to transition to a more natural option, like a natural form of birth control, coming up with a plan to transition off medication or simply trying an alternative that’s not known to cause weight gain.
I also think its important to note that having portion control is not the same thing as being on a diet. I never considered myself to be on a "diet." I remember a few co-workers asking me what kind of diet I was on and I didn't know how to answer because I never thought of myself of dieting because I still ate all foods that I loved. It was more just eating all foods in moderation. I could still eat a good burger and sweet potato fries if I went out to dinner, drank wine on special occasions, ate dark chocolate and ice cream, etc. I never stopped eating the foods I enjoyed, I just ate them less.
Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
Beth has struggled with her weight for nearly her entire life. Overweight since puberty and then obese throughout high school and college, Beth tipped the scales at 250 pounds. In early 2009, she resolved to take better care of herself, which included quitting smoking and running for exercise. Initially, Beth didn't drop weight as quickly as she would’ve liked, so she took a look at her eating habits. She joined Weight Watchers where she learned how food should be measured and weighed, and how much she should eat in a day.
Lisa Cain is a mother and writer for the healthy living blog Snack Girl. After learning from her doctor that she needed to gain control of her weight, Lisa was devoted to finding a new strategy and approach to weight loss that would help her make a long-term lifestyle change. Her blog is dedicated to creating healthy versions of her favorite snack foods and providing helpful tips for enjoying the process.
Practicing mindful eating can be really helpful if you’re an emotional eater. Check in with yourself to see if you’re actually hungry or just avoiding that assignment that’s hanging over your head. If you’re going to eat, sit down and give your food your full attention. No eating out of the bag, either. If you’re going to snack on some chips, but them in a bowl so you can see how much you’re eating. That might help curb your cravings.
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When you want to lose leg fat, it pays to be the hare, not the tortoise. Fast, intense exercises, like sprints, are one of the most effective ways to shed fat quickly. Research published in the Journal of Diabetes Research reveals that shorter periods of intense exercise, like sprinting, are just as effective at reducing body fat as longer periods spent exercising at moderate intensity, so go ahead and add some quick sprints to your routine. Pair those sprints with the fat-burning foods and you’ll be looking leaner before you know it.