- 40 Foods That Jumpstart Weight Loss
- Spaghetti Squash
- Greek Yogurt
- Whole Grains
- Cayenne Pepper
- Sweet Potato
- Green Tea
- Oolong Tea
- Coconut Oil
- Dark Chocolate
- Tomato Juice
- Peanut Butter
- And Avocado Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- With A Squeeze of Lemon
- Red Wine
- Black Coffee
- Parmesan Cheese
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Sesame Seeds
- The 29 Best Sources of Protein for Weight Loss
- Sprouted Whole Grain Bread
- Gruyere Cheese
- 2% Greek Yogurt
- 1% Organic, Grass-Fed Milk
- Chia Seeds
- Shelled Pumpkin Seeds
- What should you eat for weight loss?
40 Foods That Jumpstart Weight Loss
“It’s time,” you think to yourself. It’s finally time to embark on your weight-loss journey and shed the pounds that have slowly been building up on your frame all these years.
But where to start?
Tackling your weight loss problem on top of juggling your hectic work and family life can feel daunting at first pass, but it doesn’t have to be in reality. In fact, there is a way to jumpstart weight loss: there are simple dietary changes you can make to your lifestyle (by eating more of the best foods for weight loss) that will play an essential role in melting fat.
Although adding an exercise routine to your diet overhaul will help you burn fat more quickly than a dietary intervention alone, one JAMA study found that obese patients who change their diets first and begin exercising six months after their diet change will lose the same amount of weight after 12 months as those participants who eat healthier and exercised over the course of the whole year. In short: don’t put off your weight loss goals just because you don’t want to exercise. Change your diet today by eating more weight loss foods, exercise later, and you can still lose weight.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a science-backed list of the best foods for weight loss that are proven to jumpstart weight loss and help you get to your ideal physique.
To jumpstart your weight loss, we’ve selected some nutritious eats, like salsa, that are lower-calorie substitutes for less healthy choices (we’re looking at you, ketchup). And other weight loss foods, such as watermelon, contain certain compounds that have been scientifically proven to reduce the size of your waist and help reduce body fat. Scroll down below for a list of a few dozen best weight loss foods, and get even more health-conscious inspiration from this list of these dinner ideas that don’t need a recipe!
The average American consumes approximately 15.5 pounds of pasta each year—and most of it is the refined white stuff. Unfortunately, this type of noodle is usually void of fiber and micronutrients. Spaghetti squash, on the other hand, boasts only about 40 calories per cup—more than 75 percent fewer calories than a cup of plain pasta—and is an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium. Make this simple swap to jumpstart your weight loss and you’ll be fitting into your skinny jeans in no time! For more swaps to save you calories, don’t miss these food swaps that cut calories.
Another weight-loss-friendly substitute to keep in mind is favoring salsa over ketchup. While ketchup typically has around 19 calories and 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon, fresh tomato salsa has about 5 calories per tablespoon, no added sugar, and is packed with nutritious veggies. Tomatoes, for example, are loaded with fat-blasting fiber and vitamin C, a deficiency of which Arizona State University researchers associated with increased body fat and larger waists. If you can handle spice, toss some jalapenos in your salsa to rev up your metabolism. For more on how you can switch your metabolism into overdrive, check out the best ways to boost your metabolism!
On top of its 4 grams of belly-filling fiber, a cup of hearty oatmeal delivers as much protein as an egg. In other words, the popular breakfast food is an excellent weight loss tool. In fact, according to a study in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, scientists found that having oatmeal for breakfast resulted in greater fullness, lower hunger ratings, and fewer calories eaten at the next meal compared with a serving of ready-to-eat sugared corn flakes, even though the calorie counts of the two breakfasts were identical. For ways to get more fiber, sprinkle some berries and chia seeds on top of your oatmeal, but be sure to stay away from fattening syrup and sugar.
Speaking of standout breakfast foods, Greek yogurt is another option worthy of the spotlight thanks to its high-protein content. Per study in the journal Appetite, researchers from the University of Missouri compared the satiety effects of high-, moderate-, and low-protein yogurts on women aged 24-28, and found Greek yogurt, with the highest protein content, to have the greatest effect. What’s more? Probiotics in items such as yogurt and fermented foods, like pickles and sauerkraut, help good bacteria in the gut process food more efficiently. Hello, weight loss! If you want to get even more protein in your yogurt, check out Icelandic yogurts, which can have two to three more grams of protein per serving compared to Greek.
Similar to Greek yogurt, a study from Nutrition Research showed that eating eggs for breakfast can make you feel more full and help you eat fewer calories throughout the day, meaning they’re quite the secret weapon for weight loss. Nutritionally speaking, one large hard-boiled egg (about 50 grams) contains less than one gram of carbs and remains an excellent source of protein. Eggs are also loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and healthy fats.
As far as grains go, quinoa is a good one to have around if you’re looking to lose weight. It’s packed with protein and fiber and contains approximately 220 calories per cup. What’s more? Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that offer a complete set of amino acids, meaning it can be converted directly into muscle by the body.
Though we singled out quinoa above, whole grains in general (we’re talking cereal, rice, pasta, and more) are conducive to weight loss, especially when they’re used in place of refined—white—grains. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that substituting whole grains for refined grains in the diet increases calorie loss by reducing calories retained during digestion and speeding up metabolism. Unlike refined grains, whole grains are packed with satiating, heart-healthy fiber.
Sure, nuts aren’t known for being low in calories, but they have an array of other properties—namely a high protein and fiber content—that makes them ideal for weight loss. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, Circulation, found that consuming 1.5 ounces of almonds daily (as opposed to a carb-dense muffin) along with a heart-healthy diet, helped to improve cholesterol and lipid profiles among the research participants. The study also found that eating almonds reduces belly fat, too.
As it turns out, almonds aren’t the only superstar nuts around. Studies have shown pistachios aren’t bad to snack on either. UCLA Center for Human Nutrition researchers divided study participants into two groups, each of which were fed a nearly identical low-cal diet for three months. One group was given 220-calories of pretzels as an afternoon snack, while the other sect munched on 240-calories worth of pistachios. About a month into the study, the pistachio group had reduced their BMI by a point and improved their cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while the pretzel-eaters stayed the same.
If you’re on a quest to jumpstart weight loss, why not kick your metabolism into overdrive by sneaking spicy foods into your diet. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper that gives it its spiciness, revs up your metabolism in a way that’s conducive to weight loss. In fact, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, those who supplemented their diet with capsaicin consumed 200 fewer calories during their next meal.
Although white potatoes offer some potassium and fiber, sweet potatoes reign supreme in the nutrition department, meaning you should consider adding sweet potatoes to your diet. A large sweet potato contains around 4 grams of satiety-boosting protein, 25 percent of the day’s belly-filling fiber, and 11 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. What’s more? It’s less than 200 calories.
A myriad of different teas have been shown to aid weight loss, and green tea is no exception. In fact, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that after just two weeks, those who sipped four to five cups of the green brew each day, in addition to working out for 25 minutes, lost more belly fat than those who didn’t imbibe. Scientists attribute green tea’s ability to shrink waists to the beverages catechins, a type of antioxidant that hinders the storage of belly fat and facilitates rapid weight loss.
Not to be outdone, oolong tea—a Chinese beverage—can help those who drink it shed up to a pound per week. According to a study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost six pounds over the course of six weeks. What’s more? The tea’s antioxidants are thought to remove harmful free radicals and improve bone health.
Coconut oil may be high in saturated fat, but that doesn’t mean you should write it off completely, especially when it comes to weight loss. In fact, a study of 30 men published in Pharmacology found that just two tablespoons per day reduced waist circumference by an average of 1.1 inches over the course of a month. What’s more? At roughly 117 calories per tablespoon, coconut oil (which has a versatile high smoke point) is an ideal cooking companion so long as you don’t use it every day and rotate in other cooking oils such as heart-healthy EVOO.
Yes, you can eat dark chocolate to lose weight. A study among women with normal weight obesity (or “skinny fat syndrome”) who ate a Mediterranean diet that included two servings of dark chocolate per day showed a substantial reduction in waist size than when on a cocoa-free meal plan. Researchers attribute dark chocolate’s weight loss abilities to flavonoids, heart-healthy compounds in the sweet treat that the scientists at Harvard say can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and mortality. Like nuts, dark chocolate has also been found to induce satiety. When reaching for chocolate, just make sure you choose a bar with at least 70 percent cacao. Anything less contains more belly-bloating sugar and a significantly reduced flavonoid content.
Speaking of flavonoids, the waist-whittling compounds also exist in higher concentrations in red fruits such as watermelon, Pink Lady apples, and plums, meaning they also have the power to induce weight loss. In fact, a 2016 study in the journal BMJ found that people who eat a diet rich in flavonoid-heavy food tend to gain less weight, which could be promising seeing as many people tend to put on pounds as they age. In addition, anthocyanin, a specific flavonoid compound that gives red fruits their color, has been shown to reduce fat-storage genes.
Want to lose weight? Grab a bottle of V8! According to a study published in Nutrition Journal, tomato juice consumption can aid weight loss because it increases resting energy expenditure (REE)—the amount of energy expended by a person at rest. After eight weeks of drinking unsalted tomato juice twice daily, the 95 women in the study (who were each exhibiting some menopausal symptoms) increased their REE by an average of over 100 calories per day.
Yes, peanut butter is high in calories, but if you stick the real stuff—a tasty combo of peanuts and maybe a touch of salt—the legumes can earn a place as one of the best foods for weight loss. In addition to providing you with belly-slimming monounsaturated fats, tummy-filling fiber, and metabolism-boosting protein, peanuts also contain genistein, a compound that helps turn down the genes for obesity and reduces your body’s ability to store fat.
Kamut is an ancient grain native to the Middle East that is an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber, while simultaneously being low in calories. In fact, a half-cup serving of the stuff has 30 percent more protein than regular wheat and just 140 calories. What’s more? A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating Kamut reduces cholesterol, blood sugar, and cytokines (which cause inflammation throughout the body). Kamut’s ability to stabilize blood sugar and reduce inflammation make it a great weight loss staple, especially if it is used in place of nutritionally lacking refined grains.
Like peanuts, avocados contain metabolism-enhancing monounsaturated fats that have been shown to reduce hunger. In fact, a study in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterwards. What’s more? The trendy toast topping is also loaded with unsaturated fats, which seem to prevent the storage of belly fat, as well as satiating fiber and free-radical-killing antioxidants.
And Avocado Oil
Since avocados are packed with nutrients and healthy fats that can stimulate weight loss, it’s no surprise that avocado oil acts in a similar fashion. When Penn State University researchers compared those who consumed monounsaturated-rich oils (like high-oleic canola oil or avocado oil) with those who consumed a flax-safflower oil blend, they found that those who used just three tablespoons of the monounsaturated-rich oil daily lost nearly two percent of their belly fat in just one month.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: fat is your friend! To be more specific, healthy fats will be your weight loss friends. Consider adding extra virgin olive oil to your diet and you might see the scale start to tip in your favor. One Journal of Women’s Health study discovered that an EVOO-enriched diet helped participants lose more weight than those on a low-fat diet. Like peanuts and avocados, extra virgin olive oil’s belly-blasting abilities are thought to be a result of the monounsaturated fats it contains.
Water is a weight loss ally in a number of ways. For starters, if sipped prior to a meal it can help ensure you eat less. A British study published in the journal Obesity that asked participants to chug 16 ounces of H2O prior to eating found said participants lost an average of 2.87 pounds in 90 days—which translates to nearly 12 pounds in a year! Water helps you blast even more fat because it is a much better beverage choice than diet soda or fruit juice, both of which are full of artificial sweeteners that can pack on belly fat super fast.
With A Squeeze of Lemon
While we’re on the subject of water, why not throw a few lemon slices into the hydrating and satiating beverage? In addition to adding a pop of color and flavor to a tall glass of H2O, lemon can also help encourage weight loss. Just one of the bright citrus fruits contains an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that has the power to reduce levels of a stress hormone called cortisol that triggers hunger and fat storage. Additionally, lemons also contain polyphenols, which researchers say may ward off fat accumulation and weight gain.
Believe it or not, even the peel is beneficial because it is a potent source of pectin—a soluble fiber that’s been proven to help people feel fuller, longer. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, participants who ate just 5 grams of pectin experienced more satiety.
A 2012 CDC study found that the average adult consumes about 100 calories worth of alcohol daily, but favoring a glass of wine instead of beer or sugary cocktails can drastically reduce that figure and make your waistline slimmer. In addition to having fewer calories than most alcoholic beverages, red wine, in particular, is a good source of those waist-shrinking flavonoids that are also found in red fruits. Resveratrol, a particular flavonoid found in red wine, is believed to have heart health benefits because it helps prevent blood vessel damage and reduces your ‘bad cholesterol.’ Just remember to imbibe in moderation.
Coffee jumpstarts your metabolism, making the non-decaf stuff a worthy weight loss ally. According to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than that of those who drank decaf. In addition to caffeinating your coffee, it’s also crucial to keep it black and avoid adding any unhealthy creamers and artificial sweeteners, both of which are enemies of weight loss.
Like peanuts, lentils also contain genistein, but their weight loss powers don’t end there. In one four-week Spanish study, researchers found that eating a calorie-restricted diet that also included four weekly servings of legumes aided weight loss more effectively than an equivalent diet sans the pulses. Those who consumed the legume-rich diet also saw improvements in their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure. Next time you’re cooking something starchy for dinner, consider eating fiber and protein-packed lentils instead.
A 2016 study found that garlic powder reduces body weight and fat mass among people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Recent studies have also shown that garlic supports blood-sugar metabolism, and helps control lipid levels in the blood. What’s more? Eating garlic can help boost your immune system, help ward off heart disease, fight inflammation, increase memory retention, and lower blood pressure, so consider adding some to your next meal. At the very least, it is preferable over salt, which can lead to water weight gain and bloating.
Salmon boasts significant anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its rich omega-3 fatty acid content, meaning it’s an excellent source of protein for those looking to jumpstart their weight loss. In fact, one International Journal of Obesity study that examined the effects of weight loss and seafood consumption showed that when men ate three 5-ounce servings of salmon per week for a month as part of a low-calorie diet, it resulted in approximately 2.2 pounds more weight loss than following an equicaloric diet that didn’t include fish. According to a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, fishy fatty acids may also signal thyroid cells in the liver to burn more fat.
Speaking of things you find in the sea, oysters have also been shown to contribute to weight loss thanks to their impressive zinc content. One study found that obese people who consumed 30 milligrams of zinc per day—the equivalent of just six raw oysters—had lower BMIs, weighed less, and showed improvements in blood cholesterol levels. If oysters aren’t your thing, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and mushrooms are also excellent sources of zinc.
Cheese isn’t traditionally thought of as something you consume to encourage weight management, but calcium-rich Parmesan, when eaten in moderation, can help stave off sugar cravings that can easily lead to weight gain. How does that work, you ask? The native Italian cheese contains the amino acid tyrosine (a building block of protein) which has been shown to encourage the brain to release dopamine without any unhealthy insulin spikes. What’s more? The combination of calcium and protein found in dairy products such as Parmesan has been found to increase thermogenesis—the body’s core temperature—and thus boost your metabolism.
Beans are a great weight loss food that can help boost feelings of fullness and manage blood sugar levels, making them an excellent ally in your weight loss battle. In fact, a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found eating one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils could contribute to modest weight loss. And if you need another reason to bulk up on beans, remember that the fiber and protein-rich legumes are other excellent sources of genistein—the same compound found in peanuts and lentils that aids weight loss.
Calcium and vitamin C team up well to boost metabolism, and broccoli is just one of several healthy foods that contain both nutrients. What sets broccoli apart from the others, however, is that the green veggie also contains kind of fiber that’s been shown to increase the digestion, absorption and storage of food, also known as the thermic effect of food or TEF. Combine a revved up metabolism with an increased TEF and you get a match made in weight loss heaven!
When it comes to condiments, mustard is about as healthy and low cal as it gets, and the pungent yellow stuff that contains about 5 calories per teaspoon has also been found to stimulate weight loss. Scientists at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that eating just one teaspoon of mustard can boost the metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours after it’s been consumed. Researchers attribute this to capsaicin and allyl isothiocyanates, phytochemicals that give the mustard its characteristic flavor. So instead of reaching for the sickeningly sweet ketchup, make sure you have mustard on hand at your next BBQ.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Another condiment worth utilizing in place of sugary dressings and marinades is apple cider vinegar. According to a study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, & Biochemistry, consuming apple cider vinegar each day can lead to weight loss, reduced belly fat, waist circumference, and lower blood triglycerides. More specifically, the study of obese Japanese participants found that those who consumed 1 tablespoon of ACV over a three month period lost 2.6 pounds, and those who consumed 2 tablespoons lost 3.7 pounds in the same time frame. Go ahead and toss a tablespoon or two of this calorie, fat, and sugar-free stuff in your next salad dressing, sauce, or smoothie.
Blueberries are lousy with antioxidants, satiating fiber, potassium, and more, and according to researchers at the University of Michigan, the colorful fruits may also encourage weight loss. In a study of laboratory rats, scientists found that after 90 days the rats who consumed blueberry-enriched powder as 2 percent of their diet had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity, than the rats who didn’t consume any blueberry-enriched powder.
A study in the journal Metabolism found that eating half a grapefruit before meals may help reduce visceral fat and lower cholesterol levels. Participants in the 6-week study who ate a Rio Red grapefruit fifteen minutes before each meal saw their waists shrink by up to an inch, and LDL levels drop by 18 points. Though researchers don’t exactly know what makes grapefruit so good at burning fat, they attribute the effects to a combination of phytochemicals and vitamin C found in the tart treat.
You likely don’t pay much mind to sesame seeds, but research shows that the crunchy little buggers may play a crucial role in weight maintenance. So, you should seriously consider tossing them into a salad or whole wheat noodle dish. Researchers suspect its the lignans—plant compounds—found in sesame seeds (and flax seeds) that makes them so special. In a 2015 study, women who consumed high levels of lignans tended to weigh less and gain less weight over time when compared to women who didn’t consume these compounds in high amounts.
Kefir is a yogurt-like substance, but it actually contains less sugar and more protein than conventional yogurt while remaining packed with gut-friendly probiotics that can help you lose weight by aiding digestion. In one study, kefir displayed weight loss properties similar to those of milk and other dairy-rich products. Other probiotic-rich foods include kombucha, bone broth, and fermented items such as sauerkraut and kimchi.
Spirulina is a powdered, high-protein seaweed supplement. The dried stuff is about 60 percent protein, and, like quinoa, it’s a complete protein, meaning it can be converted directly into muscle in the body and is thus a great weight loss tool. A tablespoon of the blue-green algae delivers 8 grams of metabolism-boosting protein for just 43 calories, plus half a day’s allotment of vitamin B12, which in and of itself can give you more energy and boost your metabolism. Try tossing some spirulina into a smoothie and watching the pounds melt off. For more skinny smoothie ideas, check out this list of smoothie recipes for weight loss!
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Going against everything we thought we knew, dark chocolate (and we’re talking real dark chocolate – 70% and up) could be the treat our future flat stomach is craving. Packed with polyphenols & magnesium, this sweet treat can help to balance your gut, help with gas and even kick your metabolism back into action. Oh, go on then…
Whether you’re a total booze hound or just like to have a glass of wine on occasion, turns out having olives as your aperitif is not only tasty, but good for your health. Yan Czerwinski, founder of The Yan Plan, says to always have 4-5 olives pre-booze, as they slow blood sugar elevation (most alcohols are high in sugar) to reduce the potential of fat storage.
Acai berries are well known for their anti-oxidant properties, but did you know they’re are also rich in essential fatty acids and dietary fibre? The tiny purple fruits can help to speed up digestion and provide more energy – something we all need if we want any hope of hitting the gym after work. Add them to your porridge in the morning or whip up a smoothie bowl for a nutritious snack. Delish!
Include a portion of leafy green vegetables at every meal to reduce water retention. Kale, spinach and romaine lettuce are all extremely low in calories, full of fibre and offer several vital vitamins and minerals that help to ease water retention without causing the bloating and discomfort that some other vegetables might do.
Peppermint is known for its potent healing and calming digestive properties, so if you’re looking to slim down your stomach, it makes sense to start including it in your diet. The easiest way to do this is to drink it in tea form, so pick up a box from your local supermarket (organic if possible) and try drinking three cups a day. Great for clearing the skin, too!
- Green Tea
Addicted to your builder’s brew? It may be time for a change. Swapping to green tea has been found to assist the body in flushing out excess fluids, helping to calm bloating around the stomach caused by water retention. What’s more, it has been found to speed up the metabolism, which can aid the burning of excess fat in the body.
Get on with the Mediterranean diet and include some seaweed or Kelp into your meals. Prized for its high levels of iodine, kelp helps to create the thyroid hormones in your body. These regulate your metabolic rate – the rate in which your body burns fat. It also contains several minerals which have been found to assist the breakdown of belly fat and relieve water retention. Seek it out in Japanese supermarkets or pick up from health food stores in a supplement form.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’re looking for a quick fix body detox, try adding a few capfuls of apple cider vinegar to your meals. It acts as a digestive tonic, helping to see off harmful bacteria in the intestines, flush out toxins, and relieve water retention around the stomach. Try adding some to vegetables during cooking, or as a dressing over salad.
- Cranberry Juice
As well as high levels of antioxidising vitamin C, cranberry juice has fantastic diuretic properties. This means that it encourages the body to get rid of excess fluids when you go to the loo. Swap out your morning OJ for a glass of sugar-free, all natural cranberry instead.
Asparagus is often considered a luxury vegetable, and not without good reason. Each spear is packed full of vitamins A, B-complex, C and E, as well as containing high levels of skin-clearing zinc and potassium, which assists the removal of excess fluids from the body. Asparagus has also been used to treat inflammations such as arthritis and rheumatism.
Delicious, full of antioxidants, AND they help you to lose weight? Tomatoes are definitely among our favourite fat-fighting foods. Tomatoes have been found to reduce inflammation and water retention in the body, as well as reversing leptin resistance. Leptin is a type of protein which helps to regulate metabolic rate and appetite, so our bodies rely on it to shed those extra pounds.
It might make your breath smell a bit, but each clove of garlic is packed not just with toxin-battling antioxidants, but also a naturally occurring chemical called allicin. When digested, allicin reacts with the blood to create a product capable of killing off many harmful bacteria and viruses that your body may be harbouring – including in the digestive tract. A healthy gut it essential for achieve a flatter tummy – try adding a few raw cloves to your food just before serving to get the most out of it.
Adding chilli to your food is a great way to boost your metabolism, which helps you to burn fat faster, that’s why it is often included in diet plans. A single chilli pepper also contains a full day’s supply of beta carotene (which is great for maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails) and twice your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C – an essential antioxidant that helps to battle toxins and foreign bodies in the blood stream.
Contrary to what some people believe, bananas contribute to weight loss NOT gain. Eating a banana is not just a great way to provide your body with skin-healing zinc, brain-powering slow release energy and filling fibre, but can also help you to relieve water retention thanks to the high levels of potassium they contain.
Half a melon contains almost twice as much potassium as bananas do, making it a low-calorie, high-antioxidant alternative that can aid the removal of excess fluids around the body. Cantaloupe melon also offers twice the recommended dose of vitamin C too, which will help to support your immune system and keep your skin in tip-top condition.
Watercress is jammed full of nutrients, including vitamin B1, B2, B6, C and E, as well as minerals manganese, carotene and potassium. This makes watercress a powerful cleansing agent, improving the digestion and nourishing the skin, while its diuretic properties help to flush out toxins and excess fluids. Watercress is also a fabulous source of iodine, which helps to boost your metabolism, so it makes sense to include it in your diet if you’re striving to achieve a flat stomach.
This liquorice-flavoured root vegetable is packed with vitamin C, potassium, and manganese and has long been used as a remedy for digestive problems. Thanks in part to its high dietary fibre content, it promotes healthy digestion, reducing swelling in the body, flushing out toxins and excess fluids. Fennel tea can also help to stave off hunger pangs, so pick up a box from your local health food shop and get slurping.
A sprinkling of cinnamon could be all that’s standing in the way of you and those washboard abs. The sweet spice helps to regulate soaring blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin production. There is some evidence to suggest that cinnamon extract also makes fat cells more responsive to insulin, which means they’re much less likely to hold on to excess energy, and far more likely to burn existing fat stores instead.
Ever wondered why your sushi comes with a side of ginger? The spicy root has been used for centuries as a digestive aid, because it possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and antioxidant properties. It also contains an enzyme called zingibain, which helps digest proteins.
Artichokes are rich in fibre, thus helping to speed the digestive process up and relieve bloating in the abdomen, while containing relatively few calories. Artichokes are often recommended by nutritionists for thetreatment of digestive disorders, like IBS, too.
- Brown Rice
If you’re looking to flatten and tone your belly, you should aim to eat a complex carbohydrate that is rich in muscle-strengthening protein and vitamins, like brown rice. It’s better than white rice, because it contains a rich supply of energizing B vitamins, which could help you burn calories faster.
There is a reason why guacamole exists beyond it being damn tasty! Avocado is often paired with spicy food because it soothes the digestive system after it is irritated by the heat. Avocado also contains potassium, which helps to regulate fluid balance, as well as magnesium, which prevents constipation.
Did you know that, when she wants to get into shape for a shoot fast, Kate Moss eats quinoa instead of cereal for breakfast? That’s because it’s what is known as a complete grain, combining protein, fibre, B vitamins and complex carbohydrates all in one. Eating grains like quinoa will help to boost your metabolism, and burn belly fat faster, as will…
- Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds contain a bountiful supply of dietary fibre, which could fill you up for longer and keep sweet cravings at bay, while easing digestion at the same time. They are packed full of antioxidant vitamin E, too, which is essential for skin health, as well as protein and complex carbs.
- Natural Yoghurt
Many diet plans will tell you to reduce the intake of diary, but try not cutting natural yoghut. As a probiotic, live natural yoghurt can help to relieve bloating and discomfort in the stomach, because it contains live bacteria that aid digestion. Opt for a low fat option to cut down on saturated animal fats, too.
Eating plenty of oily fish is a good idea if you want to tone up your tummy, because it is high in protein and low in ‘bad’ or saturated animal fats. It is also a rich source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are crucial to proper brain function. Slimmer AND smarter? Sounds good to us…
Papaya contains a naturally-occurring enzyme called papain, which aids the digestion of protein. It can also help to break down food faster, easing bloating and flattening out your belly in no time.
Much like its tropical cousin, pineapple boasts a digestive enzyme that helps to ease bloating, settle your stomach, and even relieve heartburn. It’s high in natural fruit sugars, or fructose, which could stave off sweet cravings.
- Black Pepper
A simple way to prevent bloating and discomfort after eating? Add a bit of freshly ground pepper to your diet. It’s a natural digestive aid, and helps to relieve bloating at the same time.
While it is a myth that celery is a minus-calorie food (that it takes more calories to digest it than it does to eat it) it is still a detoxing stem that can reduce water retention and help to purge your body of toxins.
It’s better for your flat stomach drunk in tea form than eaten as sugary confectionary, but the digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits of liquorice are not to be sniffed at.
The high pectin (natural fruit sugars) content contained within pears makes the juicy fruit a strong diuretic and good at fending off unwanted water retention. They are high in fibre, too, which encourages a feeling of fullness and healthy digestion.
- Horse Chestnut
The seeds, leaves, bark and flowers of the horse chestnut have been used for centuries to treat numerous conditions, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Drink in tea form to reap the belly-flattening rewards.
High in potassium and vitamin C, leeks are present in many diet plans to relief excess weight around the stomach caused by water retention.
Yarrow might be a common weed to some, but taken in tea or tablet form, it’s a powerful diuretic and has anti-inflammatory properties, great for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Similarly, if you are looking to lose water weight caused by retention, try drinking dandelion root tea, or a herbal tea that contains dandelion as an ingredient. It is a natural diuretic, and will help your kidneys to flush out excess fluids and sodium. Consider adding a few squeezes of…
… Lemon to your herbal infusion as well. A well-known detoxifier, it’s a great natural weapon against water retention and could help you achieve a flatter stomach.
Peaches are great for restoring balance to an upset or bloated stomach, as they have both laxative and diuretic properties due to their alkaline nature.
The 29 Best Sources of Protein for Weight Loss
Beans and Legumes
Protein Payout: 1/2 cup, 109-148 calories, 7-10 grams of protein
Beans are good for more than just your heart. They’re loaded with proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that can benefit your brain and muscles, too. Not to mention, they digest very slowly, which can help you feel fuller, longer, and fuel weight loss efforts without causing feelings of deprivation. Look for easy-to-use, pre-cooked BPA-free varieties that come in a pouch or a box. Add them to soups and salads or mix them with brown rice and steamed vegetables to create a hearty—yet healthy—dinner. Big into snacking? Mix black beans with some salsa and corn, and serve with some whole grain crackers (just make sure they are one of our go-to healthy crackers for weight loss) in place of your favorite packaged dip.
Protein Payout: 1 cup, 230 calories, 18 g protein
Here are some pretty amazing proportions: One cup of lentils has the protein of three eggs, with less than one gram of fat! Their high fiber content makes them extremely satiating, and studies have shown that they speed fat loss: Spanish researchers found that people whose diets included four weekly servings of legumes lost more weight and improved their cholesterol more than people who didn’t. Eat them on their own as a side or simmer them into a soup.
Protein Payout: 2 tablespoons, 191 calories, 7 grams of protein
This creamy spread is downright addictive. While eating too much peanut butter can wreak havoc on your waistline, a standard two-tablespoon serving provides a solid dose of muscle-building protein and healthy fats. According to a 2014 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming peanuts can prevent both cardiovascular and coronary artery disease — the most common type of heart condition. Look for the unsalted, no sugar added varieties without hydrogenated oils to reap the most benefits. If you’re tired of plain old PB&J sandwiches, try stirring the spread into hot oatmeal, smearing it on fresh produce, or blending it into your post-workout smoothie. And for some seriously slimming smoothie inspiration check out these 10 smoothie recipes for weight loss.
Sprouted Whole Grain Bread
Protein payout: Two slices, 138-220 calories, 8-12 g protein
Not all breads are carb bombs waiting to shatter your weight loss goals. This nutrient-dense bread is loaded with folate-filled lentils, protein and good-for-you grains and seeds like barley and millet. To boost the flavor of your slices, make a veggie sandwich overflowing with wholesome nutrients. On two slices of sprouted whole-grain bread combine tahini-free hummus, avocado slices, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, onions, spinach and tomatoes, one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
Protein Payout: 1/4 cup, 180 calories, 7 grams of protein
This nutty-flavored gluten-free grain may be small, but it packs a mighty nutritional punch. It’s loaded with fiber, essential amino acids, calcium and vitamin C — a nutrient not typically found in grains. To reap the benefits, trade your morning oatmeal in for a protein-packed teff porridge. Combine a half cup of teff with one a half cups of water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Let it come to a boil before turning the heat down to low and letting it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and top with apples, cinnamon and a dollop of natural peanut butter.
Protein Payout: 1/4 cup, 161 calories, 6 grams of protein
While you may have never heard of this hearty whole grain before, it may become your new favorite. This wheat-rye hybrid packs 12 grams of protein per half cup and is also rich in brain-boosting iron, bloat-busting potassium, magnesium and heart-healthy fiber. Use triticale berries in place of rice and mix it with soy sauce, fresh ginger, cloves, shiitake mushrooms and edamame to make a healthy, Asian-inspired dish. If you prefer to firing up the oven to using the stove, use triticale flour in place of traditional flour in your baking.
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 117 calories, 8 g protein
Here’s an excuse for a wine-and-cheese hour: The schmancy Swiss cheese contains 30 percent more protein than an egg in one slice, plus one-third of your RDA of vitamin A. If you’re looking to indulge, keep your serving to the size of four dice, and moderate your vino to one glass for women, two glasses for men, to get the bad-cholesterol-lowering benefits of the antioxidant resveratrol. And better yet, stick to the #1 wine for rapid weight loss.
2% Greek Yogurt
Protein Payout: 7 oz, 150 calories, 20 g protein
Yogurt may be one of your key allies in weight-loss efforts. A study printed in the Journal of Nutrition found that probiotics like the ones found in creamy, delicious yogurt helped obese women lose nearly twice the weight compared to those who did not consume probiotics. Both sets of subjects were on low-calorie diets, but after 12 weeks, the probiotic poppers lost an average of 9.7 pounds, while those on placebos lost only 5.7. Bonus: the subjects who were given the good bacteria continued to lose weight even after an additional 12 weeks, an average of 11.5 pounds to be accurate! The group that didn’t get the probiotic boost? They maintained their 5.7-pound initial loss but didn’t trim down further. The good bacteria in probiotics can help ramp up your metabolism and improve your immune system, but it pays to be picky about your sources. Yogurt’s a great way to get a.m. protein and probiotics, but to get the healthiest yogurt you’ll have to read labels; most are packed with added sugars that exceed their protein levels. To speed up the process, use our indispensable guide to the best brand name yogurts for weight loss.
1% Organic, Grass-Fed Milk
Protein Payout: 8 oz, 110 calories, 8 g protein
Organically raised cows are not subject to the same hormones and antibiotics that conventional cows are; no antibiotics for them means no antibiotics for you. Grass fed cows have been shown to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (good) and two to five times more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than their corn and grain fed counterparts. CLA contains a group of chemicals which provides a wide variety of health benefits, including immune and inflammatory system support, improved bone mass, improved blood sugar regulation, reduced body fat, reduced risk of heart attack, and maintenance of lean body mass. While skim milk may be lowest in calories, many vitamins are fat-soluble, which means you won’t get all the benefits of the alphabetical nutrients listed on your cereal box unless you opt for at least 1%.
Nuts and Seeds
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 138 calories, 5 g protein
One of the hallmarks of a balanced diet is to have a good ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s. A 4:1 ratio would be ideal, but the modern American diet is more like 20:1. That leads to inflammation, which can trigger weight gain. But while eating a serving of salmon every day isn’t exactly convenient, sprinkling chia seeds—among the most highly concentrated sources of omega-3s in the food world—into smoothies, salads, cereals, pancakes or even desserts is as easy a diet upgrade as you can get.
Shelled Pumpkin Seeds
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 158 calories, 9 g protein
Dr. Lindsey Duncan, a nutritionist who’s worked with Tony Dorsett and Reggie Bush, is a big fan of pumpkin seeds. “A handful of raw pepitas or dry roasted pumpkin seeds can give you a natural jolt to power through a workout,” he says. “They’re a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, keeping you feeling full and energized longer, and contain manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which provide additional energy support to maximize gym time.” Throw them into salads and rice dishes or eat them raw. Looking for more delicious ways to eat pumpkin? Check out these 8 amazing ways to eat pumpkin this fall!
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 164 calories, 6 g protein
Think of each almond as a natural weight-loss pill. Combined with a calorie-restricted diet, consuming a little more than a quarter-cup of the nuts can decrease weight more effectively than a snack comprised of complex carbohydrates and safflower oil—after just two weeks! (And in this study of overweight and obese patients, after 24 weeks, those who ate the nuts experienced a 62 percent greater reduction in weight and BMI!) For optimal results, eat your daily serving before you hit the gym. Almonds, rich in the amino acid L-arginine, can actually help you burn more fat and carbs during workouts, a study printed in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found.
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 157 calories, 5 g protein
Cashews are a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and copper, and shouldn’t be overlooked as one of your go-to nuts. Magnesium boasts a myriad of health benefits such as helping your body relieve various conditions like constipation, insomnia, headaches and muscle cramps, as well as regulating the immune system and supporting brain function. They also contain a good amount of biotin, which will help keep your locks shiny and lustrous.
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Lean Chicken Breast
If you’re looking to tone and sculpt your body into fine form then you need to feed your muscles. The stronger and more powerful your muscles are, the more calories you will burn – and faster. Aim to eat around 15-20g of protein with each meal. A grilled chicken breast is ideal because it’s low in fat and high in protein.
Dark Turkey Meat
Why dark you say? Lean in fat and high in protein, dark turkey meat also contains twice as much beauty-boosting zinc and riboflavin as white meat – both as essential for energy as they are for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Oily fish like mackerel, too, are particularly nutritious forms of low calorie protein. Packed full of omega 3 and 6, calcium, selenium, magnesium, potassium, folate, niacin, vitamins A, B12, C and K (phew!), eating a portion of mackerel three times a week is your one-way ticket to glowing skin, shiny hair and a toned bod.
Not keen on mackerel? Grill up a salmon steak instead. Equally high in protein, it’s a great, oily, slightly less fishy alternative.
Hell, why not throw some tuna into the mix while we’re at it. High in protein, low in calories, low in fat… Grilled fresh steaks or plain old tinned, it’s all good news for our body sculpting diet.
And don’t forget seafood, like prawns, either. They’re even lower in calories than fish, and equally protein-rich, as well as being high in skin-clearing minerals like selenium.
As are oysters, which are particularly high in body sculpting protein, calcium, zinc, selenium, iron (essential for collagen production) and vitamin A.
There are many ways to cook an egg, and we advise you to try all of them if you’re striving for a strong, toned physique. Eggs are a great low-cal source of protein – just remember that the yolks are quite high in saturated fat (as well as other nutrients, like selenium and zinc, of course). Egg white omelettes are a great call.
- Lean Beef
Don’t rule out a good old-fashioned steak. We’re not talking about the kind cooked in cholesterol-dripping butter, but a lean, grilled piece of meat will provide just the boost of protein and iron you need to feed those hungry muscles. Remember, your intake of red meats should be limited as they are higher in saturated fats and calories than fish, but once or twice a week could do your bod the world of firming good.
- Cottage Cheese
Dairy products, like cheese, are good sources of protein and calcium, but beware – most varieties are high in saturated fats, and should be limited in your body-sculpting diet. Not so cottage cheese – a low fat, high protein alternative. Spread on rice crackers, enjoy in a jacket spud or add a little to an egg white omelette.
And don’t forget soya protein alternatives, either. Taken as a supplement, soya is thought to have a collagen-boosting, anti-ageing effect, so coupled with the high levels of protein and low fat that tofu contains, it’s an ideal addition to your diet if you’re looking to firm up fast. Best enjoyed marinated and cooked in a stir fry with some of the other ingredients from this list.
Forget lettuce – spinach is a salad leaf you’d be foolish to ignore. It’s high in iron and vitamin C, both of which help to produce collagen in the body. Collagen is a rubbery type of protein that gives skin and muscles their toned, youthful and elastic appearance. Spinach is also high in fibre, and will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
As do other green leafy vegetables, like kale, which is packed full of collagen-boosting vitamins and minerals, as well as being low in calories…
…And broccoli. Our advice? Eat it as often as possible, in as many ways as you can think of. There are fewer vegetables more nutritious.
Red vegetables, like beetroot, contain a naturally-occurring plant chemical called lycopene – a powerful antioxidant that encourages skin elasticity through collagen production, as well as protecting the skin from sun damage. Must be great for our body sculpting then.
- Red Pepper
Red pepper, too, is packed with collagen-boosting lycopene…
…As are tomatoes. All are low in fat and calories too, while being good sources of fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Our advice? Try to include at least one portion of red veg and one portion of green veg every day.
Berries are fabulous sources of antioxidants – vitamins which help to track down and get rid of harmful toxins in the body. Together with…
…Blueberries also help to boost skin firming collagen in the body. A handful of berries contains under 100 calories, so they are a great mid-day snack.
…Particularly when coupled with a small handful of protein-packed almonds. The nuts are high in vitamin E, too, which helps to keep your skin, hair and nails in tip-top condition.
The humble strawberry, too, makes a good collagen-boosting snack – particularly at just 90 calories for 16 of them.
- Brown Rice
In order to have the energy to exercise, build muscles, firm, tone and even think, our bodies need carbs. Steer clear of white, refined carbohydrates, and stick to wholegrain varieties, like brown rice, instead. Brown rice is packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as containing protein, so is a great choice to pair with other ingredients on this list.
Oats are great too, as they’re a long-lasting source of energy and high in fibre.
- Cider Vinegar
In order to reveal those newly-sculpted abs, we need to rid our bodies of unwanted water retention and swelling in the intestines. Cider vinegar is not only a diuretic (meaning that it makes you pee), but also a good anti-inflammatory (it calms inflammation). Use as a salad dressing, or drink a spoonful at mealtimes.
- Sunflower Seeds
If you’re looking for an ideal snack food to sculpt your body and boost your skin at the same time, sunflower seeds are it. Packed with protein, vitamins and fibre, grazing on a handful in between meal times will be beneficial.
Pulses are all-round superfoods when it comes to the body sculpting diet plans, as they contain essential collagen-boosting nutrients, protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre. Lentils are a fab example of this…
- Haricot Beans
…As are haricot beans – the type you’d find in a baked bean can. Our advice? Make your own, low-fat sauce to go with, and serve with a portion of green veggies and brown rice.
Orange vegetables like carrots are full of vitamin A, which helps to regenerate collagen in the body that has been damaged. As does…
- Sweet Potato
…Sweet potato, which is also a great source of slow-release carbohydrate. And darn tasty cut into oven-baked wedges, too.
- White Tea
To top it all off? Reach for a steaming mug of white tea – the most antioxidant-rich part of the tea plant, known for its anti-ageing, firming and regenerating benefits. Two to three cups a day ought to do it. Along with plenty of water.
If you’re worried eating too much protein will leave you looking more muscley than The Incredible Hulk, don’t be. Here’s why protein is so good for you, according to expert nutritionist Dominic Swift:
It burns more calories: You body needs more energy to process protein than it does carbs, so you’ll burn more calories simply by eating. Result.
It keeps you fuller for longer: Studies have shown protein is the most satisfying macronutrient, meaning it makes you feel fuller after eating, and less likely to fall prey to snack attacks later on.
It preserves muscles: Your body needs protein to build and repair muscle cells after a workout so if you want a toned bod, you need to up your intake. Plus, the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you’ll burn at rest. Win win!
So how much is enough? According to the Institute of Medicine you should aim for around 0.8 g of protein per kilo of bodyweight. So for a woman weighing 60kg, that’s about 48g of protein a day.
Where can I get protein?
Lean meat like chicken and turkey, fish like salmon and tuna or eggs, beans, legumes and quinoa if you’re veggie. You can also choose high-protein snacks, like cottage cheese, natural yoghurt, nuts and seeds. Avocado is also particularly high in protein, considering it’s a fruit and all.
Dominic Swift has a Masters in Strength & Conditioning, Nutrition & Supplementation from Edinburgh University. He is currently developing products for Supplement Centre.
HOW PROTEIN CAN MAKE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS EASIER
HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS THAT WORK
MORE HEALTHY EATING NEWS
We’ve all heard stories about the guy who stops drinking soda and quickly drops 10 pounds in a few months. Although the results may seem too good to be true, small lifestyle changes can result in big-time fat loss.
When it comes to weight loss, it doesn’t have to hurt for it to work. Let’s say you drink two bottles of soda a day. At roughly 240 calories each, you’ll cut 3,360 calories a week just by switching your soft drink for water. That means you’ll lose almost a pound, which is 3,500 calories, just by omitting soft drinks.
Even if you don’t drink soda, there are dozens of simple, everyday habits you can follow to lose weight. In fact, Andy Yurechko, MS, RD, of Augusta University Medical Center in Georgia, believes the most successful dieters avoid fads and focus on long-term sustainable practices.
“A healthier type of diet is something you can do every day of your life,” he says. So it helps to make it easy to do. That’s exactly what these small changes are—healthy tweaks you can make to your everyday routine that have the bonus of helping you lose weight and get rid of your belly. Overachievers, take note: The point isn’t to do everything on this list at once. Start anywhere, and add the next small step when you’re ready.
1. Have a clear goal. It should be one that anyone in the world can measure and understand. Write out your goal and keep it posted somewhere as a reminder when you want to give up. If you have a set amount of weight you’d like to lose, step on the scale before you start. Then, weigh yourself every single day. Studies show daily weigh-ins enhance weight loss efforts. But don’t live and die by the number. And remember a scale doesn’t decipher between fat and lean body mass–but it can help keep things “in check.”
2. Drink the right fluids. First, everyone should drink plenty of water—your body needs it to run properly. And there’s a bonus in doing that for people who are aiming to lose weight. Dr. Brenda Davy and her team from Virginia Tech University found that giving people 2 cups of water before each meal resulted in greater weight loss after 12 weeks. The reason is pretty simple: It helps fill you up so you eat less.
If plain water just doesn’t appeal to you, try adding fresh fruit to it, or sip on tea. Research indicates that drinking tea—black, green, or white—is also associated with lower BMIs and less body fat.
3. Decrease/eliminate processed carbs and junk food. They do nothing for you outside of creating a favorable environment for gaining fat, including belly fat. If you have trouble managing particular treats—maybe it’s chips, maybe it’s cookies, maybe it’s peanut butter—keep them out of your home or office cabinets. It’s not about willpower; it’s about being realistic. Instead, buy healthy snacks—like jerky—for your glove compartment or desk drawer so you’re prepared at all times.
4. Eat more produce. Fruits and vegetables fill you up, provide plenty of fiber and have few calories. If you have trouble sneaking in the veggies, start every meal with a salad. Salad provides bulk to help fill you up so that you eat less calories overall. Or try this hack to get a day’s worth of healthy greens in 14 minutes. No smoothie required.
Although some people fear fructose, fruit will not make you gain weight, and that includes the so-called “high sugar” fruits like bananas and melons.
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5. Lift weights. Develop an exercise plan that includes heavy weights. Build more muscle, burn more calories. Make sure to cut down on rest time between sets. This keeps your heart rate elevated, causing an increase in calories burned. Use these tips to lift heavy the smart way.
6. Do intervals. Study after study continues to show intervals are more effective and time efficient than longer activity performed at a lower intensity. This super-simple partner interval workout gets the job done quickly.
7. Do full body exercises. Your exercise plan—whether you’re aiming to lose weight or not—shouldn’t just focus on one area of your body. Instead, incorporate exercises that use your whole body. Think: squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, and pushups. You’ll get more bang for your buck out of each workout. If you have trouble hitting the gym after work, wake up early to exercise.
8. Track your food. There’s no better way to track what you’re putting in your mouth. Use a free app, like MyFitnessPal, which makes it easy to log from anywhere. Chances are you’re eating more than you think, which makes it a good idea to weigh food, too. This ensures your tracking is precise and that you’re not incorrectly estimating calories in your food journal.
9. Eat breakfast. A review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who eat breakfast are more successful with long-term weight maintenance. Other research has shown the same for weight loss. Grab Greek yogurt, a piece of fruit and handful of nuts, make a smoothie, down some hard-boiled eggs or scramble them. It doesn’t have to be fancy. (But may we point out the absolute best way to make scrambled eggs? It’s also the easiest.)
10. Eat the bulk of your meals in the A.M. Then eat progressively less throughout the day. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eating most of your calories earlier in the day positively influences weight changes.
11. To burn more calories, stay active. This means not sitting in front of a computer, TV, phone, etc all day. Stand and you’ll burn more and be more productive. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help burn more calories, too. This won’t make or break success, but every little bit helps when it comes to physical activity.
12. Don’t grocery shop hungry. If you do, you’ll buy everything in the store instead of sticking to your list. And most of the time, the foods you buy when hungry will be the kinds that sabotage your weight loss efforts and won’t help you get rid of your belly.
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13. Replace side dishes with steamed veggies. Restaurants will often allow you to substitute the fries or chips with steamed veggies. All you have to do is ask.
14. Bake, don’t fry. You’ll save calories and lower your risk of heart disease. Or try an air fryer—you can even make chicken in it. You can also use the fat-burner in your backyard: the grill, which offers plenty of flavor without the need for frying.
15. Laugh often. A study presented at the European Congress on Obesity found those who laughed hard for approximately 10 to15 minutes each day burned an additional 10 to 40 calories/day. Multiply that by 365 and those calories can add up!
16. Eat Less. This means opting for a small side of fries instead of large. Avoid buffets and try to leaving something on your plate at the end of the meal. When dining out, split a meal with your dinner companion and skip dessert. Treat cakes, pies and cookies as occasional treats.
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17. Don’t socialize around the food tables at parties. You’re more likely to munch mindlessly, even though you may not be hungry.
18. If you have a dog, take him for a walk. It’s better for both him and you than just letting him out the back. (Bonus: He’ll love you even more!) If you don’t have a pet, offer to walk a neighbor’s dog. Make friends; lose weight.
19. Decrease your food intake by 100 calories per day. Theoretically this translates to losing nearly 1 pound per month (1 lb = 3500 calories)—with hardly any effort. Using smaller plates and bowls can help you achieve this, since it makes less food seems like more. Similarly, eating slower can cut out extra calories since it takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes for your stomach to sense it’s full.
20. When possible, walk or bike to do your errands. You’ll get fresh air, burn a few calories and get your heart rate up. Buy a pedometer and aim for at least 10,000 steps each day.
21. Plan ahead. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
22. Take “before” pictures. You’ll be amazed at the progress you’ve made when you revisit the photos later.
23. Find active friends. If your friends prefer pizza, wings, nachos and beer on a regular basis, find ones who are like-minded and want to be healthy. Research has suggested that friends enhance (or can hurt) success. Join a running club or other group focused around physical activity.
24. Put yourself first. Many people put everyone else ahead of themselves and let their health fall by the side. Put yourself on your agenda.
25. Remember: It’s not all or nothing. If you fall off the bandwagon, jump right back on. Don’t let yourself continue to fall until all weight loss progress has been lost.
Christopher Mohr, Ph.D, R.D. Chris Mohr, PhD, RD is the co-owner of Mohr Results, Inc (MohrResults.com) a well-being consulting company Melissa Matthews Health Writer Melissa Matthews is the Health Writer at Men’s Health, covering the latest in food, nutrition, and health.
What should you eat for weight loss?
Your bodyweight depends on your total caloric intake more than on your macronutrient ratios (how many of your calories come from carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and alcohol). Increased caloric intake as an independent variable is more than sufficient to explain the current obesity epidemic, without the need to find a scapegoat, such as high-fructose corn syrup.
A trial in a controlled setting (a metabolic ward) compared several isocaloric diets composed of 15% protein, 15-85% carbohydrate, and 0-70% fat. It concluded that caloric restriction, not macronutrient ratios, determined weight loss. Comparing low- and high-carbohydrate diets over 6 weeks and 12 weeks led to the same conclusion, as did comparing a low-fat/high-protein diet with a high-fat/standard-protein diet.
Another trial in a metabolic ward noted that, in healthy individuals overeating for 8 weeks, caloric intake alone accounted for the increase in body fat. However, caloric expenditure, total weight, and lean mass increased with protein as a percentage of caloric intake. In contrast, a previous study on the impact of protein on weight loss had noted that women lost as much weight on a high-protein diet as on a high-carb diet, but that subjects with high triglycerides lost more fat on the high-protein diet.
In conclusion, losing weight requires a negative energy balance, which can be obtained by eating less, as we have seen, but also by exercising more.
Independent of your diet’s macronutrient ratios, a negative energy balance (consuming fewer calories than your body needs) is responsible for weight loss.
But what about the magic of fad diets?
Many diets, fad or not, do work. This is mainly because they reduce calories.
Several diets restrict your carbohydrate intake. The ketogenic diet is very high in fats, low in proteins, and very low in carbohydrates. The Atkins diet is high in fats, high in proteins, and very low in carbohydrates. The “paleo diet” (hunter-gatherer diet) is high in fats, high in proteins, and low in carbohydrates.
Fats and proteins digest more slowly than carbohydrates, so are more satiating. In addition, most diets (including the three already mentioned) recommend the consumption of foods that are less calorie-dense (more fibers and a higher water content: a pound of broccoli packs less calories than a pound of grains). Finally, carbohydrates participate in the synthesis of serotonin, which can cause cravings in some obese individuals.
You can also refer to our page on how much protein you need per day to figure out the exact number.
Therefore, people on a low-carb diets lose weight because they naturally eat less and avoid the large binges caused by carbohydrate cravings. People on very-low-carb diets can also lose weight very quickly on the short term because the depletion of their glycogen stores leads to the excretion of bound water. That explains why two trials found that people on a low-carb diet had lost more weight than people on a low-fat diet after 6 months but not 12.
Consuming your macronutrients together (balanced diet) or separately (dissociated diet, also known as “food combining”) makes no difference with regard to weight or fat loss.
Since prolonged fasting might increase heat expenditure, diets that manipulate fasting (Intermittent Fasting, Alternate Day Fasting) may have some benefits on the “calories out” side of things. Yet, even here, weight lost is mostly due to the fact that you control eating: It is much harder to overeat in 8 hours than in 16.
Finally, it doesn’t matter when or how many times you eat every day.
A worthwhile read is a major study that showed a low-fat versus a low-carb diet did not matter for weight loss. For more information on what you need to eat for weight loss, see our Fat Loss Stacks page. Ready to burn fat?
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