If you've ever tried to lose weight (and who hasn't), you've got to be mindful of whose advice you take. Your colleague says you need to cut out carbs. Your gym buddy knows the secret is to stop eating after 7 p.m. Your Facebook friend swears she’ll be in swimsuit shape by March if she only eats once a day. Your husband, well, he sneezes and the weight seems to fall off.
But do any of these tips really work? To help you shed those extra pounds—and keep them off—without starving yourself, ditching your social life, or eating only at odd times of the day. We'll tell you how to focus on the delicious foods you can add to your diet, why you should be eating more often , the fat loss benefits of more sleep, and how even taking a few deep breaths can put you on a successful path to weight loss.
Never get too hungry
You make poor decisions when your judgment is compromised. Hunger is a primal urge that’s difficult to deny. When you're famished, it's hard to hold off until you can find healthy food. As a result, you end up eating anything that's not nailed down, and typically, regretting it. Planning meals and snacks works wonders to head off the intense hunger that can do a number on your best intentions to eat right. Always choose healthy snacks, such as an ounce of pistachios, a hard-cooked egg and some whole grain crackers, Greek yogurt, or 1/4 cup raisins. Don't skip meals or skimp on them, either!
Be honest about your daily calorie allowance
Everyone has a calorie budget, whether you're trying to maintain your weight or lose a few pounds. I've found that people ignore this simple fact. Your calorie budget allows you to build a healthy diet, and it helps prevent frustration about weight control. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide suggested daily calorie intakes based on gender, age, and physical activity level. When you know your calorie budget, then you can plan on how many servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and other protein sources to include every day.
Eat right post-workout
People are notorious for overestimating how many calories they burn during physical activity, which is often far less than actual calories burned. When you overestimate the calories you burn during exercise, you may eat more than you need, making weight loss and maintenance difficult. High-intensity exercise may drive women to eat more, and moderate exercise may be the key to easier weight control.
Use the red, orange and green rule
At each meal include one food that is any of these colors. By focusing on these foods, you'll be sure to get some produce on your plate and won't have space on your plate for higher-calorie fare.
Be a heavy drinker