Rise and chow
If you think skipping breakfast will help you shed a few pounds, think again. Not eating a morning meal can actually trick the body into thinking it is starving, which makes it hold on to fat or cause you to eat more during the day. To keep your metabolism revved and blood sugar levels steady, eat breakfast within 45 minutes of rising. The healthiest choices contain a balance of fat, protein, and carbs, such as oatmeal with a handful of nuts or a veggie omelet.
If a carbohydrate wasn’t grown, picked, or harvested, don’t eat it. That means shunning refined breads, pastas, cakes, and pastries, and choosing good carbs like brown rice, sweet potatoes, or an apple. And while you’re at it, try to never eat a carbohydrate by itself. Simply adding a bit of good fat, such as olive oil or lean protein will slow digestion, steady blood sugar, and keep the body from storing fat.
Even if all you did was start drinking more water you would likely lose weight. That’s because the body needs to be fully hydrated in order to maintain a healthy metabolism. Try drinking about 1/2-ounce (15 ml) of water per pound of body weight every day, and see the difference.
If eating more often in order to lose weight sounds too good to be true, listen up. Your body needs calories in order to burn fat. So, to turn your body into a fat-burning machine, eat small meals throughout the day. Ideally each mini-meal should consist of lean protein, good fats, and complex carbohydrates. For example, 4 ounces (113 grams) of chicken, 1 cup (150 grams) of brown rice, and a green salad.
You’ve heard that muscle weighs more than fat, but did you know that muscle burns more calories? That’s right, building lean muscle through weight training causes the body to burn more calories throughout the day. When combined with regular aerobic exercise, weight training can help you lose more weight.
Cheat a little
You know what they say about all work and no play—well, that goes for weight loss too. Giving up all the foods you love can backfire and sabotage your efforts. Be sure to allow yourself a day each week when you indulge in conservative amounts of your favorite foods. Remember, a serving should be about the size of an average apple.
Linda Knittel, MA, is a nutritional counselor and health writer specializing in alternative medicine, nutrition, and yoga. She has found that incorporating plenty of good fat in her six small meals a day has actually helped her become leaner.
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