There is no trick; you just need to adopt a few healthy habits
How do you lose weight? Don’t Google it; this is part of the problem. People trying to shed the extra pounds are getting so much information thrown at them, and that leads to them to getting overwhelmed.
When it comes to weight loss, one’s diet is the No. 1 thing that will affect both the scale and physical appearance, Andrea Marcellus, fitness expert and founder and CEO of and/life, says.
Exercise is, of course, important for your heart health and for maintaining muscle tone and improving your posture. “But it’s not uncommon for people who work out all the time to fail to see the results they want,” Marcellus adds. “When that happens the first thing you need to look at is your food strategy.”
Your food strategy cannot be based on an all-or-none approach, Dr. Daryl Gioffre, celebrity nutritionist and author of GET OFF YOUR ACID. It never works because it’s deprivation. “It’s not about winning the battle; it’s about winning the war.”
One of the rules Marcellus teaches her clients is to “Live the Rule of Awesome.” This means only indulging in something that’s really, really, super-duper amazing. “So if you’re out at a restaurant that has the most amazing fettuccine - go ahead and order it!” she adds.
The trick is to eat just until you feel “satisfied,” which is a couple bites before “full.” But if you’re thinking about stopping at a fast-food place for quick snack – pass, she adds. “There’s no way that burger is going to be the most awesome thing in your day.”
You can still eat whatever you want
Just not all the time. “The truth is you can achieve a level of fitness you won’t believe and still eat whatever you want 20 percent of the time if you learn how to eat for your body and activate your life with moderate exercise and more walking and standing,” Marcellus, says. The app offers a customized food strategy based on ingredients you choose and one-click tracker that helps you figure out how to eat to your personal best advantage.
If you have a sweet tooth, it’s OK to finish the day with two pieces of dark chocolate from a traditional chocolate bar – 2” x 2” x ¼”. Dark chocolate has zinc which regulates energy, fat storage and appetite. Just make sure it’s at least 75 percent cocoa.
Eat simpler foods
By tweaking your eating plan to simpler foods a little at a time and making them your new go-to’s, your taste for salty, sugary, and greasy foods actually changes, Marcellus says. “And so even when you eat more indulgent choices socially, you won’t be able to eat as much of them.” The basic rule she uses is to stick to foods “one step away from a tree.” This means eating less of the processed stuff and more whole ingredients that come straight from the farm, she adds.
“The darker the color the better,” says Monica Amsterdam, director of nutrition at the Medical and Wellness Center of New Jersey. Foods like spinach, mustard greens, collards and kale are loaded in nutrients like vitamins A, C, K, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and most importantly fiber. “It will keep you full. Add them to your smoothies, omelets, and a great replacement for iceberg/romaine lettuce.”
They are low in calories and high in fiber, which will satisfy your hunger faster, ORBERA weight loss balloon nutritionist Lara Hamilton, RD and CDE, says. “They also contain healthy, unsaturated fats which aid in lowering cholesterol.”
Peppermint helps to get rid of belly bloat and promotes healthy digestion. “Add it to flavor your water or make iced peppermint tea without adding sugar and definitely no artificial sweeteners; if you really need to add sugar, a better option is coconut palm sugar,” Amsterdam says. If you don’t like mint leaves, some alternatives are basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram and lavender.
Popcorn can be a low calorie and fiber rich snack. And you can do a lot with it. Skip the movie theater butter style popcorn for your own stovetop or air popped variety. Punch up the flavor and crunch with bold spices to make it more tasty but healthy at the same time.
“I call it God’s butter,” Dr. Daryl Gioffre, celebrity nutritionist and author of GET OFF YOUR ACID. It’s one of the most versatile foods, he adds. Avocados are a great fat to add to your daily diet, as they encourage fat burning and fight insulin resistance. They are also loaded with antioxidants and fiber to keep you feeling full for longer.
Salmon is a true year-round superfood. It’s a great source of protein and high in Omega-3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA. “This fish will keep you full and even has anti-inflammatory benefits. Just be careful not to add to many condiments,” Amsterdam adds. “All this tasty fish needs is salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.” If salmon is too expensive for you, trout is a great alternative.
Eggs got a bad reputation from being too high in cholesterol, which can’t be further from the truth, according to Amsterdam. Eat the whole egg, yolk too. “The combination of protein and fat will help you feel full and prevent overeating.” The protein will help build your muscle and burn fat to tone your physique. Eggs make a great afternoon snack, as they are the perfect on-the-go snack.
Water, water, water
Reduce stomach bloat and keep your digestion on track with the good old fashion H2O, Amsterdam says. The rule of thumb is to drink half your body’s weight. So if you weigh 150 lbs, make sure you’re drinking at least 75 oz (9 ½ cups) of water every day. Make it more interesting by adding lemon, frozen fruits, cucumber.
Quinoa is perfect if you decided to cut carbs from your diet. “It is a tasty alternative when you’re craving carbs,” Amsterdam says. Quinoa is another superfood that contains nine essential amino acids, has tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Oatmeal in a bag is the worst. Instead, opt for steel cuts oats which are minimally processed and loaded with fiber and protein. “Studies have shown if you start your day with 1 cup of steel cut oats, it will help to reduce cholesterol and maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day (this is the key to preventing munching),” Amsterdam says.
Add hot spices
Spicy food is a good option for food if you’re trying to lose weight. “Spices have medicinal proprieties, most of them are anti-inflammatory and boost up our metabolism,” Amsterdam says. Foods flavored with chili pepper may help decrease your appetite and make you feel full, according to University of Maryland Medical Center.
“Luckily we are heading into berry season which means fresh berries won’t be super expensive,” Amsterdam says. Berries are loaded with antioxidants and fiber and improve blood flow to your muscles. Blackberries are powerhouses of essential amino and digestive health acids, minerals, and vitamins, and provide a boost of energy and fiber which help regulate blood sugar levels.
Grapefruit and pineapple
Grapefruit will make your skin glow, literally. It’s loaded in vitamin C and full of water to hydrate your body. “It also reduces insulin level and boost your metabolism,” according to Amsterdam. Pineapple contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps to reduce gas and bloating.
Parsley is a natural diuretic and helps people to get rid of excess fluid without draining the body of potassium, Amsterdam says. It also supports blood sugar balance, helping with lasting weight control. Add it to your salads or smoothies.
“A cup of lentils gives you the same amount of protein as 3 eggs and contains less dietary fat,” Michelle Roots, owner and personal trainer at CORE Conditioning, says. “Lentils are also very high fiber, so you feel full for a longer period of time after eating.”
Tomatoes are high in lycopene which has been shown to protect against sun damage. Tomatoes are loaded in flavor and taste great raw, sautéed, grilled and even blended in a smoothie, which is totally a thing, Amsterdam says. “Tomatoes are a fruit after all. Apples, tomatoes and cucumber make for a great detox drink.”
“Soups are very healthy if homemade,” Amsterdam says. When choosing ones that come in a box, pay close attention to the labels. Check the sodium content and ingredient list. Too much sodium can start a vicious cycle of bad events in your body.
“Many peppers are highly alkaline and great for your metabolism,” Dr. Gioffre says. Good options are red bell peppers, yellow and orange, shishito, jalapeno, cayenne (excellent for weight loss), and black pepper. “Avoid the green ones as they are acidic.”
“Hummus and other bean dips make satisfying alternatives to some other dips that offer few nutrition benefits,” Marisa Moore, registered dietitian nutritionist, says. Not only are beans high in protein and fiber, but bean dips are a blank canvas for other goodies like garlic and are perfect paired with fresh, crunchy vegetables, she adds. “Chickpeas in particular are high in fiber and pair well with a variety of different flavors and cooking methods from mashing to sautéing and roasting.”
Limes are alkaline-forming to your body, Dr. Gioffre says. When deciphering if a food is alkaline (which is good) or acid (which is bad), there are 2 things you have to look at – the mineral content, and the sugar content, he adds. Limes are 2 percent sugar, where oranges are 12 percent. In addition, ALWAYS consume fruits by themselves. Dr. Gioffre says.
This delicious plant is a mild diuretic and helps in the removal of toxins, according to Amsterdam. In addition, artichokes purify and protect the liver; they are high in fiber, consequently keep you less bloated because they promote regularity.
“These healthy potatoes are loaded with fiber to promote healthy digestion,” Roots says. “They are high in potassium and also improve blood sugar regulation to aid in weight loss.”