Stay hydrated. Active individuals actually require more water and should aim to consume roughly 1 gallon per day to avoid becoming dehydrated. And if you’re one of those people who hates drinking water, consider this: Dehydrated individuals burn less fat than their well-watered counterparts.
Eat more frequently. Eating 5—6 small meals a day as opposed to “three squares a day” causes your metabolism to work constantly. Eating larger meals, on the other hand, slows your metabolism and forces leftover calories to be stored as fat.
Eat protein. Since muscle-building is the fastest route to slim down, you want to make sure that your protein consumption is enough to keep up with your weight training. Eat too little protein and your gains could be much slower. Get 1—1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day to help your muscle gains along. Use protein bars and shakes to supplement your whole-food consumption and stave off cravings.
Get leafy. Those who eat a salad before dinner tend to consume less calories overall during dinner. But don’t sabotage yourself — stay away from high-fat dressings like ranch, blue cheese and Caesar.
Cut out soda. Instead, rely on water and other flavored drinks like Crystal Light to get your fluids every day. If you drink one soda per day, you’re adding 1,750 calories per week to your diet. Also, studies have shown that those who regularly consume diet sodas tend to gain weight in the long run because of overindulgences elsewhere.
Craving Munchies. Popcorn is the way to go! Two quarts has the same number of calories as just 20 potato chips. By substituting 1 cup of plain, unbuttered popcorn for a 1-ounce bag of chips, you’ll save 135 calories and 10 grams of fat.
Carb smart. Keep your carbohydrates low to moderate when trying to lose weight. If you rotate low- and high-carb days, you’ll be able to keep your energy levels up while running a caloric deficit. Good, clean, fiber-rich carbs include oats, potatoes, rice and whole-grain bread. Also, limit high-carb drinks like fruit juice to postworkout, when your body needs carbs to speed recovery.
Avoid simple sugars. Too much sugar in your diet can wreak havoc on your metabolism by spiking your insulin response and promoting the accumulation of bodyfat over time. Immediately after exercise, however, is an ideal time to ingest simple sugars; otherwise, steer clear.
Eat more fiber. Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, is essential to health and helps decrease bodyfat. Adults should consume 35—40 grams of fiber per day, with about a third of that coming from insoluble fibrous sources. Along with whole grains rich in beneficial fiber, consume high amounts of fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli, to attain your daily intake. High-fiber foods also promote satiety.
When to eat. When you eat is just as important as what you eat. Many people who eat way too much at night should re-evaluate their eating patterns. Eat two-thirds of your day’s calories before dinnertime to avoid overeating late in the day.
Prepare. Watch what you eat around work. If your workplace serves nothing healthy, tote food or snacks along with you. If you’re attending a workplace function in which only junk food is served, pre-eat. Having recently eaten something that’s healthy and adequate in calories to meet your energy needs, it’s easier to say no to the junk and empty calories.
Slow Eating. Successful dieters and fitness buffs will tell you that fast eating and bodyfat go hand in hand because you end up overeating. It takes about 10 minutes for the food in your stomach to signal your brain that you’ve eaten enough.
Don’t be salty. Excess sodium consumption can make you look softer and cause you to burn less fat. Most people get way too much, anyway, especially if you eat a lot of processed foods. To help you look leaner and strip sodium from your diet, drink more water, cut back on highly processed foods and switch to potassium chloride to season your foods.
Got milk? Research has shown that individuals who consume high levels of dietary calcium in a 24-hour period had higher rates of fat oxidation that day than those who consumed lesser amounts. So stock up on low-fat versions of cheese, milk and yogurt.
EGGS. Eating eggs for breakfast can reduce hunger and food intake for up to 24 hours.