Make Your Eating Plan Automatic
Over a 14-day period, train yourself to make good-for-YOU food choices (Step 2 makes this easy). You'll reprogram your appetite, so YOU will be in charge of what you're eating.
- Eat three main meals, plus snacks, so you're never hungry.
- Eat the same things for breakfast and lunch almost every day. Yes, every day. People who minimize food choices lose more weight.
- Fill up on whole-grain carbohydrates (that includes vegetables); fiber; nuts; and lean, healthy protein such as fish, poultry, and (sparingly) lean meats.
- In a hunger emergency, chew on your favorites from this list: apples, almonds, walnuts, edamame (soybeans), sugar-free gum, chopped veggies, nonfat yogurt or cottage cheese. And water, of course.
Remember That Waist Is More Important Than Weight
Because of its proximity to vital organs, belly fat is the most dangerous fat you can carry. It is one of the strongest predictors of health risks (heart disease, diabetes, and more bad stuff) associated with obesity.
- Ditch the scale in favor of the tape measure.
- Measure your waist and aim small: Ideal is 32 1/2 inches or less for women and 35 inches or less for men.
To lose weight, you need to eat.
- Eat often -- five or six times throughout the day -- so you're always satisfied. Slipping into starvation mode makes your body want to store fat.
- Eat plenty of fiber and some protein in the morning: Fiber in the morning helps control afternoon cravings; protein decreases appetite.
Enlist a friend, family member, or new online buddy as your partner. Everyone needs encouragement -- and an occasional prod.
- After finishing your 30-minute walk every day, call a buddy or post something on the YOU Diet boards for a pat on the back.
- When you start the 20-minute workout, do the same thing.
It's Okay to Make Mistakes
As long as you quickly get back on the right road, you won't travel too far down the wrong one. Just make a YOU-turn to change course (see Step 4).
A Few Final Tips
- Check food labels. Don't buy anything with more than 4 grams of saturated fat or 4 grams of any sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup) per serving. Sat fat is an ager that's bad for your whole body, and simple sugars make you crave high-calorie foods.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Fatigue also makes you crave sugary foods. Why? They release the brain chemicals that a lack of sleep leaves you short on.
- Eat a little healthy fat -- like a handful of walnuts -- about 20 minutes before a meal. It will take the edge off, so you won't be tempted to overeat.
- Choose elegance over force. Weight-loss battles are won when you diet smart, not hard.