*Excerpts from Women’s Health September 2010

  1. Fill half your plate with veggies—At every meal, vegetables or fruit should take up half your plate, a lean protein should take up a fourth, and a starch like brown rice the other fourth. It’s built-in portion and calorie control. You’ll lose weight without feeling like you’re even trying.
  2. Rethink what you drink—When it comes to weight loss, what you drink may actually be more important than what you eat. A recent study from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that cutting back on sugary drinks helped participants lose more weight than those who only cut back on food. Switching from sugary drinks to seltzer with lemon helped people lose. As soon as they gave up soda pop, the weight started falling off. And the craving stopped for other sugary foods like cookies and candy!
  3. Do a short interval workout instead of a long cardio slog—Research shows that interval training (in which you alternate bursts of fast intensive activity with slower more moderate movement) burns more calories and fat than traditional cardio. One person dropped 4lbs in a week when she added intervals to her workouts. Intervals can change your body in ways that would take much longer to accomplish with regular cardio.
  4. Hold the Mayo—Skipping add-ons like creamy sauces and cheese slashes calories. Nix 2 tablespoons of mayo and a couple slices of cheese from a sandwich and you’ll save more than 300 calories at one meal.
  5. Picking vs Planning—Take a day and record what you eat all day. Simply write what you choose. There are no right or wrong answers, just record it. Then the next day take 2 minutes in the morning to plan your meals, and your snacks. Make a list of healthy, low-fat or low-calorie choices, or go with a proven program and then make a plan from that list. It could save you over 1500 calories.
  6. Grab 10lb weights instead of 5lbs—The fact is, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn all day long, even while you’re sitting on the couch. Shifting up in weights caused 1 participant a 6lb loss. No wimping out! If you can carry grocery bags, you can lift more than 5lb weights.
  7. Eat a fiber-rich breakfast—People who eat breakfast tend to lose more weight while dieting than those who don’t. People don’t think eating breakfast helps, but think of what you binge on by 11am when you don’t eat breakfast and think of how you don’t binge when you do eat breakfast.
  8. Learn these portion shortcuts—A serving of carbs like whole wheat pasta or brown rice should be about the size of your fist. Lean meat, fish or tofu should be the size of an iPhone. A tablespoon of a condiment like peanut butter should be no bigger than a ping pong ball. A serving of ice cream should look like half a tennis ball.
  9. Eat something every 3 or 4 hours—It helps your body burn calories efficiently, but you’ve got to choose the right nibbles. Chocolaty can come from a great-tasting, high-protein, low-fat snack bar. Crunchy can come from a large dose of air-popped popcorn. Creamy treats can be pudding or even ice cream. Cheesy comes from low-fat cheese! And for the salty need, pretzels are perfect.
  10. Give yourself a quick pat on the back every day—Make a small eating or exercise change at a time, wait until it becomes a habit, then make another. For example, first start walking the stairs instead of taking the elevator. After that is a habit, start drinking water instead of pop. Next, add a nutritional weight management component. Once that’s a habit, start going to the gym for strength training once a week. When 1 thing is a habit, add the next thing. When those 2 are habits, add another, and so on. Taking baby steps helps eventually reach what could have otherwise been a very overwhelming goal. Really pay attention to, and relish, all the little changes.