Barack Obama is on a diet. So is Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, and the entire cast of Glee. In fact, from Chris Rock to Kid Rock to The Rock, everyone you can name is on a diet.
And so are you.
How can I be so sure? Because a "diet" isn't something you go on and go off of, like a prescription. A diet is what you eat, day in and day out, whether you planned to eat that way or not. So when people ask me what kind of "diet" they should follow, I always tell them to follow the one they're already on—the way you like to eat is the way you should eat.
In researching the Eat This, Not That! book series and seeing people lose 10, 20, 30 pounds or more effortlessly, I've learned that if you want to make big changes to your health, forget about following somebody else's diet. Just make a bunch of little changes to the diet you're already following. Believe me, it's the best way to get results. I've listed the 25 best new nutritional tweaks you can make that will improve the way you look and feel—fast and forever!
1. Drink a second cup of coffee.
It might lower your risk of adult-onset diabetes, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
2. Keep serving dishes off the table.
Researchers have found that when people are served individual plates, as opposed to empty plates with a platter of food in the middle of the table, they eat up to 35 percent less.
3. Think before you drink.
The average person drinks more than 400 calories a day—double what he or she used to—and alone gets around 10 teaspoons of added sugar every single day from soft drinks. Swap out sweetened teas and sodas for no-cal drinks and you could lose up to 40 pounds in a single year! (To see more proof of how wayward beverages can utterly destroy your diet, check out the 20 Worst Drinks in America. Many of these drinks contain more than a day's worth of calories, sugar and fat!)
4. Practice total recall.
British scientists found that people who thought about their last meal before snacking ate 30 percent fewer calories that those who didn't stop to think. The theory: Remembering what you had for lunch might remind you of how satiating the food was, which then makes you less likely to binge on your afternoon snack.
5. Eat protein at every meal.
Dieters who eat the most protein tend to lose more weight while feeling less deprived than those who eat the least protein. It appears that protein is the best nutrient for jumpstarting your metabolism, squashing your appetite, and helping you eat less at subsequent meals.
6. Choose whole-grain bread.
Eating whole grains (versus refined-grain or white bread) has been linked to lower risks of cancer and heart disease.
7. Think fish.
Consuming two 4- to 6-ounce servings of oily fish a week will sharpen your mind. Among the best: salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, and trout. They're high in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which may reduce your risk of Alzheimer's. Study participants who had high blood levels of DHA also performed better on noverbal reasoning tests and showed better mental flexibility, working memory, and vocabulary than those with lower levels.
8. Sign up for weight-loss e-mails.
Daily e-mails (or tweets) that contain weight-loss advice remind you of your goals and help you drop pounds, researchers from Canada found.
9. Cut portions by a quarter.
Pennsylvania State University researchers discovered that by simply reducing meal portions 25 percent, people ate 10 percent fewer calories—without feeling any hungrier. Serving yourself? Think about what looks like a reasonable portion, then take at least one-quarter less than that. (By the way, studies show today's restaurant servings are two to 5 times bigger than what the government recommends!)
Pictured here is a great way to estimate proper serving sizes—a 3-oz serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards.