Researchers estimate that you make more than 200 food decisions each day. That's 200 chances to tip the scale in your favor. Here are 10 fast diet tips that will keep the pounds coming off.
Skip the Diet Soda
For the past 15 years, more and more research shows that the use of artificial sweeteners doesn't help with weight loss. In fact, it seems to backfire. In one nearly decade-long study, researchers found that people who drank two or more diet drinks a day had waistline increases 500 percent greater than non-diet-soda drinkers. Aspartame seems to raise blood sugar levels and leave you craving more starch and sugar. If you want bubbles, stick to seltzer.
Get Pickled and Spiced
Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles promote healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. Spices such as ginger and chili powder or crushed red pepper flakes spike your metabolism. Both help temper cravings for sweets.
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Think Thirst First
It's easy to mistake a little dehydration for hunger. Grab a thirst-quenching glass of water or low-calorie sports drink before you raid the fridge. Hydration depends on how much you sweat—learn The Truth About Your Sweat Rate.
Keep the Calories Coming
It can be tempting to go overboard and starve yourself for a few days to hit fighting weight, but resist the urge. All you'll lose is water weight (glycogen stores water with it; as you rip through your carb stores, the water goes, too). Worse, if you keep that self-induced famine up too long, your body will reset its metabolism to burn fewer calories as it performs the basic daily functions of staying alive. That means as soon as you start to eat normally again, the pounds you lost—and likely a few extra—will pile back on.
All those decisions are easier to make when you see progress, or lack thereof. The National Weight Control Registry shows that successful "losers" share a habit: They monitor their weight regularly. Step on the scale every Monday morning.
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Turn Down the Tap
No one needs to give up beer or their favorite boozy beverage. But if you want to lose weight, keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. When you drink alcohol, your body burns that first, so you burn less fat and you burn it more slowly than usual. Tipping back two martinis is enough to slow your fat-burning ability by about 73 percent. And those Buffalo wings look better and better after each beer. (If you must imbibe, try these Top Post-Ride Recovery Beers.)
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