Get a print subscription to Reader's Digest and instantly enjoy free digital access on any device. Do you see crumbs or smudges on your computer keyboard, the touch screen of your phone, or your TV’s remote control? Researchers in Ireland interviewed a group of 66 adults on what made portion control difficult.
Focus on what you’re eating, and I bet you’ll enjoy your food much more—and you’ll also enjoy knowing that you haven’t stuffed yourself with empty extra calories. Restaurant meals tend to be higher in calories, saturated fat, and sodium than homemade meals, and lower in calcium, fiber, and other weight-friendly nutrients. If you’re trying to drop pounds and be healthy, your best bet is to choose foods from the restaurants and brands that emphasize fresh, whole ingredients and prepackaged portions, like Chipotle, Jamba Juice, KIND, Lean Cuisine, and Weight Watchers. In a February 2015 New York Times article, a group of reporters gathered 3000 meal orders from Chipotle—which proudly proclaims on its website, “We’re all about simple, fresh food without artificial flavors or fillers”—and calculated the calories, saturated fat, and sodium in them. KIND, another brand that touts itself as “healthy and tasty,” was recently taken to task by the FDA, which found that several of its products did not meet the requirements to use the claims “good source of fiber,” “no trans fats,” “low sodium”, “+ antioxidants,” and “+ protein,” among others. Bottom line: Every restaurant and every brand has some dishes and products that are healthier than others.
But of course, when you suddenly stop eating an entire food group, you are automatically cutting calories and your body reacts accordingly.
It thinks you’re starving and responds by slowing your metabolism and hanging on to every calorie it can.
The same is true for low-fat diets, low-salt diets, and pretty much any other diet that forbids specific foods. The only way to finally, truly lose the weight and keep it off for good is to stop feeling bad about your weight and your body. If you love and respect your body, it will not feel like a chore to research restaurant entrees before you go out to eat or to read nutrition labels in the grocery store or to cook for yourself and your family. Reader’s Digest’s Editor in Chief Liz Vaccariello calls her latest book, Stop & Drop Diet, her easiest plan ever. We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest.
You know the drill when it comes to losing weight: take in fewer calories, burn more calories. A study of 76 undergraduate students found the more they watched television, the more often they ate and the more they ate overall. Whether that’s a floor, a couple of windows, the shower stall, bathroom tile, or your car, a 150-pound person will burn about four calories for every minute spent cleaning. It’s stunning how often we eat out of boredom, nervousness, habit, or frustration—so often, in fact, that many of us have actually forgotten what physical hunger feels like.
One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. The reason we’re suggesting 45 minutes instead of the typical 30 is that a Duke University study found that while 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most relatively sedentary people, exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat loss. After dinner, wash all the dishes, wipe down the counters, turn out the light, and, if necessary, tape closed the cabinets and refrigerator. In a study of 10 obese women conducted at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, 20 minutes of walking reduced appetite and increased sensations of fullness as effectively as a light meal.
Conversely, the more food in front of you, the more you’ll eat—regardless of how hungry you are. You’re more likely to eat more—and eat more high-fat, high-calorie foods—when you eat out than when you eat at home. If you eat your dinner restaurant style on your plate rather than family style, helping yourself from bowls and platters on the table, you’ll lose weight.
A study published in the Journal of Physiological Behavior found that we tend to eat more when we eat with other people, most likely because we spend more time at the table.
A body of research out of Pennsylvania State University finds that eating water-rich foods such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers during meals reduces your overall calorie consumption. You can eat twice as much pasta salad loaded with veggies like broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for the same calories as a pasta salad sporting just mayonnaise. Fancy coffee drinks from trendy coffee joints often pack several hundred calories, thanks to whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, and sugary syrups.
Studies find that people who eat cereal for breakfast every day are significantly less likely to be obese and have diabetes than those who don’t. They provide lots of flavor with no fat and few calories, plus they turn up your digestive fires, causing your body to temporarily burn more calories.
For the calories in one kid-size box of apple juice, you can enjoy an apple, orange, and a slice of watermelon. Studies have found that overweight people who ate a moderate-fat diet containing almonds lost more weight than a control group that didn’t eat nuts. Studies find that the more you eat in the morning, the less you’ll eat in the evening.
That clean, minty freshness will serve as a cue to your body and brain that mealtime is over. Estimated delivery dates - opens in a new window or tab include seller's handling time, origin ZIP Code, destination ZIP Code and time of acceptance and will depend on shipping service selected and receipt of cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab.
This amount includes seller specified US shipping charges as well as applicable international shipping, handling, and other fees. By clicking Confirm bid, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder. By clicking Confirm bid, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder and have read and agree to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. By clicking 1 Click Bid, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder. One of the main factors, they reported, were elements of the eating environment—socializing with friends and family, watching television, or working on a computer or phone—that diverted their attention away from what they were eating.
What is: We are eating out more and more often—over a 40-year period from 1970 to 2010, we nearly doubled the percentage of calories we get from food away from home.


I’m not saying you should never eat out—far from it—but one of the kindest things we could do for our waists and our overall health would be to eat out less often. In its defense, KIND noted on its blog, “Nuts, key ingredients in many of our snacks and one of the things that make fans love our bars, contain nutritious fats that exceed the amount allowed under the FDA’s standard.” Having delved into the research on healthy fats for my first book, Flat Belly Diet!, I agree with KIND on this one. In order to get the full story about any given food, you need to look beyond the brand and beyond the health claims spouted in advertisements and printed on the front of the box. If you are burning an extra 200 to 300 calories per day, that’s 200 to 300 calories less you have to carve out from your diet to get the same calorie deficit. According to the National Weight Control Registry, established in 1994 to identify and investigate the characteristics of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off for more than a year, 94 percent increased their physical activity in order to lose weight, with the most frequently reported form of exercise being walking. No matter what you weigh, if you don’t love your body, you will never truly win the weight loss battle. Instead, it will be a privilege to take care of yourself by making smart, healthy food choices. One study showed that people who reported feeling alive and energetic were more motivated and more successful at maintaining their weight loss. The book and online course teach you how to stop eating unhealthy versions of the foods you love so you can drop up to five pounds in the first five days—and keep losing. Here’s the secret weight-loss advice used by the folks on The Biggest Loser and other reality shows.
Doing any of these can save you about 100 calories a day, and that alone is enough to prevent you from gaining the two pounds most people mindlessly pack on each year. Scrub for 30 minutes and you could work off approximately 120 calories, the same number in a half-cup of vanilla frozen yogurt. So serve up dinner on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and cover your table with a blue tablecloth.
Having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place. A brisk five-minute walk every two hours will parlay into an extra 20-minute walk by the end of the day. Burning an additional 300 calories a day with three miles of brisk walking (45 minutes should do it) could help you lose 30 pounds in a year without even changing how much you’re eating. Intersperse your eating with stories for your dining partner of the amusing things that happened during your day. The idea of having to buy a whole new wardrobe if you gain the weight back will serve as a strong incentive to stay fit. Late-evening eating significantly increases the overall number of calories you eat, a University of Texas study found.
Adding 2,000 steps will help you maintain your current weight and stop gaining weight; adding more than that will help you lose weight.
So instead of using regular dinner plates that range these days from 10 to 14 inches (making them look empty if they’re not heaped with food), serve your main course on salad plates (about 7 to 9 inches wide). Restaurants today serve such large portions that many have switched to larger plates and tables to accommodate them.
Most of us tend to eat an average of 150 percent more calories in the evening than in the morning. But eating with your significant other or your family, and using table time for talking in between chewing, can help cut down on calories. Cut down on the chips by pairing each bite with lots of chunky, filling fresh salsa, suggests Jeff Novick, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Florida.
They also consume more fiber and calcium—and less fat—than those who eat other breakfast foods. These whole foods will keep you satisfied much longer than that box of apple juice, so you’ll eat less overall. And you have more opportunities to burn off those early-day calories than you do to burn off dinner calories. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. Even if I wasn’t especially hungry then, you can be sure I ate—and I cleaned my plate, because that’s what we did in our house.
I’ll linger over coffee (or go for a run), then find it’s 11, sometimes 12 o’clock before I’m hungry enough to want to eat. If you’re in the habit of always grabbing a bagel on the way in to work, stock up instead on Nature’s Own Plain Thin- Sliced Bagels. That said, many KIND bars are higher in calories or fat than, for instance, a Quaker or Nature Valley or Kashi bar.
To your body, your extra fat is a necessary hedge against the day that there’s no food to be had. But most people find that they’re hard to sustain over time because they often require a lot of cooking or buying specialty food items. Plus, exercise generates natural endorphins, so you feel better and have more energy even if you are a little hungry. If you feel guilty about your eating habits and ashamed of your body, you will always feel deprived.
You’ll get a mix-and-match 21-day meal plan designed for weight loss and balanced nutrition, plus hundreds of easy weight loss tips and tricks via videos, quizzes, slideshows, and other interactive tools. If you're trying to drop a few pounds fast, these expert tips will make it easy for you to lose the weight quickly. Studies found that people who keep food diaries wind up eating about 15 percent less food than those who don’t. A University of Vermont study found that online weight-loss buddies help you keep the weight off.
Your brain lags your stomach by about 20 minutes when it comes to satiety (fullness) signals. Other active ideas: a tennis match, a guided nature or city walk (check your local listings), a bike ride, or bowling. Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, return to the old days of 8-ounce glasses and 6-ounce coffee cups.


If you eat a 1:1 ratio of grains to veggies, the high-fiber veggies will help satisfy your hunger before you overeat the grains.
While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, however, you should eat plenty of whole-grain breads and brown rice.
You can also pack up baby carrots or your own trail mix with nuts, raisins, seeds, and dried fruit. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable.
Or I’ll have a healthy breakfast, then get caught up in my day and have what I call an “afternoon dinner” at 3 or 4.
A study of fast-food eaters in Philadelphia and Baltimore found that they underestimated their meal by up to 400 calories!
But picking healthy foods is not as simple as finding a “healthy” brand and sticking to it. The same article highlights several Chipotle meals that clock in at around 545 calories, including crispy steak tacos, a veggie bowl, and a carnitas burrito, and it’s possible to get even lower by changing the fillings and toppings you choose.
We humans evolved during a time when there were no grocery stores or restaurants or even farms. A study of eight years of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that people who skip breakfast tend to be heavier and have a larger waist than those who eat a healthy breakfast. While you may lose weight initially on the diet, you will soon slide back to your old food choices and gain it all back again. Watch out for weekends: A University of North Carolina study found people tend to consume an extra 115 calories per weekend day, primarily from alcohol and fat. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it. If you eat slowly enough, your brain will catch up to tell you that you are no longer in need of food. Because the body processes hunger and thirst through different mechanisms, it simply doesn’t register a sense of fullness with water (or soda, tea, coffee, or juice). Bonus: Fiber is highly beneficial for preventing constipation, which can make you look bloated.
One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff. Part-skim ricotta cheese has just 39 calories in one ounce, packed with fat releasing calcium.
Once you train your taste buds to enjoy skim milk, you’ll have cut the calories in the whole milk by about half and trimmed the fat by more than 95 percent. How did our ancestors survive when there was a drought that killed off the leaves and berries they foraged?
So many popular diets today recommend cutting out or drastically cutting down on carbohydrates that there must be something to the low-carb thing, right? Tell me I can’t have something or restrict the amount I can eat, and suddenly it’s the only thing I want. Then cut out or down calories from spreads, dressings, sauces, condiments, drinks, and snacks; they could make the difference between weight gain and loss. Those assigned to an Internet-based weight maintenance program sustained their weight loss better than those who met face-to-face in a support group. And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does.
Also, avoid partially hydrogenated foods, and look for more than two grams of fiber per 100 calories in all grain products.
You’ll get the nutritional benefits of skim milk, which is high in calcium and low in calories. Dark chocolate has about 168 calories in a one-ounce square, but it’s packed with fat releasers. In fact, it’s best to make sure you eat regularly to keep from getting so ravenous that you lose control and can’t stop eating. Ask me how it tasted and I might not be able to tell you, because I was preoccupied by my work.
And when you do eat out, look for entrees that are grilled or baked, not fried or smothered in sauce, and for side dishes that pile on the veggies (again, you’re looking for steamed, sauteed, or otherwise simply prepared vegetables).
Well, it’s true that, on average, Americans eat more carbs than we really need, especially refined carbohydrates like those in white bread, pasta, cakes, and cookies.
Next thing you know, you’re craving those forbidden foods like nobody’s business, and you feel like you’d mow down your own mother to get to a piece of bread.
And, because the water has been removed, powdered milk doesn’t dilute the coffee the way skim milk does. And a University of Tennessee study found that people who cut 500 calories a day and ate yogurt three times a day for 12 weeks lost more weight and body fat than a group that only cut the calories. But if you’re in the habit of eating when the clock says to, instead of when you’re actually hungry—which researchers at the University of Minnesota found is one of the main reasons people eat when they do—you tend to lose touch with what “hungry” feels like and eat more than you really need. Among our top sources of calories, in fact, are cakes and cookies, breads, pizza, pasta, and sugary drinks.
The researchers concluded that the calcium in low-fat dairy foods triggers a hormonal response that inhibits the body’s production of fat cells and boosts the breakdown of fat. Which is why, when you suddenly slash the amount of food you’re eating, your body reacts by hanging on to every bit of fat it can. So if you cut back on these foods, you will automatically slash your calorie consumption and lose weight.
And, because excess consumption of refined carbs has been associated with diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other chronic diseases, you’ll be healthier if you eat fewer of them.



Healthy weight loss wraps
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