Another diet that's highly ranked by experts is the Mediterranean Diet (Free). Experts say that eating the Mediterranean way is the healthiest dietary choice you can make. The difficulty for most people is figuring out exactly what that means since there is no formal "Mediterranean Diet;" rather, it's a way of eating that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meats in moderation, whole grains, legumes, seeds and healthy fats. However, there are some guidelines on the Oldways website that may be helpful, and there are a wealth of other online resources from those who have adopted the Mediterranean diet lifestyle, as well as plenty of cookbooks.
Women who ate low-fat dairy products, such as non-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese three to four times a day lost 70 percent more fat than low-dairy dieters, according to a study published in the journal Obesity Research. "Calcium serves as a switch that tells your body to burn excess fat faster," explains study author Michael Zemel, M.D., director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Sorry, but you won't reap the same benefits from calcium-fortified O.J. Research shows that you get the best results from dairy products themselves, not fortified foods. Aim for 1,200 mg, which includes about three servings of dairy a day.
About: Sanji started her blog in 2009 as a personal journey to discover what adventures life would bring her, including religion, dating, traveling and more. Fast forward 7 years later, and Sanji is married and has a child. Recently, she morphed her blog into a place to share about her weight loss journey and efforts to live healthy. Add in her long-time writing experience and willingness to get vulnerable, and you’re sure to find it’s a journey you can relate to and find inspiration.
It's easy to overdo it when you're eating something delicious — and that's why it's good to focus on foods that will force you to slow down. "Slowing down can help you check in with your hunger levels. For that reason, I love snacking on 100-calorie packs of in-shell pistachios," Gorin says. "Shelling the pistachios helps you slow down your snacking, and the shells leave a visual cue to remind you of how much you've eaten. Because you're more in tune with what's gone into your mouth, you may be less likely to have extra servings." In one preliminary study, people snacking on in-shell pistachios ate 41% less calories than those who ate the shelled version.
Real talk: It could take weeks or months to see the metabolic effects of exercise on the scale, and even then, building muscle, which is denser than body fat, could lead to weight gain. "Do what you like because it’s good for you," Dr. Seltzer says, noting the way exercise is awesome for your heart, mental health, and more—and that not all measure of progress can be seen on the scale.
About: The best word to describe Chanden's blog is sassy. She’s not afraid to write a little rough around the edges (if you know what we mean), and she’s got a fun personality which comes through her posts as she works to get fit and change her eating habits. She does that by creating healthy recipes and offering cooking tips that she used to drop 70 pounds since she started her blog in March 2015. She also shares her own personal journey and thoughts, and her recipes are in a league of their own.
"What I don't like about any commercial diet is that the focus is not on your actual food choices," Hogan said. "It's about calories or points or numbers, and that really takes away from your ability to be in tune with your hunger cues and your fullness cues and what you're really craving. If we become more in tune with those things, we naturally consume how much the body needs. Paying too much attention to numbers takes away from that."
It's a great accomplishment to lose half your body weight, as Shauna of The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl did, but the real beauty is in how she's mostly kept it off for a decade. After regaining 50 pounds, she confronted her emotional issues around eating and now says, "my philosophy boils down to: Do the healthy thing more often than you don't do the healthy thing. It's not about numbers and scales, it's eating well and being kind to myself. Persistence, not perfection. Getting back up when I fall over. Over and over again!"
You don’t need to bust out the measuring cups to properly portion out your food: A serving size of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards or the size of the palm of your hand. Your entire fist should be the size of a serving of veggies (although the more, the better!). A serving of fat, such as butter or coconut oil, should be the size of your thumb. Your carb serving should be no bigger than what can fit in your cupped hand. For other ways to eyeball your proper serving sizes, check out what portion sizes actually look like.
Nicole Morrissey is a registered dietitian who works specifically with diabetes and weight management. What sets her apart from many other dietitians is that she’s struggled with her own weight since a young age. She was 14 when she went to her first Weight Watchers meeting, and the years that followed brought many ups and downs. Today, she accepts that she “may forever be a work in progress,” so she focuses on balance. That means healthy, good-for-her foods, and doing the active things she loves, like running and hockey. Visit the blog.