Calorie counting has long been ingrained in the prevailing nutrition and weight loss advice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, tells people who are trying to lose weight to “write down the foods you eat and the beverages you drink, plus the calories they have, each day,” while making an effort to restrict the amount of calories they eat and increasing the amount of calories they burn through physical activity.
It can actually help you cut back on calories. That's because capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body's release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your ability to burn calories. What's more, eating hot peppers may help slow you down. You're less likely to wolfed down that plate of spicy spaghetti —— and therefore stay more mindful of when you're full. Some great adds: Ginger, turmeric, black pepper, oregano, and jalapenos.
Much has been made of the recently published results of the DIETFITS (Diet Intervention Examining the Factors Interacting with Treatment Success) study. Most of the headlines emphasized the fact that the two diets involved — low-fat and low-carb — ended up having the same results across almost all end points studied, from weight loss to lowering blood sugar and cholesterol.
But the whole idea of fast weight loss may be the root of the problem. According to a Time expose on the subject: “When people are asked to envision their perfect size, many cite a dream weight loss up to three times as great as what a doctor might recommend.” An improbable and disheartening goal, and one that obscures the truth that losing small amounts of weight — even ten pounds — still has great health benefits.
The most important consideration of any diet is finding one that you can stick with for the long haul. While many diets promise that you'll quickly shed pounds in the beginning, the truth is that reining in your eating will almost always result in quick, initial weight loss regardless of what program you decide to try. The trick is to find a program that -- after that first couple of weeks -- you can adhere to as your weight loss slows to more realistic levels. Experts say that people who make diets a lifestyle rather than just a "diet," while setting a goal of losing a pound or so a week, are more apt to keep the weight off over the long term.
About: Nicole’s just a regular ‘ole girl that occasionally likes to try new fitness and, as she puts it, only gets up to work out at 5 a.m. if she’s under duress. And it’s that attitude that makes her so gosh darn appealing. She’s not the in-your-face runner, the strict “paleo-diet-only” recipe blogger. She’s just an average girl doing average things — much like the rest of us. Plus, she’s pretty darn funny and not afraid to use self-deprecating humor. Love it.
Caloric intake: Some people need more calories because of metabolic issues or high activity levels, and low-calorie plans might be insufficient. While it is true that less calories usually means more weight loss, and it’s normal to feel hungry some of the time while dieting, some diet plans are too strict and leave you feeling uncomfortably hungry most of the time. Consider if a diet plan will keep you satisfied.
1 Reference for 5%: Blackburn G. (1995). Effect of degree of weight loss on health benefits. Obesity Research 3: 211S-216S. Reference for 10%: NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf Cdc-pdf[PDF-1.25MB]External
About: Sara’s blog is a healthy blend of family and her faith in God, combined with valuable insight on how to find health and happiness and reduce stress. And trust us, she’s someone that knows. About a decade ago, Sara was 100 pounds overweight and miserable. She started journaling and found an affinity for running and competing (even though she’s not particularly athletic). Today, Sara shares her passion for helping other women find balance and tips on losing weight the same way she did.
About Blog Aphrodite has a special interest in languages. In her free time she likes to teach English, translate or interpret. She also likes to blog or contributes to magazines and newspapers. Her major topics are women's mental health, daily news, entertainments, poems, arts, lifestyle, etc. Aphrodite is a Dreamer, a Believer, a Story Teller, a Truth Reporter and Peace Activist
Italiano: Perdere Peso Velocemente (Uomini), Deutsch: Als Mann schnell abnehmen, Português: Perder Peso Rapidamente (Para Homens), Русский: быстро похудеть (мужчины), Español: bajar de peso (para hombres), Français: perdre du poids rapidement (hommes), Bahasa Indonesia: Menurunkan Berat Badan (Panduan untuk Pria), العربية: خسارة الوزن سريعا (للرجال), Nederlands: Snel afvallen (voor mannen), Tiếng Việt: Giảm cân nhanh chóng dành cho nam giới, ไทย: ลดน้ำหนักเร็วทันใจสำหรับผู้ชาย, 日本語: 短期間で減量する（男性向け）, 한국어: 빠르게 살 빼는 법(남성)
Packaged meal programs: Many diet plans rely on meal-replacement bars, shakes, or other snack type foods. Still others rely on frozen entrees as a major part of your diet. Ask yourself if you are okay with a bulk of your diet relying on prepackaged snacks, shakes, or frozen meals, or if you prefer the flexibility of cooking your own meals or eating out frequently.
The Mayo Clinic Diet provides practical and realistic ideas for including more physical activity and exercise throughout your day — as well as finding a plan that works for you. The diet recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exercise every day and even more exercise for further health benefits and weight loss. The diet also emphasizes moving more throughout the day, such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
If the diet is a quick fix rather than one that promotes lasting lifestyle changes, this could pose a problem. In particular, extreme diets that promise big weight loss up front aren’t always sustainable — and you may end up overeating or even binge eating if you feel deprived. “Consider if the diet’s habits are ones you can continue throughout your lifetime, not just 21 or 30 days,” says Angie Asche, RD, a sports dietitian in Lincoln, Nebraska.
About: The thing that’s most appealing about Alexis’ blog is its tagline: “One girl’s adventure in moderation.” It’s a testament to Alexis’s general approach to life — she knows she won’t succeed unless she balances weight loss and being healthy with living life to its fullest. Alexis’ writing style is quirky and fun. It touches serious subjects, but with a light style that will have you feeling inspired and amused by the end of each post.
Fighting constantly with your S.O.? It’s time to address your issues head-on. "Research has shown that cortisol, the hormone that's released during stressful activity, is linked to fat storage,” says Gina Guddet, couples counselor and co-author of Love Metabolism. “And poor communication between couples is the most common type of stress that you tend to experience."
A similar program, TOPS (Est. $32 per year, plus $5 chapter dues), pairs a wealth of educational material with group meetings in your community, also called "chapters." TOPS, which stands for Take Off Pounds Sensibly, uses The Food Exchange System, which users say is easy to understand and follow. It has categories of foods with similar serving sizes and caloric loads, and it's easy to swap one food for another. You can even purchase exchange cards that give you food options within categories at a glance, as well as a variety of other accessories, such as food prep tools scaled to accurate portion sizes.
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.
The authors wanted to compare low-fat vs. low-carb diets, but they also wanted to study genetic and physical makeups that purportedly (their word) could influence how effective each type of diet will be for people. Previous studies had suggested that a difference in a particular genetic sequence could mean that certain people will do better with a low-fat diet. Other studies had suggested that insulin sensitivity may mean that certain people will do better with a low-carb diet.
About: Shae is a Wichita native, and, as she puts it, she is “not skinny.” But she’s blogging about fitness and healthy eating anyway, with a few (ok, a lot) of complaints. Her blog features an impressive combination of her quirky, laugh-out-loud style and visually stimulating photos that tell the story or show the recipes as well as the writing itself does. Once you start reading, strap in. Because you’re not going to want to stop.
Lifestyle fit: Figure out whether a plan is compatible with your lifestyle before committing. Some meal plans are very simple; others require more work. Think about how much time and planning goes into each weight loss program. Some people find that meal planning and preparation takes up too much time, while others enjoy planning meals and spending time in the kitchen.
Wow, sharing your journey has encouraged me. I have been overweight since middle school (junior high was what they called it in my day). I have been on many diets, while some worked, some didn’t. I know that I need to get my weight off to improve my health (diabetes) and just to look and feel better. I appreciate your thoughts on losing weight and I am very thankful that you include God in your journey. Thank you for your help in getting me on track. I look forward to reading more of your blog. Hope your day is blessed.
You start to link up the cost of points with the cost of certain foods on your body, without any item every becoming taboo or strictly off-limits. Our tester found the point system both easy-to-use and eye-opening. “I can’t believe how many ‘healthy’ or at least innocuous foods are actually bad for you,” she remarked, noting how diet staples like granola bars took a big bite out of her daily allotment of points.
About: Who is Kristin? It can be tough to tell. The “about” section of her blog is empty, and finding her name so we could peg an author involved a deep dive into the blog archives. But one thing we do know...Kristin’s blog is deep. Very deep. It’s her innermost feelings, struggles, emotions with how her weight makes her feel, her low self confidence and her constant highs and lows. It’s the kind of blog that sucks you in from the moment you start reading, the kind of blog that tells you, “whoa, this person is really pouring her heart out.” And it’s Kristen’s level of vulnerability that makes her so appealing, that makes her one of the most powerful weight loss bloggers on our list. Whatever pain your weight loss struggles have caused you, you’re sure to relate to Kristen.
Don’t feel bad! Losing weight is hard! At least you have a Husband who is the food police! Mine tries forcing me to eat his fatty stuff and I have to restrain myself and say no, which is hard. The key is taking it step by step. I feel your pain! I tend to eat when I’m bored too and I am trying to break that habit! Just remember you are a strong woman and you can do it!!!! Start small! Go for a 10 minute walk, even march in place during commercials when watching tv, next thing you know you are getting in some exercise and maybe you can march for a whole show? Also, cut up some healthy veggies and grab those when you need to eat! Just think to yourself, you are doing this for you and you are worth it!!!
Weight training is the ultimate way to burn calories fast. "A pound of muscle burns up to nine times the calories of a pound of fat," explains Richard Cotton, M.A., chief exercise physiologist for myexerciseplan.com. Weight training increases your resting metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you burn while sitting on your butt. What's more, it gives your metabolism an added boost after you exercise, staying in overdrive for up to two hours after the last bench press, according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Strapped for time? Try these quick moves: squats, bench step-ups, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups and planks. In a pinch, just do single sets of 10 for each exercise — you'll get optimal results for the time invested.
About: On March 1, 2014, a visit to the doctor’s office really brought things home for Bobby. At 6 feet tall, Bobby weighed in at 345 pounds. To be at a healthy weight, his doctor said he needed to weigh 177 pounds, 168 pounds less than the weight he was at. In essence, Bobby realized he was essentially carrying around another person. The moment was the catalyst he needed to change. Rather than set any unrealistic expectations, Bobby decided to set the small, attainable goal of losing 2 pounds a week. So began his blog. And, guess what? It worked. Two years later, Bobby weighs in at 214 pounds (he looks great, by the way), and continues to take those small baby steps that are helping him achieve a healthy body. Bravo.
Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, eggs, seafood, chicken and so on. Food philosophies may differ around which of these foods to emphasize, but that’s okay, since the evidence shows that there isn’t a single best way to lose weight. The goal is to select an approach that feels sustainable to you. If you can easily live without pasta, perhaps a low-carb method centered around veggies and quality proteins, like seafood, chicken, and lean beef would be a good fit. Vegans and vegetarians can lose weight by choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant proteins. Nut lovers may do well shedding pounds with a Mediterranean-style menu. Whatever diet appeals to your appetite and way of life, focusing on whole foods is something that all plans promote.
Low-calorie diets: It is harmful to reduce your daily calorie intake lower than 1400 calories per day, because your body adjusts to a semi-starvation state and looks for alternative sources of energy. In addition to burning fat, your body will eventually burn muscle tissue. Because your heart is a muscle, prolonged starvation will weaken it and interfere with its normal rhythms. Low-calorie diets don't meet the body's nutrition needs, and without nutrients your body cannot function normally.
Top Quote: “While this is my playful attempt of sharing my experience with you, I have to be completely honest when I say that it’s been hard. I can live with giving up on all the gadgets, gizmos, systems and plans that barely saw the light of day, but it’s really hard to accept that I gave up on myself. While I know I have a long arduous journey ahead of me, I hope that I will inspire others to keep me company along the way.”
Experts say that Weight Watchers is one of the easiest programs to follow. There are hundreds of Weight Watchers recipes available, both in cookbook form and online, with pre-calculated points values for each recipe. Weight Watchers has its own line of frozen entrees, and Weight Watchers points values are often pre-calculated on other brands of frozen entrees. There are many other Weight Watchers-branded prepared foods available as well. Food preparation-wise, the program can be as easy or as difficult as your skill level in the kitchen.
At any given time, there are dozens of weight-loss hypes in the marketplace that claim to take off 10 pounds in 10 days, or whatever. Desperation can tempt us to try anything — from "clean eating" to cutting out food groups entirely. Keep in mind: Just because an avocado-walnut-"crunchy"-kale-salad dripping in coconut oil is deemed "clean" by a so-called "expert" on your Instagram feed does not make it an unlimited food. Moral of the story? Avoid fads, eat real food, watch some Netflix, and unwind (perhaps with a glass of wine in hand). Now that's my kind of detox.
Keeping track of what you eat is a great way of forcing yourself to focus on your diet and assess exactly what you’re eating. Without it, the calories can start creeping up without you noticing so a journal of some other means of tracking your calorie intake can be the difference between maintaining your weight or being forced to start dieting all over again.
Leah Campbell is a writer and editor living in Anchorage, Alaska. She’s a single mother by choice after a serendipitous series of events led to the adoption of her daughter. Leah is also the author of the book “Single Infertile Female” and has written extensively on the topics of infertility, adoption, and parenting. You can connect with Leah via Facebook, her website, and Twitter.