5. I will never have the world’s worst breakfast.
No, it’s not leftover pizza - it’s no breakfast at all. When you wake up, your body is fuel deprived. If you don’t eat, you lower your metabolism, starve your muscles, and wind up taking in most of your calories late in the day. In fact, regularly skipping breakfast increases your risk for obesity by 450 percent.
YOUR PLAN: Eat 30 to 35 percent of your daily calories early. Match proteins with whole grains, produce, and healthy fats. If you don’t have the time or appetite for a big meal, eat two small ones - have cereal early, then grab a yogurt and fruit to eat at work.
SLIM-DOWN TRICK: Have absolutely zero interest in eating in the morning? At least drink a glass of 1 percent milk, which will give you eight grams of protein plus fat-burning calcium.
#4. I will become a salad savant.
Salads deliver wildly important nutrients that aid weight loss. A prime example: folate, a B vitamin in leafy greens. A study found that dieters who ate the most folate lost 8.5 times as much weight as those who ate the least.
YOUR PLAN: Consume as many leafy greens as you can. Besides eating salad, add spinach to omelets and quiches.
SLIM-DOWN TRICK: Use a dressing made with safflower oil. It contains linoleic acid, which may prevent fat storage.
#3. I will eat before and after exercise.
Here’s great news if you love to eat: You probably need to nosh more. Eating a snack of protein and carbs right before and after working out speeds muscle growth and recovery. Also, fuelling up can limit the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone that tells your body to store fat. As a result, you burn more fat during your workout and for the next 24 hours.
YOUR PLAN: Have a carb-and-protein snack 30 minutes before working out and a protein-rich meal after. The longer you wait to eat after exercising, the more your body will break down existing muscle and the less it will build new muscle.
SLIM-DOWN TRICK: Drinking a smoothie is a quick and easy way to get a protein boost after a workout. For tasty recipes, visit Womens HealthMag.com/nutrition/easy-smoothie-recipes.
#2. I will eat protein with every meal and snack.
Muscle growth is triggered by protein-rich foods. In fact, every time you eat 10 to 15 grams of protein, you stimulate a burst of protein synthesis that helps build muscle. And when you take in 30 grams, that period lasts about three hours.
“The most important diet upgrade for people who want to lose weight is to eat protein for breakfast,” says Louis Aronne, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. In one study, people who started their day with a meal of eggs dropped 65 percent more weight than those who ate bagels.
YOUR PLAN: Aim to eat between 0.54 and one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Base this on your goal body weight. So if you want to weigh 130 pounds, you should eat 70 to 130 grams of protein a day.
SLIM-DOWN TRICK: Eat more dairy. Researchers found that people who ate three servings a day were 60 percent less likely to be overweight than those who consumed fewer than that.
#1. I will eat it if it grows off a tree.
Or a bush, stalk, or vine. Your goal is to fill your body with as many fat-discouraging nutrients as possible, and the very best sources of them are fruits and vegetables - and nuts too. A study at the University of California at Los Angeles found that the typical normal-weight person consumed about two servings of fruit a day, while the average overweight person ate just one a day. Another study found that eating fruit at the beginning of a meal reduces overall calorie intake by 15 percent.
Eating from trees will also give you more omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight abdominal fat. Some great plant sources of omega-3s are walnuts and flaxseeds.
YOUR PLAN: Include fruits and vegetables in every meal and most snacks.
SLIM-DOWN TRICK: Eat these slimming foods first. You’ll consume fewer calories from other foods, and the fibre will help reduce blood-sugar swings that lead to hunger.
Inside your body, a war is waging between the cells that make up muscle and those that make up fat. How can you be sure muscle wins the battle? By following these five slim-down strategies from our new book, The Women’s Health Diet. You’ll drop pounds and earn a lean physique - minus the hunger pangs.