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Follow These Tips for True Dieting Success

Follow These Tips for True Dieting Success

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After a holiday season of gourmet cocoa and pumpkin-flavored coffee, lavish desserts, way too many “bite-size” appetizers, and an overabundance of fatty and salty snacks, your body is probably feeling stuffed, bloated, and ready for a fresh start.

See More Dieting Success Tips (Slideshow)

How many pounds do you think you gained? Your tight jeans may seem to indicate that you’ve packed on a lot of weight, but the New England Journal of Medicine says most Americans gain only a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Then again, what about the other pounds you gained during the year? Remember all the summer fun you had eating burgers and drinking beers? How about all that candy you snacked on during October?

You may be tempted to hide your pudge under a bulky sweater and try to deal with it in a month or two, but that hide-it strategy only lasts so long. Still, before you get on the scale and obsess over every ounce or severely restrict your calories, realize that most of the time, these extreme tactics don’t work. That’s because for sustained weight loss and maintenance, you need to have specific goals and stay motivated.

So what does it take to take back your body? Nothing too extreme, but you do need to commit to creating and following a positive, structured plan. You also need supportive friends and family, healthy rewards for success, increased activity, social interaction, and the power of positive thinking.

If you’re ready to lose weight, we’re here to help. Nutrition, diet, and exercise experts are sharing their tips on how to get (and stay) motivated to lose weight. Whether you want to lose 50 pounds or simply get rid of the last pesky five you gained during the past few weeks, these tips can help get you started on a positive weight loss journey.

Be Naked

“Spend as much time in your bathing suit, or naked, as possible so you are constantly aware of your figure,” says Matty Whitmore, former Survivor finalist and celebrity fitness trainer at Spectrum Athletic Clubs. Hanging out in the buff may seem uncomfortable at first, but it may become liberating as you take stock of your body’s pros and cons and positively take stock of ways to improve “target” areas while appreciating your natural beauty.


Don’t waiver in your goals, says Joey Gochnour, registered dietitian nutritionist, certified personal trainer, and owner of He advises setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

“Start with a small goal you know you will achieve rather than one you won’t that will discourage you,” says Gochnour. “Smaller goals will empower you. Reach them, then set a new goal. You have momentum now.”

The 7 Best Weight Loss Tips You’ll Ever Read

Struggling to shed weight and keep it off? We asked seven dietitians for the single most important weight loss tip they share with patients. May their tips offer you some inspiration:

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Tip 1: Don’t let hunger deter you from sticking with your diet.

Whatever diet you choose — and many different diets can help you lose weight — don’t give up because you get too hungry.

“Hunger is one reason many people don’t stick with a weight loss plan for more than a few weeks. When you eat less, your fat cells release more hunger hormones, which increases your appetite,” says Dawn Noe, RD, LD, CDE. “Higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate meal plans are best for controlling your hunger and appetite.”

When you have diabetes, a diet with fewer carbs (like bread, pasta, rice, desserts, sugary beverages, juice) is also important because you’ll need less insulin. And that can help prevent hunger, fat storage and weight gain.

Replace processed carbs like white bread, bagels, muffins or donuts for breakfast with high-protein foods like eggs, or Greek yogurt mixed with chia seeds and berries. You’ll find that you stay fuller, longer.

Tip 2: Don’t eat a carbohydrate unless it has fiber attached to it.

“This method forces you to forgo the bad carbs (candy, white bread, soda) and stick only with high-quality carbs,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. “The more fiber in your diet, the better!”

Fiber helps improve blood sugar control, helps lower cholesterol, and reduces your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, colorectal cancer and heart disease.

Foods rich in fiber include legumes (dried beans, lentils), veggies (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach squash, sweet potatoes) and fruit (apples, berries, oranges, pears).

Tip 3: Focus on healthy behaviors, not the number on the scale.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you look only at your weight. “Focus instead on making good food choices, watching portions and exercising regularly,” says Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD. “If you lead with these behaviors, the weight loss will follow.”

Replace a goal like “lose 2 pounds a week” with specific mini-goals, like “eat 1 cup of veggies at dinner,” “walk 20 minutes a day,” or “keep a daily food log.” If you’re disappointed with your weight progress at week’s end, reflect on how well you stuck to each goal.

“If you’ve made healthy changes, congratulations!” she says. “If you fell short, ask yourself why. Were the goals too difficult? Do you need a stronger support system? Is a major barrier in your way? Then either tweak your goals or focus on the factors you can control.”

Try tracking lifestyle changes, food, exercise and weight in a journal. At the end of each week, check off which new habits are going well and which need more work. “Your health is a lifelong journey,” she says.

Tip 4: Make plants the foundation of your diet.

Different weight loss approaches work for different people. But plant foods should be the foundation of any diet.

“Research strongly supports the benefits of plant-based nutrition approaches for weight loss, disease prevention, and overall health,” says Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD. “Whether you’re eating vegetarian, paleo, high-fat, vegan or pegan (a combination of paleo and vegan), your diet should include a variety of foods from the earth.”

That means enjoying lots of non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cucumbers and bok choy, and fruits like berries, apples and pears.

Plant-based foods contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help support your cells and reduce inflammation, she says. They also provide fiber and water, both of which help you feel fuller.

Tip 5: No foods are 100 percent off-limits.

When you label foods as “good” and “bad,” you naturally fixate on foods you shouldn’t eat but typically still crave —and likely will crave more when they’re totally off limits.

“Focus instead on choosing the right portions of healthy foods 80 to 90 percent of the time,” says Jennifer Willoughby, RD, CSP, LD. “That, paired with a healthy exercise routine, can lead to long-term weight loss success. And it leaves some wiggle room to enjoy ‘fun foods’ occasionally without feeling guilt or resentment.”

When working with children, she teaches them which choices are better and will fuel their bodies more effectively, rather than giving them lists of foods to eat and foods to completely avoid.

Feelings of guilt from eating forbidden foods can snowball into unhealthy emotions in childhood, adolescence and even adulthood, she says.

Tip 6: Spend your calories wisely.

All calories are not created equal. “If your diet consists mainly of sugar, saturated/trans fats and salt — all of which can be very addictive — you can develop consistent cravings for dense, high-calorie foods with little nutritional value,” says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD.

“This leads to excess calories and weight gain or inability to lose weight.”

Eat foods that are high in lean protein, healthy fats and fiber, and you’ll feel satisfied throughout the day and will rarely get cravings. This will help you maintain a lower calorie level, which will lead to weight loss.

Tip 7: Plan tomorrow’s meals today.

Planning ahead stops that “grab what you see” panic that sets in when you wait to plan dinner until you’re starving at 6 p.m. Scaring up dinner on the fly is likely to bring less nutritious, higher-calorie choices to your table.

When you sit down for dinner tonight, plan what you’ll eat for dinner tomorrow. “It’s so much easier to do when you’re not hungry,” says Andrea Dunn, RD, LD, CDE.

“This also gives you time to take something out of the freezer, chop veggies tonight to put in the crockpot tomorrow morning, and ask which family members will be home for dinner.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Take a Brisk Walk Before Breakfast

Before sharing the Zero Belly Diet with the world, I used a 500-person test panel to field-test my plan. Panelist Martha Chesler incorporated morning walks as part of her Zero Belly program and saw results right away. "I saw changes immediately," she reports. In less than six weeks on the program, Martha dropped reached her weight loss goals (and then some) by combining the Zero Belly Foods with a pre-breakfast walk.

This morning ritual works on two levels. First, a study found an association getting between early morning sunlight and having a lower BMI. Researchers speculate that the morning light helps regulate your body&aposs circadian clock. Throwing off your internal clock might alter how your body processes food and lead to weight gain. But what really stunned Chesler was the improvement in her cardiovascular ability. Before starting the Zero Belly Diet, Chesler&aposs heart rate would typically soar to 112 beats per minute (bpm) within moments of starting her exercise bike workout. "After the first week and a half I could not raise my heart rate over 96 bpm with the same workout," she says. "It was great to see a change in the mirror, and even better to know good things were happening that I couldn&apost even see." (In addition to a.m. strolls, try out these exercises that can help burn belly fat in 2 weeks.)

8 Diet Changes Real Women Made to Lose More Than 50 Pounds

You're definitely going to want to steal at least one.

When you've got a lot of weight to lose, deciding where to begin can be super-overwhelming&mdashbut we've got a good place for you to start. We've talked to dozens of women who completely transformed their bodies&mdashwe're talking shedding 50-plus pounds&mdashand pulled together a list of the eight simple changes they made that had the biggest impact on the scale. Their tried-and-true tips might be exactly what you need to get on the path to serious results. But don't just take our word for it: These women's results speak for themselves.

You know that recording what you consume is a good way to keep your weight in check, but Brittany Hicks, who dropped 110 pounds in college, didn't only write down what she ate&mdashshe also wrote down why she was eating it. "I realized I'd been using food to cope with stress," she says. "Just noticing that helped me do it less." Make sure you're not making these food journal mistakes so you can reap the rewards of eating and jotting, too.

If figuring out what to put into your body is too overwhelming, start with how much you're serving yourself. The easiest way to do this? Swap out your plates for smaller ones, like mother of two Jeanenne Darden did. With the help of this trick, she managed to lose an amazing 22 percent of her body weight, going from 187 pounds to 146 pounds. "I ate normally," she says. "I just ate less of everything." Pro tip: This trick is even easier with some cute portion-control dishware.

Jen Tallman never thought she would have the courage to pursue a career in fashion due to her size. until she dropped 110 pounds by reducing her caloric intake and picking up running. Now she works at Chanel. How does she resist the temptation to deviate from her newfound healthy habits when eating out with friends? She checks out the menu beforehand so she always knows her healthy options. Just make sure you know how to spot what's actually healthy&mdashrestaurants can have a knack for trying to make you think things are healthier than they are.

Related: What Nutritionists Eat When They Go Out to Restaurants

"I use low-fat Greek yogurt in place of mayo in recipes, and it tastes great," says Krystal Sanders, who went from 185 pounds to 110 by coming up with healthy versions of her favorite restaurant foods. "It can also be used as a sour cream substitute." The possibilities are endless when it comes to this tasty staple, but you can start with these dessert recipes.

Related: 10 Genius Ways to Use Up the Last Bit of Greek Yogurt

Yasmine Farazian, a professor at an art and design college, can thank Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., author of The One One One Diet, for the easy rule of thumb that helped her shed 50 pounds: At each meal, she made sure to eat one carbohydrate, one protein, and one fat. Finally, Yasmine had the template for making a healthy, well-balanced meal that she needed. "I would have the bun, beef patty, and avocado," she says. "And if I wanted fries, I'd ask for lettuce instead of the bread."

After a cancer diagnosis sent her normally healthy lifestyle off-course, flight attendant Tracey Z. Dickson was heavier than she had ever been. When she was declared cancer-free, she hopped back on the treadmill and got her diet in order&mdashand went from 158 pounds to 117. One of her diet secrets? "Instead of dessert, I'll have a baked sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon," she says. "It tastes like I'm eating sweet potato pie, but for a ton less calories." For more healthy ideas on how to get your sugar fix, check out these desserts with 150 calories (or less).

This snack-busting tip comes from Tricia Minnick, who lost a whopping 128 pounds by cutting soda and processed carbs from her diet, filling half her plate with veggies at every meal, and brushing her teeth after eating. "It'll help stop night snacking," she says. "Fresh breath makes you less tempted to eat more." Wise up on other ways to stop mindless snacking with these tips.

Think cooking healthy meals is difficult and time-consuming? Think again. Annie Allen, a postsurgical nurse in Tampa Bay, Florida, let her freezer do half the work for her&mdashand now she's down 52 pounds and runs about 10 races a year. "Frozen vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones, and in minutes you have half of your meal prepared," she says. These frozen meals are also surprisingly healthy if you don't have time to mix and match one of your own.

Don’t knock nutrition for weight loss

Although weight loss may be the objective, try to attain it in a healthful manner. Even as you reduce what you eat, carefully choose what you cut out of your diet, since eating a variety of foods helps ensure that you’re meeting your body’s need for essential nutrients. For example, if you lower your dairy intake to remove some calories and saturated fat from your diet, find another way to get enough calcium and vitamin D to prevent problems like osteoporosis. Keep in mind also that people who are overweight have been shown to have reduced levels of vitamin D in their blood. The reduced level of vitamin D could become a full-blown deficiency if all milk — one of the few foods that is enriched with vitamin D — is eliminated from the diet and nothing is done to find another source.

Cutting back on fat in the diet is a worthwhile goal for many. But while Americans have gradually reduced their intake of fat as a percentage of their daily diet, the number of obese and overweight Americans has climbed. Part of the increase could be due to the widespread misperception that just eating fat-free foods is healthier and that fat is bad. But many low-fat foods became low-fat when their fat was replaced with carbohydrate, which still has calories. By eating more of a fat-free food, you may actually ingest more calories than if you had eaten less of the original product.

Lower-fat diets may decrease one’s risk for cardiovascular disease, but fat reduction alone is not sufficient to produce a healthy lifestyle. Some fat is necessary in the diet — in fact, there is evidence that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may be health-promoting — and reduced saturated fat intake must be part of an overall strategy that includes reducing your caloric intake and exercising.

Just as cutting out one food or type of food isn’t usually the answer, adding too much of a type of food can also cause problems. A diet that is too high in carbohydrate could threaten your blood glucose control. But a high-protein diet may also be a high-saturated-fat diet or may require you to take supplements to make up for the nutrients lost from your decreased intake of vegetables and fruits. While you don’t need a health professional to approve of every menu, it would likely be helpful to consult with a dietitian familiar with the special needs of people with diabetes to give you some guidelines as a framework, at least when you first design your diet.

How to Jump Start Weight Loss Efforts to Improve Your Chances of Success

Feel healthy and energized at the very beginning of your journey with this jump start weight loss plan.

If you&aposve ever had an event sneak up on you, you might&aposve wondered  "Is it even possible to lose weight in 48 hours?" The short answer is no, it&aposs unlikely you&aposll lose any real weight in 2 days. "Experts recommend a safe level of losing two pounds per week," says Shape&aposs deputy editor, Mary Anderson. "One pound equals 3,500 calories, so to lose a pound in two days, you&aposd need to eat 2,500 fewer calories"𠄺 crash diet that no one should ever attempt.

However, it is possible to start developing healthy exercise and eating habits in just two days, which is the best way to jump-start weight loss. (Related: 20 Easy Diet Tips That Make Healthy Eating Less Challenging)

To start, make a "plan of attack," suggests Harley Pasternak, celebrity trainer and creator of The 5-Factor Diet. Draft a grocery list to buy enough grub for 5 small meals a day. You&aposll also want to schedule when you&aposll eat and work out. Mark everything in your calendar like you would an appointment.

Need some extra incentive? Pick up some new workout gear. "A new pair of athletic shoes can give you that extra push to be active," says Pasternak. "They can act as a catalyst between the mind and the body to increase motivation and improve performance."

Or go grocery shopping (see the shopping list at bottom of the page) for the ingredients you&aposll need for the next two days&apos worth of meals. When Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet, checks out at the grocery store, her cart&aposs half-full of produce𠄺 strategy that bodes well both in the long-term and the short-term.

The reasons to eat vegetables are plentiful:

  1. Veggies have around 20 calories per serving. Other foods have 3 or 4 times the number of calories.
  2. They have a high percentage of water, so you can feel full from eating them.
  3. They have a lot of potassium in them, which can help regulate blood pressure and fluid in your body.

For the time-strapped, "Go to the store and buy vegetables that you can eat off a veggie tray," suggests Blatner. "Also, buy vegetables that you can grill–zucchinis and squash𠄺nd add the vegetables to everything you eat."

These moves can help put you in the right mental state. So stock up the pantry and dust off those running shoes–your 48-hour weight loss jump-start begins now.

Day 1: Diet

A common weight loss mistake is to eat too few calories, so before you start on this or any other weight loss plan, calculate your personal calorie needs. When it comes to maintaining a healthy body, what you drink counts as much as what you eat. "Drinking 72 ounces of water a day is critical," says Blatner. "Put a nice pitcher of water in the fridge. For flavored water, you can float fresh mint in it or you can put slices of pears or grapefruit in it." (Related: The 7-Day Diet Plan for Weight Loss from &aposThe Biggest Loser&apos)

Blatner suggests the following menu to fuel yourself throughout the day.

Breakfast: Nutty Oatmeal with Apples (roughly 300 calories)

  • 1/2 cup dry quick oats
  • 1/2 cup original soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts
  • 1 small chopped apple

For breakfast, try hot oatmeal soaked in soy milk and topped with a diced apple. If you woke up hungry, this should hold you over until lunchtime. "[Apples] are filling because they are 85 percent water and have 4.5 grams of fiber," says Blatner. And for those of you worried about your cholesterol, you&aposre in luck. "Oatmeal is a whole grain that can help regulate cholesterol levels with a compound it contains called beta-glucan," she adds.

Lunch: Fresh Tomato & Bean Stuffed Pita (roughly 400 calories)

  • 1 medium whole wheat pita
  • 1/2 cup canned white beans
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing

Stuff a whole-wheat pita with beans, tomatoes, and basil, then dress it up with vinaigrette. The whole wheat pita is low in saturated fat, high in dietary fiber, and cholesterol-free. Everything you&aposll be eating inside the pita is healthy too, especially the white beans. "Beans are a great source of plant protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and zinc," says Blatner.

Snack: Yogurt & Honey (roughly 100 calories)

Not only is yogurt full of protein, but it also contains immune system-boosting good bacteria called probiotics. When you add honey to the yogurt, it&aposll feed the good bacteria in the yogurt and make the bacteria stronger, says Blatner. "Plus, it&aposs better to add your own sweetness to plain yogurt rather than buying it pre-sweetened because you can control the amount." (Related: 12 Yogurt Health Benefits That Show Off Its Nutritional Power)

Dinner: Salmon with Quinoa and Broccoli (roughly 400 calories)

  • 3 ounces grilled salmon
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 teaspoon pine nuts
  • 1 juiced lemon
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa

You&aposll get full on this meal. Grilled salmon is high in nutrients, low in saturated fat, and infused with omega-3 fatty acids. And you can&apost go wrong with broccoli–the vegetable is touted as a cancer-fighting food, rich in vitamins A and C, and a good source of calcium, iron, and magnesium. As for quinoa, it "contains one of the highest amounts of protein of the whole grains," says Blatner. So trade up from white rice–it&aposs a swap worth the trouble.

So where do chips, cookies, candy, ice cream, and alcohol fit in, you ask? "Nowhere," says Blatner. The goal is to go all-in on a two-day reset, she says. "However, long-term people don&apost have to think that this two-day diet is how perfect they have to be forever."

Day 1: Workout

If you&aposre a morning workout kind of person, go ahead and lace up after breakfast. However, if you&aposre more of an afternoon or after-dinner exerciser, feel free to work out when you&aposre most comfortable. "It&aposs about forming a habit and it&aposs about the frequency of exercise," says celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza, who&aposs worked with Jessica Alba. "Schedule it in and write it down in your journal. If you don&apost have energy five mornings in a row, then switch it up."

The trick to getting lean muscle is to combine weight training with cardio, which is exactly what you&aposll be doing with Braganza&aposs 3-2-1 program (3 cardio segments, 2 circuit segments, and 1 core segment).

"Try not to take a break. Push through the burn," advises Braganza. "But if you must stop, then stop briefly and then continue." She suggests working out at 75 percent of your target heart rate. (You can figure out what your target heart rate is by subtracting your age from 226, then multiplying that number by 0.75 to get your percentage.) If you chose the right weight, you should feel the burn in the last 5 reps, she says.

The whole program should take an hour and will burn around 300 calories. If you want to burn more, increase the cardio time from 7 minutes to 10, and repeat Circuit A and B three times.

Cardio 1

A. Warm-up by jogging for 2 minutes.

B. Interval train for 3 to 5 minutes. Increase the intensity by either jogging on an incline or by upping the speed.

Circuit A

A. Extend arms to shoulder-width apart and extend legs, balancing on toes.

B. Keeping back straight, lower body down, then push back up to starting position.

Scale down: Drop knees on the ground for support.

2. Leg Lifts

A. Lie flat on one side and extend legs straight.

B. Lift the top leg, then lower it to within a few inches of𠄻ut not touching–the bottom leg.

Do 20 pulses on one side, then switch.

Make sure form is correct lean body slightly forward and don&apost let top hip roll back. This exercise will work the outer thigh.

3. Chair Dips

A. Sit on the edge of a chair with feet together and flat on the floor. Place hands on the edge of the chair on either side of thighs.

B. Bend elbows 90 degrees and lower body to the floor.

C. Straighten arms to raise body back to the start position.

4. Repeat steps 1-3.

Cardio 2

A. Jump rope for 7 minutes.

Circuit B

1. Chest Press with Dumbbells

A. Sit on an inclined bench, holding medium weights to about shoulder height and then lean back against the bench. Make sure the dumbbells are in line with sides of chest and upper arm is under the dumbbells.

B. Extend the dumbbells up.

C. Lower arms back to the original position.

Do 20 reps. The last 5 reps should feel challenging.

2. Walking Lunges

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart.

B. Lunge right leg forward, bending left knee to about 1 inch above the floor and with the right knee bent at a 90-degree angle directly above ankle.

C. Keeping weight in heels to avoid leaning forward, push off the floor with left foot and lunge  left leg forward.

Do 20 walking lunges.

Scale up: Go deep by twisting into the leading leg and touching the ground with opposite hand.

3. Triceps Extensions

A. Lie on a bench, holding 5- to 10-pound dumbbells in each hand.

B. Start with arms extended to the ceiling.

C. Bending at the elbows and keeping palms facing in, lower dumbbells to ears.

4. Take a 30-second break, then repeat circuit B.

Cardio 3

A. Interval train for 7 minutes. Increase the intensity by either jogging on an incline or by upping the speed and keeping it at a steady pace.

1. Double Crunch

A. Lie faceup with both feet off the ground.

B. Hold elbows behind head, then contract body into a ball until elbows touch knees.

Do 20 crunches.

2. Twisting Bicycle

A. Lie faceup. Alternate touching each elbow to opposite knee (i.e., right elbow toward left knee, and vice versa) while lifting into a crunch.

Do 20 crunches.

3. Leg Lifts

A. Lie faceup with hands under butt.

B. Lift legs toward the ceiling, then bring them down until they nearly touch the floor.

Do 20 reps on each side.

A. Get into kneeling position and brace body against the ground with your elbows and forearms. Extend legs straight back to balance on toes and forearms.

Hold this plank position for 20 to 30 seconds (work up to a full minute).

5. Repeat steps 1-4.

Day 2: Diet

Breakfast: Almond Toast with Blueberries (roughly 300 calories)

  • 2 slices of toasted whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries

Spread almond butter on toast, and eat with side of blueberries. Not only is are blueberries low in calories, but they&aposre also a good source of fiber and rich in vitamin C. Plus, the blue color comes from the antioxidant anthocyanin, which might protect against diseases such as Alzheimer&aposs disease, cancer, and heart disease, says Blatner.

Lunch: Chopped Spinach Salad (roughly 400 calories)

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg, chopped
  • 1 medium baked potato, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vinaigrette salad dressing
  • Add chopped ingredients to spinach and toss with dressing.

Forget iceberg or romaine lettuce. "Spinach is a leafy green, and these contain a powerful trio of antioxidants called ACE–vitamins A, C, and E𠄻lood builders such as iron and vitamin K, and bone builders such as calcium and magnesium," says Blatner.

As far a salad ingredients go, eggs are good sources of protein that are still low in fat, which makes them great for building muscle while you lose weight. Having protein in every meal will help keep your metabolism up while your body burns off fat. And don&apost toss the yolk out of the hard-boiled egg, either it&aposs rich in vitamin D, which fights diseases like cancer and diabetes.

Snack: Celery with Sunflower Butter (roughly 100 calories)

Enjoy celery spread with sunflower butter, which has more vitamin E than peanut butter.

Dinner: Chicken Vegetable Stir-Fry with Brown Rice (roughly 400 calories)

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 3 ounces grilled chicken breast, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables
  • Top chicken with almonds and cilantro. Eat with side of rice and mixed veggies.

As a whole grain, brown rice is very filling and easy to digest. Also, compared to dry whole grains like crackers, brown rice consists of mostly water so it&aposll make you feel full, says Blatner. (Related: The Lose 10 Pounds in a Month Diet Plan (That You&aposll Actually Want to Follow))

14 of 14

Honor your body

"Your specific [weight loss] program may differ from someone else&rsquos based on climate, geography, heredity, the quality of the food you&rsquore buying, the volume in which you&rsquore eating that food, and so much more. A lot people take advice that doesn&rsquot honor themselves. What works for me is not going to work for you. It&rsquos just not. So really, it&rsquos [about] having an honest look at who you are, what your tendencies and triggers are, and how you can build a program that revolves around that.&rdquo

2 of 16

Emily Liedtke

BEFORE: 340 lb., size 26

AFTER: 129 lb., size 2

TOTAL LOST: 211 lb., 12 sizes

Emily's weight loss tips:

Aim for 15: When I'm dreading a workout, I tell myself to try to make it through the first 15 minutes. After that point, I almost always feel more energized and want to keep going.

Find a unique reward: Instead of celebrating with food when I hit a goal, I treat myself to something healthy, such as a hike with my husband or a massage.

Change your vocab: I used to tell myself that I "couldn't" have something, which made me crave it even more. Now I say I "don't" engage in an unhealthy habit. It's a little trick that makes the behavior seem less like a choice and more like part of my lifestyle.

Nail down your emotion: I created my own mood emojis to help monitor how I feel after every workout and meal. This lets me keep tabs on what's working for me and what's not.

Make choices, not rules.


There is no "good" food or "bad" food. Take note and opt for foods that support your weight-loss goals and make your body feel good as often as possible.

"Many studies have proven that food restrictions drive overeating. For example, with sugar, we feel intense cravings are a symptom of addiction. However, these cravings result from the moral value placed on sweets in our society. When sweets are placed on the 'forbidden' list, we subconsciously want them since we think we can't have them," Fine says.

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