And honestly, dropping those winter pounds doesn’t have to be so difficult. Thanks to That’s Fit, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a slew of diet books (including The Zone Diet, The Beck Diet, The Atkins Diet and YOU: On a Diet, to name a few) in order to help readers decide if these books are really worth their time. But to help you cut to the chase when it comes to cutting weight, I went one step further and asked Sarah Khan, registered dietitian affiliated with The Sports Club/LA –NY on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to boil it down to the basics.
“Whether you are just starting a weight loss program or trying to lose those last 10 pounds, these tips can help in reaching your nutrition goals,” said Khan. Simply put, here are the ten most important things you need to do in order to reach your target weight. Do all ten and we can guarantee you won’t have to worry about your weight when spring hits. If you continue following fad diets that don’t utilize these ten basic tips, you’ll discover the reason you’re still holding onto that wintertime belly.
1. Fill up on fiber
“That includes fiber-rich sources, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which all help increase satiety and fullness at each meal,” said Khan.
2. Be cautious about liquid calories
“That means limit juices and high-calorie coffee drinks,” she said. “Instead, try swapping out your regular glass of O.J. for any whole piece of fruit.”
3. Stay hydrated
“Not only is water important in delivering nutrients, it also plays an important role in weight loss,” said Khan. Often times, hunger is confused with thirst, so staying hydrated will keep you from craving extra calories.
4. Practice smart snacking
“Eating every three to four hours fuels your metabolism and prevents you from overeating at meals,” she said. “The best combo: Always include a portion of carbs and protein with each snack, such as trail mix or low-fat cheese with whole-grain crackers.”
5. Avoid skipping meals
“Saving your calories for the evening often leads to overeating and discomfort,” Khan said. “Instead, eat regularly throughout the day for optimum energy levels and portion control.”
6. Be carb smart
“Carbohydrates serve as the body’s primary source of energy,” she said. “To maximize their impact, always select nutrient-dense carbs, such as whole grains and fruit, instead of simple, processed carbohydrate foods.”
7. Limit your alcohol
“Just four ounces of red wine contains 80 calories,” said Khan. “Limiting those few extra cocktails per week can certainly help lose those last few pounds.”
8. Aim for variety
“Changing your food each week will help you stay motivated,” she said. “Eating the same foods over and over again causes boredom, which may lead to quitting your weight loss efforts sooner than expected.”
9. Focus on healthy fats
“Fat is an important energy source for the body and serves as the delivery system for vitamins A, D, E and K, so don’t avoid them thinking you’ll lose more weight,” she said. “Instead, choose more plant-based fats, such as nuts and olive oil.”
10. Practice mindful eating
“Take at least 20 minutes to eat meals,” said Khan. “Also, avoid eating in front of the television, computer or while chatting on the phone. By focusing on your meals, you’ll drastically improve your satiety, which can help prevent overeating.”