Feel good and stay healthy by following these easy tips—you won't have to lift a finger.
We can't go on the Internet anymore without learning of a new diet tip that is designed to make us lose five pounds in five minutes and three dress sizes by the weekend. But losing weight isn't the only thing that comes with a healthy diet. We asked two nutritionists to weigh in on some of the best and easy lifestyle choices that you will make to feel good and look great.
"Enjoy the foods you love in moderation," encourages Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CND, of Real Nutrition NYC. "No single food makes you gain weight, the portions are what matters."
You've heard this before. Etiquette author Emily Post believed that a polite lady should put down her fork between every bite, a technique that also helps you realize when to stop eating before you feel bloated.
"Vegetables are filled with fiber and water so they fill you up without filling you out," says Shapiro.
"Whether it be coffee, salads, soups, frozen yogurt," says Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN of Middleberg Nutrition. "If you want to be small, order that way."
"If you can't limit pick-able foods (chips, nuts, grapes, candy, etc.), then make sure you stick to single serving portions, such as handheld fruit, individually-wrapped hummus, nut or nut butter packets," Middleberg explains.
"Both fill you up with low calories and leave less room for the main course," tells Shapiro.
Shapiro warns, "It's just empty calories. My clients follow the pick your "poison" rule: Bread, Drinks or Dessert. You can enjoy one but not all."
"When we eat out, portions are normally double what we need," explains Middleberg. "The beauty here is that you can eat what you like, just less of it."
"We get confused and believe that we are hungry when we really are just thirsty. Aim for eight glasses of water a day, add lemon for a flavor and vitamin boost!" adds Shapiro.
"Don't restrict yourself all day and then break down at night." Middleberg promises, "If you eat more substantially during the day, the nighttime grazing will taper."
"If you are hungry, reach for fiber rich snacks that fill you up on less calories like popcorn, fruit, trail mix," Shapiro says.
"Try a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit so that you don't show up ravenous and make poor decisions," Shapiro says.
"This way, you'll always be prepared when hunger hits. Temptation is strong when you are hungry and faced with poor choices—so stash snack bars, or fruit or trail mix in your bag." Shapiro's favorite snack bars are Gnu Food Bars, Kashi Granola bars and KIND fruit and nut bars.
Shapiro recommends that you "stick to water or seltzer to keep you hydrated and save the calories for a treat later on."
"Give your body a break from animal protein and mix things up," Middleberg suggests.
Looking for more weight-loss secrets? Learn more about the 7 Years Younger diet plan that melts fat and turns back time.
This way, you don't have to cut out carbs entirely. Shapiro breaks it down: "Whole grains keep you full longer, maintain your blood sugar levels and provide you with vitamins and minerals. White flour quickly converts to sugar in your body. If you don't burn it up, you will store it as fat."
"Breakfast gets your metabolism working and prevents you from eating most of your calories at night," maintains Shapiro.
Shapiro says, "Even if that means waking up an hour earlier to hit the gym, going for a walk after dinner, hopping off the bus or subway a few stops early or parking your car further than you normally would."
Going to the gym does not mean you can reward yourself with a gargantuan dessert later on. Eating well, not exercise, determines whether you will gain or lose weight.
"The problem with having a meal of hummus, crackers, yogurt, etc.," warns Middleberg, "is that these 'snack for meals' often end up being more calories than having a balanced dinner."
"Calories give us energy. We don't need energy to sleep," Shapiro explains.
Those can add up, especially when you end up finishing your friend's plate.
Pour your snack (chips nuts, trail mix) onto a plate or bowl so you can tell how much you're consuming before you finish the whole bag.
You just don't need them. Fullness will take some time to settle in, so even if you don't feel full, give yourself some time to digest.
"Artificial sweeteners increase cravings and lead to bloating and fatigue. Go for one teaspoon of sugar in the raw, or honey or maple syrup. One teaspoon is only sixteen calories," says Middleberg.