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20 Little Ways to Drop the Pounds and Keep Them Off

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4-cheesburger

Order two appetizers

According to a study at the University of North Carolina, the average hamburger is 23 percent larger today than it was in 1977. Choose a pasta dish and salad or soup from the appetizer column, instead.

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vending-machine

Visit the vending machine

Nibbling on single servings is better than digging your way to the bottom of a megabag of chips.

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crisp-salad

Start with salad...

and eat less during the rest of the meal, says a study from Pennsylvania State University. When salads were topped with low-fat mozzarella and low-calorie Italian dressing instead of high-fat alternatives, women ate 10 percent fewer calories over the course of the day.

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dinner-walking-diet

Stick a fork in it

If you prefer your salad dressing on the side, dip your fork into it before stabbing your greens. That little maneuver could cut hundreds of calories.

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iced-coffee-no-whip

Watch coffee calories

The fancy concoctions that are now the javas of choice for many people can contain as many calories as an entire lunch.

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cell-phone-walking

Walk and talk

When your cell phone rings, slip on your walking shoes and stroll the halls at work or hoof it outside. If you did this for 10 minutes every workday at a moderate 3 mph pace, you’d burn about 1,000 calories a month and lose 3 pounds a year.

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girl-eating-bar-snacks

Crack a nut

Dieters in a Harvard University study who ate a handful of peanuts or mixed nuts daily were more likely to keep weight off than a group whose regimen didn’t include the high-fat snacks.

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standing-working

Don’t just sit there

The average person burns 100 calories per hour sitting and 140 per hour standing. Get on your feet 2 hours a day while you work, and you could drop an extra 6 pounds over the year.

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sleep-deprived

Sleep well, lose more

Insufficient shut-eye appears to increase production of the stress hormone cortisol, which regulates appetite. High levels seem to worsen bingeing and hunger; moreover, too little sleep could keep your body from burning carbohydrates, which translates to more stored body fat.

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fish-memory-salmon

Double your protein

The high-protein, low-carb approach may help keep you from losing muscle along with fat, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. According to study author Donald K. Layman, PhD, of the University of Illinois, the amino acid leucine—found in beef, dairy, poultry, fish, and eggs—may help preserve muscle tissue.

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write-accomplishments

Keep an exercise journal

Writing down your fitness achievements is a great way to track your progress, give yourself positive feedback, and maintain focus on your goals.

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plain-yogurt-fruit

Eat dairy daily

A piece of cheese or a cup of milk or yogurt can rev up your metabolism, a University of Tennessee study found. People who cut 500 calories a day from their diets while eating yogurt three times a day lost 13 pounds over 12 weeks, more weight and more body fat than a control group who only cut calories.

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waistline-shrinker-apples

Have an apple before dinner

How did 346 people in small-town Washington State lose an average of 17 pounds each in 3 months? With regular exercise, balanced eating, and an apple with every meal. The typical apple has 5 grams of fiber, which makes you feel fuller.

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butter-bread

Be wary of white foods

That's the color of most high-calorie carbs—bagels, potatoes, breads, rice, creamed corn, and the like.

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drink-water

Drink water

Your body often mistakes thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated means you'll probably also stay satiated.

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family-snow-sled

Act like a kid

Expand your definition of physical activity to include shaking your booty with your kids. It's a welcome break from the StairMaster and can burn just as many calories (about 120 every 20 minutes).

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peanut-chocolate-cover

Munch a handful of M&M's

Just under half a pack of plain candies adds only 100 calories to your daily tally and can satisfy a sweet tooth.

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whole-wheat-bread-label

Be picky about bread

Select loaves with whole grain listed as the first ingredient, and make sure each slice contains at least 2 grams of fiber.

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coffee-breakfast

Eat breakfast

A Harvard study found that people who did so every day cut their chances of becoming obese and developing diabetes by 35 to 50 percent, compared with those who ate breakfast only twice a week.

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brush-teeth-oral-health

Brush your teeth after every meal

It doesn't just fight cavities: Brushing serves as a physical and psychological cue to stop eating. When you're on the go, a few Altoids or a breath strip can have the same effect.

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