Many skinny people have a habit that helps them burn calories without even thinking about it.
1. A little here, a little there
The most basic way to lose weight is to slash calories. That’s Diet 101. But how many do you really have to cut or burn to see results? It’s simple: You can drop a pound a week by trimming 500 calories each day. (Calories burned are based on a 150-pound woman.)
2. Tap your foot
Your skinnier friends are probably fidgeters, who burn up to 350 calories a day just by tapping their feet or being restless.
Try it for a few days. Walk around while you’re on the phone, or tap out a tune with your hands or feet (in the privacy of your own office, of course).
3. Step away from the nuts
Especially if they’re in a big bowl. The bigger the serving bowl, the more you’ll eat, Cornell University researchers say.
Nuts have heart-healthy fats, but they’re also high in calories: 1 handful (about 1 ounce) of oil-roasted mixed nuts has 175 calories; 3 handfuls have 525. Cut out nuts altogether and save more than 500 calories.
Can’t resist ’em? Eat pistachios: 2 handfuls are just 159 calories, and the shelling will slow down your munching.
4. Don’t eat in front of the TV
You’ll eat up to 288 calories more, according to research from the University of Massachusetts.
Instead, eat at the table, and trade 1 hour of TV for a casual walk. Together, that’s 527 calories burned.
5. Limit salad toppings
A big salad might seem healthy, but all those goodies on top can make it more calorie-laden than lasagna or fettuccine Alfredo. Cheese crumbles, caramelized nuts, bacon, avocado, dried fruit, croutons, and vinaigrettes can add lots of calories.
Save 500 or more calories by having just one topping, adding flavorful but lower-cal veggies (roasted bell peppers, grilled onions, or mushrooms), and using half the dressing.
6. Use smaller plates
Swap your 12-inch plate for a 10-inch one. You’ll eat 20 to 25% less—and save up to 500 calories. You won’t feel any less full, either, researchers say.
7. Skip the whip
Or at least size it down. Dessert-like coffee creations can contain as many as 670 calories, with large sizes and options like whipped cream, whole milk, and syrups.
Craving whipped cream? Try it on a shot of espresso for a total of just 30 calories. You save 640 calories!
8. Count your chips (and crackers)
No, you can’t eat your snacks from a large bag or box because it’s waaaay too tempting to eat until the bag is empty. (Remember Oprah’s blue corn–tortilla chip confession?)
A chip-bender to the bottom of a 9-ounce bag is 1,260 calories sans the dip. So stick to 1 serving, about 15 chips—that’s 140 calories—or pick up some 100-calorie snack packs and save 1,120 calories.
9. Serve and sit
Family-style meals, with platters and bowls of food on the table, invite people to go back for seconds and thirds.
Cut hundreds of calories by filling plates before bringing them to the table; leave serving dishes in the kitchen, too.
10. Skinny up cocktails
Syrups, sour mix, sugary fruit juices, and creamy additions turn drinks into desserts: an indulgent Mudslide can have more than 800 calories.
Order drinks mixed with club soda, tonic water, cranberry juice, or a squeeze of citrus; or try distilled liquors on the rocks. You’ll save up to 800 calories.
11. Don’t clean your plate
Leave 25% of your food on the plate at every meal, says weight-loss expert James O. Hill, PhD, author of The Step Diet. Save what’s remaining as leftovers for a yummy lunch the next day.
If you normally eat 2,000 calories or more each day, you’ll cut 500 calories.
12. Get enough sleep
A lack of shut-eye can make you snack, new research from the University of Chicago shows. People who got only 5 1/2 hours of sleep noshed more during the day. Snooze more and save about 1,087 calories.
That delicious pumpkin latte can top 400 calories, while fruit juice often has empty sugars.
Now that it’s starting to feel like fall, I can’t wait to get my hands on a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. But a grande made with whole milk and topped with whipped cream has a whopping 410 calories—crazy, right?
Even if you go “skinny” (made with non-fat milk), your Pumpkin Spice Latte is still 260 calories. That’s not a ton of calories, but ordering one just a few times a week when I need an afternoon pick-me-up adds more than 1,000 calories into my week—and that’s just from coffee! When you factor in a morning glass of juice and a couple of happy hour cocktails, those weekly drink calories sure add up!
But no way am I cutting out my caffeine fix. Instead, I’ve implemented some rules so I don’t overload my diet with beverage calories. Here’s how I think before I drink.
I drink in the morning
I drink most of my caloric beverages, like iced coffee and juice, early in the day when I’m most active and more likely to burn off the calories throughout the rest of the day.
I stick to 100% fruit juice
Some juices are packed with sugar, so I make sure to read labels and select ones that are 100% fruit juice to cut out empty calories from extra sugar. Plus, 100% juices are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants.
I savor each sip
I just can’t say no to whipped cream on top of my Pumpkin Spice Latte so I make sure to enjoy ever single sip of this diet splurge. But I also take steps to whittle down its calorie count. I order mine made with soymilk, which retains the creaminess of the drink without all of the fat of whole milk. I also order my fancy latte all by itself; if I had it along with a meal or a snack I wouldn’t realize how many calories it has in it.
I pace myself
When it comes to a glass of wine or a beer, I try to drink a glass of water between rounds. This way I consume fewer calories without missing out on any of the fun. Plus, I stay hydrated at the same time.
I add some zing to plain water
I drink a lot of water throughout the day, but it can get really boring. To spice up my H2O, I experiment with adding fresh ingredients, such as cucumber and orange slices, or even fresh herbs, like basil and mint.
Turkey has more protein and iron than chicken, and kale trumps spinach on vitamin C.
As a health-savvy consumer, you try to toss nutrient-packed foods into your grocery cart. But when you’re deciding between similar-seeming nutritious items (say, turkey or chicken?), you may not know the superior choice. “Food is your fuel,” says Mitzi Dulan, R.D., co-author of The All-Pro Diet. “Selecting the most nutritious options will improve your diet and give you a competitive edge.” While you can’t go wrong eating both quinoa and brown rice, choosing the nutritional champ may give your workout the boost it needs. In a healthy-food smackdown, here are our winning picks.
Strawberries vs. Blueberries
Both are health all-stars, but a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that blueberries (particularly wild ones) showed the most antioxidant activity of all the fruits tested. “These antioxidants help keep your immune system strong,” says Dulan, “and reduce muscle-tissue damage from exercise.”
Healthy Choice: Mix blueberries into lean ground beef for burgers. The juicy fruit will help keep the meat moist.
Chicken Breast vs. Turkey Breast
Both breast meats are free of saturated fat, but turkey has three additional grams of protein per three-ounce serving, plus more iron (which helps deliver oxygen to muscles) and selenium. “This mineral functions as part of an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase,” says sports dietitian Suzanne Girard Eberle, R.D., author of Endurance Sports Nutrition. This enzyme works as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radicals that may contribute to cancer and heart disease.
Healthy Choice: Make your own lunch meat to avoid the excess sodium in much deli turkey. Bake turkey breasts, slice them thinly, and add to sandwiches.
Thinking that all calories are created equal could be holding you back from your health goals. To be fit, you must stop letting myths like these you remember.
1. Walking is not as effective as the race.
Of course, you burn about twice as many calories as running for 30 minutes walking 30 minutes. But if a runner and a walker to cover the same distance, they burn about the same number of calories. So if you’re willing to take the “slow road, you’ll probably lose much weight. In fact, studies have shown that the duration of your exercise is more important than the effort you exert.
2. Exercise increases hunger.
It is a common misconception: If you burn hundreds of calories during a workout, you’ll end up eating more. But research shows that exercise has no effect on food a person needs, with the exception of endurance athletes who exercise for two hours or more per day. In fact, research shows that exercise often stifles hunger during and after training.
3. It does not matter where your calories come from.
Calories are not created equal. Firstly, certain foods (especially proteins) take more energy to chew, digest, metabolize and store than others. Others (such as fats and carbohydrates) require fewer calories to digest and store. Second, different types of foods have different effects on your blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates (think white bread or cookies and fruit drinks) to increase levels of blood sugar dramatically, which promotes fat storage, weight gain, and hunger. fibrous foods such as apples, as well as proteins, raise blood sugar less, making it more friendly to your waistline. Finally, foods that contain lots of water, like vegetables and soup, tend to fill their bellies with fewer calories, so you’ll stop eating their way before you stop eating foods that are calorie dense.
4. Diet alone is sufficient for sustained weight loss.
You will lose weight in the short term by reducing considerably the calories, but experts say exercise is what keeps the books for good. Exercise burns calories, of course. It also builds muscle, which takes up less space than fat. Muscle tissue also requires more calories to support that fat tissue does. In other words, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn at rest. In fact, some studies suggest that in the long run, if you had the choice always eating less or exercising more than ever, the exercise would be best for weight loss.
5. There is no better time for exercise.
If you’re simply walking to regain their health or take off some weight, it does not matter when you do it as long as you do. But if you’re an athlete looking for a quality coaching, choose the afternoon when body temperature is highest. The muscles are warm reaction time is fast, and the force is at its peak. If you push harder, so you burn more calories.
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