Thereâ€™s no way around it. To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume, and one of the most effective ways to do so is to reassess your nutritional habits.
To lose a single pound, youâ€™ll need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories, whether by hitting the weight room or trading sirloin for salad. What does 3,500 calories look like? Fifteen 4-ounce salmon fillets. Thirteen Snickers bars. Eleven 6-ounce servings of sirloin steak.
Sugar junky? Or maybe, youâ€™re a healthy eater with a too-big appetite. Either way, there are a number of practical ways (see our Diets And Cleanses page) to help you slim down. Dietitians generally agree on a few basic principles: More lean protein like chicken, fish and beans. More whole grains, fruits and vegetables (though some advocate a low-carb approach). Less fat, salt, sugar, and processed foods. And lots of portion control.
So set a weight loss goal and get started. If you aim to shape up in a big way, consider getting nutritional counseling from a professional to make the best changes to your diet. Who knows, you might have to amend pants sizes too.
Everything in Moderation
Every wonder how Zeus got so buff? The Mediterranean diet contains foods that are naturally healthy and low in calories, save for the olive oil and almonds (which should be eaten in limited portions). It also emphasizes whole foods without imposing drastic restrictions and strict rules.
Load up on fruits and vegetables, small amounts of heart-healthy fish and lots of herbs and spices, creating a gastronomically pleasing menu of waistline-friendly meals. Did we mention the permissible glass of red wine?
The proof is definitely not in the pudding—all that sugar would be very un-Mediterranean. But you can see the results of this famed diet by taking a look at celebs Brooke Burke, Portia de Rossi and Penelope Cruz.
Roughage—it may not be pretty, but a fiber-rich diet can help you look your best. Known for fulfilling your appetite without filling out your waistline, fiber is an important part of any weight-loss plan, helping you eat smaller portions, resist snacking and, ultimately, consume less calories in a day. Foods that are high in fiber, like oats, black beans and broccoli, also tend to be naturally lower in calories.
One easy way to add fiber to your diet is to start the day with fiber-filled cereal. Just one bowl can tide you over until lunch (so long, mid-morning snack). Women should consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day, while men need 38 grams.
If youâ€™re not particularly fond of portion control and restrictive dieting, then the F-Factor diet might be for you. A celebrity favorite, the F-Factor is concerned with what you put in your body, rather than how much.
Since lots of foods you probably already eat are loaded with fiber, followers of this relatively lax plan have plenty of leeway to create delicious and varied meals-just ask F-Factor dieter and 30-Minute Meals's Rachael Ray. Though it takes more than 30 minutes to slim down, F-Factor fans claim to lose 10 to 15 pounds in the first month, without feeling hungry or deprived. Still hungry for that second portion?
High Protein, Hold the Carbs
Yes, you can have your steak and eat it too. While doctors have cautioned that high-protein, low-carb diets do not provide balanced nutrition, millions of Americans have rejected pasta and baguettes for grilled chicken breasts and bun-less burgers.
Strict and restricting, the Atkins diet is founded on the notion that sugar and carbohydrates cause increased amounts of insulin (insulin, which is stored as fat) to be produced in the body. By monitoring the intake of both, you can finally deflate the spare tire youâ€™ve been carrying around your waist.
A protein-rich plan, Atkins followers burn fat in the absence of carbs. Thinking of embarking on this breadless-journey? Know that you should be extremely disciplined; even a slight slip, like accidentally gobbling down a bagel or five, can throw you off track.
Burn baby, burn. At least, thatâ€™s the main objective on a ketogenic diet. Ketogenic dieters burn fat—and lots of it. They do so by restricting the number of carbohydrates consumed (with the exception of oats) so that the body is forced to enter a state of ketosis, where it only burns fat.
Hungry for more? Not on this diet you wonâ€™t be. Ketosis dulls the appetite, making it easier to stick to the plan and avoid overeating. If youâ€™re in the habit of asking for seconds, thirds and maybe even fourths, ketogenic dieting may be a good start for you.
Lose seven to 10 pounds per week. Sounds like a dream, but thatâ€™s what the Dukan Diet claims to do.
Shot to fame by Carole Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridgeâ€™s mom, the Dukan Diet is a four stage nutritional plan that cuts back on carbohydrates and fats to induce weight loss. Expect to notice the biggest change during phase one and two of the diet, when so-called Dukannistes are urged to limit their calorie intake to 1,200 calories a day or less. And to avoid elevators and escalators like a plate of syrupy pancakes.