If social isolation is turning you from a hunk to a chunk, then you may be looking for some tips to help you drop a few pounds. But before you spent valuable cash on the next fad diet, take a moment to consider these weight loss strategies that are grounded in science
(Translation: They really work.)
Rebalance your caloric intake
Most people increase their calorie consumption as the day goes on but the evidence suggests that the adage, "Breakfast like a king and dine like a pauper" can influence energy balance and body weight. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrine & Metabolism found that people who eat a big breakfast may burn twice as many calories as those who eat a bigger dinner. Restricting calories at breakfast can increase appetite, especially for sweets, which could lead to junk food cravings and weight gain.
Burn calories with NEAT
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is a simple concept that can lead to weight loss. It refers to the energy expended during typical daily activities like walking, standing, stretching and even fidgeting. Over your day's waking hours, NEAT can help you burn several hundred more calories than you would by just sitting around. So opt for standing instead of sitting where possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and walk around the house several times a day. And don't forget to stretch when you get out of bed.
Cut down on fatty meat
Want a surefire way to lose weight quickly? Swap veggies for fatty meats. A 2013 study in the journal Appetite found that people who ate mushrooms in place of red meat lost an average of seven pounds and kept it off for the entire year they were being monitored. So fire up the grill and toss on some Portobellos.
Fool yourself with pistachios
Want to trick yourself into feeling full by enjoying pistachios as a snack? The trick is that by seeing the leftover shells, you get a visual reminder about portion size, possibly helping to curb your intake (and the calories you consume). The added benefit is that pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie nuts, containing roughly 160 calories per serving, according to the USDA.
Chew away munchies
Need that afternoon snack?
If properly managed, between-meal snacking can be helpful for managing weight. But when uncontrolled, snacking can lead to junk food cravings and excess calories. Luckily, there's a fun way to control those cravings. A 2015 study in Physiology & Behavior found that chewing gum 15 minutes per hour over a three-hour period boosted feelings of fullness and reduced high-carbohydrate snacking in the afternoon. So if you tend to overdo it on salty or sweet munchies, try chewing on a few sticks of gum instead.
Fill half your plate with healthy vegetables
One of the most effective ways to lose weight is one of the healthiest. Fill 50 percent of your plate with fruits and vegetables, as recommended by the USDA's MyPlate guidelines. Of course, you don't want those veggies swimming in grease or creamy sauces. The most natural and least processed they are, the better for you. A simple and effective meal plan is to aim for half a plate of vegetables, a quarter-plate of healthy protein, and a quarter-plate of whole grains. Then snack on fruit between meals.
Slow down your dining experience
Eating shouldn't be a sprint, racing to finish everything in sight. This can result in overindulging, especially if you over-served your portions to begin with. Want proof? A 2014 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a slower eating pace was associated with lower caloric consumption.
(Translation: Weight loss.)