Yes, it is possible to reduce weight quickly. There are numerous fad diets that promise to help you lose weight quickly while leaving you hungry and deprived. But what good does it do to lose weight only to gain it back? It’s important to lose weight gradually if you want to keep the pounds off in the long run. And, according to many experts, you can do it without going on a “diet.” The trick is to make small changes to your lifestyle.
3,500 calories are equal to one pound of fat. You can lose around a pound each week by slashing 500 calories per day through food and exercise changes. If you merely need to maintain your current weight, cutting 100 calories per day will suffice to avoid the 1-2 pounds that most adults gain each year.
Adopt one or more of these simple, painless strategies to help lose weight without going on a “diet”:
1. Eat Breakfast Every Day
Many people who have lost weight and kept it off have a habit of having breakfast every day. According to Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to the New Food Pyramids, many individuals believe skipping breakfast is a fantastic way to lose weight, but they usually end up eating more throughout the day. “Studies suggest that persons who eat breakfast have lower BMIs and perform better at school and in the boardroom than those who don’t.” For a quick and nutritious start to the day, try a bowl of whole-grain cereal with fruit and low-fat dairy.
2. Close the Kitchen at Night
Set a timer for when you’ll stop eating so you don’t succumb to late-night cravings or mindless munching while watching TV. “If you want something sweet after dinner, have a cup of tea, a piece of hard candy, or a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt,” recommends Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD’s “Recipe Doctor,” and author of Comfort Food Makeovers.
3. Choose Liquid Calories Wisely
Sweetened beverages are high in calories, yet they don’t satisfy hunger way solid foods do. Water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small servings of 100 percent fruit juice will quench your thirst. If you’re hungry in between meals, try a glass of healthful and low-calorie vegetable juice. Keep an eye on your alcohol calories, since they can easily pile up. Limiting alcohol to the weekends can save you a lot of calories if you consume a glass or two of wine or a cocktail every day.
4. Eat More Produce
Eating a lot of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables pushes out high-fat, high-calorie items. Place the vegetables on top of the meat and move it away from the center of your dish. Alternatively, Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan, proposes starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or a bowl of broth-based soup. Adults should consume 7-13 cups of produce each day, according to the United States government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines. Ward thinks it’s not difficult: “Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and veggies, and incorporate a couple servings at every meal and snack,” she says. “Your diet will be loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, and you won’t be reaching for the junk food if you fill up on super-nutritious vegetables.”
5. Go for the Grain
By replacing refined grains like white bread, cakes, pastries, and pretzels with whole grains, you’ll get more fiber and fill up faster, making it easier to eat a reasonable portion. Whole-wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, bran flakes, popcorn, and whole-rye crackers are some of the healthier options.