1. Eat vegetables at breakfast.
If you consider veggies a dinner-only food group, you, like most of America, are likely not eating enough of them, says Felicia Stoler, an exercise physiologist and registered dietitian in Red Bank, New Jersey, who often dips cucumbers in Greek yogurt as a part of her breakfast. Try repurposing last night's vegetables in a morning omelet or jumping on board the avocado toast trend, she suggests. "That's another way of getting more vegetables in," she says.
In addition to providing important nutrients, vegetables are key to achieving your beach bod since their high fiber and water content can keep you feeling full even when you're eating fewer calories, Stoler says. Forberg recommends eating 4 cups of fruit and (mostly) vegetables every day – a goal that can be especially achievable and enjoyable if you try growing some of your own. "Start out planting your favorite things, like cherry tomatoes," says Forberg, a spokeswoman for Seeds of Change, an organic seed company. "It’s something you can feel really good about; it's super fresh; it’s kind of like the invisible snack – it doesn’t really count."
2. Embrace bad breath.
Would you rather carry around some breath mints or carry around some extra weight? If you prefer the mints, use them to chase meals with garlic and onion – two of Goglia's picks for best spring weight-loss foods since they both contain minerals and oils that help break down fat deposits and speed up metabolism, he says. (Eat the onions raw, he adds, to maximize these benefits.) Fish high in omega fatty acids like salmon, black cod, arctic char and sea bass are also worth their stink – especially if you eat them for dinner, Goglia says. "The result is a deeper sleep, increased growth hormone release and reduction of inflammation," he says.
3. Carry around a bottle of water.
Advice to drink plenty of water – Goglia recommends chugging up to 1 ounce per pound of body weight daily – isn't new, but it bears repeating since people aiming to lose weight often don't heed it, Forberg says. "They don't realize how incredibly helpful that could be to help them lose weight," she says. Why? Because drinking water before and during meals can help fill you up – or help you realize that you're actually thirsty rather than hungry. What's more, as you amp up your fiber intake via fruit and vegetables, you'll need more water to help flush it all through. "It helps to cleanse you from the inside out," Stoler says. Water, too, is an ideal substitute for calorie-laden, blood sugar–affecting drinks including booze, many juices and soda. Though research on the topic is mixed, Goglia recommends also avoiding diet soda: "In many cases," he says, "the use of diet soda stimulates unwanted sugar cravings."
4. Ditch "diet" foods and drinks.
While you could lose weight quickly by buying into some juice cleanse or other quick fix, you could also lose weight by eating (plenty of) real food – and avoid gaining it all back the moment you put your cover-up on, experts say. "By restricting and drastically reducing your calories, you're actually hurting your chances in the long run of losing and keeping the weight off," Goglia says. He recommends shopping for single-ingredient foods, including lean meats like fish, flank steak and poultry; starches like potatoes, lentils and oatmeal; dark green vegetables like asparagus, spinach and kale; whole eggs; and fresh – not dried – fruits. "There are no better diet foods than these," he says.
5. Write it down.
If you think you're eating healthier but not seeing results, keep an honest food journal to keep you accountable and prevent you from mindless eating, Forberg suggests. Indeed, one study of 1,700 people showed that people who kept food diaries lost twice as much weight as people who didn't. Forberg recommends writing down activities like meal prep and exercise in a calendar, too. Try, for example, setting aside some time on Sundays to chop vegetables to snack on all week, says Forberg, a self-proclaimed "grazer" who keeps out bowls of vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli to promote responsible munching. "If you really want to prioritize health and weight … you really need to write it down in your calendar – just like a conference call," she says. "Treat it with that kind of priority."
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