To successfully lose weight and keep it off, eating well and exercising are key—the “secret,” of course, is to eat less and move more (find out how many calories you should be eating to lose weight here). But even the most committed dieters can benefit from a few tricks to boost their weight-loss efforts. Here are 10 easy, everyday diet tips to add to your weight-loss arsenal.
1. Slow down
When eating, it takes 20 minutes for your body to register fullness. And according to a University of Rhode Island study, you can save 70 calories by eating slowly over about half an hour versus eating in under 10 minutes. If you ate more slowly at every meal, that would translate into losing about two pounds a month. An easy way to slow down your eating is to put your fork down between bites—or consider using chopsticks.
2. Ditch the top slice of bread
Opting to eat your sandwich open-face instantly erases 100 calories.
3. Use a smaller plate
As serving sizes have increased, so have plate sizes—and seeing appropriately sized portions swimming on a giant plate can make you feel like you're not getting much food. Put your main meal on a 7-inch plate, which is about the size of a salad plate or child-size plate. Choose a 1-cup dessert or cereal bowl instead of a soup bowl, a 6-ounce wineglass rather than a goblet. When you’re eating out, ask for an extra salad plate and transfer the proper-size portions of your food onto it when you’re served your entree. Then ask the waiter to take away and wrap up the rest.
4. Eat breakfast
Research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner and that dieters are more successful at losing weight—and keeping it off—when they eat breakfast. Pack your breakfast with protein and fiber—both will help keep you satisfied all morning. Think: whole-wheat toast with peanut butter or an omelet stuffed with vegetables. (Find quick, low-cal breakfast recipes to keep you slim here.)
5. Eat water-filled foods
Foods with high water content—such as soups, salads, cucumbers and watermelon—help you feel satisfied on fewer calories. (Interestingly, drinking water alongside foods doesn’t have the same effect.) And research has shown that starting your meal with a broth-based soup or salad (not drenched with dressing) may help you eat less of your main course.
6. Snack on pistachios
Studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be leaner than those who don’t, and a recent Harvard study revealed that nuts are a top food for driving weight loss. In particular, unshelled pistachios are a great choice, as removing the shells slows you down and seeing evidence of what you’ve eaten may prevent you from reaching for more. In a recent study out of Eastern Illinois University, people who were given unshelled pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories than those offered nuts with the shells already removed. With all nuts, be mindful of your portion size, as they’re calorie-dense: a 1-ounce serving of pistachios (49 nuts) contains 157 calories.
Related: Healthy Snacks That Help You Burn Fat
7. Increase your fiber intake
Upping your daily fiber intake can help you prevent weight gain—and possibly even encourage weight loss—according to research out of Brigham Young University in Utah. Over the course of the two-year study, the researchers found that people who increased their fiber intake generally lost weight and those who decreased the fiber in their diets gained. Adding fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, helps you feel satisfied on fewer calories; plus, filling up on high-fiber foods usually means crowding out less-healthy, higher-calorie choices.
Try eating more of these 7 Fiber-Rich Foods That Do the Weight-Loss Work for You.
8. Divide your plate the right way for healthy, balanced meals
Trim calories without feeling deprived by dividing your plate like this: Fill half the plate with low-calorie—yet satisfying, fiber-rich—vegetables. Divide the other half of the plate into two equal portions (quarters). Fill one of these quarters with a lean protein, such as chicken, fish, lean beef or tofu. (Research suggests that, gram for gram, protein may keep you feeling fuller longer than carbohydrates or fat.) Fill the other quarter with a filling, fiber-rich whole grain, such as brown rice or quinoa.
9. Lunch on portion-controlled foods
In a Cornell study, having a 200-calorie packaged lunch (e.g., nutrition bar) helped people shave 250 calories from their daily calorie tally—and they still felt satisfied.
10. Plan for the occasional treat
Studies suggest that feeling deprived—even if you are consuming plenty of calories—can trigger overeating. And making any food off-limits just increases its allure. So savor a small treat: it won’t break your diet! Two squares of dark chocolate or ½ cup of (nonpremium) ice cream clock in at under 150 calories.
Don’t Miss: 9 “Bad” Foods You Should Be Eating, Even If You’re Trying to Lose Weight
What tricks do you use to make slimming down easier? Tell us what you think below.