A love/hate relationship with weight loss emerged in 2018. The most recent Centers for Disease Control survey found that almost 50 percent of Americans tried to lose weight in the past year—a time when anti-diet sentiment was just as strong. As you can see from popular search terms, we’re clearly not ready to ditch dieting just yet, and that’s okay. Though the word “diet” puts some people off, reaching a healthier weight to feel better, manage your health with fewer medications, or to experience more energy, better sleep, and more confidence are worthwhile goals to pursue. Clearly, I discourage restrictive eating, but if you want to follow a plan that’s more inclusive than exclusive, includes generous servings of veggies, and helps you develop a framework for establishing sustainable, healthier eating habits that also encourages weight loss, I’m not going to knock it.
If you follow these two guidelines, you’ll automatically be doing a third thing that is linked to reduced calorie intake: eating more low-calorie–dense foods. High-calorie–dense foods (like full-fat cheese and red meat) pack more calories ounce for ounce than low-calorie–dense ones (like vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole-grain cereal). According to a study published in the journal Appetite, eating a low-calorie–dense diet (by decreasing fat, eating more produce, or adding water to recipes) helped people consume 230 to 396 fewer calories a day. “With these strategies, you’ll also be eating foods that are higher in fiber, so you’ll stay satisfied,” says Donald D. Hensrud, M.D., the chair of preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. If you’re still not dropping weight, consider using an app, such as Lose It!, to track your calories. That way, you’ll be able to see what you’re consuming and where the calories are coming from.
Your body does not store protein the way that it stores carbohydrates and fats. This means that your diet is the critical source for this essential nutrient. More is not better, so there is no need to go above the recommendations. In fact, research has shown that very high protein diets can lead to increased calcium loss and weakened bones. Be sure to add a protein source to each meal to curb your hunger and keep you healthy.
When trying to slim and trim, you may be tempted to take drastic measures like cutting out your carbs. But before you go and add dinner rolls and chips to your "no" list, remember that yummy foods like brown rice, pumpernickel bread, and even potato chips contain Resistant Starch, a metabolism-boosting carb that keeps you full for longer. And that's great for maintaining a fit you because you won't have to eat as much to feel satiated. So go on, rip open that (single-serve) bag of Lay's!
Some athletes swear by the ketogenic diet, not just for weight loss but for improved performance in their sport, as well. But Edward Weiss, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, doesn’t buy it. “I hear cyclists say all the time that they’re faster and better now that they’re on keto, and my first question is, 'Well, how much weight did you lose?'” he says.
This principle involves eating low-energy-dense foods and can help you lose weight by feeling full on fewer calories. Healthy choices in each of the other food groups in moderate amounts make up the rest of the pyramid — including whole-grain carbohydrates, lean sources of protein such as legumes, fish and low-fat dairy, and heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
Besides the well-known medical problems individuals can develop as a result of weight gain (high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and heart disease), extra weight puts additional stress on joints and bones. For example, the corticosteroid prednisone causes weight gain to some degree in nearly all patients who take the medication and can lead to redistribution of body fat to places like the face, back of the neck, and abdomen.
To become what she is today — one of the most sought-after models in the industry — took some family pedigree (her mom, Yolanda Hadid, is a former model who also starred in The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Lifetime’s Making a Model With Yolanda Hadid) as well as a lot of hard work. British Vogue called Gigi part of “the new age of models” because of her “strong work ethic, good manners, and the ability to speak out.”
In the past, eggs were vilified because they contain cholesterol, says Alix Turoff, RDN, a New York City–based dietitian in private practice and a National Academy of Sports Medicine–certified personal trainer. Many health professionals thought that eggs would raise a person’s cholesterol levels, but that’s not the case for the majority of people, says Turoff. Instead, they’re a great source of protein (which likely gives Hadid energy for long photo shoots), plus they contain essential vitamins and nutrients, like B vitamins, folate, and choline.
Science repeatedly backs up this claim. A recent study published by Plos One followed members of a hunter-gatherer tribe in Northern Tanzania. Researchers obtained physical activity, metabolic and nutrition data and compared it with the average Jack and Jill who indulge in the common Western diet. What they found was that the tribe members are comparable in every way except for their nutrition habits. Rather than the fat and calorie-laden diets we typically enjoy, they eat only whole, natural foods. The study’s findings are simple and common. Basically, you can keep running 5Ks or Sweatin' to the Oldies, but chances are high that results will be disappointing unless you change what and how much you’re eating. To get healthy and stay that way, the trend has to continue -- not just for a week or a month, but for the long-term.
Granted, probiotics have been on the scene for several years, but the next wave of digestive health products have arrived, and the idea of being good to your gut is likely to last into next year (and well beyond). And science backs up this wellness strategy. There are trillions of bacteria in your gut, and they’re largely responsible for keeping your immune system in fighting shape. Though we’re still in the early phases of research, it’s widely believed that a disruption to this delicate ecosystem, known as the microbiome, can lead to problems outside the digestive tract, such as body-wide inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and metabolic conditions, including weight gain and diabetes.
But beyond that, experts aren't convinced that the keto diet has any other scientifically-proven health benefits. In fact, it may have some distinct downsides. If you follow the keto diet incorrectly, for example (like by eating lots of saturated fats, versus healthy unsaturated fats), you're at risk of raising your cholesterol levels. “The best strategy to keep your heart healthy is to get as much fat as possible from unsaturated sources such as olive, avocado and canola oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives," says Ansel.
When you have a 5- or 10K (you get to eat more with a half or full marathon) on your calendar, it's important to plan out what you're going to eat the morning of the big day—something that will keep you fueled and also go down easy. While everyone is different, "We always have good luck with a high-carbohydrate breakfast such as a small bowl of oatmeal with fruit or a couple of pieces of toast with peanut butter or cream cheese," says Andrew Kastor, who also advises eating around 200 to 250 (primarily carb) calories about 90 minutes before you warm up for your run . And don't worry about nixing your a.m. caffeine fix on race day. "Coffee is great for athletic performances," Kastor adds, because it makes you sharper and may even give you extended energy. Talk about buzz-worthy!
A simple pen and paper can dramatically boost your weight loss. Studies show the act of writing down what you eat and drink tends to make you more aware of what, when, and how much you're consuming -- leading you to ultimately take in fewer calories. One study found that people who kept a food diary six days a week lost about twice as much as those who only kept a diary one day a week or less.