At any given time, there are dozens of weight-loss hypes in the marketplace that claim to take off 10 pounds in 10 days, or whatever. Desperation can tempt us to try anything — from "clean eating" to cutting out food groups entirely. Keep in mind: Just because an avocado-kale-salad dripping in coconut oil is deemed "clean" by a so-called "expert" on your Instagram feed does not make it an unlimited food. Moral of the story? Avoid fads, eat real food, watch some Netflix, and unwind (perhaps with a glass of wine in hand). Now that's my kind of detox.
Your parents weren't kidding about how important veggies are for a healthy body. What they probably didn't tell you, however, was that snacking on veggies is also one of the easiest ways to shed unwanted belly fat, too. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, opting for non-starchy veggies, like cauliflower, broccoli, and cucumber, as snacks helped overweight kids shed 17 percent of their visceral fat while improving their insulin sensitivity over a five-year period. Think snacking on veggies will leave you hungry? The 20 Most Filling Fruits and Veggies will have your belly satisfied in no time.
Multitasking has a stellar reputation in the office, but when it comes to eating, it's just not smart. When you eat while doing other things—like driving or playing Words With Friends—you're less likely to notice how much you're eating or how full you're feeling, because your attention is divided. So work on being single-minded about your food; even if it feels strange at first, try doing nothing else while eating. The purpose is to increase your consciousness about what and how much you eat. (Try these simple tips to curb distracted eating for good.)
Eating can become just as disorganized and chaotic as any other activity that isn't thought out ahead of time. Planning establishes structure, which can help you stay within a calorie budget, reduce daily decision-making, and prevent overeating. Carve out some time today to think through a plan for the week. Start with a few basic foods to eat each day and add others to diversify your meals. Make a grocery list as you go. (Make it even easier! Cook quick meals at home that taste great and fight fat! Sign up for Chef'd and get all the ingredients and recipes delivered to your doorstep.)
And maybe a new mattress, because it’s not just the amount of time you spend sleeping that keeps you lean, it’s also the quality of your sleep. Fat cells in your body produce a hormone called leptin that helps the body keep track of how much potential energy (i.e. fat) it has stored. But leptin is only produced during certain stages of sleep. Miss out on those stages because you’re not resting soundly enough, and you’ll disturb levels of the hormone, leaving your body with no real idea of its energy reserves. Consequently, you’ll end up storing calories rather than burning them.