Losing weight, unfortunately, isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. What helps one person shed pounds may backfire on another. Because we’re all so different, from our food preferences to our body chemistry, the only successful way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is to find what works for you. We’ve read the studies, the books, the reports, and the theories. We’ve been talking to experts and trying to keep ourselves trim for years. There probably are a million ways to gain 10 pounds, but here are 50 ways to lose them.
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1. Water yourself. A recent study proved that dieters who guzzled plenty of H2O lost more weight than those who didn’t.
2. Halve at it. Divide your normal portion by two and save the rest for later. You are likely to feel full on less food than you think.
3. Go meatless. In general, vegetarians have lower body weights than their meat-eating peers. Follow their lead…at least until you drop a few pounds. (Need some meat-less recipe ideas? Try these Vegetarian Dishes That Blast Belly Fat.)
4. Go vegan. Vegetarianism not helping you lose? Take it to the next level by swearing off eggs and dairy too. Cheese can be a diet killer.
5. Get fresh. Eliminate all packaged foods and eat only fresh ingredients you’ve prepared. No bags, boxes, cans, or cartons allowed.
6. Diet 2 days a week. If you can’t stick to a program all the time, try slashing your calories to 650 a day just 2 days a week and eating normally the other days. A recent study suggests this offers protection from breast cancer as well as assistance with weight loss.
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7. Not so sweet. Everyone knows sugar isn’t healthy, but when you start reading labels, you find it in unexpected places, like pasta sauce and frozen entrees. Cutting the sugar out of your diet will mean healthier meals overall.
8. Cut the flour. The short-term elimination of floury foods like white bread and pastries can efficiently kick-start your weight loss plan.
9. Be virgin. Alcoholic beverages are some of the emptiest calories out there. Replace them with water, and the weight comes off.
10. Walk 2 minutes out of every 30. Short walking breaks add up to weight loss.
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11. Fidget more. Studies show that fidgety types burn significantly more calories than their stationary peers.
12. Sleep it off. Recent studies have shown that those who don’t get enough shut-eye eat more and reach for more fattening grub than people who get plenty of rest. (Maximize the health power of your sleep. Check out these 9 Sleep Myths to Ignore.)
13. Get it on. Thirty minutes of sex burns at least 60 calories for a 150-pound woman.
14. Eat at home. Meals eaten away from home have 134 more calories, on average. (It doesn't take hours to whip up a healthy meal. Try these Slimming Meals that are Ready in 5 Minutes.)
15. Start a blog. The weight loss blog is practically a literary genre. Start one, and you aren’t just losing for yourself. Your public needs you.
16. Tweet your weight. Some call it the #humiliation diet, but many credit the accountability for their weight loss success. Use the hashtag #tweetyourweight.
17. Find a buddy. You know you are more likely to show up at the gym if someone is waiting there for you.
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18. Lose to win. Bring a taste of The Biggest Loser to your own gym, work, family, or circle of friends for extra motivation.
19. Veg out. Fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, which are less calorie dense and more nutritious than any other type of food.
20. Go nuts! A recent study found that dieters who snacked on shelled pistachios shed more pounds than those who ate other snacks, even though they contained the same amount of calories.
21. Grapefruit diet. A recent study showed that eating one grapefruit daily helped 58 percent of subjects to lose weight. (For more creative ways to get more of the fruit, check out these Quick Ways to Add Grapefruit.)
22. Pay cash. Shoppers who pay with plastic are more vulnerable to impulse buys, which tend to be the fattening snacks you know you shouldn’t have anyway.
23. Don’t be smelly. Scented cosmetics make us crave the foods they remind us of, which ultimately makes us eat more, according to recent reports.
24. Remind yourself to eat better. One study found that people chose better-for-them foods when they were prompted to “consider the healthiness” before digging in.
25. Learn to knit. Doing something—anything—with your hands can distract you from your cravings. (Search: How to curb cravings)
26. Train for a race. Many people find that having an athletic goal motivates them to exercise regularly in a way that nothing else can.
27. Join a sports league. Fitness can be fun, and if it is, you’re more likely to stick with it. Pickup softball, anyone?
28. Quit sugary drinks. Some supersize sodas have 500-plus calories, and juice isn’t much better. Drink water instead. (See item No. 1.) Try These Flavored Waters!
29. Swear off dessert. Cut a slew of calories by ordering a skim cappuccino instead so you have something to do while your dining companions devour a cheesecake.
30. Join a program. US News recently rated Weight Watchers the best choice for weight loss.
31. Work standing up. Standing burns at least 30-percent more calories than sitting on your backside all day. (Find out more Simple Ways To Squeeze In Exercise.)
32. Get a treadmill desk. Studies suggest you can burn an additional 800 calories during your workday—if you continually walk at a very slow pace.
33. Swap your supper for soup. Soup’s high water content makes it a low-calorie and filling option. Just steer clear of the creamy kinds.
34. Stop dieting. Yo-yo dieters don’t tend to get thinner—they get fatter. Instead, make a serious lifestyle change.
35. Quit snacking. The real reason the French don’t get fat is because it’s a cultural faux pas to eat between meals.
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36. Go gluten free. It isn’t a miracle diet, but it can be a useful short-term experiment that often leads to weight loss and ultimately a less bread-heavy diet.
37. Spice it up! Cayenne pepper really can rev your metabolism, according to recent research. (Video: 3 Drinks that Boost Metabolism)
38. Abandon your car. Walk or bike to work for a slimming—not fattening—commute.
39. Eat breakfast. Those who enjoy a morning meal have been shown over and over to be slimmer than breakfast skippers.
40. Drink more milk. Low-fat dairy consumption seems to speed weight loss—scientists credit the calcium.
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41. Eat more yogurt. A recent report revealed the foods most identified with maintaining a healthy weight, and yogurt ranked among the best. (How Healthy is Your Yogurt?)
42. Drop the potato chips. At the top of the list for foods that make you add pounds? Potato chips.
43. Take a two-wheeled tour. A long weekend bike ride around your hometown will help you see the sights in a new light, all while you torch a ton of calories.
44. Make it interesting. Go to Stickk.com to sign a contract with yourself to lose weight. If you don’t shed the pounds, your money will be donated to a charity…that you hate.
45. Weigh in daily. For some, the scale is a bummer and a distraction. Others like the daily feedback and accountability. Try it, and see if you lose weight. (The scale isn't the enemy! Here, 6 Ways to Befriend Your Scale.)
46. Meditate. It’s no secret that stress-eating can sabotage the best diet intentions. A short daily meditation can help you keep binge-inducing anxieties in check.
47. Chill out. Drinking eight or more glasses of ice water a day may help your body burn fat, according to research.
48. Express yourself. A creative outlet is likely to boost your self-esteem and take your mind off food. You can’t eat and decoupage at the same time.
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49. Brush and floss. Who wants to ruin their minty-fresh breath with a snack?
50. Fantasy binge. Before you dig in, visualize yourself eating a treat. Science suggests that those who do this mental exercise will eat less of what they first imagined.