Take it easy. Studies show that crash diets don’t work, extremely low-calorie diets are unrealistic and most people who go on fad diets typically gain back all the weight. So, experts recommend limiting your weight loss to a pound or two a week-and making gradual, not drastic, changes.
Do the math. Find out exactly how many calories you need each day to maintain your current weight according to your sex, age, height and activity level at www.calorieneedscalculator.com. To lose one pound a week, you need to create a 500-calorie deﬁcit every day by eating less, exercising more or (even better!) some combination of the two.
Track it. You’ve heard it before, but keeping a food diary is a cornerstone of programs like Weight Watchers for a reason: According to a recent study, journaling doubles the amount of weight people lose. “The simple act of writing down what you eat seems to encourage you to consume fewer calories,” says researcher Dr. Jack Hollis.
Eat breakfast. According to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), 78 percent of people who successfully maintain a minimum 30-pound weight loss for at least a year eat breakfast every day.
Egg yourself on. Speaking of the most important meal of the day, researchers at Louisiana State University found that overweight women who ate a two-egg breakfast ﬁve or more days a week for 8 weeks lost 65 percent more weight, had 83 percent greater reductions in waist circumference and had more energy than women who had a bagel breakfast with comparable calories.
Don’t believe the hype. Four recent University of Chicago studies found that people underestimate the number of calories in fast foods touted as “healthy”- and consequently consume more than twice the number of calories in beverages, side dishes and desserts.
Skip the soda. A recent review of 88 studies suggests that drinking regular (aka non-diet) soft drinks encourages you to eat more and gain weight, as well as puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes. It’s not just about empty calories, researchers say: It’s possible that sugary beverages make you feel more hungry and less full, and cause you to crave sweets.