5 Ways to Lose the Last 5 Pounds
Stick-with-It TricksTreat Yourself Daily, but Not with Food
"Obsessing over a diet can make you less likely to stick with it. Instead of focusing on restrictions, do one thing every day that makes you feel good about your body, like a hike or a yoga class," says Alice Domar, PhD, the executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health. "Learning to love your body makes you want to put good things in it."
Our tester: Zlata Gladunov, 31, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
"I've been on so many diets -- Weight Watchers, Medifast, raw foods, you name it. But as soon as I relax my restrictions, I regain the weight."
"At first, the assignment didn't click. It was hard to find feel-good things to do that didn't cost a lot of money. The first week, I took a yoga class and got a manicure, a pedicure, and a massage -- I was broke! And I didn't leave the massage thinking 'I should skip dessert tonight.'
"Two weeks in, a lightbulb went off. I went to dinner with my husband and decided to put on heels instead of flip-flops. I looked hot! Normally I would have ordered something fattening, but I didn't want to ruin how good I felt. The satisfaction from ordering a healthy dish boosted my confidence and my resolve to eat right. Instead of spending the night obsessing over calories, I focused on conversation.
"After that I started cooking more (something that always makes me feel good) and eating out less. It's satisfying to sit down to a wholesome meal I made. It worked: I lost four and a half pounds. I'll continue to put better things in my body and relish my experiences, not just the food that comes with them."Focus on the Fiber
"Fiber helps you feel full; it takes up room in the stomach and moves slowly through the GI tract," says Samantha Heller, RD, the author of Get Smart. "Plus, getting at least 25 grams a day means you fill up on produce, whole grains, and beans."
Our tester: Marylee Carroll, 34, Chatham, New Jersey
"I'm always on the go with my toddler, so I mainly eat processed and packaged foods and takeout. I rarely have a vegetable."
"Once I figured out how to hit 25 grams of fiber a day, I stuck with those foods. Breakfast was eggs and fruit. I replaced my whatever's-on-hand lunch with a salad with mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, and beans. Instead of snacking on pretzels, I had an apple with peanut butter. Dinner always included a side of broccoli or corn. I easily reached and occasionally surpassed 25 grams a day. Although I had to grocery shop more than usual, the extra work was worth it.
"In the past I sometimes had to stop myself from overdoing it on ice cream or french fries. Not anymore. Because the fiber filled me up, I never caved and ate junk. I was happier, more energetic, and less stressed -- proof that putting good things in your body makes you feel good. Plus, I lost seven pounds! I'll keep it up, but I'll experiment with recipes and ingredients."BONUS TIP!
Put Down the Fork Between Bites
"Studies show that people subconsciously mirror each other's eating habits," says Irene Rubaum-Keller, a licensed psychotherapist and the author of Foodaholic. "Because most of us tend to shovel in food, we end up eating as fast and as much as the other person without even realizing it. To become more relaxed and conscious -- and to prevent yourself from overeating -- put down your fork between every bite."
Our tester: Diana Trinks, 34, Manhattan Beach, California
"I work in sales, so I'm constantly taking clients out to eat. Some days I have lunch and dinner at a restaurant."
"I've always had an eat-and-run mentality, so this was a challenge. I don't think I ever put down my fork during a meal, and the first time felt unnatural. I didn't know whether to place my hand on the table or on my lap. I often ended up reaching for my water glass, so at least I stayed hydrated. After a few bites, I would get distracted and fall back into old habits. It was especially hard when I was really hungry -- I had to resist the urge to inhale my food.
"But once I got the hang of it, this experiment allowed me to taste food instead of just shovel it in. For one meal, I ordered a sushi roll I had eaten a million times. But this time I savored it, noticing the textures and the contrast of the soy sauce, fish, and rice. Delicious!
"I didn't lose any weight, but I noticed another benefit: Not being uncomfortably stuffed after meals. I often stopped eating with food still on my plate rather than realizing I was full after I had licked it clean. This is something I'm going to keep up."
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2013.
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