If you’re looking to slim down before the start of summer, you’re in good hands. My fat-blasting, five-step plan can help you lose five pounds fast.
Here’s the drill:
One time each day: Eat a high-protein breakfast.
Eating high protein meals, particularly in the morning hours, can make it easier to curb calories, which will accelerate your weight loss. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when people added protein-rich eggs and lean Canadian bacon at breakfast they experienced greater fullness throughout the day compared to when the extra protein was eaten at lunch or dinner. Another study found that dieters who dined on eggs at their morning meal lost more weight and reported more energy than those who had a carb-heavy bagel breakfast with the same calorie count.
Here are two low-cal, high-protein AM meals to start off your day with a satisfied stomach.
- Option 1: Scrambled eggs (1 whole + 3 whites) with sautéed spinach, chopped tomatoes, and ¼ cup shredded reduced-fat cheese
- Option 2: Six ounces plain nonfat Greek yogurt topped with ¾ cup mixed berries (or 1 chopped apple) and 1-2 TB chopped walnuts
Two times each day: Spice things up.
New research out of Purdue University suggests that adding spicy seasonings and condiments like cayenne pepper, fresh and bottled hot peppers, and hot sauce to meals suppresses your appetite and slightly revs your metabolism. When dieters who weren’t used to eating spicy foods enjoyed soup seasoned with a dose of cayenne pepper, they ate 60 fewer calories at their next meal and burned an extra 10 calories. It’s a tiny, tiny increase — but an increase nonetheless!
Try sprinkling chopped hot peppers into salads, or mixing hot sauce into low-fat mayo or hummus to make a spicy spread for sandwiches. Add some fire to omelets, low-fat chicken or tuna salad, stir fries, and marinades with minced jalapeno or chipotle peppers.
Three times each day: Sip on iced or hot green tea before or with meals.
Drinking fluids, including green tea, just before or with meals fills you up with liquid volume, which takes the edge off your hunger so you eat less food. One recent study by Swedish researchers found that green tea may be even more effective at satiating you than plain water, so I recommend sipping a mug or glass with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tea may also be a welcome change if you easily get bored with plain H2O and want some beverage variety.
Green tea can also slightly rev your metabolism, so it may even help you burn through a few extra calories each day. Just don't add sugar!
Four cups of vegetables must be eaten throughout the day.
If you want to cut calories and successfully lose weight without feeling ravenous, you definitely need to embrace non-starchy vegetables. I tell dieters to eat them in unlimited quantities, but four cups is a good daily minimum. Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, spinach and bell peppers are rich in fiber and water, which means they fill you up for an ultra-low calorie cost. That’s the winning formula for slimming foods.
From a psychological standpoint, I feel it’s very important for dieters to have some foods, like non-starchy vegetables, that they can eat in unlimited quantities at any time of day. This strategy cuts back on the feelings of deprivation and fear of being hungry that often cause diets to fail.
Five times each day: Do a set of 100 jumping jacks
You’ll burn about 100 calories doing 500 jumping jacks a day, and it only takes about 2 minutes to knock out each set of 100 jacks, so that’s 10 minutes TOTAL for the day. Anybody can find time for ten minutes of exercise, right?! Squeeze in a set—traditional high-impact JJs, or modified low-impact JJs—before your shower, while your computer is booting up, while dinner is cooking, or during a TV commercial break. You’ll get your heart pumping and burn an extra 700 cals a week!