We don’t believe that fat can be melted like some magazine cover lines promise. Nor do we think that a single food, like grapefruit, is weight loss salvation. In fact, some of the best weight loss advice we’ve heard recently came from a savvy, super-healthy source—our readers.
We asked Well+Good readers on Facebook what healthy modifications they’d make to drop a couple of pounds. We thought the answers were incredibly inspired, but just to make sure, we sought out the expertise of Ariane Hundt. Hundt, in addition to running the popular Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp, also has her master’s degree in nutrition. Turns out several of our readers have nutritionist potential, and a few have been reading too many women’s magazines.
Shari M.: Drink lots and lots of water with lemon. Don’t eat after 6 p.m. Walk daily.
Ariane: Hydration is important in keeping hunger at bay and lemon has astringent properties. However, there is nothing wrong with eating even right before bed. What it comes down to is WHAT you eat, not at what time. If you eat starches late at night, chances are you’ll put them into fat storage, but drinking a protein shake or eating some Greek yogurt right before bed will keep your blood sugar from dropping throughout the night and helps you wake up more refreshed. It also feeds your muscle during the night.
Ana G.: Drink green tea instead of reaching for a snack—it curbs hunger!
Ariane: Green tea is a great antioxidant and because of its caffeine content, it can slightly increase your blood sugar, which helps balance your appetite. We often confuse thirst with hunger, so it is a great idea to stay well hydrated throughout the day.
Maria M.: Eat more protein in the morning, such as an egg scramble with tomatoes, peppers and onions (the whole egg, I can’t deal with just the whites). Drink lots of water. No mindless snacking after dinner!
Ariane: Love it Maria! (she took my Slim & Strong program earlier this year). You got it! Protein fills you up and balances your blood sugar. It also signals your body to burn fat and feeds your muscles, so eggs are the perfect breakfast food. Go for the whole egg because the yolk contains the nutrients and gives the egg flavor. Egg whites can get boring after a while.
Vikki B.: Start your day with 2 oz wheatgrass. It’s a power food and curbs hunger.
Ariane: Wheatgrass contains chlorophyll, which is an amazing food for healing inflammation in your body (joint issues, arthritis, digestive issues, allergies). It supposedly also helps rid your body of heavy metals. It helps your body make alkaline, which is key in maintaining healthy blood levels and ultimately your lipid levels. Additionally, it helps blood flow in the body by oxygenating your blood.
Jerusha K.: I reduce my wine intake (which tends to increase my WHINE intake).
Ariane: Great idea as alcohol stops all fat burning. Alcohol delivers empty calories and when combined with food it is digested before food. The end result is an imbalanced blood sugar level the next day and excess calories that were converted into body fat rather than being used as energy. Keep your alcohol intake to a minimum and consider a drink your cheat. Two cheats a week are your limit if you want to lose fat and stay healthy.
Beth H.: Move the workout to late afternoon. The ideal time for your body to burn energy. (Plus, several of the tips above.)
Ariane: The ideal time to burn fat is doing your cardio first thing in the morning when you haven’t eaten yet. Your body uses up the glycogen that is stored in your muscles and liver from your last meal (dinner). Once that’s used up (about 30-60 minutes—depending on the size of the last meal) your body starts burning stored fat for energy. However, if you have no energy in the morning for a hardcore session, then do it later when you do have the energy. Lifting heavy weights in the afternoon when you have the energy will give you better results than lifting baby weights in the morning because you couldn’t muster up the guns to lift them.
April S.: Drink mate—the real deal—not the stuff in a tea bag and fresh grapefruit juice in the morning.
Ariane: Mate tea is high in caffeine (equals about 1-2 cups of coffee) and has not been shown to promote fat loss. It is a stimulant just like coffee, so it will get you going in the morning. While juices are considered healthy, they are not foods that help you burn fat due to their high sugar content. Sugar stops fat burning, so eat the fruit rather than the juice and always pair your carbs with a protein to balance your blood sugar. Too much fruit can actually stop fat burning.
Felicia B.: Eat with integrity, passion, and grace. Chew slowly and taste the food. Look for your plate to be composed mostly of things that grow from the ground, or from trees…eat local..avoid dairy, animal protein and any processed or artificially sweetened. I recently lost the stubborn 4 pounds I’ve carried on my small frame for 3 years by simply following these steps. Stay hydrated from fresh water and green teas, and a little espresso.
Ariane: Great idea to chew well. digestion starts in the mouth where the starches get digested. Your body will thank you if you chew each bite at least 20 times. Your digestion will be better, you will feel less bloated or distended and you will feel calmer – all great ways to avoid hunger pangs from hogging down your food.
Mary D.: No bread on the rare occasion of eating a hamburger. No sugar in tea. No bacon. Walking whenever and wherever possible, including stairs.
Ariane: Good one! The less starches and sugar you eat, the happier your body will be and the faster you’ll burn fat. Starches and sugar are the main contributors to fat storage and degenerative diseases when eaten in large amounts over time. High cholesterol, high blood sugar, diabetes, belly fat, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure have all been linked to a high sugar and starch diet. You don’t need these foods if you rely on getting your nutrients from veggies.