Still concerned about putting on flab? Remember, nixing your cigarette habit will not only help you live longer, but also make you feel better and lighter—you’ve just gotta make it past the first eight weeks. If you’re still not sold, talk to your physician about nicotine replacement therapy. Slowly weaning off the stimulant may help ward off some the initial weight gain, which can make the process of losing those few extra pounds less overwhelming.
DIET-DERAILING TIP #4:
CAFFEINATE TO BOOST
METABOLISM AND LOSE WEIGHT
While it’s true that a bit of caffeine can help rev your metabolism, especially when ingested before exercise, too much of the stuff can have the opposite effect. A research team in Washington found that downing more than five cups of brew a day increased participant’s visceral belly fat by a whopping 50 percent.
Other researchers have found that consuming too much chlorogenic acid—a compound found in coffee—can prevent fat loss and lead to insulin resistance. Not to mention, no caffeine-induced metabolic boost can burn off a poor, fat-laden diet or the excess calories in fancy coffee and energy drinks.
Can’t shake your caffeine habit? We totally get it—and you don’t have to. Cut yourself off at three cups of caffeine daily and be sure to drink plenty of the new miracle weight loss drink: water. After drinking just two cups of water, research participants’ metabolic rates increased by 30 percent, according to a Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism study. Those researchers estimate that increasing water intake by about 6 cups can burn an extra 17,400 calories over the course of the year—which translates to five pounds!
DIET-DERAILING TIP #5:
EAT TONS OF PROTEIN
POST-WORKOUT TO LOSE WEIGHT
You know that consuming protein after your workout aids muscle repair and growth, so the more of it you eat, the better–right? Not the case. Researchers say that for those who weigh about 150 pounds, consuming 20 grams of protein within a half hour of leaving the gym is optimal. Lisa De Fazio, MS, RD says women who weigh a bit less may only need about 12 grams. Take in anymore than the recommended amount and the protein will likely be stored as fat, while the excess amino acids will be excreted.
Can’t imagine cutting back on protein after your sweat session? Reallocate your daily protein intake so you’re not eating as much of the nutrient during other times of the day. Although this isn’t ideal, it’s necessary if you insist of loading up on post-pump protein and you don’t want to gain weight. Men should aim for a total of 56 grams of the nutrient a day, while ladies only need about 46 grams.
DIET DERAILING TIP #6:
DITCH MEAT TO TRIM DOWN
To lose weight you need to cut back on calories, and nixing meat doesn’t ensure that will happen. In fact, while many of the vegetarians you know may be fit and slim, newbies sometimes gain weight because they are unaware of the hidden calories in meat-free go-tos like cheese and pasta.
Yikes! Plus, without careful planning cutting out meat can greatly decrease the amount of protein you’ll get from your diet, which can increase the odds of breaking down that lean muscle that revs metabolism and wards off weight gain.
Want to nix meat anyway? You’ll need a solid plan of attack. Focus on replacing the majority of your meat with nutrient-dense, protein-packed fare like eggs, milk, vegan protein powder, yogurt and beans–not just pasta and cheese. Better yet, simply cut back on meat instead of axing it all together. Animal proteins should take up no more than a quarter of your plate at each meal, while the remaining space should be filled with 50 percent fruits and vegetables and 25 percent with whole grains.