The Store-Bought Weight-Loss Snack You Should Be Eating but Aren’t

For many years, beef jerky had a bad rap, but the tide has shifted in its favor. Ever since becoming a preferred snack of Paleo dieters and CrossFit enthusiasts, it’s been reintroduced into the healthy mainstream, and many clean, low-carb eaters looking to shed a few pounds are singing jerky’s praises.

Snacking on jerky in between meals is an ideal way to get protein in your diet, a must if you’re trying to lose weight. One study published in The FASEB Journal shows that in addition to a regular exercise routine, doubling your protein intake may be the key to losing fat pounds without dropping muscle mass. In addition to offering 6.6 grams of protein per piece, beef jerky doesn’t raise your level of insulin, one of the hormones that affects how your body stores fat.

Related: Are Egg Whites Healthier Than Egg Yolks?

With that said, not all jerky is created equally. The best option to ensure your jerky is free of artificial ingredients is to make your own. If you can’t dedicate the kitchen time, just be sure to opt for a brand with all-natural ingredients that’s free of preservatives and nitrates and isn’t too high in sodium. And if you steer clear of beef, turkey jerky is a great option to help you reap these high-protein benefits. Krave Jerky and Epic Bites are two brands we love!

Related: 21 High-Protein Dinners That Won’t Break the Bank

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Nutritionists Reveal the Biggest Weight-Loss Mistakes

Nutritionists Reveal the Biggest Weight-Loss Mistakes

If you’re no stranger to the struggles of trying to lose weight| the solution might be a few tweaks to your regimen. We enlisted the expertise of three nutritionists u2014 Stephanie Clarke| RD| and Willow Jarosh| RD| of C&J Nutrition| as well as Mitzi Dulan| RD| author of The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin and CLIF Bar nutrition partner. Check out what they say are the biggest mistakes most people make when trying to slim down.

| Not Planning Ahead

When hunger strikes and you’re not prepared| that’s when unhealthy decisions are made. Stephanie Clarke| RD| recommends planning ahead as much as possible. If you can| sit down and plan your meals and snacks out for the next week or two in advance| and then hit the grocery store with a list to stock up on everything you need from fruit to veggies to the containers you need to make a week of salads. It means that you’ll have the food you want to eat on hand when you want to eat it| “”which is the key for sticking to healthy eating for the long term.””

| Keeping It to Yourself

If it ever feels like the people closest to you are unknowingly sabotaging your healthy eating efforts| Willow Jarosh| RD| says to “”consider whether you’ve shared your goals with them.”” Tell your family| friends| or co-workers that you’re trying to lose weight| so instead of suggesting going out for ice cream after work| they’ll invite you for a predinner workout. Having the support of everyone around you will make it much easier to stay on track.

| Too Much Protein or Not Enough

While carb-free| high-protein diets are all the rage| and they do offer results| Willow says| “”It’s not sustainable or healthy for the long term| as you’re missing out on vital nutrients”” from fruits| veggies| beans| nuts| seeds| and whole grains. This variety of healthy foods “”helps keep your gut bacteria happy| your digestive system regular| and keeps you feeling satisfied.”” On the contrary| Mitzi Dulan| RD| urges that not eating enough protein can also cause weight gain. She says| “”Since protein helps you to stay satisfied| it is important to make sure you are eating it at every meal.””

| Compensating For Eating With Exercise

Whether you think that run earns you the right to inhale four slices of pizza| or you hit the gym just so you can eat whatever you want later| you’re not only promoting an unhealthy relationship with food| but it can also lead to weight gain| warns Stephanie. A 30-minute run only burns about 250 calories| so if you devour 300 calories worth of dessert| it’s no wonder you’re not losing any weight and actually gaining instead. Use workouts to complement your healthy diet| not to make up for unhealthy eating habits.

| Skipping Dinner For Cocktails

This is detrimental to weight loss for a number of reasons. Willow reminds us that “”drinking on an empty stomach can lead to quicker intoxication|”” so even if you planned to just enjoy a few drinks| you’ll end up losing the ability to make healthy choices and are more likely to order tons of food off the bar menu! Or even if the calories level out because you skipped dinner| you’ll still have missed out on valuable nutrients| dropping your blood sugar levels. The result? Hunger coupled with the effects of alcohol will quickly nix that trip to the gym you planned. If you do enjoy your drinks with a meal| don’t forget they add hundreds of calories without making you feel satisfied| warns Mitzi. The bottom line is to limit calories from beverages| and if you do go out for happy hour| enjoy one drink and spend the rest of the time sipping water.

| Swearing Off Treats

Skipping out on your favorite foods like chocolate| french fries| wine| and ice cream can make a weight-loss diet seem pretty bleak. Since including these foods in small amounts on a regular basis can help prevent an urge to go overboard later| Stephanie and Willow encourage clients to have a “”treat bank”” of 150 to 200 calories each day. Or find healthier ways to indulge u2014 these vegan chocolate mousse cups are only 100 calories!

| Having Cheat Days

You stay on track all week| so you deserve a little reward| right? Not so fast. “”One cheat day can undo all the weight-loss work you’ve put in during the week|”” warns Willow. If you devote an entire day to eating foods that don’t push you toward your goal| “”the only person you’re cheating is yourself . . . and that’s not good in the short term or long term.”” Instead| stick to the one small treat each day| and you shouldn’t need a whole day to let loose.

| Not Keeping Track

Monitoring your daily calorie intake is key when trying to lose weight| Mitzi says| and one of the most accurate ways to keep track is with a food journal. You can write it down with old-school pen and paper or use websites or apps| but make sure you keep track of every bite. “”Research has shown this to be a major key to success for people who lose weight and keep it off|”” Mitzi explains.

| Eating Diet Foods

Reduced-fat peanut butter may have fewer calories| but you’ll find unhealthy ingredients and extra salt and sugar to make up for the flavor. Willow points out that a recent study showed that we might not feel as satisfied with these low-everything diet foods and “”that could cause us to end up eating more in the long run.”” All three nutritionists agree on choosing real food over “”diet”” foods and limiting the processed foods because it’s healthier and more filling.

How Eating Chocolate For Breakfast Can Help You Lose Weight

If you love chocolate, you LOVE chocolate ¡ª there’s no in between. You think about it all the time. You’d eat an entire bar if it didn’t affect your waistline. But it does. So you hold back. You deny yourself the chocolaty goodness you crave until you can’t handle it anymore and end up eating that entire chocolate bar you were trying so hard to ignore. There’s a solution to end this crazy, unhealthy cycle. Just eat chocolate for breakfast.

Yes, you heard it right. To deal with an insatiable sweet tooth, giving into your cravings can actually curb them, preventing sweet binges later in the day. We’re not suggesting you eat half a dozen chocolate-frosted doughnuts with your coffee, but go ahead and have a little taste. Add a few chocolate chips to your overnight oats, sip on a chocolate protein smoothie, or bite into a homemade chocolate almond protein bar. Getting a little taste of something sweet in a healthy way will take your mind off it, so you’ll devour fewer chocolate calories later.

Related: This Overnight Oats Recipe Is Like Eating a Reese’s For Breakfast

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

How Often Should You Weigh Yourself If You Want to Lose Weight?

If one of your resolutions is to lose weight, keeping track of your progress is an important part of the process. But how much is too much when it comes to weighing yourself? Experts used to suggest hopping on the scale once each week, but more studies are showing that daily weigh-ins may have more successful payoffs.

Asmall study run by Cornell University found that men and women who weighed themselves daily and tracked the results not only lost weight, but after two years, the average weight regained was close to zero pounds. That’s huge considering many other studies show 40 percent of weight loss comes back within a year. In another small study of college students, those asked to step on a scale every day during the first 12 weeks of classes didn’t put on any weight ¡ª helping avoid the “Freshman 15” altogether. In a different small two-year study of obese gym members, those asked to weigh themselves every day and chart their results lost significantly more weight and were able to keep it off.

Related: What 1 Woman Wishes She’d Known Before Trying to Lose Weight ¡ª Learn From Her Mistakes

On a personal note, I have been weighing myself daily since the end of the Summer, and I’ve found that the constant checking in has kept me on track. My self-control has improved because I know if I mindlessly nosh on a snack before bed, I’ll be seeing it on the scale in the morning. I also have been writing down my weight each day on the Notes app on my phone, and seeing the progress in numbers is its own form of motivation.

Of course, many experts still advise against hopping on a scale every day because the natural fluctuations can create unhealthy obsessions about weight and lead to depression, especially if you have a history of those tendencies. There are other ways to keep track of your progress such as by monitoring how your clothes fit, as well as your energy levels during the day and during workouts, or by using a fitness tracker. But if you’ve been struggling with sticking to your healthy ways, this could be the nudge you need. It’s worth giving it a shot, so try weighing yourself daily for a month or two and see what happens. Just be sure to weigh yourself at the same time every day, such as in the morning after you use the bathroom and before jumping in the shower. Use the same scale every time and it might be worth investing in one that also tracks your body mass index (BMI).

Related: A Step-by-Step Guide to Reaching Your Goal Weight in 2016

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

Want to Lose Weight? Do These 6 Things at Every Meal

Before you lift that spoon, fork, or cup up to your lips, make sure you’re doing these things every time you sit down to eat.

    Drink this: Grab a big glass of water and drink half of it before even starting your meal. It’ll help you feel fuller faster, so you’ll eat less.Your mama was right: Make sure to eat veggies at every. Single. Meal. Yes, even breakfast! Throw broccoli and beans in your smoothie, some mushrooms and tomatoes into your omelet, or zucchini into your oatmeal. And for either lunch or dinner, make your meal one enormous salad ¡ª it’s an easy way to fill up without eating tons of calories. Aim for half your plate to be filled with veggies, and use grains and protein to accent that meal. This is the magic combo: Woman can’t live on carbs alone, and if you tend to feel groggy after your morning bowl of cereal or your midday pasta, this is why. Fiber and protein are both a must. Fiber makes you feel full for longer and protein will sustain your energy and also help keep hunger at bay. Figure out a combo that adds up to at least 25 grams of fiber and between 50 and 100 grams of protein per day (depending on your activity level). Calories count: Keep each meal between 300 and 550 calories. This will allow for two 150-calorie snacks and ensure you’re not dipping below 1,200 calories, which can make losing weight impossible. Mindful munching: When you’re on your phone, computer, or watching TV while eating, it’s easy to be so distracted that you just inhale your entire plate within a matter of minutes. Since your brain hasn’t been given enough time to register that you’ve eaten your fill, you’ll still feel hungry afterward and go to reach for more. Do what you need to do to slow down, whether that be to shut down Facebook, enjoy your meal with a friend, use a set of chopsticks, or eat with your less dominant hand.Three-quarters is the magic number: Eat until you’re almost full, but not quite. If you keep going, that stuffed feeling not only means you ate too many calories for your body to burn off, but working that hard will make you feel foggy and tired. Do not subscribe to the clean plate club! Once you’re almost full, if you still have bites left, wrap up the rest for later.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

The Best Diet Tips of All Time

57 proven ways to lose weight ¡ª HealthAvoid packed gyms with this at-home workout ¡ª Real SimpleNew app reveals the actual truth about your sugar intake ¡ª ShapeThe pan that all breakfast-lovers have been waiting for ¡ª SelfHow to up your hiking game and feel the burn ¡ª Women’s HealthThe best gym-free excercise ideas for beginners ¡ª Cooking LightHow your diet shows up on your face ¡ª YourTango12 simple portion-control tricks for weight loss ¡ª HuffPost Healthy LivingNina Dobrev revealed strong, toned legs in her vacation photos ¡ª POPSUGAR CelebrityImage Source: Shutterstock

The Definitive Guide to Losing Weight

The Definitive Guide to Losing Weight

Losing weight is not easy| and whoever tells you differently is lying. It takes commitment| hard work| and for many| a complete lifestyle makeover. But armed with these 56 techniques| losing weight suddenly becomes easier.

If you’re looking for quick fixes or a lose-10-pounds-in-10-days kind of promise| then you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you want an insider’s guide on how to lose weight and keep it off for good| keep reading. From basic weight-loss fundamentals to weird tricks proven to melt away that muffin top| you’re only 10 pounds away from your new self.

Related: The 10 Worst Foods Celeb Trainers Say You Can Eat

| Limit Your Calorie Intake

Losing weight boils down to simple math. To lose one pound weekly| burn or cut out 3|500 calories in the course of seven days. That breaks down to 500 calories per day. It’s difficult to cut out that many by dieting alone| especially for someone who loves to eat. The most effective approach is this combo: each day| cut out 250 calories from your diet and burn 250 through exercise. Choose to either cut out one 250-calorie item such as a serving of ice cream| or omit a few small things that add up to 250 calories a day.

It’s also important not to exceed your recommended daily calorie intake. Check out this calorie calculator to figure out how many calories to consume each day| based on your current weight and your weight-loss goal. Don’t dip below 1|200 calories to prevent going into starvation mode| which makes your body hold onto the weight.

| Get Up and Out u2014u00a0No Matter How Short

Even when you’re swamped| stay active with a 10-minute break to rev up your body. Get outside for a walk at lunchtime as a proactive way to promote weight loss| and get sunshine as an added bonus.

| Stop Skipping Evening Workouts

At the end of a hard day| it’s easy to make an excuse and not head to the gym or take that run. Keep yourself committed and know that skipping an evening workout is not an option. And honestly| who couldn’t use an extra boost of endorphins after a tough meeting? If it’s too dark to head outside to exercise| these at-home workouts will do the trick.

| Intense Cardio Is Key

To spike up the body’s metabolism| do intense 45-minute cardio sessions a few times a week. A pyramid treadmill workout).

| Travel Smart

Just because you’re going on vacation doesn’t mean you have to halt your exercise routine. Travel smart by packing a few workout-related items that don’t take up too much space. Want to know what should make the cut when it comes to your precious suitcase space? Watch our video for our five tried and tested fitness travel faves.

| Stop With the Scale

It may be tempting to step on a scale whenever you see one| but if it’s making you feel bad| then give it a break. Keep in mind that the number is not going to change overnight. Allow yourself weekly weigh-ins| but also factor in that what you see isn’t always the most accurate measure of weight-loss efforts. You could be building fat-burning muscle| which could be pushing the number up.

Related: Hilarious Weight-Loss Quotes to Instantly Feel Better About Your Diet

| Drink Water

Aside from keeping you hydrated| regular water consumption| recent studies show| can aid with weight loss. drinking cool water can speed up metabolism and discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice. Now that‘s a reason to stay hydrated!

| Eat Your Veggies

Eating five to seven servings of fruits and veggies a day is important for everyone| but dieters who go heavy on the produce are more likely to lose and keep the weight off. Fruits and veggies are low-calorie and often loaded with filling fiber. Why not make one of these 51 vegetable-focused recipes for your next meal?

Related: Nutritionists Reveal What to Eat at Every Meal to Lose Weight

| Speed Up Your Metabolism

Burn major calories no matter what you’re doing by increasing your metabolism. Simple things like upping your strength-training routine and eating breakfast can make your body burn more calories. Read on for more tips on how to boost your metabolism.

| Go Ahead u2014u00a0Skip Your Workout

While this isn’t completely true| you can shorten the amount of time you spend working out by maximizing your efforts. Short| intense cardio workouts are just as effective as longer ones| which lets you reap the calorie-burning rewards. Start with one of these 10-minute workout videos that will work your entire body!

| Enjoy the Food You Eat

One of the worst things you can do when you’re trying to lose weight is to not give your body enough food. Instead of depriving yourself| make sure to give yourself small indulgences or a cheat day u2014 especially since occasional high-calorie foods won’t wreck a healthy diet. In fact| they can do quite the opposite: having a healthy relationship with food may help you from going overboard later.

Related: Lunch Containers You Must Buy If You’re Practicing Portion Control

| Play the Calorie Game Correctly

Losing weight is about simple math; don’t get in the mindset that a workout gives you a free pass to splurge. If this happens| then you’ll end up taking in more calories than you burn| which will result in weight gain instead of weght loss.

| Stop Eating Junk Food

It may seem obvious| but junk food is an enemy against weight loss. Foods filled with sugar and fat are a fast ticket to weight gain| irritability| and low energy levels. To get all the junk out of your system| consider doing a two-week elimination diet by cutting out gluten| refined sugars| dairy| caffeine| and alcohol. From energy levels to glowing skin| here are five reasons why an elimination diet can work for you.

| Eat Baskets of Blueberries

Not only are blueberries an antioxidant powerhouse| but also| they’ve been shown to play a role in reducing belly fat u2014 say goodbye to that muffin top! Blueberries are loaded with anthocyanin| which has been shown to alter the activity of genes found in human fat cells| making it more difficult to put on weight. I bet you can’t wait to make one of these healthful blueberry recipes now.

Related: 3 Tips to Reduce Belly Fat

| Get Stoned

With your fruit| that is! Stone fruits like nectarines| plums| peaches| and cherries contain natural substances that ward off obesity. Pretty cool| right? Added bonus: they also protect against diabetes and act as an anti-inflammatory. Dietician Cynthia Sass recommends eating the fruit on its own in a raw| natural state.

| Keep It Fresh

Maybe you don’t eat a ton of junk food| but there are still some seemingly healthy u2014 but highly processed u2014 foods out there. Get as close to nature as you can and eat a diet filled with all-natural whole foods. Fresh organic produce and pasture-raised lean proteins are a good place to start. Fresh| whole foods will help you maintain energy levels| promote healthy sleeping habits| and provide ample fuel for all your workouts!

| Once the Weight Is Gone| You Can’t Go Back to Your Old Ways

You used to devour a big bag of potato chips with your lunch| but when you decided to lose weight| you replaced it with a side salad. Now that the weight is off| don’t go back to your chips habit. Losing weight is a lifestyle change| not something you do until you reach your goal. Once you go back to old eating habits| the weight will quickly creep back on. Give yourself room for indulgences| but make sure it’s all in moderation.

| Push Your Body

If you don’t feel like trying something new in your exercise regimen| there are still ways to step up your current routine. Adding an extra few minutes to a workout| sprinting at the end of a run| or choosing heavier weights may make all the difference.

Related: A Celebrity Trainer’s Weight-Loss Rule: 3 Miles or 30 Minutes

| Eat 8 Grams of Fiber in the Morning

One key to losing weight is eating foods that keep you full| avoiding later hunger pains that tempt you to eat high-calorie foods. For the first meal of the day| eat at least eight grams of fiber. Try these 10 high-fiber cereals or breakfast meals that contain at least 10 grams.

| Live an Overall Active Life

Physical activity| be it training for a half marathon or hitting the gym| is important for losing weight| but don’t skip moving about in your everyday life. Take the stairs| walk your dog| vacuum vigorously| bike to dinner| and garden. All these things will help burn calories and keep you in an active frame of mind.

| Pack a Lunch

Taking the time to pack a healthful lunch is one of the best ways to stay committed to a healthy meal plan. Most of the time when you do takeout| the calorie count is a mystery| since many foods aren’t labeled. Being able to account for all the ingredients in your food will help you stay committed to your weight-loss goals and not be surprised by what you’re actually eating!

| Helpful Eats

Chickpeas and grapefruit may be a dieter’s best friends. Chickpeas have been found to help dieters break bad snacking habits| and eating half a grapefruit before every meal has been shown to help dieters drop more pounds than forgoing the citrus fruit.

Related: Do These 10 Things in Your Kitchen to Lose Weight

| Don’t Be Distracted

It seems like everyone is attached to cell phones these days. Even if you’re using one to stream a workout playlist| stop texting or chatting with a friend when you’re at the gym. Giving full attention to a workout keeps you focused and allows you to maximize results. The payoff is the weight-loss results you are bound to see.

| Monitor Your Progress

With all your hard work eating right and exercising| find an accurate way to keep track of your progress. Hopping on a scale| although not everyone’s favorite thing to do| is one way to monitor how much weight you’ve lost. But if weighing yourself gives you anxiety| then monitor your progress by looking in the mirror or seeing how your clothes fit.

| Exercise in the Morning

Finding time to exercise no matter what time of day is important| but if you need that little extra push when it comes to burning calories| then try exercising in the morning. Studies have found that A Very Good Reason to Work Out Tomorrow Morning

| Blue Plate (Not So) Special

The color blue may be beautiful for the eyes| but not when it comes to food. This pair of blue-lens shades before you eat; just use blue plates. Does the dessert pictured to the left look tasty| or is the blue working?

| Always Pay in Cash

The next time you head to the grocery store| stop at the ATM first. A study showed that individuals buy fewer indulgent foods when paying in cash.

| Muscle Power

Building muscle through strength training helps give your metabolism an upward bump. While how much is unclear| one thing is known: muscle burns calories at a higher rate than fat. (Depending on which study you read| a pound of muscle burns anywhere from 15 to 50 calories per day. Compare this to fat| which averages about two calories per day.) Even if you consider yourself an active gal| make sure to incorporate strength training into your fitness routine. Otherwise you run the risk of losing muscle mass. Here are some beginner strength-training moves to get started with.

Related: Strength-Training Workouts to Tone Your Every Inch

| Make Life About Fun

Since stress is shown to cause weight gain by triggering the body to eat more u2014 especially foods high in sugar and fat u2014 make sure you give yourself time to relax and unwind. And it’s an added bonus that so many fun activities (like dancing| hiking| and shopping) are already natural calorie-burners!

| Cut Up Your Food

It may seem juvenile to cut food into tiny pieces| but the strategy works. A study found that cutting up food helps trick the brain into thinking there’s more on the plate| which can translate into eating less while still feeling satisfied.

| Keep a Food Journal

Keeping a tally of all the calories you consume in a day is an effective way to help you stay on track. Studies show that dieters who keep food journals lose more weight. Track your caloric intake on your iPhone with one of these apps| or use a journal if you prefer pen and paper. Not only will a food journal keep you on top of your calorie intake| but it will also keep you accountable for the kinds of food you are eating.

| Practice Portion Control

Portion control is essential for losing weight and keeping it off. Healthy foods| like nuts and avocado| still pack on the pounds when eaten in excess. Make sure to check the serving size on food labels| and invest in some of these handy products that help keep portions in check. The key is to always strive for balance and moderation on your plate.

| Don’t Keep Treats in Your Cabinets

Chips and chocolate u2014 these two foods are like kryptonite| especially when readily available in your home| so make sure they never cross your doorway. You can’t eat something that’s not in the cabinets| after all. Host of The Biggest Loser Alison Sweeney has a tortilla chip problem| and she keeps herself healthy by never stocking this snack at home. The more healthful food you keep in the home| the more likely you are to snack smarter.

Related: This Easy Formula Is the Key to Weight-Loss Success

| Use Your Friends

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be much easier with the support and motivation of like-minded friends. Having a healthy support group can lead to better choices for yourself; you may end up moving more| cooking healthy dinners together| and making other lifestyle choices that can contribute to weight loss.

| Drink Green Tea

Water’s not the only metabolism booster in town. Studies have shown that drinking green tea can give your metabolism a tiny increase u2014 which can add up to extra calories burned a week! Not only that| but the beverage has got some major antioxidant power| so drink up.

| Visualize Indulgent Treats

Contrary to the “”don’t think about it”” theory of controlling food cravings| visualizing a sweet treat can be a good thing. Study participants who bit into indulgent food after imagining eating it actually consumed less.

Related: 70 Healthy Desserts For Guilt-Free Indulgence

| Spice Things Up

Adding an extra dash of spice at any meal may just help you burn a few more calories for the day. That sprinkling of cinnamon on your morning latte can lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar| and that turmeric in your spicy dinner can slow down the growth of fat tissue in your body. Capsaicin| the chemical in peppers that makes them hot| also boosts metabolism.

| Mix Things Up

It’s important to keep things fresh by mixing up your exercise routine. The variety will stop your body from hitting a plateau| and you’ll be less likely to get burnt out.

| Always Eat Breakfast

Skipping breakfast is a huge mistake if you want to lose weight. Enjoying a hearty and nutritious meal in the morning can actually jump-start your metabolism and encourage pounds to drop. Choose a breakfast that’s high in protein to give you energy and full of fiber to keep you satisfied for hours. Here are some healthful breakfast swaps that ensure your meals are always on point.

Related: The Perfect Smoothie Equation For Weight Loss

| Join a Fitness or Weight-Loss Community

Whether it’s a national program like Weight Watchers or an online website like My Fitness Pal| being part of a weight-loss community is a great way to find support on this sometimes difficult journey. Aside from utilizing the program’s tools| many sites allow you leave comments and messages on other members’ profiles.

| Get Your Downward Dog On

Most people think of yoga as relaxing and calm| but there are a ton of poses that make muscles quiver and get the heart rate up| which can make for a big calorie burn. The next time you’re breathing in basic poses| try these challenging variations.

| Watch Your Drink Calories

Between those refreshing margaritas and a hankering for a midday mimosa| a day off can be all the convincing you need to spend it imbibing. But making sure you watch your drink calories is important if you want to lose weight. Stick to one of If You Want to Lose Weight and Still Drink| Read This

| Get Some Sleep

Life gets hectic| but make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Besides strengthening your immune system| proper rest also ensures healthy eating habits. On a daily basis| sleepy people eat more| and since the body functions poorly when sleep-deprived| it ends up storing more fat| i.e. inadequate sleep can lead to an extra three pounds a year! Besides| think about all the workouts you skip when you’re too tired to get to the gym.

| Eat Breakfast Within One Hour of Waking

Eating breakfast is essential for weight loss| but what time breakfast is eaten is also important. Make sure to to eat breakfast within an hour of waking. An early breakfast helps maintain circadian rhythm and boost metabolism.

| Have Dessert For Breakfast

If you’re going to have a treat| then you may want to make it a breakfast muffin. A study of overweight people who lost weight on a diet found that those who ate a large breakfast that included a sweet treat kept off more weight than those who ate a smaller breakfast with no treat. The sugary treat they ate at breakfast helped curb sweet cravings later in the day. Just make sure to balance the treat off with lean protein and complex carbs.

| Snack Right at the Office

Sugary or sodium-laden snacks seem to always be available at the office. Resist temptation by coming prepped to work with healthy snacks that won’t break the calorie bank. In the morning| cut up some fresh fruit or veggies| or make one of these nutty snacks for a dose of protein and omega-3s.

| Set New Goals

Even if the first 10 pounds are already off| it’s important to redesign fitness goals as you progress. As you do this| remember to always celebrate healthy accomplishments like hitting a new running milestone. The simple act of acknowledgement does wonders for motivation.

| Invest in New Gear

In the same way you can’t wait to wear those new shoes you bought| pick up some cute fitness gear. You’ll be surprised how eager you’ll be to throw it on and head to the gym! It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either: splurge on a single item from cute but inexpensive gear.

Related: 10 Stylish Lululemon Alternatives

| Healthy Foods Don’t Mean All-You-Can-Eat

Avocados| peanut butter| sweet potatoes| brown rice u2014 these foods are all nutritious| but that doesn’t mean they’re void of calories. You still need to be aware of serving sizes| even for foods that are good for you. Here’s a handy guide for portion sizes of calorie-dense healthy foods.

| Get Sweet on Potatoes

Aside from providing ample amounts of vitamin A| sweet potatoes are a weight-loss wunderkind: they help increase levels of adiponectin| the blood-sugar-regulating hormone| in the body| and have a relatively low glycemic index rating| which can help prevent blood-sugar spikes after you eat. This| coupled with their already sweet and fibrous nature| can help keep hunger and sugar cravings away.

| Head to Boot Camp

If you’re trying to lose a couple of pounds| stepping up your current workout routine may be all that it takes. And since time is of the essence| nothing gets results like sweat-inducing total-body bootcamp workouts. Check out our list of 10 bootcamp workouts that’ll be sure to blast calories fast.

| Keep Up the Bedroom Action

A lot of couples’ sex lives can slow down a bit| especially if they’ve been together for a while. So here’s a little reminder to make time for intimacy. Not only will it keep you emotionally connected| but also| there are many health benefits to getting busy| like a decrease in stress| which help benefit weight-loss goals.

Related: The Yoga Sequence That Makes Sex More Fun

| Go For Protein| Not Sugar

While pancakes and danishes are appealing for brunch| sweets aren’t something to devour regularly at breakfast. High-protein choices| like eggs| yogurt| and whole grains| are lower in calories| provide long-lasting energy| and help to curb midmorning cravings for sugary pick-me-ups.

Here are some high-protein breakfast ideas to try.

| Get Cooking

Dining out occasionally is a nice way to spend an evening| but avoid making it a habit. The secret ingredient at many restaurants is butter and excessive oil u2014 in other words| fat. Studies have repeatedly shown a relationship between number of meals eaten out and greater weight gain. Cooking your own meals helps you control ingredients and also helps manage portion sizes. At a loss for what to do in the kitchen? Here are some healthy recipes to help get you started.

| Eat More

It may seem counterintuitive| but eating more and more often can help you lose weight. Frequent meals u2014 about five or six in a day u2014 can boost your metabolism| and eating larger volumes of healthy foods that are full of lean protein| fiber| and other nutrients u2014 rather than foods high in refined carbs and processed ingredients u2014 helps give you energy and keep you full without all the calories.

| Eat Foods That Fight Fat

Since every calorie counts| make sure to eat foods that fight fat| like almonds and oatmeal| as well as soy beans and sweet potatoes. Don’t fear the MUFAs either; monounsaturated fatty acids fight belly fat| so make sure to add avocado and nuts like almonds to your daily diet.

Nutritionist-Recommended Foods to Suppress Your Appetite Naturally

There may be no magic pill for weight loss, but dietician Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health, stays on top of the science behind taming your appetite naturally. Here, she deciphers recent research and shares six foods that will keep your appetite in check.

Feel like you need some help with hunger management? You’re not alone. Most of my clients who struggle with weight loss or maintenance also struggle with hunger. Of course, it’s no coincidence ¡ª it’s hard to walk around feeling famished, particularly when you’re faced with the temptation of high-calorie treats everywhere you turn. No wonder willpower wilts!

Related: Eat These 6 Everyday Foods to Burn More Calories

The good news is that several new studies have identified compounds in certain foods that trigger the release of hormones in the stomach that help you feel full and neurotransmitters in the brain that suppress appetite and reduce cravings. Eating more of these foods can help keep your hunger in check, even as you cut calories to peel off pounds. It’s a weight-loss win-win!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Apples

An apple a day may keep extra pounds away, according to research that shows this fruit contains filling soluble fiber as well as ursolic acid, a natural compound that has been found to boost fat burning and which may promote lean muscle mass. In one study, researchers from the University of Iowa note that animals given ursolic acid supplements increased their muscle mass and energy expenditure (or calorie burn). And a study that was done on people and published in the journal Appetite shows that women who added three small apples (total calorie cost: 200) to their diet per day lost a little more than two pounds in 10 weeks ¡ª more than dieters who did not include the fruit in their diet.

Related: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake: Guaranteed to Keep You Full Until Lunch

A medium apple has 95 calories and 6 grams of fiber; a small apple has 75 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber. Be sure to eat the whole apple, as the ursolic acid as well as beneficial antioxidants are concentrated in the skin.

Beans (. . . and peas, lentils, and chickpeas)

Beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas are a triple threat against hunger because they contain a lot of fiber; are excellent sources of slow-to-digest protein; and have a low glycemic index to keep blood sugar and carbohydrate cravings in check. A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Obesity indicates that people who ate about one cup (5.5 ounces) of legumes felt 31 percent fuller than those who didn’t eat these fiber-filled foods. Another study, published recently in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, reports that overweight people who ate a bean-rich diet lost nearly 10 pounds in 16 weeks while simultaneously improving their blood cholesterol levels.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

Eggs

Here’s some egg-citing news: eating a breakfast that’s rich in protein (20 to 30 grams) suppresses ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your appetite, while elevating peptide YY and GLP-1, two hormones that enhance satiety, according to research. One study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that when subjects ate eggs for breakfast (versus equal-calorie breakfasts of either cereal or croissants), they consumed up to 438 fewer calories over the entire day. In fact, studies have found that an egg breakfast may help control hunger for a full 24 hours. (To keep blood cholesterol in check, you can enjoy one egg yolk per day and use egg whites for the additional protein they provide.)

Related: How Eggs Help With Weight Loss

Greek Yogurt

Need a reason to go Greek? A landmark study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, reports that among more than 8,500 European adults, those who enjoyed a serving or more of European-style yogurt every day (either low fat or full fat, but with less added sugars compared to US varieties) were 20 percent less likely to become overweight and 38 percent less likely to become obese during the six-year follow-up compared to those who ate less than two servings of yogurt each week. How could thick and creamy Greek yogurt whittle your middle? The researchers believe that the protein, calcium, and probiotics may all play a role.

Plain Greek yogurt is your best bet because it’s strained to lose the watery whey and some of the natural sugars. It has roughly twice the protein as traditional yogurt (a cup of plain Greek yogurt packs 24 grams of protein, as much as four large eggs) and half the sugar (with only about eight to nine grams of natural dairy sugars and no added sugar).

Mangos

Mangos are not only delicious, but they’re also diet-friendly. A study in The Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences suggests that mango-eaters weighed less and had better diets than those who missed out on mangoes. This stone fruit contains many bioactive ingredients, including mangiferin, a compound that has been shown in preliminary research to help reduce body fat and control blood sugar levels. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that mango added to the diets of rodents prevented weight gain and improved blood sugar and insulin levels when the animals were fed a high-fat diet to promote weight gain.

A cup of sliced mango has just 100 calories and 3 grams of filling fiber. Say, mmm, mango!

Pistachios (. . . and other nuts)

Go ahead, get a little nutty! Despite being high in calories (160 to 170 calories per ounce), nuts can be very slimming. Studies show that nut lovers are thinner than those who avoid or rarely eat nuts. Why? Nuts keep you fuller longer; their calories aren’t fully absorbed by the body, and nuts provide a modest boost to your metabolism, according to research.

In-shell pistachios provide a unique advantage for waistline-watchers. A preliminary study from Eastern Illinois University suggests that people who snacked on in-shell pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories than those who ate shelled pistachios. The authors say the empty shells might be a helpful visual cue about how much has been eaten, thereby encouraging you to eat less.

Nutritionist-Recommended Foods to Suppress Your Appetite Naturally

There may be no magic pill for weight loss| but dietician Julie Upton| MS| RD| of Appetite For Health| stays on top of the science behind taming your appetite naturally. Here| she deciphers recent research and shares six foods that will keep your appetite in check.

Feel like you need some help with hunger management? You’re not alone. Most of my clients who struggle with weight loss or maintenance also struggle with hunger. Of course| it’s no coincidence ¡ª it’s hard to walk around feeling famished| particularly when you’re faced with the temptation of high-calorie treats everywhere you turn. No wonder willpower wilts!

Related: Eat These 6 Everyday Foods to Burn More Calories

The good news is that several new studies have identified compounds in certain foods that trigger the release of hormones in the stomach that help you feel full and neurotransmitters in the brain that suppress appetite and reduce cravings. Eating more of these foods can help keep your hunger in check| even as you cut calories to peel off pounds. It’s a weight-loss win-win!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Apples

An apple a day may keep extra pounds away| according to research that shows this fruit contains filling soluble fiber as well as ursolic acid| a natural compound that has been found to boost fat burning and which may promote lean muscle mass. In one study| researchers from the University of Iowa note that animals given ursolic acid supplements increased their muscle mass and energy expenditure (or calorie burn). And a study that was done on people and published in the journal Appetite shows that women who added three small apples (total calorie cost: 200) to their diet per day lost a little more than two pounds in 10 weeks more than dieters who did not include the fruit in their diet.

Related: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake: Guaranteed to Keep You Full Until Lunch

A medium apple has 95 calories and 6 grams of fiber; a small apple has 75 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber. Be sure to eat the whole apple| as the ursolic acid as well as beneficial antioxidants are concentrated in the skin.

Beans (. . . and peas| lentils| and chickpeas)

Beans| peas| lentils| and chickpeas are a triple threat against hunger because they contain a lot of fiber; are excellent sources of slow-to-digest protein; and have a low glycemic index to keep blood sugar and carbohydrate cravings in check. A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Obesity indicates that people who ate about one cup (5.5 ounces) of legumes felt 31 percent fuller than those who didn’t eat these fiber-filled foods. Another study| published recently in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics| reports that overweight people who ate a bean-rich diet lost nearly 10 pounds in 16 weeks while simultaneously improving their blood cholesterol levels.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

Eggs

Here’s some egg-citing news: eating a breakfast that’s rich in protein (20 to 30 grams) suppresses ghrelin| a hormone that stimulates your appetite| while elevating peptide YY and GLP-1| two hormones that enhance satiety| according to research. One study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that when subjects ate eggs for breakfast (versus equal-calorie breakfasts of either cereal or croissants)| they consumed up to 438 fewer calories over the entire day. In fact| studies have found that an egg breakfast may help control hunger for a full 24 hours. (To keep blood cholesterol in check| you can enjoy one egg yolk per day and use egg whites for the additional protein they provide.)

Related: How Eggs Help With Weight Loss

Greek Yogurt

Need a reason to go Greek? A landmark study| published in Nutrition| Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases| reports that among more than 8|500 European adults| those who enjoyed a serving or more of European-style yogurt every day (either low fat or full fat| but with less added sugars compared to US varieties) were 20 percent less likely to become overweight and 38 percent less likely to become obese during the six-year follow-up compared to those who ate less than two servings of yogurt each week. How could thick and creamy Greek yogurt whittle your middle? The researchers believe that the protein| calcium| and probiotics may all play a role.

Plain Greek yogurt is your best bet because it’s strained to lose the watery whey and some of the natural sugars. It has roughly twice the protein as traditional yogurt (a cup of plain Greek yogurt packs 24 grams of protein| as much as four large eggs) and half the sugar (with only about eight to nine grams of natural dairy sugars and no added sugar).

Mangos

Mangos are not only delicious| but they’re also diet-friendly. A study in The Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences suggests that mango-eaters weighed less and had better diets than those who missed out on mangoes. This stone fruit contains many bioactive ingredients| including mangiferin| a compound that has been shown in preliminary research to help reduce body fat and control blood sugar levels. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that mango added to the diets of rodents prevented weight gain and improved blood sugar and insulin levels when the animals were fed a high-fat diet to promote weight gain.

A cup of sliced mango has just 100 calories and 3 grams of filling fiber. Say| mmm| mango!

Pistachios (. . . and other nuts)

Go ahead| get a little nutty! Despite being high in calories (160 to 170 calories per ounce)| nuts can be very slimming. Studies show that nut lovers are thinner than those who avoid or rarely eat nuts. Why? Nuts keep you fuller longer; their calories aren’t fully absorbed by the body| and nuts provide a modest boost to your metabolism| according to research.

In-shell pistachios provide a unique advantage for waistline-watchers. A preliminary study from Eastern Illinois University suggests that people who snacked on in-shell pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories than those who ate shelled pistachios. The authors say the empty shells might be a helpful visual cue about how much has been eaten| thereby encouraging you to eat less.

Is Diet or Exercise More Important For Weight Loss?

I’ve always been active| but weight loss was never top of mind for me until I was a freshman in college. My first months away from home| I packed on some serious weight| but instead of cleaning up my diet| I started doing two-a-day cardio workouts| barely ate a bite all day| and binged on a calorie bomb late at night. The results? General exhaustion and minor| unsustainable weight loss. I wish I could say that I did my research| talked to a doctor| and changed my ways| but this vicious cycle continued for many| many years. Years later| I would kick my ass with an insane workout four or five times a week| and while I was stronger| I would not see any results on the scale or in my clothes. Things only changed when I was able to fully digest this fitness adage: “Abs are made in the kitchen.”

Related: Nutritionist-Recommended Foods to Suppress Your Appetite Naturally

There’s data to back up this claim. In meta-analysis from Behavioural Weight Management Review Group| researchers determined that over the course of a year| the combination of diet with exercise leads to sustainable weight loss| but over a six-month period| adding exercise made no difference to participants’ weight-loss success. Trainer Sam Kelman can vouch for this study’s efficacy. Despite her intense workout schedule| she couldn’t manage to shed the last 15 pounds she’d be holding on to. Without making any shifts to her workout routine| she let go of the weight she hadn’t been able to lose in just a few months by changing her diet| specifically in terms of portion control.

Related: I Started Saying No and Began Losing Weight

Weight loss is not my primary fitness goal right now| but for many years| it absolutely was. It was only when I got honest about my propensity to emotionally eat that I was able to take off weight| keep it off| and refocus my workout goals to improved energy and strength. I only wish I had gotten the memo sooner| so I could have saved myself from years of miserable yo-yo dieting and self-doubt about my ability to achieve my goal. It was celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser who helped me make the shift with a dose of tough love: “Put down the fork. No one needs to be eating five bowls of pasta a week and think that they’re going to get rid of saddlebags if they’re doing 500 leg raises. It’s just not going to happen.” A little harsh? Yes. But true? Unfortunately.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart