So we went straight to the source: we asked our readers on Facebook to tell us the best strategy that worked for shedding pounds. Read on for the 10 most popular weight-loss rules that have been proven to work — by you!
10 Weight-Loss Rules That Work
Know Your Diet
No matter how hard you exercise, it’s true: it can be hard to lose weight if you’re not changing your diet. “You can’t exercise enough to overcome a poor diet,” says reader Brittany. “The diet part has to come first.” If your weight isn’t budging, regardless of how much you’re working out, take a look at your current eating habits to see if you are eating the right amount of calories for your body and your goals.
Everyone’s meal strategy differs, but one thing’s clear: eating small meals throughout the day can keep you from being hungry and making a not-so-healthy decision. Many of our readers swear by eating frequently — four to six meals every few hours, including snacks — for losing weight.
As one reader puts it, “I’ve dieted, dieted, and dieted, cut sugar, carbs, bread, drank nothing but water, and nothing worked, until I started doing major cardio, even though my body hates me for it.” Try high-intensity intervals or Tabata training, since these are two of the most effective ways to burn fat.
“Major” cardio may help you drop pounds, but don’t believe the myth that cardio is the only way to shed weight. Strength training increases muscle mass, which revs up your metabolism for faster calorie burning. Many of our readers credit strength training as the key to their weight loss.
Carbs aren’t the enemy, but many of you say that limiting them can be an effective way to drop pounds. One reader recommends cutting carbs out of your dinner until you reach your goal weight, while others cut out white rice, bread, pasta, alcohol, and sugar to drop pounds. These carb-cutting ideas will help you get it right.
Cut Out Junk
Fresh fruits and veggies and lean meats will keep you fuller far longer than junk food and processed foods. Plus, you’ll be getting more of the nutrients you need to stay healthy. You don’t have to keep junk foods off-limits completely, however. Read our tips for how to indulge the smart way here.
A sedentary lifestyle won’t help you drop pounds. Even if you make a point to exercise 30 minutes a day, all those hours of sitting on your couch or at your desk can still do you harm. Make moving a priority and something you want to do: “Move your body in any way, shape, or form, and make it fun! Swimming, dancing, running, hula hooping, even just taking a walk around your neighborhood,” says reader Gabriela.
Dance like a pro by learning these fun cardio dance moves from the Jabbawockeez.
Keep It Out
Temptations lurk in every corner of your kitchen, so if you find that you’re powerless against a bag of chips or a tray of cookies, don’t stock your pantry with your favorite indulgences. “If I shouldn’t eat it, I don’t keep it in my house,” says reader Rachel. The extra work it would take for you to have what you’re craving — like driving to the store or baking a whole new batch — may be the only deterrent you need to keep from indulging.
Practice Portion Control
Portion control works, but it can be hard to really know how much we should be eating (especially when there’s a large plate of pasta sitting in front of us!). Arm yourself with these portion control tips so you don’t overeat, and follow one reader’s advice: if you find yourself going back for seconds whenever you cook a lot of food, cut the size down so there’s only enough for one serving. And this tip from reader Penda is simple and straightforward, “Eat till you’re satisfied, not till you’re full.”
If you’re serious about losing weight, keeping track of everything you eat and drink can be an extremely helpful tool. Popular online food journal tools like Myfitnesspal.com and LoseItWrite help many of our readers track calories. But no matter which way you use, remember to be honest with yourself in order to see results. “If you bite it, write it,” says reader Diana.