Diet Soda vs. Regular

You find soda everywhere in our culture, whether you're at a fast-food restaurant, gas station, vending machine, or a friend's house. Some people limit sugary drinks but allow themselves boundless diet sodas. This may seem like a great solution, considering that 41% of the added sugar in the diets of American children and teens comes from beverages. In fact, a study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that teens get 327 calories a day from sugary sodas, teas, and energy drinks. But instead of replacing sugary drinks with diet versions, I would rather keep my intake of diet soda and artificial sweeteners to about one drink per day. It leaves more room for hydrating water and healthy green teas!


If you enjoy diet sodas, as I do, try limiting your intake to one can when you want it the most during the day (for me, that's right after lunch or mid-afternoon). So yes, you'll find diet sodas in this dietitian's refrigerator -- but you'll also find plenty of alternatives like mineral water, lots of tea options, freshly squeezed orange juice, and low-fat milk.

5 Dieting Tips & Tricks!

1. Blend a Plant-Based Smoothie


Zero Belly Diet test panelist Bryan Wilson, a 29-year-old accountant, lost 19 pounds and an astounding 6 inches from his waist in just six weeks on the diet, and he attributes his success to the Zero Belly shake recipes in the program. “I love the shakes. I added them to my diet, and almost immediately I lost the bloat,” Bryan said. “I’m a sweet craver, and the shakes were an awesome alternative to bowls and bowls of ice cream I would have had.” That’s why, this year, I wrote Zero Belly Smoothies. Protein drinks are great ways to get a monster dose of belly-busting nutrition into a delicious, simple snack. But most commercial drinks are filled with unpronounceable chemicals that can upset our gut health and cause inflammation and bloat. And the high doses of whey used to boost protein levels can amplify the belly-bloating effect. The Zero Belly solution: Try vegan protein, which will give you the same fat-burning, hunger-squelching, muscle-building benefits, without the bloat. Lose weight in less than 30 seconds, with the 100+ proven recipes in Zero Belly Smoothies!

2. Eat More Consciously 


We know you love your Jessica Jones marathons, but it’s important you enjoy your meals sitting at your kitchen table—not in front of the television. Why? Carolyn Brown, MS RD of Foodtrainers told us that not only do the commercials for unhealthy food and drink increase our craving for junk but because TV is so distracting, it also makes it harder to notice how full we’re becoming until we’ve scarfed down too much. Science agrees with Brown: A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that paying attention while eating can aid weight loss efforts while distracted eating can lead to a long-term increase in food consumption.

3. Switch To Tea


Dieters and ETNT staffers alike fell head over heels for green tea this year—and it’s easy to see why: The brew, the cornerstone of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, is packed with compounds called catechins, belly-fat crusaders that blast belly fat by revving the metabolism, increasing the release of fat from fat cells, and then speeding up the liver’s fat burning capacity. In a recent study, participants who combined a daily habit of 4-5 cups of green tea with a 25-minute sweat session (or 180 minutes a week), lost 2 more pounds than the non tea-drinking exercisers. Meanwhile, a research team in Washington found that the same amount of coffee (5+ cups/day) doubled belly fat. Make the most of the benefits from tea with The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, by food journalist Kelly Choi and the editors of Eat This, Not That! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!

4. Toss Out The Top


Making your sandwich with two slices of bread is so 2014. Aid your slim down efforts by opting for whole-grain bread over white and preparing your sandwich “open-faced” style—the fancy name for kicking the top piece of bread to the curb. Doing so keeps about 70 to 90 calories off your plate. If losing some bread leaves your tummy rumbling, beef up your meal by munching on a cup of baby carrots or sugar snap peas. These pop-in-your mouth veggies are loaded with fiber and water, which can help aid satiety and weight loss efforts. For even more amazing weight loss tips, check out these 50 Best-Ever Weight-Loss Secrets From Skinny People.

5. Get Smaller Plates


According to Carolyn Brown, MS RD of Foodtrainers, the bigger your plate, the bigger your meal. Why? While smaller plates make food servings appear significantly larger, larger plates make food appear smaller, which can lead to overeating. In one study, campers who were given larger bowls served themselves and consumed 16 percent more cereal than those given smaller bowls. Swapping dinner for salad plates will help you eat more reasonable portions, which can help the pounds fly off your frame! To kick even more calories to the curb, use small red plates. Although the vibrant hue may not go with your dining room decor, the color can help you eat less, and in turn shrink those pesky love handles. In a study published in the journal Appetite, subjects consumed less snack food and soda when their plates and cups were red. Researchers suggest the color red reduces the amount we’re likely to eat by subtly telling the mind to stop noshing.

5 Easy Weight Loss Tricks!

1. Switch To Ordinary Coffee 


Fancy coffee drinks from trendy coffee joints often pack several hundred calories, thanks to whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, and sugary syrups. A cup of regular coffee with skim milk has just a small fraction of those calories. And when brewed with good beans, it tastes just as great. You can also try nonfat powdered milk in coffee. You’ll get the nutritional benefits of skim milk, which is high in calcium and low in calories. And, because the water has been removed, powdered milk doesn’t dilute the coffee the way skim milk does. Try these other calorie-free coffee hacks to wean off the bad stuff.

2. If you’re going to indulge, choose fat-releasing foods


They should help keep you from feeling deprived and bingeing on higher-calorie foods. For instance: honey has just 64 fat-releasing calories in one tablespoon. Eggs have just 70 calories in one hard-boiled egg, loaded with fat-releasing protein. Part-skim ricotta cheese has just 39 calories in one ounce, packed with fat-releasing calcium. Dark chocolate has about 168 calories in a one-ounce square, but it’s packed with fat releasers. And a University of Tennessee study found that people who cut 500 calories a day and ate yogurt three times a day for 12 weeks lost more weight and body fat than a group that only cut the calories. The researchers concluded that the calcium in low-fat dairy foods triggers a hormonal response that inhibits the body’s production of fat cells and boosts the breakdown of fat. Add these other fat-burning foods to your diet, too.

3. Eat cereal for breakfast five days a week

Studies find that people who eat cereal for breakfast every day are significantly less likely to be obese and have diabetes than those who don’t. They also consume more fiber and calcium—and less fat—than those who eat other breakfast foods. Make oatmeal, or pour out a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal like Total or Grape Nuts, and boost it up with these healthy cereal hacks.

4. Try hot sauce, salsa, and Cajun seasonings


They provide lots of flavor with no fat and few calories, plus they turn up your digestive fires, causing your body to temporarily burn more calories. Choose them over butter and creamy or sugary sauces. Learn more ways to eat less fat without missing the taste.

5. Drop your milk type and you cut calories by about 20 percent


If you drink regular, go to 2%. If you already drink 2%, go down another notch to 1% or skim milk. Each step downward cuts the calories by about 20 percent. Once you train your taste buds to enjoy skim milk, you’ll have cut the calories in the whole milk by about half and trimmed the fat by more than 95 percent. One disclaimer: There are times when fat-free dairy isn’t the best option.

5 Weight Loss Tips!

1. Don't Eat With A Large Group

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Behavior found that we tend to eat more when we eat with other people, most likely because we spend more time at the table. But eating with your significant other or your family, and using table time for talking in between chewing, can help cut down on calories. Don’t miss these other tricks to start eating better in just one day.

2. Order The Smallest Portion of Everything

If you’re out and ordering a sub, get the six-inch sandwich. Buy a small popcorn, a small salad, a small hamburger. Again, studies find we tend to eat what’s in front of us, even though we’d feel just as full on less. Try these portion-control tricks when you’re dishing your own food.

3. Eat Water-Rich Foods

A body of research out of Pennsylvania State University finds that eating water-rich foods such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers during meals reduces your overall calorie consumption. Other water-rich foods include soups and salads. You won’t get the same benefits by just drinking your water, though (but you will get other benefits of staying hydrated). Because the body processes hunger and thirst through different mechanisms, it simply doesn’t register a sense of fullness with water (or soda, tea, coffee, or juice). Learn how to tell if you need to eat more vegetables.

4. Bulk Up Your Meals With Veggies

You can eat twice as much pasta salad loaded with veggies like broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for the same calories as a pasta salad sporting just mayonnaise. Same goes for stir-fries, omelets, and other veggie-friendly dishes. If you eat a 1:1 ratio of grains to veggies, the high-fiber veggies will help satisfy your hunger before you overeat the grains. Bonus: Fiber is highly beneficial for preventing constipation, which can make you look bloated. Find out if your diet doesn’t have enough fiber.

5. Avoid White Foods

There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, however, you should eat plenty of whole-grain breads and brown rice. One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff. Plus, whole grains can even make you smarter.

5 Tricks To Help You Lose Weight!

1. Walk Before Dinner

In a study of ten obese women conducted at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, 20 minutes of walking reduced appetite and increased sensations of fullness as effectively as a light meal.

2. Make One Social Outing This Week Active


Pass on the movies and screen the views of a local park instead. Not only will you sit less, but you’ll be saving calories because you won’t chow down on that bucket of popcorn. Other active ideas: a tennis match, a guided nature or city walk (check your local listings), a bike ride, bowling, and these sneaky workouts you can do while hanging out with friends.

3. Put Less Food Out, & You'll Take Less In

Conversely, the more food in front of you, the more you’ll eat—regardless of how hungry you are. So instead of using regular dinner plates that range these days from 10 to 14 inches (making them look empty if they’re not heaped with food), serve your main course on salad plates (about 7 to 9 inches wide). Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, return to the old days of 8-ounce glasses and 6-ounce coffee cups. Try these other tricks for eating in moderation.

4. Eat 90 Percent of Your Meals At Home

You’re more likely to eat more—and eat more high-fat, high-calorie foods—when you eat out than when you eat at home. Restaurants today serve such large portions that many have switched to larger plates and tables to accommodate them. You’ll gasp when you see just how bad the unhealthiest restaurant meals in America are. If cooking sounds like too much work, steal these tips from working parents who cook every night.

5. Serve Food on Your Plate Instead of on Platters


If you eat your dinner restaurant style on your plate rather than family style, helping yourself from bowls and platters on the table, you’ll lose weight. Most of us tend to eat an average of 150 percent more calories in the evening than in the morning. You’ll avoid that now because when your plate is empty, you’re finished; there’s no reaching for seconds. Check out these other sneaky ways to get your family to eat better

5 Dieting Tips & Tricks!

1. Stare At The Color Blue

There’s a good reason you won’t see many fast-food restaurants decorated in blue: it functions as an appetite suppressant. So serve up dinner on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and cover your table with a blue tablecloth. Conversely, avoid red, yellow, and orange in your dining areas. Studies find they encourage eating. Don’t miss these other kitchen changes to help you eat less without noticing.

2. Walk Five Minutes At Least Every Two Hours


Stuck at a desk all day? A brisk five-minute walk every two hours will parlay into an extra 20-minute walk by the end of the day, and getting moving is more beneficial than a standing desk. Plus, getting a break will make you less likely to reach for snacks out of antsiness. While you’re up, use this effective stretch for avoiding back pain.

3. Don't Buy Any Prepared Food

… that lists sugar, fructose, or corn syrup among the first four ingredients on the label. You should be able to find a lower-sugar version of the same type of food. If you can’t, grab a piece of fruit instead, especially if you show signs you’re eating too much sugar. Look for sugar-free varieties of foods such as ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and these other foods with way more sugar than you realize. Also, avoid partially hydrogenated foods, and look for more than two grams of fiber per 100 calories in all grain products. Finally, a short ingredient list means fewer flavor enhancers and empty calories. Sounds impossible, but you can actually learn how to give up sugar without missing it.

4. Put Your Utensil Down Between Every Bite

At the table, sip water frequently. Intersperse your eating with stories for your dining partner of the amusing things that happened during your day. Your brain lags your stomach by about 20 minutes when it comes to satiety (fullness) signals. If you eat slowly enough, your brain will catch up to tell you that you are no longer in need of food. Check out this other trick that helps you eat less.

5. Close The Kitchen For 12 Hours

After dinner, wash all the dishes, wipe down the counters, turn out the light, and, if necessary, tape closed the cabinets and refrigerator. Late-evening eating significantly increases the overall number of calories you eat, a University of Texas study found. Learning how to stop late-night snacking can save 300 or more calories a day, or 31 pounds a year. Learn more about how eating late at night makes you fat.


5 Weight Loss Tips & Tricks

1. Eat Three Fewer Bites Of Your Meal

…or one less treat a day, or one less glass of orange juice. Doing any of these can save you about 100 calories a day, and that alone is enough to prevent you from gaining the two pounds most people mindlessly pack on each year. Check out these other weight loss tricks that don’t require diet or exercise.

2. Watch One Less Hour Of TV


A study of 76 undergraduate students found the more they watched television, the more often they ate and the more they ate overall. Sacrifice one program (there’s probably one you don’t really want to watch anyway) and go for a walk instead—in even just 15 minutes, you’ll reap these amazing benefits of walking. And during your favorite shows, get off the couch and try these exercises you can do while watching TV.

3. Wash Something Thoroughly Once A Week

Whether that’s a floor, a couple of windows, the shower stall, bathroom tile, your car, or one of these everyday items no one cleans enough, a 150-pound person will burn about four calories for every minute spent cleaning. Scrub for 30 minutes and you could work off approximately 120 calories, the same number in a half-cup of vanilla frozen yogurt. If you do treat yourself with fro yo, stick with these nutritionist-approved toppings.

4. Wait Until Your Stomach Rumbles To Reach For Food


It’s stunning how often we eat out of boredom, nervousness, habit, or frustration—so often, in fact, that many of us have actually forgotten what physical hunger feels like. (Don’t miss these other common reasons you can’t stop eating.) If you’re hankering for a specific food, it’s probably a craving, not hunger. If you’d eat anything you could get your hands on, chances are you’re truly hungry. Learn how to recognize these feelings mistaken for hunger, then find ways other than eating to express love, tame stress, and relieve boredom. But talk to your doctor if you think you’re always hungry for a medical reason. 

5. Sniff a banana, apple, or peppermint when you feel hungry


You might feel silly, but it works. When Alan R. Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, tried this with 3,000 volunteers, he found that the more frequently people sniffed, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost—an average of 30 pounds each. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it. Use these other tricks to become a more mindful eater.

5 Dieting Tips & Tricks!

1. Take A Time-Out


Begin doing something that I have started recently, which is meditate. But let’s not even call it meditation; let’s just call it a daily time out. Put the distractions away and just sit on the floor comfortably. Pick a spot to look at, and don’t look away for five minutes. Let your thoughts come, one thought rolling into another thought. The meditation expert I’ve worked with gives these guidelines: If a thought about the past comes up, let the “movie” play with no questions; anything about what’s happening around you currently—for instance, thoughts about sounds you hear in the distance or how your body feels—go with it; but any thoughts about the future, shut them down. Those are the kinds of thoughts that bring on anxiety and worries. Instead, bring your mind back to your breathing, to the spot you're looking at, or to any thoughts that don’t concern the future. This is just one type of meditating. There are many types, and you can find many good guided meditations on YouTube. I urge you to explore until you find something that resonates with you, and to make a concerted effort to have a point in the day when you go inward, even just for a few minutes. You’ll see what a calming effect it can have. But even if the very idea of meditation is daunting don’t give up on it: Even sitting in a room in complete silence for 2 to 3 minutes can have a calming effect.

2. Get Into The Compliment Business


We spend so much of the day beating ourselves up for what we haven’t done or couldn’t achieve that we never stop to show ourselves some love. Stop yourself five times and give yourself a compliment, a pat on the back for something you did that was worthy. “Nice job on not eating that cupcake.” “You were awesome at work today.” “You were easygoing when that guy took your parking space.” “You took a walk during lunch.” Most of the overweight people I’ve met over the years have a very difficult time giving themselves compliments. They find it easy to pat someone else on the back, but get queasy when it comes to praising themselves. It’s not vain to do so.

3. Find A Challenge

A goal can help you stay focused and motivated. It’s true of any endeavor, but especially true of exercise. Make your workouts count for something. Look online or check local sports stores for upcoming events you can train for. Don’t freak out if it’s billed as a race. I have a slogan I use with cast members on our shows: Don’t compete, just complete. The point is to just cross the finish line. When you show up at the event, keep that line in your head: “I’m here to complete, not compete.” That’s going to prevent negative, shameful thoughts from popping into your mind and prevent you from quitting. All you need to do is finish—no matter how long it takes.

4. Be Honest And Relax

There are two things that I believe will help everything fall into place: One is being honest with yourself and others; the other is relaxing. If you’re honest with yourself—Did I do my best today? Did I keep my promises?—and honest with others—I’m having a hard time today; I could use some help—then you can just relax. By relaxing you are taking away all of the stress that can send you straight into self-destructive mode. Knowing that you did your best on a given day—or admitting to yourself that you didn’t—will free you to move forward. These are two simple concepts, but they’re not always easy. I’m great with the honesty part; I have to work on the relaxing part every day. Whichever way it plays out for you, don’t give up. Lying and stressing out make people fat.

5. After Breakfast, Stick To Water


At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That’s nearly 90,000 calories a year—or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does. Find out how to tell if you drink too many of your calories.

5 Weight Loss Tips & Tricks!

1. Break The Fast-Food Habit


Cut fast food out of your life. It’s actually not that much more work—and it’s even cheaper—to just buy a rotisserie chicken at the market, a bag of tortillas, a can of beans, some lettuce and tomatoes, some broccoli, some olive oil and vinegar, and salsa. Right there, you have two nights’ meals: chicken, salad, and broccoli one night; chicken tacos and beans the next. You can even use the leftover chicken carcass to make chicken soup. You don’t, though, really even need to know much about cooking in order to break the fast-food habit. (Cut up some carrots and celery instead of steaming broccoli, and you won’t even need to use your stove on night one.)

2. Put A Positive Spin On Things


When most golfers take a bad shot, they typically curse at themselves and, say, “That was the worst shot,” or, “I suck at golf,” then they move onto the next shot. That just reinforces negativity. What you want to do instead is reinforce positivity. Every time you take a shot you say, in your head, “great shot,” “good shot,” or “needs work.” Just a simple assessment of how you did. Then, before you move to the next hole, you take a practice swing and say to yourself, “great shot.” What you’re doing by rating your shot, then taking another stroke and saying “great shot” to yourself is training the pathways in your brain. You’re erasing the bad shot from your consciousness. When the last thing you hear is “great shot,” it seeps into your brain, setting the stage for actually making a great shot the next time around. One day, it occurred to me that this technique could help with weight loss. Step on the scale and look at the number. Then say to yourself, “great week,” “good week,” or “needs work.” Then step off the scale, look at it, and say, “great week.” The last thing your brain hears is going to be overwhelmingly positive. Here are reasons your scale might be lying.

3. Find Hidden Sugar


I’m not saying that you should never eat foods that contain sugar, but once you reduce the amount you eat, you’ll crave it less. Grab a notebook and go on a sugar scavenger hunt through your refrigerator and pantry to see how much sweetness is lurking. There may be the obvious things, i.e., cookies, ice cream, certain cereals, and so on (though I hope you’ve got all those obvious sweets out of the house by now). Look for less obvious sugary foods, things like ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, Chinese sauces, pasta sauces, fruit yogurt, energy drinks, and even seemingly healthy things like dried fruit. Check labels for dead-giveaway ingredients: honey, brown sugar, turbinado, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, other syrups, raw sugar, agave and glucose (including other sweeteners ending in “ose”). People on a low-sugar diet swear by these tips.

4. Do Cardio Intervals


Intervals—pushing your pace up, then slowing down to recover so you can speed up again—help you burn more fat in less time. In 2008, researchers at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, had a group of women ride stationary bikes at intervals of 8 seconds sprinting and 12 seconds slow riding for 20 minutes (60 repeats in all). The researchers then compared them to a second group of women who rode for 40 minutes straight at the same speed only to find that, at the end of 15 weeks, the interval trainers lost more weight and more body fat than the steady riders. The only question is, Why would you not do intervals?!

5. Be A Stand-Up Guy (or Gal)


Even if you exercise for an hour or more a day, according to new research, it doesn’t cancel out the bad effects of sitting the rest of the day. I was working out hard in the morning, then sitting at my desk all day. Had to change that. Standing more won’t necessarily help you lose weight, but it will, by all accounts, help extend your life. Now, as soon as I get an email, I delete it, get up, walk to the person’s office, then stand while talking to them. I stand when I talk on the phone. When there’s a crowded room, I let others take the chairs and stand up instead. At my kids’ school, they now break every 15 minutes to stand up and shake out their bodies. Set your watch or phone to remind you to do the same. And next time someone offers you a seat, say "no, thanks."

5 Weight Loss Tips & Tricks!

1. Skip The Package Deal


A lot of the packaged foods people eat don’t come from their kitchens, but from vending machines, the break room kitchen at their work, a quick duck into the mini-mart when they stop for gas, and so on. Decrease those packaged/restaurant meals. I’m not suggesting you never eat out, but try to reduce eating out as much as you can. If you always buy lunch at the corner deli, try brown-bagging it, and I bet you’ll lose five pounds—if not more. Avoid meals with these menu words when do you eat out.

2. The Top-of-the-hour workout


At the top of every hour, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., do either five push-ups or run up one flight of stairs. Five push-ups might take you 15 seconds, but if you do it at the top of every hour, you will have done 40 push-ups for the day. Running up a flight of stairs takes less than 10 seconds, but at day’s end, you will have done about 8 flights. Do this every day for 7 days, then add a push-up or flight of stairs for the next 7 days. Keep adding until you’re ultimately doing 8 push-ups/4 flights eight times a day (a total of 64 push-ups or 32 flights daily). I did the push-ups challenge at my office and by the week’s end, there were nine of us doing it. At the top of every hour, we’d all run out of our offices, meet in the hallway and get our push-ups on. It was incredibly fun.

3. Get The White Out


A diet made up almost wholly of foods collectively know as “white foods”—pasta, white bread, white rice, crackers, and most cereals)—will make you fat and damage your health. Refined foods are stripped of fiber, one of the elements of food that helps you feel full. Refined foods also raise blood sugar, triggering the release of insulin. Both things can make you feel hungry and crave more calories. Take all of the white foods I named out of your diet. Try it again for another day, and another. Not wanting to break the streak may actually lead you to a healthier diet.

4. Do What You Have To Do (first)


Do what you have to do, before you do what you want to do. I say this to my kids every day. “Dad, let’s play basketball!” “Did you do your homework?” “Not yet.” “Okay, do your homework, then we’ll play ball.” Working out, eating right, and getting your life in order are the priorities to put at the top of your list. Then do things that you want to do like watching TV, going online, and sleeping in. It may seem unrelated to weight loss, but it’s all a part of reorganizing your life for the better.

5. Go Commercial-Free


Most likely, consciously or unconsciously, you associate watching TV with eating. Super Bowl Sunday and cheesy nachos, binge-watching The Walking Dead and binge-eating mint chip ice cream—they go together like salt and pepper. When you watch TV, do not watch a singlecommercial. Instead, get up and move. Every one-hour show has 18 minutes of commercials; if you watch two hours of TV without moving, that’s 36 minutes of exercise that you’re losing out on. Make it heart-pumping and nonstop for the whole break—jumping jacks and squats are always good. The next time there’s a commercial break, change it up, maybe do some push-ups and sit-ups. The time after that, do burpees or run up the stairs. If you’ve DVR’d your show or are watching premium channels without commercial interruption, create a rule for yourself and set the timer on your phone: every half hour of binge watching you’ll stop and take an exercise break.